Improve your SEO

SEO is a long‐term game. You need a solid strategy, the willingness to execute and above all, patience.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any low‐hanging opportunities to improve SEO. There are plenty, many of which are immediately actionable and don’t require you to create new content.

In today’s post, I’ll run through 9 of them.

1. Improve the CTR of your top‐ranking pages

The title tag is the HTML element used to specify the title of a webpage. The title tag acts as the headline of an article. Its job is to entice the searcher to click through to the page. The ratio of people who end up clicking your link (or any link) is called the clickthrough rate (CTR).

Now, Gary Illyes of Google has explicitly said that CTR is not a ranking factor. But, many SEOs still believe that CTR plays a part in your rankings.

Either way, it doesn’t matter. The purpose of ranking #1 is to get visitors to your page. If you can write a title tag that persuades people to choose your page over the others, you’ve won.

Here’s how to get started.

Enter your domain into Site Explorer, and go to the Organic keywords report. This report shows all the keywords your site is ranking for.

2. Optimize the page speed of important pages

Ever click through to a page that took ages to load?

If you’re anything like me, you probably clicked the back button and tried your luck elsewhere.

In 2010, Google said page speed is a ranking factor. With mobile‐first indexing, page speed has become even more important.

So yes, if you haven’t gotten the memo by now, slow pages are bad for business and SEO.

The issue with PageSpeed Insights is: you have to check the speed of each page individually.

Since this can be quite tedious, I would recommend you prioritize the pages that get the most search traffic. After all, these are the pages that stand to benefit most from any optimization efforts. (e.g., a 5% traffic boost to a page receiving 10K visits a month gets you 500 more visits!)

3. Refresh content with diminishing traffic

During a content audit we performed last year, we saw that organic traffic to one of our posts—a list of the top 100 Google searches—was decreasing.

This page targeted a good keyword (“top Google searches”) with 3,600 monthly searches in the US.

Image result for Improve SEO


4. Fill content gaps in existing content

People search for the same thing in many different ways. Google understands that and ranks a nearly‐identical set of results for many keywords.

According to our study, an average #1 ranking page will also rank well for about 1,000 other relevant keywords.

Translation: cover one topic in great detail (i.e., include all the subtopics under that one umbrella topic), and rank for tons of long‐tail terms.

The result? More traffic to your target page.

Plus, because of ‘phrase‐based indexing’ and ‘co‐occurrence’, you may even improve the rankings for your primary keyword.

NOTE. This is essentially the idea that Google can better identify the topical relevance of content through the co‐occurrence of words and phrases.

Learn more about how that works in our guide to on‐page SEO.

One of the best ways to find relevant subtopics for your posts is to look at what else the top‐ranking pages for your target keyword also rank for. For this, you can use Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool.

Simply enter a few of top‐ranking pages, set to prefix mode, and leave the “Doesn’t rank for” box blank.

5. Replicate backlinks from outdated, low‐quality pages

Does this experience sound familiar to you?


  • Searched for a term in Google;
  • Clicked through to the #1 result;
  • Found an abysmal piece of content that did not answer your query.

You wondered to yourself, “how in the world is this ranking #1?”

Well, there’s good news. These kinds of results are opportunities.

Think about it: if these poor pieces of content can get tons of high‐quality links and rank in Google, so can you.

You just need to have something better. And if you regularly refresh your content, chances are: you already have something better.

All you have to do is to find these inferior pieces of content (that have lots of links) and get the people linking to them to link to you instead.

Here’s how you do it:

First, enter your target keyword into Ahrefs’ Content Explorer. To find outdated, low‐quality pages, you’ll have to set some filters.

  • Referring domains filter to 50 and above (to find pages with links);
  • Date filter to >3 years ago (to find outdated content);
  • Word count filter to <1,000 words (to find less‐thorough, and presumably, “lower‐quality” articles 

6. Boost pages with internal links

Internal links are links from one page on the same domain to another.

When used strategically, internal links can help boost the performance of pages in the search engines.

Why? Because internal links aid the flow of PageRank around your site. Generally speaking, the more internal links a page has, the higher its PageRank. And PageRank is a confirmed Google ranking factor.


7. Fix broken backlinks coming to your site

Broken backlinks are broken inbound links from other websites.

These usually occur because:

  • You deleted or moved a page that has backlinks;
  • The linking site made a mistake when linking to you.

This isn’t ideal.

Think about it: if you have broken pages that many sites are linking to, not only are you losing potential referral traffic, you’re also losing the “link equity” from those links.

Therefore, you should fix this.

How? Enter: Ahrefs Site Explorer.

Plug your domain into Site Explorer, and go to the Best by links report. Add a “404 not found” filter to find all the pages on your site that are broken. Sort the results by their Referring domains.

8. Go after featured snippets

Basically, it’s when Google shows a full or partial answer to a query directly in the search results.

According to our study, featured snippets get ~8.6% of clicks on average, while the page that ranks below (aka position #1) will get ~19.6% of clicks.

If there are no featured snippets, the #1 ranking result will get 26% of all clicks.

So, it turns out that the featured snippet is stealing clicks away from the #1 ranking result.

The question is: how do you win the snippet?

According to our study, only pages that rank on the first page of Google are in with a chance of winning the snippet. But, you don’t need to rank #1 to be featured.

And therein lies the opportunity.

Chances are: you already have a few pieces of content ranking on the first page for queries with featured snippets. The next thing to do is to optimize these pages to grab it.

To do that, enter your domain into Site Explorer and go to the Organic keywords report. Filter for queries for which you rank in the top 10, and that show snippets in the search results.


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