Hi! I’m Rhianne, I’m an SEO Executive at Impression and today I’m going to be talking about 5 ways you can increase your organic rankings. So by the end of today’s video, you should be able to come away with some useful tips, tricks and tools to help you with your SEO efforts – let’s get into it.

I just want to start by saying that there are so many things you can do to help with your organic rankings, and we would be here for a really long time if we were to go through all of the ones we know of. So I have selected 5 of the factors that I think are most important – I would definitely recommend further reading and practice with what I am going to talk about today so that you can really make a difference.

Keyword Research

First off, it’s good practice to make a keyword plan before you start optimising anything on your page and You can do this by using keyword research tools such as Ahrefs, which is my personal favourite.. and doing this research really helps you to form a solid content strategy because not only can you see the types of things that people are searching for, but you can also see the intent behind the searches, so you’re looking at what type of questions people are asking and the words they’re using in their queries… and that helps you with knowing what angle to write your content from – for example, if you’re doing your research and can see people are asking questions such as ‘how to plan a wedding – that would imply that the user would like maybe some step by step content in the form of a guide. Alternatively, you might see a lot of people searching for the best wedding venues in Nottingham and that would imply that the user may want a comparison document or a ranking of the top 10 wedding venues in Nottingham -so my point here is that you should look at the words people are using and you should use that to help you understand their intent and therefore the TYPE of content they want to read.

Another tip is not to make the mistake of just writing any old content because you think that’s what people want to read about. The things you are writing about should always be informed by research! And you should be using these findings from your research to make good quality content that is useful for the reader and not just a case of keyword stuffing! 

So now I am just going to go over a basic outline of my last point on this slide using ahrefs to find longtail keywords.

When doing your keyword research and planning, it’s important to not just try and rank for the most obvious and highly competitive terms.

As you can see here, in this example, if I had a website and I was selling blinds, and I were to write some optimised blog content for the website – I would really be struggling if I were to try and target broad key terms like ‘blinds’ and ‘window blinds’ as you can see in the snippet, the keyword difficulty level is quite high and that shows me that it will be difficult to rank for those terms – these are terms that are likely going to be dominated by household names such as dunelm and B&Q.

Whereas, if I use my research to be a bit more specific and dig a little deeper, I can find out the questions people are asking such as how to clean vertical blinds which we can see on the right here has a much lower keyword difficulty score – so I could create a blog post based 

Around that idea and the keyword difficulty is much smaller, so I’m much more likely to rank for that term because it’s far less competitive – and even though there may be less overall search volume for this term, by targeting specific questions – it’s much more likely that I am going to get people onto my website. 

Then if I keep using this tactic, over time, I am going to stand a much better chance of ranking for those broader terms.

Content

That brings me on to content, which is really your chance to take all the keyword research you have done and apply it. You want to be careful that you are not just stuffing in keywords to try and get brownie points with google -you should be writing content that is laid out well, it’s thorough and it’s and is easy to read – if your content would benefit from it, using things such as bullet points or tables to lay things out, say you’re writing a how-to guide, then definitely do so, because this is a great way to potentially get on to the featured snippets on the results page and ultimately get more people to click on your site because you’re taking up way more space on the results page.

The way I like to write to capture a specific target audience is by working to a character profile – so if you look at the image here on the slide, I’ll go through an example –

So say I was a B2B marketing manager at a company selling HR software, I might want to make a profile for an HR manager, a CEO, an office worker and so on and then depending on what I am writing about that day, I would tailor the content to one of those character profiles – so in this example, I could say I am going to write about how HR software can help free up time to focus more on your employee’s wellbeing 

And I would choose my most suitable character profile out of all the character profiles I’ve created and I would let the characteristics of this person guide me with how I’m writing stuff  – so here on the right I’ve got Tracy, she’s an HR manager, 42 years old and her strengths are being organised, excellent people skills and she’s really bubbly, but her fears are that she is worried about non-compliance with regulations and her goals are that maybe she wants to free up time to focus on her employees, she’s a very bubbly person, she’s a people person – so it would therefore make sense that I would tailor the blog post I want to to write towards Tracy because it’s relevant and I can use Tracy’s character to help me write.

It’s also worth having the author of your blog posts visible on the blog post and showing an author profile as this can also help to establish you as an expert.

Refreshing meta titles and descriptions

So we know metadata may not be a ranking factor, but it does have an indirect influence on rankings so it’s still super important. Crafting a really well-written meta description that is closely related to the topic of the page, that is interesting to users, and is highly optimised for the user’s intent can really help with conversion rates. The meta title and the meta description are the first things that people see when they’re searching through Google results so it’s essential that you’re drawing the user in from the very start.

By refreshing this data, it is possible to get more traction from social media as a result because you can go and re-share content that you’ve already made, but you can end up enticing more people in who in the past may not have clicked on it.

Another tip is just being human! If you’re able to write a welcoming and helpful meta description that appears way less sales-y than all the descriptions in the ads that you’ll see on the results pages, you’re just going to stand out amongst all those ads.

So, finally sticking to the character limit of 160 characters is really important because it means you’re going to get all of that vital information right at the start. 

As a side note – I would definitely recommend also doing a systematic refresh of content on your site – especially if you’ve got years worth of content in blog posts as they can become quite stale and lose their relevancy over time, so additions and edits are a great way to keep your content fresh and ranking well.

Backlinks

Backlinks! Backlinks are extremely useful for demonstrating your authority to google – as every time that your content is linked to by another reputable site, it acts as a vote of confidence to Google. It’s much better to gain quality backlinks over quantity backlinks.

A backlink from Halfords or a bike shop would be great if you had a blog about bikes.. But if a bike shop were to gain a backlink from a florists website, it’s not really that relevant and it’s not necessarily going to help you out with demonstrating your authority.

If you have a large quantity of backlinks but these are from spammy sites – this can actually negatively affect your rankings.

Do your backlink research! So when doing backlink research I use ahrefs again and this, gives me a report which is super-useful for understanding what topics and types of content attract links for a site. And if I take a look at this same report for competitors, I can uncover content ideas that are likely to attract links and gain insight into the kind of backlinks that my competitors are getting. 

So when it comes to your strategy you want to build some quality backlinks, so one of the ways you can do this is naturally, which essentially means you don’t have to do anything other than creating great content, and other websites will link to your site without prompt – and then we have manual backlinks which are obtained from doing things like contributing to industry publications and case studies which then link back to your website. So getting backlinks, it takes time but it’s really, really important. 

Page Speed

Page speed is critical to the user experience – if your pages take forever to load, that affects your rankings as it doesn’t offer a great user experience – and if you have a faster page speed, it generally means a lower bounce rate, as people don’t get fed up of waiting and just leave the page, and that’s also going to affect your conversion rates.

You can actually check out the core web vitals data in the enhancements section of your Google Search Console and take a look at the recommendations given there and implement them – so that will pick up things like if your images are too big and need compressing, and if you have too many redirects causing the page speed to slow down, and it will give you a list of ways to fix this. It’s also worth looking at page speed insights and that’s a Google tool that can help you with seeing where you might be going wrong, or might be going right.

Things like images and coding can take up lots of unnecessary space and these are things that you might not even know are causing a problem – so its always worth checking out the tools I’ve mentioned on the slide to see where you can improve.

Main takeaways

My main takeaways are:

1. Number 1, to write helpful content that is tailored to a character profile from within your target audience and positions you as an export. Helpful content should be informed by keyword research tools so you know what people are searching for and the intent behind their searches.

2. Creating a backlink strategy and using tools such as ahrefs to inform the strategy and remembering that not all links are equal.

3. Make sure your page speed is up to scratch

5. Consider a systematic revamp and refresh of the metadata (and content) on your older posts that have lots of opportunity.

6. And finally, always remember that the user is who you should be focusing on, and think about their journey and what they want.. Not just scoring points with Google.

Right thanks everyone for watching and for more tips and information on SEO feel free to follow Impression on social media, read the Impression blog sign up to the newsletter, and you can do all this by going on to the website and following the relevant links

Rhianne Moriarty

SEO Executive

I joined Impression in January 2021 as an SEO Executive after spending 5 years in marketing roles within the IT & Cyber Security industry. It was during this time that I became aware of the importance of SEO and optimising the content I was creating. With a first class degree in Media and Communication under my belt, my role in SEO is the perfect marriage of all my acquired skills from my media and marketing background.

Rhianne has specialist knowledge in SEO.