You Can Increase Search Rank by Improving Your Existing Content
Content Often is Overlooked in Favor of a Focus on Links
For many SEOs, the primary focus of their activities in on linkbuilding (or in some cases, link purchasing).
The role of content and the ways that it impacts user signals and the “trustworthiness” of a website often take a back seat to link acquisition. This is often a missed opportunity.
Google has talked about content quality for years and its importance in the search algorithm, but the message has been often misunderstood. Supposed “SEO gurus” have spread myths claiming that it’s important to post often, skipping over the two most important aspects of content as it relates to SEO: quality and user engagement.
Your Underperforming Content Can Perform If You Improve it
We’ve all had it happen.
We spend a few hours writing a terrific blog post, only to have it get 1 visitor every six months.
Just because it’s not performing well now doesn’t mean that it can’t perform well.
The Skyscraper Method
The Skyscraper Method is a simple tactic.
Let’s that you’re writing a guide to PPC and Adwords.
You’ll perform a search and check all of the top results.
Since all of these posts are ranking on page one, it is clear that the algorithm believes that they adequately cover the topic. At the same time, if you go through all of the posts, you’re almost guaranteed to see that each one has something unique to say about PPC and/or focuses on one aspect of it.
Now you’re going to create a super-post that covers all of the topics discussed in the top-ranking results plus something unique that you can add.
Natural Language Processing Is the Reason This Works
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the way that computers understand what a topic is about. If you’re interested in learning about it, I recommend this post.
If you write a post about Adwords, the algorithm expects to see terms such as:
- and a TON of other terms related to Adwords management
The search engine knows that you need to touch upon certain topics if you’re writing about PPC or whatever your topic may be. The more thoroughly you cover that topic, the more “relevant” your post is likely to be.
Use The Skyscraper Method to Improve Your Content
Check every post that ranks on page 1 for your targeted keywords (notice that I made it plural). Make note of all of the topics that the posts touch upon that your post does not mention.
Figure out how to best integrate these topics into your post, expanding the number of keywords that it could potentially rank for and more thoroughly covering the topic.
Finally, run the post through Grammarly to be sure that the post is not suffering from any grammatical or spelling errors.
A Real-Life Application of the Skyscraper Method
We do SEO for law firms throughout the country. One of our clients is a bankruptcy lawyer in Philadelphia. He helps people facing debt issues, often guiding them through the filing of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The website is a rich resource on both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but there are a number of past posts that can certainly be improved.
On the site, there is a post titled “How To File For Bankruptcy Without A Lawyer In Pennsylvania.” The post ranks for a number of valuable keywords related to bankruptcy, driving quite a bit of traffic to the site. Upon doing our audit of the site, we found that the post ranks on page 2 for a number of additional keywords, an opportunity to potentially double the amount of visitors wishing to learn more about the topic of bankruptcy.
The Post Could Benefit from More Detail
We began by reviewing the other articles that are ranking on page 1 for the “page 2” keywords. We also read the article to see if there were any obvious ways that we could expand upon it.
Upon reviewing the post, the first thing that jumped out at us was that it mentioned Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, but it didn’t really give any details about the differences between the two. If this were the first post that a visitor were reading on the topic, he would likely not know what each is and would likely benefit from this information. Additionally, the search engine expects to find terms related to both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 when delivering results for queries such as:
- file bankruptcy on your own
- how to apply for bankruptcy without a lawyer
- can i file bankruptcy without a lawyer
- how to file bankruptcy yourself
By adding sections to the post that briefly outline the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, the site will be more likely to rank for these other keywords.
Tracking of the Results
Over the next several weeks we will track the performance of the post. We are using KPIs such as impressions, clicks, and number of keywords for which the site ranks on page 1. We often see jumps of anywhere from 5-30 places for revised content, though the jumps can take months to be seen.