How to Rank for Keywords if your Website Isn’t Ranking for Them

Want to learn how to rank for keywords? Don't leave your business in the dark - here's a short guide on how to optimise your content for search engines.

Picture of Pamela Czerniecka Pamela Czerniecka

Published: 14 Jun 2021

4 minutes read

How to Rank for Keywords if your Website Isn’t Ranking for Them

So you have a blog that you know would be perfect for your persona, but the issue? You’re not ranking highly for the keyword they’re searching for.

Although fighting against Google can feel like an endless battle, you can try and rank higher by using specific, targeted keyword optimisation on previously uploaded blogs. Updating older blogs instead of pushing new content might seem counterintuitive, but research shows that refurbishing your old blog posts can boost traffic by over 111%.

While SEO, or search engine optimisation, techniques can often seem confusing, here are 4 simple steps you can take to help your content rank higher on search engines.

Step 1 - Discovering keywords you don’t rank for

To discover keywords that your website isn’t ranking for it is important to use keyword research such as Ahrefs or SEMrush. It is also integral to evaluate direct competitor and organic competitor rankings. We have put together handy beginners guide on how to do keyword research here.

Once you discover the keywords that relate to the business that target the right user search intent, with the right search volume and low to a medium difficulty that the website isn’t ranking for, evaluate the website and choose a page that is the best fitting for keyword optimisation. 

If there is no page that can be optimised for new keywords, consider setting up a new page or writing blog pieces to target the keywords and related topics. These blogs will also help with the optimisation of the core pages. 

Step 2 - If you have a page that can be optimised or need to set up a new one

If you require a new page, the standard content writing strategy does apply.  If an existing page can be optimised using the keywords you have identified, then the first thing to start with is reviewing the content. This involves seeing if the page has the right keyword density and if it contains any of the targeted keywords. 

For example, the page that targets asbestos training has the keyword “asbestos training - vol 500, difficulty 35” mentioned 8 times in the copy. From this graph, it’s clear that a related keyword that does get higher search volume is “asbestos awareness training - vol 900, difficult 26 ”.

Ahrefs keyword research tool screenshot

The right user intent that we’re looking for in this example are people looking for asbestos training in the construction sector. The content should be updated in a way that when the keyword “asbestos awareness training” is mentioned they also have “construction” within the same sentence or phrase. For example “asbestos awareness training for construction teams”. This technique helps Google and other search engines make the connection between the page content and keyword targeting and increase its rankings that match the user’s search intents. 

It’s not just the main body of the copy that’s important to use keywords, but also the:

  • Title tag should be between 55-60 characters long and closely match the H1, which can be longer than the title tag. Both of these elements do directly affect the page rankings, so it’s important to add keywords here.
  • Meta Description doesn’t directly impact the rankings, but it does get crawled by the search engine. Show that your piece is of value to your persona by keeping it between 155-160 characters long and making it relevant to your search query.
  • Headings (H1-H6) throughout the blog should include the keyword or any associated keywords you could rank for, as they, again, indicate to the search engine that this piece of content is relevant and important to the person searching.

Want to learn more about SEO? Check out our complete guide here

Step 3 - Inbound marketing & SEO optimisation 

Whether the new keywords can be targeted in any existing core pages or not, blog optimisation for the keywords that the website doesn’t rank for will also help the site to rank and drive traffic for the right user search intent. 

For any blog that targets topics within the different stages of the funnel (awareness, consideration and decision) for example with asbestos training, it is important to include internal links between different blogs and the core page. Similarly to inbound marketing techniques, SEO does use content cluster techniques too, through internal linking of pages that follow the same or similar topics and themes. 

Links to the core page of the targeted product or service are particularly important for the consideration and decision stage. For the awareness stage, it is important to have links between blogs that cover similar topics to themselves. 

Ahrefs keyword research tool screenshot

For example, if the blog offers the user information that helps solve their pain point - for instance, “how many levels of asbestos training are there” - and there are other blogs that cover similar topics and themes it is important to link them to each other within the text. Same as the core pages, title tags, meta descriptions and headings (H1-H6) are very important for successful blog optimisation. 

Step 4 - Achieving results 

When the SEO optimisation is done well, the website should expect to pick up relevant rankings within 3-6 months. The organic traffic will naturally grow and users with the right search intent will find it easier to find the website, whatever the stage of the funnel they are at.

Ahrefs or SEMrush will report on changes to the keywords once the website grows positions for existing or new search terms. Google Search Console will indicate changes to the organic traffic and what search queries drive the most traffic for specific pages and the site as a whole. HubSpot will also indicate the growth of organic traffic in its reports.

Ultimately, whatever tool you use to monitor the website's progress, it's important that you continually track your blogs, pages and search terms to ensure you're still ranking for them. Or if there are any blogs and pages where you could improve your keywords consider potentially altering the copy to get found and increase your leads.

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