Jessica La

Search Engine Positioning: What You Need to Know in 2022

What you'll learn...

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Did you know that 90% of people don’t move past the first page of Google? There’s a popular saying among marketers is “the best place to hide a dead body is Page 2 of Google search results.”

When was the last time you moved past the first page of Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs)? It’s barren land – and if your web pages don’t rank on the first page of Google SERPs, then you’ll be missing out on 90% of your target audience.

Data fetched from a report indicates that over 1/4th of Google users click on the first organic search result. At the same time, the top three results are subject to 3/4th of all clicks.

That’s impressive.

And while marketers implement various complex SEO tactics like link building, creating XML sitemaps, conducting in-depth keywords research, and more to skyrocket their rankings – it’s equally important to focus on consistently optimizing individual pages on your website. That’s where Search Engine Positioning comes in.

As important as optimizing your website as a whole is, marketers and businesses should also focus on individual web pages to rank higher.

To help you better navigate the realm of Search Engine Positioning, I’ve put together this blog post where we’ll be focusing on:

  • What is Search Engine Positioning?
  • Search Engine Positioning vs. Search Engine Optimization – What’s the Difference?
  • The 3 Step Framework to Maximize Your Search Engine Positioning on Google

I’m so excited to share this with you. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it straight away.

What is Search Engine Positioning?

Search engine positioning (SEP) is the practice of optimizing individual pages of a website to help them rank higher on search engines for the target keywords. Rather than optimizing your website as a whole, your focus will be on optimizing individual web pages.

Search Engine Positioning isn’t an out-of-the-box new marketing hack trending in the marketing world. Instead, it’s a subset of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and is often overlooked by both marketers and businesses.

If you explore my website and tune in to my blog posts, you’ll discover that I publish high-quality articles on a regular basis. Some of my most recent pieces (as of this writing) include:

Now, while I’m laser-focused on improving my website speed, domain authority, usability, mobile-friendliness, and various other factors, focusing on search engine positioning will allow me to focus on these individual pages (in this case, blog posts) as well.

This way, I can get these pages to rank higher on search engine ranking pages for the target keywords.

But – what exactly does the Search Engine Positioning process involve?

Allow me to explain. If you hop onto Google and search a query, say “what is white hat link building,” you’ll no longer just see ten blue links anymore. Instead, you’ll see various SERP features like:

  • Featured Snippets
  • Video Results
  • People Also Ask Boxes
what is white hat link building SERP

Search Engine Positioning is the process of optimizing your individual web pages such that they appear in featured snippets, people also ask boxes or other sections. And while not all your web pages may make it to these sections, you can focus on search engine positioning to improve your rankings on search engines.

Search Engine Positioning vs. Search Engine Optimization – What’s the Difference?

Search engine positioning (SEP) is a subset of SEO. As you may or may not already know, search engine optimization is the process that includes:

  • Conducting in-depth keywords research
  • Website audit
  • Link building
  • Optimizing on-page content like meta-tags, meta-descriptions, title tags, and more.
  • Improving website speed
  • Focusing on mobile-friendliness
  • Focusing on website domain authority or domain rating

It basically focuses on every single ranking signal Google considers to determine search engine rankings.

When it comes to search engine optimization, you’ll focus on your website as a whole and individual web pages. However, amidst all the optimization, you may or may not get the chance to focus on your individual web pages.

And that’s where search engine positioning comes in.

Search Engine Positioning is the dedicated practice of focusing solely on optimizing web pages to improve search engine rankings. And as you continuously optimize your individual web pages, you’ll have a much better chance of ranking in the Featured Snippet, People May Ask Box, or various other sections.

That being said, if you want to maximize your web pages’ search engine positioning on Google, allow me to present the exact steps you need to follow to do so.

The 3 Step Framework to Maximize Your Search Engine Positioning on Google

To maximize your Google SEP, you’ll need to follow these 3 steps:

  1. Discover the Right Keywords You Should Target
  2. Reoptimize Your Existing Content
  3. Focus on Your Internal Linking Efforts

1. Discover the Right Keywords You Should Target

Let’s say you run a marketing agency and would love nothing more than to target generic keywords like “SEO” or “PPC” – depending on the services you offer. Now, if you look up the difficulty of these keywords on Ahrefs, you’ll be shocked. Allow me to share the results.

SEO:

SEO Ahrefs page
PPC:
PPC Ahrefs page

With such insanely high keyword difficulty, you’ll never be able to rank at the top unless your website DR stands 70+ and you deliver an incredibly high-quality piece.

At the same time, it’s almost impossible to appear in featured snippets, or people also ask sections for these keywords.

That’s the reason it’s essential to focus on finding the right set of keywords that you may rank at the top for. And if you optimize insanely high-quality content around these keywords perfectly, then you may even get the featured snippet.

I’ll write an in-depth guide on what you should look for when doing keyword research but here are some of the things you should be looking for:

Keyword Difficulty

This metric measures how difficult it is to rank. In Ahrefs, it’s a scale of 0-100, and they provide an estimate of how many backlinks you’ll need pointing to this article to rank in the top 10.

keyword difficulty screenshot

In other free keyword research tools like wordtracker.com, they may use a scale of 0-10, but the concept is all the same.

Basically, the lower the difficulty, the better and I would stick to anywhere under 30-40 when starting out.

💬 The Bottom Line: Don’t aim for super competitive terms, but don’t go for really low ones either. Live somewhere in the middle.

Keyword Volume

You’ll want to look at the global and country specific volume of searches for the keyword.

When looking at this metric, you don’t want to aim for too high a volume, as that would mean its competitive (and harder to rank for), but you also don’t want to go too low either where only 10 people are searching for it every month.

Depending on your niche, you should generally stick to anywhere between 500+ in monthly volume for the specific country, although there is an exception to this which I will get into next.

🔥 Hot tip: Take the volume on Ahrefs or any other tool with a grain of salt. Generally, you’ll find that the actual volume is much higher than what these tools say it is. You should also take note that some niches will naturally have larger volume and others with lower volume.

Volume Trend

How is the keyword trending?

One thing you want to be on the look out for are trending keywords. If you can see that there is a topic that is rising and the volume search is going to grow despite it being low at the moment, it’s typically a good opportunity to write about that keyword.

Take the keyword “air fryer” for example. When it had a much smaller volume, it was much easier to rank for.

Have a look in Ahrefs.

And in Google Trends.

These are the type of keywords you want to spot and try “ride the wave”.

SERP Overview

The last thing I would look at is whether you stand a chance to even compete in the top 10 Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The key thing you want to look out for is whether someone with a similar DR range is ranking on the top 10.

If there is someone in a similar domain range as you ranking for the keyword, there is a good chance you can too – given a well written article and perhaps the help of some backlinks.

If the first SERP is dominated by 90+ DRs, it’s unlikely you’ll stand a chance unless your site is also in the 90+ DRs.

As an example, if I were a 40 DR site and I wanted to write an article about how to clean white shoes. The keyword difficulty and volume all look good.

And when I check the SERPs:

I can see that someone with a 38DR is ranking 2nd.

That’s when I know this is a feasible keyword to rank for.

🔧 You can check out some other helpful and affordable tools you can use to help with your SEO here.

 

2. Reoptimize Your Existing Content

If any of your articles are already ranking on the first or second page of search engines, then Google already thinks of your web pages as relevant. Now, you need to find these web pages and optimize them further.

If you want to find out which pages are performing well, you can just hop onto your google search console and find out.

Upon launching Google Search Console, head over to “Performance.”

Here you’ll be able to see your website’s:

  • Total Clicks
  • Total Impressions
  • Average CTR
  • Average Position

You can set the search type, duration, and various other factors.

Now, if you click on Average Position and scroll down, you’ll be able to look at your website’s top queries – along with their respective clicks, impressions, and position.

I’d advise you to sort the Queries by position and you’ll be able to find out the queries you’re ranking at the top for. For the queries your web pages are ranking at the top for, your next steps should be to focus on optimizing these web pages further.

As I’ve established, these pages are ranking on the first or second page because Google thinks they are relevant and help answer user search intent. Now, your focus should be on on-page and content optimization of these pages to rank better and maybe appear in the Featured snippet or people also ask section.

One of the most helpful tools I’ve found for helping optimize my content is using the “Audit” feature from SurferSEO.

You can put in your article and keyword you want to rank for and get a full analysis on what you may need to optimize to help improve your search engine results.

You can also enlist the help of AI writing tools like Jasper.AI to help expand or rewrite your content.

3. Focus on Your Internal Linking Efforts

Allow me to let you in on a (kinda) little secret – internal links are important.

Some marketers often overlook the power of internal links, but trust me, with a good internal linking plan in place, you’ll see your rankings bumping up.

Upon discovering the content pieces that are already ranking at the top for search engines, I’d advise you to focus on internal linking to these pages.

For example, let’s say my blog post “The Only White Hat Link Building Guide You’ll Ever Need” holds 7th position on Google for the keyword “white hat link building.” Now, since this article is already ranking on the first page, I’ll try to bump it up by internal linking to it – every chance I get.

A good idea is to mention or add internal links to your top-performing articles at the bottom of every new content piece you create. So, now for every blog post I publish that is relevant, I’ll internal link my white hat link building guide at the bottom.

While this is just one internal linking strategy, you can also implement various others to improve your rankings and search engine positioning on Google.

Your Search Engine Positioning strategy is what matters when it comes down to rankings

Despite SEP being a part of SEO, marketers find themselves too overburdened to focus on optimizing their individual web pages.

But trust me – that’s like giving up just before you cross that finish line.

Don’t let all the time and money you spend on SEO and content go to waste just when you’re about to hit a home run.

In today’s world, where Google and other search engines aren’t just a land of ten blue links anymore, maximizing your search engine positioning is one of the most important things you can do for your website.

Good Luck!

Jessica La

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Thanks for reading!

Jessica La

Hi, I’m Jessica 👋 — and I write content read by 500K+ monthly tech/marketing readers.

I focus on effective PR for growth at the highest quality. And I get results. Fast. 

My shtick?

Great products deserve to be seen and used.

And I create great content with high-quality links to help you achieve that.

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