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How to Increase Search Engine Visibility and Be Seen in the SERPs

Nobody wants to be an SEO ghost.

A website that fails to reach the top spots in Google, lurks in the background, and fails to be seen by searchers.

But unfortunately, that’s the reality for most site owners.

New research shows that just 9% of content gets some form of search traffic from Google:

 

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If you don’t want to fall into that ghostly bracket, you need to do one thing:

Increase your search engine visibility.

What Is Search Engine Visibility?

First of all, let’s clear up exactly what search engine visibility is.

(You can’t improve on something you don’t know about right?)

Simply put:

Your search engine visibility gives an idea of how well you’re ranking on Google—AKA how “visible” you are to searchers. It’s calculated by how many keywords you’re currently ranking for.

Wondering where you fall on the search engine visibility scale?

Head over to your Monitor Backlinks dashboard, and scoot over to the Rank Tracker tab:

 

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Here, you can add keywords to track and see your ranking position for each one.

Use the Ranking filter to see only the keywords that you’re ranking for on the first few pages of Google:

 

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How many keywords are you ranking for?

Your answer is your search engine visibility score.

(Not got a Monitor Backlinks account? Grab your free, no-risk 30-day trial and find your search engine visibility score immediately!) 

It goes without saying that your goal, as an SEO, is to always increase this score.

A higher search engine visibility score means more ranked keywords. In turn, that drives more visitors to your website—which could turn into loyal, high-paying customers, and boost the ROI of your entire SEO strategy.

Sound good? Let’s get cracking.

How to Increase Search Engine Visibility and Be Seen in the SERPs

Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let’s be clear on one thing:

Increasing your search engine visibility is hard work, and you won’t see results instantly.

…But don’t let that put you off.

Like any new SEO strategy, it’ll take time for you to see a boost in the number of keywords you’re ranking for—but that doesn’t mean the change isn’t coming.

Here are five key things you need to be focusing on to increase your search engine visibility:

1. Optimize Your Entire Website

Poor quality websites don’t rank highly—that’s a fact.

Don’t believe me? Check yourself. Do a Google search for the first search term that comes to your head, and take a peek at the websites ranking on page 1.

I’ll bet my bottom dollar they’re high-quality, established websites.

Why? Because Google wants to show the best search results for any keyword.

Sites that are low-quality, offer poor user experience and take lightyears to load don’t fit that criteria, so there’s no chance of them performing well in the SERPs—no matter how niche your keyword is.

To compete with them, you need to optimize your entire website for SEO.

Focus on these three things to make a big difference:

Boost Overall Page Speed

Did you know that 47% of internet users expect a page to load within two seconds?

Any longer than that short timeframe and they’ll bounce back to the SERPs—worsening your dwell time (a known ranking factor), and putting a downer on your entire website.

Head over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to find out your current loading times:

 

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Are you below the two-second gap? Don’t panic—it’s something we can work on.

Scroll down your PageSpeed Insights results and you’ll find a list of suggestions recommended by Google. Work through the list (or send them to your developer) and get them fixed ASAP.

 

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Other changes you can do to improve overall site loading speed include:

  • Compressing images before uploading them to your site
  • Minifying code
  • Prioritizing important content above the fold

Make It Mobile-Friendly

Mobile accounts for 52.2% of all website traffic, and that figure is only set to rise in the coming years thanks to advances in technology and voice assistance.

But are you making it easy for mobile visitors to access your website?

Remember: If you’re not, you’re not fitting Google’s “top-quality pages rank higher” criteria.

Plus, Google now runs on a mobile-first index, meaning they determine whether a page is high-quality on a mobile device before on a desktop or PC.

You can make sure you’re in Google’s (and your mobile audience’s) good books by:

  • Using big buttons for large fingers
  • Having a responsive design that automatically resizes elements based on screen size
  • Limiting the number of slow-loading images on mobile sites

Improve Readability

As a general rule, your website—and all content hosted on it—should be easy to read and access by both Google’s spiders and site visitors.

If they can’t access it, Google won’t rank it highly and searchers will be annoyed.

You don’t want that to happen, right?

Aim to improve the readability of your website by:

  • Removing or redirecting doorway pages
  • Using black text on a white background
  • Limiting advertisements
  • Removing annoying pop-ups

2. Optimize on a Page-by-Page Basis

Unfortunately, some of the changes you need to make on your website to increase search engine visibility can’t be made in bulk.

 

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Put some time into your schedule to go through each key page on your website and optimize:

Keyword Targeting

Ready to hear something groundbreaking?

Each page on your website should be optimized for multiple keywords.

That’s right:

If you’re creating a page for your free SEO tool and are only using the exact phrase “free SEO tool” on it, you’re missing a trick. A huge trick, at that.

Google now runs a Latent Semantic Indexing algorithm. That means they understand when similar words mean the same thing.

So, using the “free SEO tool” example, you should also be optimizing your page for:

  • “free SEO analysis”
  • “best SEO tools”
  • “free software for SEO”

(Pssttt… Follow our guide to keyword research to find similar phrases you need to be targeting.)

When you’ve got a group of similar keywords, put them into practice and include them naturally throughout the page.

Meta Titles and Descriptions

In order to increase your search engine visibility, you need to improve your organic click-through rate (CTR).

Here’s a quick explanation:

Organic CTR tells you how many people clicked your search result after viewing it in the SERPs.

Sign in to your Google Search Console account to find yours:

 

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To give your CTR a boost, there are two main things you need to focus on:

Your page’s meta title and description—the two fields that display in the SERPs when your site is listed:

 

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Encourage more people to click through to your page by:

  • Using persuasive using words like “now,” “best” and “ultimate”
  • Using your keyword near the start to show people your result is relevant to their query
  • Include USPs (why should they click your result, over the other 9?)
  • Avoiding clickbait

URL Structures

You might not realize that the structure of the URL—particularly, how many words you’re using in them—is important when optimizing your pages in a bid to increase search engine visibility.

Why? Well, let’s allow Google veteran Matt Cutts to answer that:

“If you can make your title four- or five-words long—and it is pretty natural. If you have got three, four or five words in your URL, that can be perfectly normal. As it gets a little longer, then it starts to look a little worse.

Now, our algorithms typically will just weight those words less and just not give you as much credit.

The thing to be aware of is, ask yourself: “How does this look to a regular user?”

Because if, at any time, somebody comes to your page or, maybe, a competitor does a search and finds 15 words all strung together like variants of the same word, then that does look like spam, and they often will send a spam report. Then somebody will go and check that out.”

In a nutshell: The more words you have in your URL, the less weight Google’s algorithm will give them.

So, stick to your most important keywords and make your URLs easy to read.

It’s a small change that can make a world of difference!

Images

Image SEO is back from the dead, according to Search Engine Land.

And if you’re not optimizing each image you’re using on your website, you could be missing out on the chance to significantly boost your search engine visibility score.

How do you do that, exactly? Here’s your answer:

  • Name images properly, using your keyword, before uploading them to your website
  • Include a caption for each image to explain what it is
  • Add keywords to your image alt text

 

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Plus, check out this guide for more tips!

Internal and External Links

You likely already know that links form part of SEO fundamentals.

(They’re essentially the currency of SEO. The more you have, the better you’ll perform in the SERPs.)

But you don’t just need links pointing to your website.

A study by Reboot found that including external links on your website (i.e. to other, high-quality websites) can increase your rankings too:

 

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…so it’s worth linking to reputable, authority websites in your niche.

And while we’re on the topic of links, think about adding internal links to your content, too.

Sending users and Google spiders around your site helps new pages to get indexed faster (thus boosting your search engine visibility quicker), while also reducing overall bounce rate.

Oh, and don’t forget to optimize your anchor text for internal links to pass some SEO juice through to your linked-to page!

3. Create 10x Content, Consistently

Because Google’s aim is to show the best results for any search query, you need to make sure your content is up to scratch.

And by that, I don’t mean a handful of 500-word blog posts that are stuffed with keywords, and don’t actually contain any value.

I mean long-form, comprehensive pillar pages that satisfy user intent and go above and beyond with detail.

Start by picking a longtail keyword with low search traffic and competition.

For example, if I was a cat food retailer, I might choose something like “vet recommended cat food.” It’s easier for a new website (with no existing ranking power) to rank for this style of keyword, rather than something uber competitive like “cat food.”

Use a tool like KWFinder to find these:

 

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Then, you’ll need to create a kick-ass piece of content that’s tons better than anything else already ranking for that keyword.

The easiest way to create that? Follow Moz’s framework for 10x content:

 

 

Add more:

  • Unique opinions
  • Data points
  • Sub-sections
  • Advice
  • Visuals

…into your 10x article, and aim for it to be the best resource on the topic—like this piece by Bloomberg.

It might take time, but trust me when I say it’s worth it.

The final piece of your 10x content puzzle is promotion. Go crazy with sharing the link to your resource, posting it:

Remember: The aim with 10x content is to build high-quality links, since publishers always want to link to high-quality content.

The more people who see your 10x content, the more chance you’ve got of reaching those publishers—and nabbing a juicy backlink that’ll help to increase your visibility in search.

4. Build Solid Backlinks to Your Site

It’s impossible to rank without backlinks.

But that fact doesn’t have to send shivers down your spine.

You’ll likely get a handful of organic backlinks if you’re creating 10x content on a regular basis, and promoting it in the right places.

People always want to link to good content.

Remember what I said about external links improving SEO?

But if you aren’t seeing new backlinks crop up in your backlink profile as quickly as you hoped, there’s no shame in asking for them outright.

Great manual link building strategies include:

Infographic Link Building

Did you know that publishers who use infographics see a 12% higher growth in traffic than publishers who don’t?

Part of that could come down to how great they are for link building—using infographics as part of your 10x content can snag you some pretty decent backlinks.

Here’s the step-by-step process you’ll need to follow to build links from infographics:

1. Create your 10x piece of content.

2. Use a free template from Canva to copy the most important information into an infographic.

3. Save the infographic with a relevant, keyword-rich name.

4. Upload the infographic to your 10x article, including a HTML box below for people to embed on their own website.

5. Send an outreach email to blogs who have covered a similar topic before, and ask them if they’re interested in publishing it (and including a link to your website as credit, of course).

It’s really that simple!

Turning Mentions into Links

It’s always wise to keep an ear open for any mentions of your business on the interweb. But the interweb is a pretty enormous place.

How can you keep track?

Tools like Mention and Google Alerts exist for that very reason. By signing up, you’ll get a notification whenever your brand or name is mentioned—whether that’s on a blog, industry website or social media platform.

It goes without saying that mentions aren’t as powerful as links.

But, for every brand mention you find, determine whether it’s from a high-quality site. If it is, there’s no reason why you can’t reach out to the website owner and ask them to consider linking to your website, rather than mentioning it.

The best part about this link building tactic? It’s easy.

The publisher has already done the hard bit for you (there’s no need to convince them to cover you)—it’s just a matter of turning that mention into something much more powerful, SEO-wise.

Partnering with Influencers

Influencers have the power to supercharge your search engine visibility, especially if they have strong websites or blogs that you could earn backlinks from.

Find influencers in your industry that have a strong, engaged following, and reach out to work with them in return for a link.

For example, you could:

  • Gift free products to bloggers in exchange for an honest review on their website (with a link to the product page)

Giving Testimonials

Let’s end with a super simple (but underrated) link building strategy: giving testimonials.

Do you use a software that your business couldn’t live without?

Have you worked with an incredible consultant?

Write up a testimonial for them, and they’ll jump at the chance to publish it on their website—with a link back to your site to say thanks.

Just take a look at all the backlinks I’m giving away on my own website!

 

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A Word of Warning

Not every backlink is a good backlink.

If you’re rushing out to all the first websites you see and shooting them an email to hopefully secure a link, you could be doing more harm than good.

That’s because key SEO metrics, such as Domain Authority, are influenced by the sites in your backlink profile.

If 90% of your backlinks are from sites with a low DA score, there’s a high chance you’ll be stuck with the same.

So, focus on getting backlinks from sites that aren’t:

  • Part of a Private Blog Network (PBN)
  • Charging money for links
  • Penalized by Google
  • Labeled as having a high Spam Score

Check the Domain Authority, Page Authority and overall quality of the site before putting it on your “target” list.

Then, for every site you’ve found that meets our criteria, use our outreach email templates to bag yourself a link!

And remember, if you’re worried about the quality of sites linking to you, you can use Monitor Backlinks to automatically track every new backlink, identify low-quality ones, and disavow them straight from the tool.

Try it out free for 30 days here!

5. Measure, Tweak and Improve

Now it’s time to check whether your hard work has paid off.

Every month, you should head back over to your keyword ranking report in Monitor Backlinks (where you initially found your search engine visibility score). Look at:

  • The total number of keywords you’re ranking for
  • Which keywords have changed, and by how many positions

Then think about the changes you made over the month to determine what’s working and what’s not.

For example, if you re-optimized a blog post to make it 10x content and built links with a supporting infographic, and the keyword you’re targeting moved up by 15 positions, then it’s obviously working!

Whatever you find during these monthly check-ins, replicate it going forward.

 

Now you’re well-equipped with the strategy you’ll need to increase your search engine visibility and get seen by the people searching for you.

Remember to always focus on how a user interacts with your site, constantly try to build strong backlinks, and more importantly, measure how effectively your strategy is working.

You’ll get rid of your website’s ghostly glow soon enough!

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