There are many ways you can go about improving the ranking of a website. I think it could even go without saying that the majority of those with websites know what to do. However, just because we all know what to do doesn’t necessarily mean we know what’s best for each respective website. This is where data comes to play. Data for websites can tell you exactly what is working well for your website, and what isn’t in relation to search engine optimization. We can then interpret this data to improve the rankings.
SEMRush is a great tool (just like Moz and Ahrefs too) as a tool which dives into providing you all of the neccessary data to help you understand where your website is doing well and not so well, in the world of Google. With this in mind, here are some ways you can use SEMRush to improve your website’s ranking.
Domain overview is a really handy tool to see a high level overview of how your website is doing. It looks at:
Organic search traffic
This will show you how your website is doing, in terms of gaining organic search traffic over time.
How to use domain overview?
- Look at how the traffic to the website differs between mobile and desktop – if there is a significant difference or the trend for the traffic is different, you should dive into why this might be the case (are articles ranking lower on mobile because of less optimized or slower theme)?
- Look at the traffic generation for different countries. This will give a good indication as to what countries gain you the most traffic. You can then ask yourself why this is the case (look at the keywords people are searching for in each country to understand why).
- Top organic keywords – this is a great way to see what articles are doing well, and what are not. It illustrates what ranking keywords are bringing you the traffic, helping to decipher what are your best performing pages, and why.
- Main organic competitors – The great thing about the domain overview is that you can do it for any website. On top of this, you can also find out who your main competitors are, according to SEMRush. From here, you can look into each of these competitors, to see how much traffic they are getting, from what countries, what they are ranking high for (in terms of keywords) and more. Finding out what keywords is particularly useful as it tells you, if you have no content to rank for similar keywords, to start making content to compete.
Following on from domain overview, organic research goes into a bit more detail, looking at the rankings of content to the top keywords that gain the traffic, per country, per device.
This is extremely powerful for many reasons:
- It makes clear how much of your content is ranked in the top 3, top 10 or outside of this.
- You can see how the SERP ranking changes per country, per device.
- Position changes is particularly useful, as it tells you what keywords have increased/decreased/gained/lost in ranking. I find this really helpful when trying to improve the SEO of existing pages, as this enables me to see how much of an effect the SEO improvements are having to the ranking of keywords I want to target.
- For a high level look at how the website is improving/declining in SERP ranking, you can use Position Tracker. This will show you how the keywords have improved/declined/new/lost per day. This is a great way to see how long term SEO efforts, such as improving site speed, have an impact on the SERP ranking of your website.
Linking in with the above tools, you can ask SEMRush to specifically look at tracking the ranking of certain articles and keywords.
I have personally found this to be a really great way of analysing the improvements/declines in ranking of particular content I’ve concentrated on, to improve the ranking of such articles.
For example, the article Trees by Joyce Kilmer, was ranking very low for some keyword search phrases that gains lots of traffic. So I started tracking the position of these keywords, and then, week by week, started improving the content, in an effort to improve the ranking:
- Add a table of contents at the start of the article (to improve user experience)
- Add sections on the article, such as structure and poetic techniques
- Proof read the whole content to improve readability
From doing this, it was possible to see how the ranking was affected by these changes (considering the ranking before the changes was pretty consistent). This will then give you the incentive to modify other articles in the ways that improves the SEO of them.
Site audit is a particularly useful way to look at the overall health of your website. Any issues with the website, such as:
- Crawability issues
- 5xx or 4xx errors
- Duplicated content
- Too many H1s on a page
- Broken links
and much much more.
For this reason, this is probably where the biggest selling point is for SEMRush.
I tend to find SEMRush particularly useful to run a site audit for desktop and mobile versions of the website, once a week. From here, I target all of the red errors first, then orange warnings, and then the blue notices. tracking the error number over time, and if you are fixing the issues, you should start to see the site health SEMRush gives your website in site audit start to increase.
Keyword Magic Tool
The keyword magic tool is a great way to research the keywords you should be targeting your articles against. By including a few essential keywords (such as for poemanalysis.com, ‘poem analysis’), the keyword magic tool will show you the top searches for each country that includes your essential keywords. This is hugely powerful since:
- It helps you target future content to the keywords that gain the most traffic
- It helps you refocus existing content to match the keywords that gain the most traffic
As well as this, you can look at the keyword magic tool for each country too. This is particularly useful if you are using PPC advertising to monetize your website.
This is because you can target the countries’ keywords that have the highest CPC (cost per click). Such examples tend to include the US, UK, Most of Europe, and some middle eastern countries, such as the United Arab Emirates.
Backlinks are an important part of gaining healthy SEO. At its core, if a website links to yours, it is a recommendation/endorsement of approval that your content is of high quality – Google recognizes this, especially as the domain authority of the website linking to yours increases.
At the same time, if the domain authority is extremely low, it can have the potential to negative impact your website’s SEO.
The backlink audit enables you to find the ‘bad’ websites that are linking to yours, so you have the possibility to tell Google to disavow the bad links to your website.
As well as this, SEMRush has the possibility to show you potential websites that would benefit your website to reach out and gain a link. One of these is with external 404 errors on competitor websites.
When building backlinks, most requests are ignored, simply because the owner of the website doesn’t gain anything from adding links to other websites. If you can make clear you are going to help their website, from them linking to your website, not because of just the high quality content you are offering, but because the existing links on the pages point externally to 404 error pages, then it’s a no brainer for the website owner to modify their external link to your website.
Ultimately, tools such as SEMRush are extremely powerful, and are must have for website owners that want to take SEO seriously. The above tools in SEMRush is only a snippet into the world of tools that SEMRush can offer your website.