Here is the answer to how we can improve Google’s SEO ranking for old content. How can you help to exist web pages gain new traction and move up the Google search rankings? This is the question Javed Hayat asks in this edition of Ask An SEO expert how can we improve Google SEO rankings for older content? He wrote:
“I have a few keywords ranking on Google's fourth or fifth page. This position has been ranked for one year. What should I do now to improve my ranking?”
Author and Editor Javed Hayat shares his answer in this edition of Ask SEO from Shakardara Marketing. He says that assessing the internal pages your candidates are competing with for optimization is an important first step.
Improving page speed and core web vitals can also give you new opportunities to improve rankings.
Javed shares a step-by-step process for finding opportunities to optimize existing content with local schema, improve the user experience on the page, get links from relevant media sources, and more.
You can watch the entire video here and find the full transcript below.
Ask SEO: Improving Rankings with Javed Hayat
Welcome to Ask an SEO expert how can we improve Google SEO rankings for older content. This week, we have Javed Hayat from Shakardara Marketing. People’s question for you this week comes from faith. A few faith keywords rank on the fourth or fifth page of Google. They’ve been steady there for about a year, and she wants to know: What can she do now to improve those rankings?
Javed Hayat: Right. This is a good question and comes up often. I have to deal with this with a lot of clients. Well, not to deal with it, but I have to solve this problem for a lot of clients.
Improving existing content classification, step by step
Javed Hayat: And basically, the first thing I do is I’ll take a tool, whether it’s Authority Labs; I think Ashraf does the same.
- And I want to see: Do we have competing pages for those positions?
- Is there a margin after that, perhaps? And from there, I’d be like, well, well… do these two pages have to exist?
- If nothing is competing and it’s just one page, then I look at the experience of the page, and I say, well, why isn’t this the best experience for the user or the search query?
- And then we address, and you can see, do we define the concept correctly?
- Can the article be as good?
- Is it formatted correctly? Could it use some bulking up?
Sometimes, one thing I’ve had to do a lot lately… just recently is a case study on my website. I’ve had to delete most of the copies because people only entered the minimum number of words. Wrote copy to minimize, and share only the original information.
We have been able to take our clients to top positions from there
Another option you can do is if everything is perfect and your copy is perfect… you can start looking at page speed and core web vitals. It will not get meaningful results, but when it does, it will help you convert more traffic and lower your bounce rate. Another thing you can try is to create some internal links from contextually relevant content.
You don’t want to just link to that page with keywords for the sake of doing it.
Develop your content strategy, Search previous articles
If you’re on WordPress, for example, you can log in, click Posts, and then click Pages.
You do this twice and type in the keyword or similar versions of the keyword. And it will pull up a list of original pages that mention it. And you can start making words like this.
You can also use search operators. We’ll do the site, put in your URL, and then in quotation marks, you put in the keyword phrase, and it will scan the entire site for mentions of that keyword or phrase through your website. And now you have a list of pages that you can build internal links.
You can also try doing PR work. So if your content or if your page is significant enough, you might attract backlinks from major media, possibly bloggers.
Tips For Local Businesses
Javed Hayat: If you’re local, go to local websites and complementary companies, and try to do it that way. It won’t be an immediate result, but if it’s good, you’ll start climbing.
If it’s a product page and you’re not a manufacturer, it makes little sense to give you an anchor or backlink.
So then what you want to do is you want to create content that is linkable and thus get backlinks, and transfer authority to the page.
These are all different ways you can position yourself on pages four and five of Google or pop up to the first page and possibly beyond.
Don’t forget about the schema
The last thing to look at, and probably the first thing to look at, is the schema.
Many people forget that schema.org updates its libraries regularly. So you want to go in and say, do I have everything here? Did I add a video?
- And is there a video object schema?
- Do I have a FAQ here?
- Or did I add something, and is there a FAQ schema?
If it’s listed as an article, because maybe you’re the publisher, maybe it’s a section, and you can nest it in the schema's section.
And they always are… you can take your page from the fourth and fifth page of Google and get it to the first page while getting some very rich results.
- Reviewing the visitor’s page experience
- That’s great information, Javed Hayat.
- I have some follow-up questions for you.
I was wondering – when you’re evaluating the page experience, the experience any user has on that website and that page, do you use tools to help with that?
Or is it a manual process, and what are you looking for?
Javed Hayat: Depends on what I’m looking at on the page, specifically.
If I notice it’s just slowing down, I’ll use webpagetest.org. This is my first tool because it’s so easy to cut the waterfall, and they’ve now added Core Web Vitals – that’s what you’ll see in the search console. So, I can say, well, it’s presenting first. It’s coming, or it’s being drawn first before the page renders, and we can move it to the end. It doesn’t have to be there.
We can identify all the fonts and everything else that is slowing down the page. In addition, we can also find scripts and code that are no longer being used–because it’s all right there in front of you.
Another thing I’ll do is
Often, branding teams will come in and say, “No, this is the messaging we have to use.
- And that’s what we want for our thing, for our product or our service or our content.
- When in reality, that’s what they want. It’s not what the end user or the search engines think.
- And if you will not give your customers the right words and the right message, you will not get those customers.
- So what I do is I send the same branding team on a video call outside of the two of us, and we’ll start saying the H1 tag and the top blurb to random people or students. What does that mean?
- What do we offer? What shall we do?
- Nine times out of ten, people can’t answer, and they do not know. And this drives it home.
- I’ve had a lucky 500 CEO stand outside and say what his branding team put us on the website–it didn’t go well.
- But it drove the point home: that no one knows what we do or sell or what the content of an article should be.
And that’s a great way to get it buzzing. Well, let’s continue the messaging while keeping the branding and tax intact. So there is a good balance. So really, it just depends on what the goal is and what we’re looking for on the page experience.
Tips For How Can We Improve Google SEO Rankings for Older Content?
That’s great. And the other thing that struck me is when we’re talking about link building and news media exposure and, you know, people who can give you a relevant link.
- What tips do you have for standing out in a jam-packed inbox?
- Avoid and appreciate the “MeWe” syndrome.
- And I did that with a client yesterday. “Your email was no better than it could have been,” I said.
- They were like, “Why? We covered everything.”
- That’s the problem. Let’s read it and see.
And every time a sentence started with “I,” “we,” “our” or “my,” I raised my finger. And if those words appear again in the sentence, they get two fingers for each.
- So within the first three sentences, we’ve already got 10 fingers pointing up.
- How about a journalist? They were like: “Because he writes about the subject.”
But this is not about the journalist. “About the journalist” means you’ve read two or three of their articles and maybe visited their social media. So what I do is I look for an old article that they might be proud of and a recent article that is both relevant.
WordPress vs. Wix vs. GoDaddy, for example:
And then I say, “Hey, thanks for your article about this, this, and that. The halfway point where you mention WordPress vs. Wix vs. GoDaddy, for example, and the way you’ve introduced brand new features. Introduced, I did not know you could do this with X, Y, and Z CRM systems or CMS systems.”
So then you want to say, “I also saw that you updated here where you have WordPress vs. Squarespace. Have you considered doing a comparison chart and maybe X, Y, and zin, and adding X, Y, and Z would be a new client? Just to introduce and say, they have these features, including the features you covered in your review under the pros and cons list here.
And now what you’re doing is you’re showing that you’re reading it, and you’re giving a reason for including it, and you’re saying, it’s just one.
Or you can say, “X, Y, Z company has this feature like this company. And so on, but it’s not available there. And they’re doing it. I work with them. If I’d be happy to give you a complimentary account if you’d like to review it.”
If it’s just a product page
Like, we’re both wearing t-shirts. So maybe these are the top 30 t-shirts for interviews or the best 30 t-shirts on Search Engine Journal. So we go in, and we see Cosmopolitan and Refinery 29 and Rolling Stone and all these other publications – one, you’re going to need an affiliate program because these are all affiliate sites now. And two, you’ll also need to cater to the journalist.
Well, that’s not true because the journalists at these publications specifically have editorial control, and not everything on these lists has to be an affiliate link. It just helps, which means you don’t get your backlink because it’s going to go through a 307 redirect. But this is my rambling. And I’m sorry, please keep me focused.
That’s expert advice. And as an editor, I can tell you that if you just put your name out there and didn’t do any homework, we can sense it is a mile away.
And yes. If… what did you call it? “MeWe” Syndrome – If you’re only talking about yourself. You’re just that guy in the corner at the party. No one wants to talk to you, no one wants to give you a link.
Well, thank you, Javed Hayat. I appreciate your time.
Can I finish a part early? Sorry, yes. So when you’re going through this list, it’s not enough. You can click on an author’s name and see all the articles they’ve written. So what you want to do, because we’re going to make our t-shirt, is we want to say: “Okay, your article here, I did not know Lululemon made t-shirts.”
And then say, “In your recent, third down where you featured the green t-shirt with the XYZ joke, that’s outstanding. Thank you for the link to Nordstrom. Our company offers this type of t-shirt, which is missing. It’s made here from an eco-friendly material, which I felt might be a big topic for you because you’ve written about eco-friendly hair ties and eco-friendly telephones.”
I’m just looking at what’s on. And it looks weird. My hair is tied. I just bought them for my neighbor.
This is how you stand out to them: you show you’ve paid attention.
You thank them for their advice, and you address what’s important to them and bring out the “me, we, and our” and talk to them about them and theirs. Appreciate the work. This is how you do it.
We get about… out of every five emails we send; we get about three responses, and usually, at least one of those turns into a yes, because we take the time. We don’t have as much access, but it’s more effective access.
Hayat: Good. I liked it. No spray and pray going on. Absolutely. Well, thank you, Javed.
No, no, you’re good. And thank you, Faith, for the significant question.
We’ll have a transcript and some highlights from Javed’s advice and tips that he shares on searchenginejournal.com. So check it out, and you’ll find a link there to send your questions to ask SEO. until next time. Thanks.
Bye, thanks for having me.
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