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How to: rank your existing content

Rank your existing content

If you want to grow your organic traffic, but either don’t have time for new content, or just want to max out your results? You can easily boost the ranking of your existing content on search engines, to ensure you’re getting the most out of everything you’ve done. 

It’s a great way to increase page authority, as it’s the low-hanging-fruit approach to growing your traffic through search engines. And you can trust it’s a system we regularly use ourselves, one that’ll make a huge difference to your SEO.

Here’s how to rank your existing content, in just 3 simple steps. 

Step 1 – Perform an on-page SEO Audit on the page you want to optimize

Start off by executing a comprehensive SEO audit on your existing content to define what’s working, what’s not and action steps on what to work on first. Here’s what you’ll need to consider:

– Check the page URL

Check your existing content URL to rank

Is the primary keyword in the URL? If not, be sure to alter the URL to reflect the primary keyword. 

Is the URL short – kept to around 6 or 7 words – and user-friendly? URLs with a lot of random letters and numbers don’t translate well. Be sure to make it human readable. In a time where scams are rampant, you really want to give your users a URL they can trust!

Is the URL located in a sub-folder and not a subdomain? Putting your URL within a sub-folder as opposed to a subdomain is a good way to get it ranking!

Does the URL use hyphens and not underscores? Underscores don’t translate well in ranking, so if your URL uses underscores, be sure to swap them for the much-preferred hyphen.

– Check on-page elements

To test on-page elements, you can easily check over these details with a Yoast SEO plugin (there’s a free version if you need it!) if you’re using WordPress. 

However, if you want a free solution for any site? Screaming Frog is a website crawler that’ll do this for you. However, if you do choose to download it here, keep in mind that the free version will only allow you to crawl a maximum of 500 pages on your website. Of course, you can upgrade if you want to remove the limit.

Check on-page elements for your existing content rank

But once you’ve downloaded the tool, open it and add your website URL to the search field. Then, check over the following:

Is the page title optimized? Check that the title is under 70 characters. Check that the primary keyword is included in the file. 

Is the meta description optimized? Check for both length and keyword. You want no more than 160 characters – but it’s better to stick to under 155 for optimal ranking. But also ensure that the primary keyword is included in the meta description. 

Is the H1 tag optimized? Under the “H1” tab check both the number of H1 tags – there needs to be at least one heading tagged on your page – and that the primary keyword is included. 
Are the images optimized? Make sure that all your images include an alt text so that Google and other search engines can better identify what the images are about. Don’t forget to check that the images also have descriptive and user-friendly filenames, too.

– Check keywords in the body copy

Check your keywords in the existing body copy

SIs the primary keyword mentioned at least 2-3 times in the page? You can hit command+F to do a quick search and streamline this process. However, if you exceed 8-9 mentions of your keyword, you can over-optimize your existing content. Be sure to keep it above 2 but less than 9 for best results.

– Check links on the page

You can use SEMRush to find any broken links on your website, but if you want to check a specific page? Jump over to the Broken Link Checker to check for broken links and adjust to resolve this issue.

Step 2 – Go through each of your on-page optimization opportunities on that specific page and fix them

We’re sure it speaks for itself, but use details from the previous step to update accordingly. If you have your own SEO Audit Spreadsheet or Worksheet, it’s a good idea to update this with new scores, along with any notes. 

We do recommend making a copy or another sheet for your updated SEO notes, as this way you can track what day changes were made and how it’s performed since then. If you want to see the proof in the pudding, that is 😉

Step 3 – Find link building opportunities and launch a scalable link building campaign

Outside of your everyday on-page SEO optimization, it’s a good idea to look for link opportunities. You can opt to link internally, but you can also reverse-engineer links to competing websites, reaching out to respective site/owners editors for a scalable link building campaign. 

Now this may sound like a scary task, but here’s how to make it work for you:

– Perform keyword research and find competing content

You can do this by performing a Google search in incognito mode for your target keyword. This will show you the best-ranking content for your target keyword or, in other words, the content you’re competing against. 

Open each of the organic search results (the results below the ads) in the first page. From here, you just need to determine whether your content is better than the one provided by the competitor, and why.

Perform keyword research for existing content ranking

If you have better content? This means that people who have linked to competing content will want to link to your content too or, sometimes, instead. If this is the case, take note of the URL of the competing content and write a rationale for why your content is better. 

If you don’t have better content? It’s unlikely that people will link to your post instead of the competing content. Either improve your content or skip this opportunity!

– Find link opportunities (prospecting)

Before you jump into contacting any potential prospects, make sure it makes sense for you to ask them. If it’s an automated digest, or if the site itself is a direct competitor – not just producing a competing post – this may not make sense.

But if it does? Go ahead trying to find contact information for the webmaster/content manager. You can find this through the ‘Contact Us’ section of their site, or sometimes it’ll be evident in the top navigation, sidebar or footer of the site. 

If you find the name of the owner/editor, give them a quick Twitter search and see if they have an email listed. You can also use the Hunter Chrome extension, but sometimes you may only be able to get contact information for the author, but that may be the marketing team, not the webmaster. 

– Launch your outreach campaign

From here, you can go ahead and contact the webmaster. It’s important to reach out with templates you can reuse and personalize as you go. You’ll see one we just whipped up below, but we recommend coming up with a template of your own. Only because that personal touch always makes a real difference when making direct contact. 

SUBJECT LINE: Quick Question

Hi there,

I was looking for some information on [keyword] this morning when I found some pretty amazing content you create at [INSERT URL].

It’s great, thank you for putting it together!

Just as a heads up, you’re linking to something that [was a bit outdated / could be better / include whatever improvement you see possible for their content]. 

It was this post by [name of the site they’re linking to]. 

We recently created a resource that, unlike the post above [INSERT RATIONALE]. Here’s the link to it [INSERT URL OF YOUR POST]. 

If you think this would be more useful for your users, feel free to add a link to it in your post. If not, no worries at all. Just wanted to make a suggestion your users might find helpful. 



You can do this yourself manually, or you can set up an automation on a site like Buzzstream. The option really is yours – but we understand that personal touch can make a big difference in the long run. We guess it all depends on how many emails you plan to send 😉

And that’s it! If you’re looking to rank your existing content, this checklist will set you on the right track. While it may seem much more simple once it’s broken down, you’ll see why this is such an effective way to boost your ranking and authority on search engines. 

If you’re looking for more ways to max out your marketing? Check out our Learning Lab today for more free resources you’ll LOVE!

And don’t forget to jump into our free Ecommerce Advice group. It’s an amazing community where you can gain insight into what we’re doing behind-the-scenes at McKee Creative, plus every month a lucky member will receive a free growth checklist, tailored to your brand. 

Book a free strategy call today

We look after everything from single ad copy to full campaigns, and we make sure to tailor all our approaches to your individual brand’s needs and tone. 

Book in today to have a chat with our team of experts: https://go.oncehub.com/JoanneMcKee

“You guys … I don’t just have a company I’m working with, I have a team that gives a shit about my business and has a tight connection. You’re part of the biology of my business. It’s not like I have to ‘take a ticket’ and you say ‘we don’t care if it works out or not.’ You’re flexible. If something’s great we run with it. If it’s not, we change it.” – Chelsey Jean of chelseyjean.com.au