15 Tactics to Boost Your Rankings (That Don’t Require New Content)

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Written by Si Quan Ong –

SEO is a long-term game.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any low-hanging opportunities to improve your SEO. Not only will the tactics below improve your rankings, but they also don’t need you to create new content.

Let’s go through them.

List of tactics to boost your rankings; their efficiency is rated according to three criteria: impact, confidence, and ease

1. Get more clicks on your top-ranking pages

The title tag is one of the first things a searcher sees:

Title tag in Google search

Making it attractive can entice them to choose your page over the others on the SERPs.

However, there is no point in optimizing the title tags of pages that won’t be seen by searchers. So we want to focus on pages that are already ranking high, specifically those in positions #2–5.

Here’s how to find them:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your domain
  3. Go to the Top pages report
  4. Set the Position filter to 2–5
Finding pages to optimize title tags, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

We can then use ChatGPT as inspiration to create compelling title tags. For example, let’s ask it to create 10 click-worthy titles for this blog post. For best results, I’ll give it a working title and ask it to limit these titles to a maximum of 60 characters (since Google cuts off title tags beyond that).

ChatGPT's suggestions for 10 click-worthy titles

Pretty decent. And we can make it even better, using the strategies in the articles below.

2. Refresh content with diminishing traffic

At Ahrefs, we perform a content audit every quarter. In one such audit, I discovered that organic traffic to our post on free SEO tools was declining. 

So I updated it. And traffic shot up.

Boost in traffic after a post was updated

The easiest way to find content worth updating is to install our free WordPress SEO plugin and run a content audit. This will tell you which articles to update. 

Content audit report, via Ahrefs' free WordPress SEO plugin

Then follow the steps in the resource below to update these posts.

3. Fill content gaps in existing content

If the top-ranking pages cover similar subtopics, they’re likely important and what searchers expect to see.

We can find these subtopics by looking at the common keywords the top-ranking pages rank for. Here’s how to find these “content gaps”:

  1. Enter your target keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Scroll to the SERP Overview
  3. Check up to five relevant competing pages
  4. Click Open in and choose Content gap
Finding content gap opportunities in top-ranking pages, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

This opens up the Content Gap report, where you’ll see the common keyword rankings among these pages. Look through the results to see if there are any subtopics you can cover. 

Potential subtopics to cover

For example, if we wanted to update our post on earned media, we might consider including subtopics like these:

  • Owned media examples
  • Paid media examples
  • Paid vs. earned media

4. Boost important pages with internal links

Internal links are links from one page on the same domain to another. Internal links aid the flow of PageRank around your site (which is a confirmed Google ranking factor). 

When used correctly, they can boost the performance of your pages in Google.

Here’s how to find pages to add internal links to:

  1. Sign up for the free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT)
  2. Run a crawl using Ahrefs’ Site Audit
  3. When the crawl is done, go to the Internal link opportunities report
Internal link opportunities report, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

This report shows you relevant internal link opportunities on your site. Search for your “money” pages by setting the filter to “Target page.” 

Finding important pages to add internal links to

Look through the recommended suggestions. Where relevant, add your internal links. 

5. Fix broken backlinks coming to your site

Broken backlinks occur naturally because websites often remove or redirect pages. 

But if you have broken pages that many sites are linking to, you’re losing potential referral traffic and “link equity.”

Here’s how to find these pages:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your domain
  3. Go to the Best by links report
  4. Set the “HTTP code” filter to 404 not found
  5. Sort the results by Referring domains
Finding broken pages to fix, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Then follow this flowchart to decide how to “fix” them:

How to deal with broken links

6. Go after featured snippets

Google often shows a full or partial answer to a query directly on the SERPs.

Example of a featured snippet

This is known as a featured snippet, and you can often jump ahead of everyone else by grabbing it. But how do you win the snippet?

First things first: From our knowledge, you’d have to be already ranking on the first page. Which means to optimize for featured snippets, you’ll have to find keywords:

  • That are showing featured snippets.
  • Where you’re ranking in the top 10.
  • With decent traffic potential.
Venn diagram showing the three requirements that indicate a featured snippet opportunity

Here’s how to find them:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your domain
  3. Go to the Organic keywords report
  4. Set the Position filter to 2–10
  5. Use the SERP features filter to find keywords that trigger featured snippets “where target doesn’t rank”
Finding featured snippet opportunities, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Look through the list to see if there are opportunities where you can grab the snippet. 

For example, we currently rank #3 for “seo content strategy”:

Featured snippet for "seo content strategy"

Looks like the snippet demands a definition for “seo strategy,” which we didn’t have on our page. We could include that definition and, hopefully, win the snippet for ourselves. 

FAQ sections answer popular questions about a topic. Adding them to your page can help you rank higher for long-tail keywords

Example of an FAQ section

Because we answered a common question related to H1 tags—the length—we now rank on Google when people are searching for this answer:

Ranking for a featured snippet with FAQ section

Here’s how to find frequently asked questions to answer:

  1. Go to Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter your topic
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. Toggle to “Questions”
How to find questions to answer, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

8. Claim unlinked mentions

Unlinked mentions are online mentions of your brand or product that don’t link back to your site. For example, this page mentions us but doesn’t link back:

Example of an unlinked mention

Here’s how to find unlinked mentions for your brand:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Web Explorer
  2. Search using these parameters: [brand] -outlinkdomain:yourdomain.com -site:yourdomain.com
How to find unlinked mentions with Ahrefs' Web Explorer

In this example, there are millions of pages to look through, so it’s worth filtering the report by Domain Rating (DR) or referring domains to exclude “low-value” opportunities. 

Here’s an example of an unlinked mention we found for our brand:

Example of an unlinked mention found via Ahrefs' Web Explorer

Rather than just reaching out and asking the author to add a link or make the link “clickable,” think about how you can help improve the content and make it beneficial for the author.

In our example, since it’s a product review and there was no mention of our free SEO tools or AWT, we could reach out and let the author know.

9. Improve your Core Web Vitals

Part of Google’s Page Experience signals, Core Web Vitals (CWV) consist of these:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
  • First Input Delay (FID)

They are Google ranking factors.

You can check your CWV data using PageSpeed Insights, a free tool provided by Google that analyzes a page’s performance and provides suggestions for improving its speed and user experience.

Core Web Vitals assessment in PageSpeed Insights

You can also connect PageSpeed Insights’ API to Site Audit and see your Core Web Vitals together with other technical SEO issues:

PageSpeed Insights connected to Ahrefs' Site Audit, showing Core Web Vitals

Google uses alternative text (alt text) to understand the subject matter of an image. They can also help your images rank in Google Images and get traffic too.

Run a crawl with Site Audit (via Ahrefs Webmaster Tools) to find images on your site without alt text:

Missing alt text issue, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

It’s then just a matter of going through them and adding alt text. Keep it descriptive and concise, but don’t stuff keywords (e.g., “black kitten”).

11. Repurpose existing content into multiple formats

If you’ve already created a piece of content, you can go the extra mile by repurposing it into different formats. For example, we turned our SEO checklist into a video:

I also turned my post on the Skyscraper Technique into a Twitter thread:

But why do this if your goal is to improve your Google rankings? Well, YouTube videos rank on Google search results too:

YouTube video ranking on Google

Google also introduced Perspectives in 2023. This is a tab on the SERPs that allows users to see results from TikTok, YouTube, Quora, Reddit, tweets, and more. 

Essentially, Google will begin showing results from other channels too, not just websites. So there could be a possibility that “improving SEO” in the future means creating content on other channels too.

Sitelinks are links to other pages (or sections of a page) that appear under some Google search results. They give you more visibility on the SERPs.

Example of sitelinks

Sitelinks are often jump links on the page:

Example of jump links as sitelinks

So a good way to influence them is to create a table of contents for your pages. This is what we do for every blog post:

Example of a table of contents

If you’re using WordPress, you can do this via a plugin, like Easy Table of Contents.

If you’re a business serving customers locally, you’ll want to appear on local “map pack” search results too.

Local search results

The easiest way to begin boosting your local rankings is to claim and optimize your Google Business Profile (GBP). 

Once claimed, the information you add to your business profile can show up in Google’s web search results and in Google Maps.

Follow the guide below to learn how to optimize your GBP.

14. Replicate your competitors’ directory links

Local citations are mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) online. In all, 7% of SEOs think these citations are the most important ranking factor.

A poll for how many SEOs think citations are the most important ranking factor

The easiest way to build these citations is via directories. Here’s how to find industry and local directories:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your domain
  3. Go to the Link Intersect report
  4. Add your competitors to the top section
  5. Hit Show link opportunities
Link Intersect report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This will show you the websites linking to one or more of your competitors’ homepages, but not to yours. Look through the list to find sites that are niche and local directories.

Finding directories using Ahrefs' Link Intersect tool

If you’re not sure whether a site is a directory, click the caret in one of the competing page columns to see the referring page, anchor, and backlink. It’s usually quite obvious from these:

Example of a directory

15. Make sure your pages can be indexed by Google

If Google can’t index your pages, you won’t be able to rank in the search results at all. Make sure this doesn’t happen by running a crawl with Site Audit, via Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.

If any of your pages have a noindex tag—which prevents Google from indexing the page—it’ll show up as an issue:

Noindex issue in Ahrefs' Site Audit

Unless they’re inserted deliberately, you’ll want to remove those tags.

Final thoughts

These tactics have the potential to boost your rankings in search engines. But don’t expect your rankings to jump overnight. 

Our research suggests that only 5.7% of all newly published pages reach the first page of Google within a year. That’s no surprise. SEO is a long-term game. 

So while it makes sense to implement these “low-hanging fruit” tactics, they’re no replacement for a long-term SEO strategy

Have questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter or Threads.

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