If you have a website online, you know that search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for increasing your web traffic and boosting your site’s profile.
Considering that most site visits (68 percent) start on a search engine, SEO can make or break your business.
One of the essential components of any SEO strategy is analyzing your metrics to see what’s having the most impact.
For example, if you start optimizing for different long-tail keywords, your rankings may improve.
Also, if you’re optimizing for Google, your rankings may vary based on algorithm updates (more on that later).
While there are many metrics to understand how well your SEO strategy is working, search visibility is one of the most valuable.
Knowing your visibility score can help you determine if your tactics are generating the best return.
If you’re unfamiliar with search visibility, don’t worry. We’re here to help you understand this term and how it relates to your overall SEO methodology.
Here’s what you need to know.
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What is Search Visibility?
Search visibility is a number that reflects the amount of traffic (clicks) your site receives for a specific keyword.
You can also look at your website’s total search visibility, which includes all the various keywords for which you rank.
For example, let’s say you rank second for a particular keyword on Google. According to the search engine, second-place rankings will receive up to 16 percent of all organic clicks. (Note: this figure fluctuates based on different variables, so the actual number of clicks may vary from one day to the next.)
Based on that information, your search visibility is 16 percent for that keyword. Now, let’s say you’re optimizing for four different keywords.
Across the board, you rank second, third, fifth, and eighth.
According to data, the search visibility for each keyword would be 16 percent, 11 percent, 6.3 percent, and 3.3 percent, respectively.
So, your collective search visibility would be the average of those numbers, or 9.15 percent. Of course, the more keywords you optimize, the more your visibility rating fluctuates.
Also, keep in mind that even the best websites in the world may have an average search visibility score of 40 percent or less.
The number one ranking on a search results page only gets about 27 to 34 percent of all clicks. While this number is high compared to lower rankings, it’s certainly not close to 100 percent.
Overall, your goal should be to move the needle but don’t expect big, sweeping changes.
Instead, incremental improvements can help boost your brand’s profile and deliver more stable results.
Other elements that can be included in your search visibility rating include:
- Many Well-Ranked Pages – Overall, you should try to optimize all of your pages for different, related keywords. Google and other search engines tend to reward sites that spread valuable information out instead of keeping it all one or two pages.
- High-Volume Keywords – While it may be easier to rank highly for some keywords, their search volume may be pretty low. If you really want to boost your visibility, you need to optimize for keywords with lots of search traffic.
How Does SEO Impact Search Visibility?
The number one ranking for any keyword gets at least ten times as many clicks as the number 10 spot.
As you move up the rankings, you’ll notice dramatic increases in your site traffic.
Although increasing your visibility by a couple of percentage points may seem insignificant, you must pay attention to the search volume for a specific keyword.
For example, if a keyword gets 10,000 hits per month, one percent of that is 100. However, if a keyword gets a million hits, one percent is 10,000. So, it’s all about perspective.
So, as you can imagine, SEO can impact your search visibility significantly.
If your tactics and strategies give you one rank higher, you can capture far more leads and visitors.
Plus, by optimizing more pages, you can spread your visibility across your site, boosting your awareness and results.
How to Audit Your Site’s Search Visibility
Realistically, you won’t be able to conduct an audit of all your site’s pages by yourself.
Instead, you’ll need to rely on an SEO tool that can run the numbers for you.
Some examples of these tools include MOZ and SEMrush, among others.
What’s great about using these tools is that they can give you a breakdown of all the information related to your search visibility.
Other metrics that can affect your visibility rating include:
- Historic Changes – See how your rankings shift and change over time. For example, maybe your pages rank higher during a specific time of year, such as when people are doing more shopping or traveling. Historical data can also tell you if your visibility is steadily increasing, decreasing, or staying level. That kind of insight will help guide you on your next steps.
- Google Algorithm Changes – Unfortunately, you can’t control when Google updates its algorithm. Also, the company keeps its information closely guarded, so it’s impossible to know what’s changed until after the fact. Sometimes, these updates can boost your visibility significantly without any input from you. In other cases, you might see a substantial drop in rankings, all while your site hasn’t changed.
- Keyword Trends – People today search differently than when search engines first came onto the scene. As users become savvier about finding what they need, their keyword selections shift accordingly. So, while a particular keyword may have tons of search volume today, that could change tomorrow.
How to Improve Your Search Visibility
Knowing about search visibility is just the first step. Now, you need to figure out how to improve your rating.
Fortunately, many methods can help move the needle.
While SEO is relatively time-consuming and detail-oriented, focusing on the process can help deliver better results.
Here are our top methods for boosting your site’s search visibility:
First, Conduct a Site Audit
One of the biggest challenges of managing your SEO strategy is that there are so many pieces to optimize.
Then, as you build and refine your site pages, you need to ensure everything is optimized accordingly.
Even a tiny change, like adding one word to your keyword string, could result in a lot of back-end work.
Over time, it’s easy to miss details, making you take a hit in search results.
A site audit is an excellent way to ensure you have a strong foundation to build a better SEO campaign.
You should also audit your site regularly, so you never miss any mistakes. Ideally, you should audit at least every six months or more if you update your website consistently.
As with measuring your search visibility, the easiest way to conduct a site audit is to use software that will inspect each page for you.
There are free auditing tools online, or you can pay for SEO services instead. One advantage of working with a dedicated team is that you can get actionable insights on how to fix any errors.
Next, Adjust Your Keywords
These days, long-tail keywords are critical for success. The more words you add to your keyword string, the more likely you are to rank higher in search results.
For example, let’s say you sell high-end jewelry, including diamond earrings.
A regular keyword would be “diamond earrings.” However, many other brands, including well-known international companies, are trying to rank for “diamond earrings.”
Instead, it would be better to have a long-tail keyword like “conflict-free diamond earrings from Africa.”
Or, perhaps you sell lab-grown diamonds, so you can incorporate that into your keyword string.
Overall, you want your keywords to be specific and detailed so users will land on your pages.
While long-tail keywords may not get as much search volume, you can capture more of the audience, so they’re still more valuable.
Don’t Forget About LSI Keywords
Google’s algorithm is complex, but the basic premise is that it ranks pages with valuable information related to a specific keyword.
One way to help Google know that your pages are connected to your top search results is to include LSI keywords.
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, and it’s pretty easy to see which terms are related to your primary keyword.
Simply type your long-tail string into Google and see what the search engine views as “related searches.” Then, take the keywords that fit your content the most and include them on your pages.
While LSI keywords won’t significantly impact your search visibility, every little piece counts.
Just make sure to avoid “keyword stuffing,” as Google penalizes sites for that.
Make Your Pages Mobile-Friendly
These days, more users visit websites on their phones than ever before.
As of 2020, just over half of all web traffic was from mobile devices, and that number is steadily increasing.
Ever since the 2015 Google update, mobile-friendliness has become a core component of search rankings.
Fortunately, optimizing your site for smaller screens is pretty easy without creating all new pages.
However, it’s still a good idea to double-check how your site looks on mobile devices to ensure that the user experience is the same as on a desktop.
Submit a Sitemap
Google’s algorithm automatically indexes websites and pages and determines which pages go to which site.
However, by submitting a sitemap (an outline of all the pages on your site), you can help the algorithm do its job.
Submitting a sitemap can help Google index your pages faster, helping you rank higher.
Again, the improvement will be incremental, but it’s more efficient than letting the algorithm build a sitemap of its own.
Also, don’t forget to resubmit the map as you make changes.
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