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Choosing Pages for Historical Optimization

We all know how to drive organic traffic to our sites…publish great content! But writing this late on a Friday afternoon as I’m scrambling to wrap up the week, I know all too well that writing a new article or blog post can be a lot of time-consuming hard work.

But what if there was a way to drive more organic traffic without having to create new content?

There is. You can refresh your existing landing pages. The only trick is to pick the right ones.

Some are calling it “historical optimization” – reaching back into your publishing history and finding old content that can be improved via on-page SEO. With a few tweaks to the old content, historical optimization can help you drive brand new traffic.

But you might have a lot of those old pages, perhaps going back years. You can’t update all of them – that would take too much time. Where should you start? Which ones will be worth your effort? And how do you find them?

The key is to look at your current search traffic to find the pages that will give you the most upside. Those are the pages to prioritize. And you can use some simple metrics to find them.

Use Google Search Console to identify pages that are falling just short of driving a lot of traffic.

For example, look for:

  1. Position in search between 8-20 + high click-through rate (CTR). These are URLs that get clicked on – when people see them. But most people don’t get past the first page of the SERP, which contains only about 8-10 organic results. So if you can nudge your URLs onto page one, you’ll reap the CTR benefit of all those impressions.
  2. Position in search between 8-20 + high impressions. These are URLs that Google is already finding highly relevant to many popular searches. But again, they’re just a little buried. See if you can get these onto page one as well.
  3. High impressions + low CTR. These are showing up in a lot of searches, but people aren’t clicking through. There are optimizations you can do to make your link more likely to get clicked on. With a page already getting a high number of impressions, improving the CTR just a little can pay off big.

Once you have a shortlist, you’ll want to review the possibilities and pick the ones most in line with your business goals. Are you trying to drive a specific kind of conversion? Are you trying to get visibility for a certain product? Is something seasonally meaningful?

Focus historical optimization efforts on the landing pages that will support the business outcomes you’re looking for right now.

Then run those pages through a tool such as our On-Page SEO Checker that will tell you exactly how to improve. Make the updates and wait about 30 days. Has their search traffic increased? Great work! Doesn’t low-hanging fruit taste sweet?

The old-fashioned way to do this is by using Google Search Console to identify the right pages for historical optimization, then typing each URL into an on-page SEO checker tool. But Alexa now has an easier way.

Advanced customers can connect their Google Search Console data directly with Alexa.

Here’s how to do on-page historical optimization with Alexa:

  1. Make sure you’re logged into the Google Search Console account you’re using for the site on your Alexa subscription.
  2. Go into the On-Page SEO Checker tool on Alexa.
  3. Click “Connect to Google”. We’ll start importing your last 90 days of data.historical-optimization-with-alexa
  4. When the import is done, follow the link we give you and you’ll see your landing pages with 4 key metrics: impressions, position, clicks, and CTR.import-google-search-console-pages-to-alexa
  5. Use the filters to identify pages that would benefit from historical optimization. Again, you’re looking for things like high impressions + low CTR, and pages that support your desired business outcomes.filter-pages-for-historical-optimization
  6. Make sure you have a target keyword for each one. Where possible, we’ll provide as suggestions the top traffic-driving keywords to that page.assign-keywords-to-landing-pages
  7. Select up to 25 pages by checking the box next to each one.
  8. Click the Add Pages button to run On-Page SEO reports on all of them at once.

Not only can you save time and effort by using Google Search Console to choose the most effective pages to target for historical optimization, you can save even more by using our new Google Search Console integration to find and analyze those pages – all within Alexa.

Ready to give your content a boost with on-page optimization? Try Alexa’s Advanced plan today. Your first 7 days are completely free.
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Kristen Mirenda

Kristen Mirenda is Senior Product Manager at Alexa. Since the ’90s, she’s built countless web properties for everyone from Expedia to Sesame Street. She’s a proud New Jersey native who spent 15 years in New York City before trading coasts for San Francisco.

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