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How to Check Your Keyword Rankings for Free

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Check keyword rankings for free

Check keyword rankings for free

Knowing where you stand in organic search results is obviously something you want to do if you want to take your SEO seriously. And if you’ve just started, then you might be wondering how you can check your keyword rankings for free.

Well, you have come to the right place. This is a guide to how to check your rankings for free using Google Search Console. Plus, I cover the basics of keyword ranking analysis so you know what to do with your data. 

How to Create A Google Search Console Account

create google search account guidecreate google search account guide

Keeping a close eye on your keyword rankings is something you must do regularly. It’s how you know if your SEO strategy is working (or not working). 

Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool, provided by Google, that can help you with this. 

  1. Visit the Google Search Console sign-up page. You need a Google account to start.
  2. Once you have logged into your Google Account, select property type. You can choose either Domain or URL Prefix. I recommend using the URL prefix as this gives you more verification options.
  3. If you proceed with the URL prefix, you can choose between four verification options: HTML Verification File, HTML Tag, Google Analytics, or Google Tag Manager.

How to Verify Using an HTML Verification File

  1. Check if you have access to your server to upload the HTML Verification File, either via FTP/SFTP clients or a cPanel File Manager.
  2. If you do, proceed with downloading the verification file provided by Google Search Console.
  3. If uploading the file via SFTP, connect to your website via FTP/SFTP. Depending on your server, there are different ways to do this.
  4. Once connected, upload your file to the root folder of your site (generally, this folder is what contains your wp-content folder, wp-config.php, etc.)
  5. Once it is in the site’s root folder, return to Google Search Console. If it is properly installed, then the property should be verified and you will be brought to your Google Search Console dashboard. 

How to Verify Using an HTML Tag

verify google search console property using HTML tagverify google search console property using HTML tag

  1. Copy the provided HTML tag in the verification option. 
  2. Install the HTML tag in the global header of your website. You can do this using a Headers and Footers plugin if you’re using WordPress. 
  3. Save the changes you made to your website’s header.
  4. Go back to the property — if the HTML tag was properly installed, then the account should be verified. 

How to Verify Using Google Analytics

  1. If you have a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) account and asynchronous tracking code installed on your site, you can use this option. 
  2. Select Google Analytics in the verification methods.
  3. A Google Analytics account verification screen will appear, click verify.
  4. If your Google Analytics code is read, then the account will be verified. 

How to Verify Using Google Tag Manager

Similar to using a Google Analytics verification method, if your website has a Google Tag Manager account and asynchronous tracking code installed, then you can use this option. Simply follow the same instructions, just under the Google Tag Manager verification option. 

How to Check Rankings for Free on Google Search Console

check keyword rankings for free using google search consolecheck keyword rankings for free using google search console

Once you have your account verified, you can start looking at your website’s search performance. However, if your website is fairly new, then you might need to wait a few days or weeks until you have enough data to analyze. 

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When you have enough to work with, you can start checking your keyword rankings for free. Here’s how:

  1. Log in to your Google Search Console account and pick the website you want to check. Remember to verify your website first to do this. Once you’ve selected the website, you will see the Overview dashboard, which will show the website’s performance, indexing, experience, and enhancements metrics. 
  2. To check your keyword rankings, click on the Performance report. This is where you will find essential data points like clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position. The Average Position data will show you how high or low your pages are in the search results.
  3. To check how your website ranks over time, use the date range selector in the upper-right corner. You can also use this to compare different time periods. This will help you see if your website is doing better or worse for certain keywords — and help find the page that needs some extra work.

Regular monitoring of keyword rankings through Google Search Console is a free and easy way to check on the performance of your SEO strategy. 

I highly recommend using this tool to collect as much data as you can and check it each month, if not each week. Doing this is something I do often to make informed decisions to refine my content, enhance rankings, and ultimately drive more organic traffic. 

Webmaster’s Note: This post is part of our advanced guides to Keyword Research and Optimization, and Content Strategywhere I cover everything you need to know about picking the right keywords for your website, and ranking for them in Google. I also cover strategies for winning featured snippets, improving topical authority, how to target long-tail keywords, and more in this series.

How To Read Google Search Console Data

Starting a Google Search Console (GSC) account is only the first step; you need to know how to read the data it’s collecting. 

Here’s a quick step-by-step to help you get started: 

  1. Navigate to the Performance Report: It’s one of the first things you see on your Google Search Console Dashboard. Click on Full Report to see the big picture view of how your website is doing in Google search.
  2. Explore Key Metrics: From here, you want to check things like clicks (how many times people click on your site in search results), impressions (how often your site appears in search results), click-through rate (how many people who click on your site when they see it), and average position (where your site ranks in the search results page).
  3. Analyze Queries Data: You can dig deeper into these numbers by clicking on the Queries section to see if the keywords you’re targeting are what your pages are showing up for. If you see that you’re getting tons of impressions and clicks for your targeted keywords, you know you’re on the right track. If there’s a huge difference between impressions and clicks, then you might need to revisit your content and off-page strategy, or maybe improve your title tag and meta description to improve CTR. You can also check for related keywords you’re showing up for, for more ideas on what your website can target and rank for. 
  4. Utilize Filters: You can also use the many filters in Google Search Console to narrow down your data by date, device, and location. This helps you spot trends and figure out what needs improvement.
  5. Check Page Performance: Don’t forget to look at the Pages section to look at how each of your web pages is performing in search results. It will give you insights into which pages are doing great and which ones need some work. If you see major dips in performance, I have a guide on how to reclaim your rankings you can follow. 
  6. Issues in the Page Indexing Report: Lastly, click on the Pages, under the Indexing section on the left-side menu. This report will show you any indexing issues or errors on your site. This is something you’ll want to check regularly so you know which pages aren’t currently being served in the search results — which may need a few more tweaks to be considered for indexing by Google.

Key Takeaway

If you’re starting your SEO journey, finding a way to check keyword rankings for free is a must. Luckily, Google does provide the basic tools you need to gather data for your website. For search results data, Google Search Console is that tool.

Follow this guide, and you’ll understand the basics of keyword tracking and optimization you need to unlock vital performance data, refine pages, and boost search visibility for your website.

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How to Find and Use Competitor Keywords

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How to Find and Use Competitor Keywords

Competitor keywords are the keywords your rivals rank for in Google’s search results. They may rank organically or pay for Google Ads to rank in the paid results.

Knowing your competitors’ keywords is the easiest form of keyword research. If your competitors rank for or target particular keywords, it might be worth it for you to target them, too.

There is no way to see your competitors’ keywords without a tool like Ahrefs, which has a database of keywords and the sites that rank for them. As far as we know, Ahrefs has the biggest database of these keywords.

How to find all the keywords your competitor ranks for

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Organic keywords report

The report is sorted by traffic to show you the keywords sending your competitor the most visits. For example, Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword “mailchimp.”

Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword, “mailchimp”.Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword, “mailchimp”.

Since you’re unlikely to rank for your competitor’s brand, you might want to exclude branded keywords from the report. You can do this by adding a Keyword > Doesn’t contain filter. In this example, we’ll filter out keywords containing “mailchimp” or any potential misspellings:

Filtering out branded keywords in Organic keywords reportFiltering out branded keywords in Organic keywords report

If you’re a new brand competing with one that’s established, you might also want to look for popular low-difficulty keywords. You can do this by setting the Volume filter to a minimum of 500 and the KD filter to a maximum of 10.

Finding popular, low-difficulty keywords in Organic keywordsFinding popular, low-difficulty keywords in Organic keywords

How to find keywords your competitor ranks for, but you don’t

  1. Go to Competitive Analysis
  2. Enter your domain in the This target doesn’t rank for section
  3. Enter your competitor’s domain in the But these competitors do section
Competitive analysis reportCompetitive analysis report

Hit “Show keyword opportunities,” and you’ll see all the keywords your competitor ranks for, but you don’t.

Content gap reportContent gap report

You can also add a Volume and KD filter to find popular, low-difficulty keywords in this report.

Volume and KD filter in Content gapVolume and KD filter in Content gap

How to find keywords multiple competitors rank for, but you don’t

  1. Go to Competitive Analysis
  2. Enter your domain in the This target doesn’t rank for section
  3. Enter the domains of multiple competitors in the But these competitors do section
Competitive analysis report with multiple competitorsCompetitive analysis report with multiple competitors

You’ll see all the keywords that at least one of these competitors ranks for, but you don’t.

Content gap report with multiple competitorsContent gap report with multiple competitors

You can also narrow the list down to keywords that all competitors rank for. Click on the Competitors’ positions filter and choose All 3 competitors:

Selecting all 3 competitors to see keywords all 3 competitors rank forSelecting all 3 competitors to see keywords all 3 competitors rank for
  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Paid keywords report
Paid keywords reportPaid keywords report

This report shows you the keywords your competitors are targeting via Google Ads.

Since your competitor is paying for traffic from these keywords, it may indicate that they’re profitable for them—and could be for you, too.

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You know what keywords your competitors are ranking for or bidding on. But what do you do with them? There are basically three options.

1. Create pages to target these keywords

You can only rank for keywords if you have content about them. So, the most straightforward thing you can do for competitors’ keywords you want to rank for is to create pages to target them.

However, before you do this, it’s worth clustering your competitor’s keywords by Parent Topic. This will group keywords that mean the same or similar things so you can target them all with one page.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Export your competitor’s keywords, either from the Organic Keywords or Content Gap report
  2. Paste them into Keywords Explorer
  3. Click the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab
Clustering keywords by Parent TopicClustering keywords by Parent Topic

For example, MailChimp ranks for keywords like “what is digital marketing” and “digital marketing definition.” These and many others get clustered under the Parent Topic of “digital marketing” because people searching for them are all looking for the same thing: a definition of digital marketing. You only need to create one page to potentially rank for all these keywords.

Keywords under the cluster of "digital marketing"Keywords under the cluster of "digital marketing"

2. Optimize existing content by filling subtopics

You don’t always need to create new content to rank for competitors’ keywords. Sometimes, you can optimize the content you already have to rank for them.

How do you know which keywords you can do this for? Try this:

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  1. Export your competitor’s keywords
  2. Paste them into Keywords Explorer
  3. Click the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab
  4. Look for Parent Topics you already have content about

For example, if we analyze our competitor, we can see that seven keywords they rank for fall under the Parent Topic of “press release template.”

Our competitor ranks for seven keywords that fall under the "press release template" clusterOur competitor ranks for seven keywords that fall under the "press release template" cluster

If we search our site, we see that we already have a page about this topic.

Site search finds that we already have a blog post on press release templatesSite search finds that we already have a blog post on press release templates

If we click the caret and check the keywords in the cluster, we see keywords like “press release example” and “press release format.”

Keywords under the cluster of "press release template"Keywords under the cluster of "press release template"

To rank for the keywords in the cluster, we can probably optimize the page we already have by adding sections about the subtopics of “press release examples” and “press release format.”

3. Target these keywords with Google Ads

Paid keywords are the simplest—look through the report and see if there are any relevant keywords you might want to target, too.

For example, Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter.”

Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”

If you’re ConvertKit, you may also want to target this keyword since it’s relevant.

If you decide to target the same keyword via Google Ads, you can hover over the magnifying glass to see the ads your competitor is using.

Mailchimp's Google Ad for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”Mailchimp's Google Ad for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”

You can also see the landing page your competitor directs ad traffic to under the URL column.

The landing page Mailchimp is directing traffic to for “how to create a newsletter”The landing page Mailchimp is directing traffic to for “how to create a newsletter”

Learn more

Check out more tutorials on how to do competitor keyword analysis:

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Google Confirms Links Are Not That Important

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Google confirms that links are not that important anymore

Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed at a recent search marketing conference that Google needs very few links, adding to the growing body of evidence that publishers need to focus on other factors. Gary tweeted confirmation that he indeed say those words.

Background Of Links For Ranking

Links were discovered in the late 1990’s to be a good signal for search engines to use for validating how authoritative a website is and then Google discovered soon after that anchor text could be used to provide semantic signals about what a webpage was about.

One of the most important research papers was Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment by Jon M. Kleinberg, published around 1998 (link to research paper at the end of the article). The main discovery of this research paper is that there is too many web pages and there was no objective way to filter search results for quality in order to rank web pages for a subjective idea of relevance.

The author of the research paper discovered that links could be used as an objective filter for authoritativeness.

Kleinberg wrote:

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“To provide effective search methods under these conditions, one needs a way to filter, from among a huge collection of relevant pages, a small set of the most “authoritative” or ‘definitive’ ones.”

This is the most influential research paper on links because it kick-started more research on ways to use links beyond as an authority metric but as a subjective metric for relevance.

Objective is something factual. Subjective is something that’s closer to an opinion. The founders of Google discovered how to use the subjective opinions of the Internet as a relevance metric for what to rank in the search results.

What Larry Page and Sergey Brin discovered and shared in their research paper (The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine – link at end of this article) was that it was possible to harness the power of anchor text to determine the subjective opinion of relevance from actual humans. It was essentially crowdsourcing the opinions of millions of website expressed through the link structure between each webpage.

What Did Gary Illyes Say About Links In 2024?

At a recent search conference in Bulgaria, Google’s Gary Illyes made a comment about how Google doesn’t really need that many links and how Google has made links less important.

Patrick Stox tweeted about what he heard at the search conference:

” ‘We need very few links to rank pages… Over the years we’ve made links less important.’ @methode #serpconf2024″

Google’s Gary Illyes tweeted a confirmation of that statement:

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“I shouldn’t have said that… I definitely shouldn’t have said that”

Why Links Matter Less

The initial state of anchor text when Google first used links for ranking purposes was absolutely non-spammy, which is why it was so useful. Hyperlinks were primarily used as a way to send traffic from one website to another website.

But by 2004 or 2005 Google was using statistical analysis to detect manipulated links, then around 2004 “powered-by” links in website footers stopped passing anchor text value, and by 2006 links close to the words “advertising” stopped passing link value, links from directories stopped passing ranking value and by 2012 Google deployed a massive link algorithm called Penguin that destroyed the rankings of likely millions of websites, many of which were using guest posting.

The link signal eventually became so bad that Google decided in 2019 to selectively use nofollow links for ranking purposes. Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that the change to nofollow was made because of the link signal.

Google Explicitly Confirms That Links Matter Less

In 2023 Google’s Gary Illyes shared at a PubCon Austin that links were not even in the top 3 of ranking factors. Then in March 2024, coinciding with the March 2024 Core Algorithm Update, Google updated their spam policies documentation to downplay the importance of links for ranking purposes.

Google March 2024 Core Update: 4 Changes To Link Signal

The documentation previously said:

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“Google uses links as an important factor in determining the relevancy of web pages.”

The update to the documentation that mentioned links was updated to remove the word important.

Links are not just listed as just another factor:

“Google uses links as a factor in determining the relevancy of web pages.”

At the beginning of April Google’s John Mueller advised that there are more useful SEO activities to engage on than links.

Mueller explained:

“There are more important things for websites nowadays, and over-focusing on links will often result in you wasting your time doing things that don’t make your website better overall”

Finally, Gary Illyes explicitly said that Google needs very few links to rank webpages and confirmed it.

Why Google Doesn’t Need Links

The reason why Google doesn’t need many links is likely because of the extent of AI and natural language undertanding that Google uses in their algorithms. Google must be highly confident in its algorithm to be able to explicitly say that they don’t need it.

Way back when Google implemented the nofollow into the algorithm there were many link builders who sold comment spam links who continued to lie that comment spam still worked. As someone who started link building at the very beginning of modern SEO (I was the moderator of the link building forum at the #1 SEO forum of that time), I can say with confidence that links have stopped playing much of a role in rankings beginning several years ago, which is why I stopped about five or six years ago.

Read the research papers

Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment – Jon M. Kleinberg (PDF)

The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

Featured Image by Shutterstock/RYO Alexandre

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How to Become an SEO Lead (10 Tips That Advanced My Career)

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How to Become an SEO Lead (10 Tips That Advanced My Career)

A few years ago, I was an SEO Lead managing enterprise clients’ SEO campaigns. It’s a senior role and takes a lot of work to get there. So how can you do it, too?

In this article, I’ll share ten tips to help you climb the next rung in the SEO career ladder.

Helping new hires in the SEO team is important if you want to become an SEO Lead. It gives you the experience to develop your leadership skills, and you can also share your knowledge and help others learn and grow.

It demonstrates you can explain things well, provide helpful feedback, and improve the team’s standard of work. It shows you care about the team’s success, which is essential for leaders. Bosses look for someone who can do their work well and help everyone improve.

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Here are some practical examples of things I did early in my career to help mentor junior members of the team that you can try as well:

  • Hold “lunch and learn” sessions on topics related to SEO and share case studies of work you have done
  • Create process documents for the junior members of the team to show them how to complete specific tasks related to your work
  • Compile lists of your favorite tools and resources for junior members of the team
  • Create onboarding documents for interns joining the company

Wouldn’t it be great if you could look at every single SEO Lead’s resume? Well, you already can. You can infer ~70% of any SEO’s resume by spying on their LinkedIn and social media channels.

Type “SEO Lead” into LinkedIn and see what you get.

Searching for SEO Leads using Linkedin

Tip

Look for common career patterns of the SEOs you admire in the industry.

I used this method to understand how my favorite SEOs and people at my company navigated their way from a junior role to a senior role.

For example, when the Head of SEO at the time Kirsty Hulse, joined my team, I added her on LinkedIn and realized that if I wanted to follow in her footsteps, I’d need to start by getting the role of SEO Manager to stand any possible chance of leading SEO campaigns like she was.

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The progression in my company was from SEO Executive to Senior SEO Executive (Junior roles in London, UK), but as an outsider coming into the company, Kirsty showed me that it was possible to jump straight to SEO Manager given the right circumstances.

Career exampleCareer example

Using Kirsty’s and other SEOs’ profiles, I decided that the next step in my career needed to be SEO Manager, and at some point, I needed to get some experience with a bigger media agency so I could work my way up to leading an SEO campaign with bigger brands.

Sadly, you can’t just rock up to a monthly meeting and start leading a big brand SEO campaign. You’ll need to prove yourself to your line manager first. So how can you do this?

Here’s what I’d suggest you do:

  • Create a strong track record with smaller companies.
  • Obsessively share your wins with your company, so that senior management will already know you can deliver.
  • At your performance review, tell your line manager that you want to work on bigger campaigns and take on more responsibility.

If there’s no hope of working with a big brand at your current job, you might need to consider looking for a new job where there is a recognizable brand. This was what I realized I needed to do if I wanted to get more experience.

Tip

Get recruiters on LinkedIn to give you the inside scoop on which brands or agencies are hiring. Ask them if you have any skill gaps on your resume that could prevent you from getting a job with these companies.

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Being critical of your skill gaps can be hard to do. I found the best way to identify them early in my career was to ask other people—specifically recruiters. They had knowledge of the industry and were usually fairly honest as to what I needed to improve.

From this, I realized I lacked experience working with other teams—like PR, social, and development teams. As a junior SEO, your mind is focused 99% on doing SEO, but when you become more senior, your integration with other teams is important to your success.

For this reason, I’d suggest that aspiring SEO Leads should have a good working knowledge of how other teams outside of SEO operate. If you take the time to do this, it will pay dividends later in your career:

  • If there are other teams in your company, ask if you can do some onboarding training with them.
  • Get to know other team leads within your company and learn how they work.
  • Take training courses to learn the fundamentals of other disciplines that complement SEO, such as Python, SQL, or content creation.

Sometimes, employers use skill gaps to pay you less, so it’s crucial to get the skills you need early on…

Skills gap illustrationSkills gap illustration
Source

Examples of other skill gaps I’ve noticed include:

Tip

If you think you have a lot of skill gaps, then you can brush up your skills with our SEO academy. Once you’ve completed that, you can fast-track your knowledge by taking a course like Tom Critchlow’s SEO MBA, or you can try to develop these skills through your job.

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How to Become an SEO Lead 10 Tips That AdvancedHow to Become an SEO Lead 10 Tips That Advanced

As a junior in any company, it can be hard to get your voice heard amongst the senior crowd. Ten years ago, I shared my wins with the team in a weekly group email in the office.

Here’s what you should be sharing:

  • Praise from 3rd parties, e.g. “the client said they are impressed with the work this month.”
  • Successful performance insights, e.g “following our SEO change, the client has seen X% more conversions this month.”
  • Examples of the work you led, e.g. if your leadership and decision-making led to good results, then you need to share it.

At Ahrefs I keep a “wins” document. It’s just a simple spreadsheet that lists feedback on the blog posts I’ve written, the links I’ve earned and what newsletters my post was included in. It’s useful to have a document like this so you have a record of your achievements.

Example of wins spreadsheetExample of wins spreadsheet

Sidenote.

Junior SEOs sometimes talk about the things “we” achieved as a team rather than what they achieved at the interview stage. If you want the SEO Lead role, remember to talk about what you achieved. While there’s no “I” in team, you also need to advocate for yourself.

One of my first big wins as an SEO was getting a link from an outreach campaign on Buzzfeed. When I went to Brighton SEO later that year and saw Matthew Howells-Barby sharing how he got a Buzzfeed link, I realized that this was not something everyone had done.

So when I did manage to become an SEO Lead, and my team won a prize in Publicis Groupe for our SEO performance, I made sure everyone knew about the work we did. I even wrote a case study on the work for Publicis Groupe’s intranet.

Silver prize winning at publicis groupeSilver prize winning at publicis groupe

I’ve worked with some incredibly talented people, many of whom have helped me in my career.

I owe my big break to Tim Cripps, Laura Scott, and Kevin Mclaren. Without their support and encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Even before that, David Schulhof, Jodie Wheeler, and Carl Brooks let me mastermind some bonkers content campaigns that were lucky enough to succeed:

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Digital Spy Coverage for emoji campaignDigital Spy Coverage for emoji campaign
Some of the coverage I got for a stag and hen do client, back in the day.

I wasn’t even an SEO Lead at that point, but they gave me the reins and trusted me.

So, how can you find your tribe?

  • Speak to recruiters – they might hold the ticket to your next dream job. I spoke to many recruiters early in my career, but only two recruiters delivered for me—they were Natasha Woodford, and Amalia Gouta. Natasha helped me get a job that filled my skill gap, and Amalia helped me get my first SEO Lead role.
  • Go to events and SEO conferences, and talk to speakers to build connections outside of your company.
  • Use LinkedIn and other social media to interact with other companies or individuals that resonate with you.

Many senior SEO professionals spend most of their online lives on X and LinkedIn. If you’re not using them, you’re missing out on juicy opportunities.

Example of Linkedin recruiter messageExample of Linkedin recruiter message
Example of a recruiter message I got just after I joined Ahrefs.

Sharing your expertise on these platforms is one of the easiest ways to increase your chances of getting a senior SEO role. Because, believe it or not, sometimes a job offer can be just a DM away.

Here’s some specific ideas of what you can share:

I’ve recently started posting on LinkedIn and am impressed by the reach you can get by posting infrequently on these topics.

Here’s an example of one of my posts where I asked the community for help researching an article I was writing:

Linkedin post exampleLinkedin post example

And here is the content performance across the last year from posting these updates.

Linkedin-Content-PerformanceLinkedin-Content-Performance

I’m clearly not a LinkedIn expert—far from it! But as you can see, with just a few months of posting, you can start to make these platforms work for you.

Godard Abel, co-founder of G2, talked on a podcast about conscious leadership. This struck a chord with me recently as I realized that I had practiced some of the principles of conscious leadership—unconsciously.

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You can start practicing conscious leadership by asking yourself if your actions are above or below the line. Here are a few examples of above and below-the-line thinking:

Above and below the line thinkingAbove and below the line thinking

If you want a senior SEO role, I’d suggest shifting your mindset to above-the-line thinking.

In the world of SEO, it’s easy to blame all your search engine woes on Google. We’ve all been there. But a lot of the time, simple changes to your website can make a huge difference—it just takes a bit of effort to find them and make the changes.

SEO is not an exact science. Some stakeholders naturally get nervous if they sense you aren’t sure about what you’re saying. If you don’t get their support early on then you fall at the first hurdle.

Business plan with no detailBusiness plan with no detail
Source

To become more persuasive, try incorporating Aristotle’s three persuasive techniques into your conversations.

  • Pathos: use logical reasoning, facts, and data to present water-tight arguments.
  • Ethos: establish your credibility and ethics through results.
  • Logos: make your reports tell a story.
Persuasive techniquesPersuasive techniques

Then sprinkle in language that has a high level of modality:

Modality of languageModality of language

Some people will be able to do this naturally without even realizing it, but for others, it can be an uphill struggle. It wasn’t easy for me, and I had to learn to adapt the way I talked to stakeholders early on.

The strongest way I found was to appeal to emotions and back up with data from a platform like Ahrefs. Highlight what competitors have done in terms of SEO and the results they’ve earned from doing it.

Sidenote.

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You don’t have to follow this tip to the letter, but being aware of these concepts means you’ll start to present more confident and persuasive arguments for justifying your SEO strategies.

When I started in SEO, I had zero connections. Getting a job felt like an impossible challenge.

Once I’d got my first SEO Lead job, it felt stupidly easy to get another one—just through connections I’d made along the way in my SEO journey.

I once got stuck on a delayed train with a senior member of staff, and he told me he was really into Google Local Guides, and he was on a certain high level. He said it took him a few years to get there.

Local Guides is part of Google Maps that allows you submit reviews and other user generated content

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When he showed me the app, I realized that you could easily game the levels by uploading lots of photos.

In a “hold my beer” moment, I mass downloaded a bunch of photos, uploaded them to Local Guides and equaled his Local Guide level on the train in about half an hour. He was seething.

Google Local Guides Screenshot Level 7Google Local Guides Screenshot Level 7

One of the photos I uploaded was a half-eaten Subway. It still amazes me that 50,974 people have seen this photo:

1713812167 453 How to Become an SEO Lead 10 Tips That Advanced1713812167 453 How to Become an SEO Lead 10 Tips That Advanced

This wasn’t exactly SEO, but the ability to find this ‘hack’ so quickly impressed him, and we struck up a friendship.

The next month that person moved to another company, and then another few months later, he offered me an SEO Lead job.

Tip

Build connections with everyone you can—you never know who you might need to call on next.

Final thoughts

The road to becoming an SEO Lead seems straightforward enough when you start out, but it can quickly become long and winding.

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But now armed with my tips, and a bucket load of determination, you should be able to navigate your way to an SEO Lead role much quicker than you think.

Lastly, if you want any more guidance, you can always ping me on LinkedIn. 🙂



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