Understanding SEO Visibility

In the SEO game, there are fewer things more important than ranking higher for your targeted keywords. Your search visibility will determine how many clicks you get for the keyword based on the amount of search volume a certain keyword gets. 

The goal of this guide is for me to help you connect the dots between targeting high volume and low competition keywords so you have the highest chance of generating as much traffic as possible. 

What is SEO Visibility?

SEO visibility or search engine visibility is the share of traffic you receive for a certain keyword in the SERPs. We hear all the time about how the top one result gets the majority of the traffic. In the next section, I’m going to show you an example of why that’s the case. 

How Do I Check SEO Visibility? 

Now I’ll go through the steps required to find out what your SEO visibility is for any given keyword. Keep in mind you can do this for any keyword and it doesn’t have to only be in the first position. 

For example, if you look up the keyword “best smart soccer ball” you’ll see that it gets 200 searches and the website opengoaaalusa.com is in the first position. 

seo visibility example

If I take that URL and I put it into the site explorer section of Ahrefs, I can see that the keyword “best smart soccer ball” results in 68 clicks per month from this keyword in the number one position. 

seo visibility in ahrefs

So, if you divide the total traffic which is 68 by the monthly search volume of 200, you’ll get 34%. 

34% is your SEO visibility for the keyword “best smart soccer ball” which means that 34% of people who land on page one for this keyword click this result. 

So, why does this matter and why should it be a metric you think about? 

First, higher visibility means better keyword rankings in the SERPs. Higher rankings means more traffic which leads to more conversions. 

Second, higher visibility gives you a ton of credibility and competitive edge. Even in the example above; just knowing that the site gets 34% of the total clicks tells me that it’s clearly the best option for information on smart soccer balls. 

How about the fact that the second result only gets 13% of the total click share? The third? It gets 11%. 

So, the first result in Google gets more clicks than the number two and three positions combined. Do you understand why it’s so important to be in the one position? 

These metrics can help you realize what a big jump one position can make for your overall SEO visibility. Apply this across dozens and hundreds of keywords and it can mean tens of thousands more visitors to your site. 

Understanding Historic Visibility

As you can imagine and likely know, performance and rankings change over time. While you may rank number one for a certain keyword right now, these rankings will likely change at some point. 

Historic visibility refers to your overall performance in the SERPs for a certain phrase. 

By scrolling down on the Keywords Explorer page in Ahrefs, we can see an example of historic visibility for the keyword “best smart soccer ball.”

historic visibility

Here you see that the OpenGoaaalUSA article started to rank number one in March of 2023 and has remained there ever since. 

The other top ranking articles have hopped around a bit since then. The page that is now number two was number one in the beginning and the number eight page was as high as position four at one point. 

One thing you’ll notice is that the top three positions stay rather stagnant which likely indicates that Google has determined that these are the best three pages providing the most valuable and useful information on this topic. 

So, why does visibility change over time? 

Algorithm updates are the main culprit. As Google updates their algorithms, it can change rankings without a reason. Updates cause fluctuations which can result in dramatic increases or decreases in traffic. 

Competitor changes and content updates are the other two main reasons for ranking changes. We’re all chasing the same pot of gold which leads to competitors changing their content to try and “one-up” you. When this happens, they may achieve their goal and outrank you. 

SERP features are another reason why visibility changes. There are a ton of different features like top stories, Google Shopping, rich snippets, and search generative experience. In my opinion, if you can capture some of these SERP features, you’re likely in favor in the eyes of Google and may be able to command a top position longer. 

Lastly, technical issues can lead to a drop in rankings. If you experience any website downtime, slow loading speeds, or broken links, you might notice that your rankings drop because Google doesn’t see you as reliable. 

It’s important to address any issues and regularly update your content so it’s always fresh and performing how it should be. 

Mobile Visibility

To understand mobile visibility, we’ll venture off Ahrefs and over to Google Search Console. Since mobile accounts for over half the total traffic on the internet it’s important that you understand how your site performs on mobile devices compared to desktop to determine how to disperse your attention and capital. 

mobile visibility

For the query, “soccer drills for 8 year olds” this page gets approximately 393 clicks per month. Of those 393, 275 of them come on mobile. 

The keyword gets 1,200 searches per month and this article ranks in the number two position on Google. 

So, the mobile SEO visibility of this page would be 22%. Not bad for a second position. 

To calculate mobile visibility, you do it the same way you do for general search visibility but use only your mobile traffic. You can do the same for desktop as well if you want to know what the percentages are for each. 

Image Visibility

Did you know you can find out what percentage of your traffic to a certain page comes specifically from images? Pretty cool right? Best of all I’m going to show you how to find it. 

results in ahrefs

You’ll want to go to the “search appearance” section of GSC like I did above and look for “image results.” If you find this search appearance you’ll know that you’ve received a click or impression for specific Google image searches. 

You can then use the same formula I’ve used throughout this guide to determine what percentage of clicks come from images. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good real life example to share with you here but if your website or industry is highly visual like home improvement, design, or art; you’ll end up displaying quite a bit for image and image pack results. 

Local Visibility

Last but not least, let’s talk about local visibility. If you have a local business, you’ll want to display for local search terms and there’s a way to see what percentage of people who search for something are clicking on your page. 

If I look up “realtor in Boston” on Ahrefs, I can see that this phrase gets searched 100 times per month. 

traffic for local search

The results are a variety of independent realtors, agencies, and sites like Zillow providing reviews of these agencies. 

If we take Century 21 for example:

filtering by local

You can filter the results by “local pack” to only display the keywords that show the local pack. 

This keyword gets 100 searches per month and Century 21 gets clicked 11 times which puts their SEO visibility for this keyword at 11%. 

How to Increase SEO Visibility?

I’ve explained what SEO visibility is and how you can calculate it. Now let’s talk about how you can increase it. If you’re noticing that many of your pages are ranking towards the bottom of page one or even the top of page two, here’s what you’ll want to do to increase your rankings and get more traffic. 

1. Target Long-Tail Keywords

Targeting long-tail keywords can significantly enhance SEO visibility by capturing specific user intent. These keywords are more detailed and reflect users’ specific queries, leading to higher relevance and engagement. 

While they may have lower search volume individually, collectively, long-tail keywords generate substantial traffic.

Not to mention the fact that they’re less competitive so it’s easier to rank higher for them and command a higher SEO visibility. 

2. Ensure Proper Site Performance

Site performance significantly influences SEO visibility by shaping user experience and search engine assessment. Fast-loading pages engage users and reduce bounce rates, signaling quality content to search engines. 

A slow site frustrates users, leading to higher bounce rates and diminished SEO ranking. Google considers page speed in ranking algorithms, favoring sites that deliver a seamless experience. 

Mobile-friendliness and responsive design also impact SEO, given the prominence of mobile searches. Poor site performance compromises user satisfaction and trust, affecting organic rankings.

Use Google Search Console and Core Web Vitals to make sure your site is performing properly. 

3. Improve Internal linking

Internal linking helps connect your pages which provides more context to Google to help the crawlers understand what your website is about. Link Whisper is the ultimate solution for internal linking because it suggests relevant internal links as you write and even allows you to audit your current internal linking strategy

4. Manual Backlink Outreach

Manual backlink outreach plays a vital role in improving SEO visibility by acquiring high-quality external links from authoritative websites. These links signal credibility and relevance to search engines, boosting organic rankings. 

To enhance manual outreach: 

  • 1. Identify authoritative websites in your niche. 
  • 2. Craft personalized, compelling outreach emails highlighting mutual benefits. 
  • 3. Offer valuable content or insights for link placement. 
  • 4. Build genuine relationships with webmasters. 
  • 5. Ensure relevance and context in link placements.

5. Conversion Rate Optimization

In my opinion, conversion rate optimization is highly underestimated in the world of SEO. Even if you’re ranking towards the bottom of page one but still picking up on some traffic, it doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of that traffic.

Identify your target audience, understand their behavior and track it using various tools like Hotjar, do some A/B testing, create clear CTAs, and use persuasive visuals. If you can convert more traffic and keep them engaged, they’ll stay on your site longer which can help improve Google’s opinion of you which may result in higher rankings.  

What is The Difference Between SEO Traffic and Visibility?

While SEO traffic and visibility are related, they’re not the same thing. Traffic refers to the actual number of users who visit your website through organic search results. They look something up on Google, find your website, and click you. That becomes traffic to your website. 

SEO visibility is how prominently your website appears in the SERPs for a specific keyword. This is a metric that reflects your site’s overall presence but doesn’t exactly tell you how many visitors you get to your website. 

Final Thoughts

That’s all folks. There was a lot of data and information in this guide but I hope it was helpful and I hope you can use it to piece together the next steps for your website. 

I recommend focusing on the pages you have near the bottom of page one because they’re likely one or two small adjustments away from being able to accomplish a higher ranking. A higher ranking equals more share of the traffic and a higher SEO visibility score. Good luck! 

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