How To Improve On-Page SEO Without Improving Content

Pankil Shah
by Pankil Shah
Updated On: October 2, 2023
How to improve on-page SEO without improving the content

Release 7.8:

What does it mean to optimize existing content? Optimizing new content and optimizing existing content are very different processes, but they are often misunderstood as the same thing. Let’s break this down:

What does optimizing new content look like?

This means creating an SEO strategy for B2B and content plan for your document with all the necessary information to meet the user intent and rank well. 

When optimizing new content, the approval and review (in your org) have not happened yet, so you can strategize and then execute that plan. Once you go through the cycle of approval, you’re all done.

You can use Outranking’s content brief generator and research tool to get this done fairly easily. 

However, optimizing existing content is a different story.

What does optimizing existing content look like?

First, let’s break down which kinds of content you should be optimizing.

Categories of already published content to optimize

A few things can happen after the content goes live:

  1. Content isn’t ranking
  2. Content ranks in top 3 position
  3. Content ranks between 4 and 25
  4. Everything beyond 25+

Improving content that isn’t ranking at all may be tempting, but optimizing #3 and #4 should be your top priority. 

Content scenarioPriorityReason
Content isn’t rankingLowThis is time-intensive and requires repeating the whole process of content planning and evaluation. This makes me want to pull my hair out sometimes, and it’s often best to prioritize other pages.
Content ranks in top 3 positionNoneThis is great. You don’t want to touch this or do any experiments. The idea of ruining a ranking page that was successful in the first place is scary. Don’t do this unless you are determined to get to position 1. 
Content ranks between 4 and 25HighThese are the perfect pages to optimize. There are many proven quick tricks you can implement to move this page up. The efforts required to do this can be further divided into: 

– Hard: content changes that require review, approval, and publishing

– Easy: on-page internal and external changes that only involve publishing or web teams
Everything beyond 25+MediumThis works similarly to the above process, but I have given this medium priority because this can be slightly more difficult when your rank is below 25. To improve your rank for these pages you need to improve the PageRank (not position) and unique point of view on the topic. In many cases, this requires careful thinking, evaluation, and planning. 

About 2% of keywords rank in the top three positions from the total list of keywords for which a website ranks.

Guess what percentage of keywords rank between 4 and 20? More like 20%. 

Few examples we drew from MOZ to give you an idea.

Example 1:

Screen Shot 2022 05 13 at 5.58.31 AM

Example 2:

Screen Shot 2022 05 13 at 6.01.42 AM

These numbers can slightly vary for your website based on age, authority, and various other factors, but you get the idea. 

There is likely a major chunk of keywords that you are not capitalizing on. 

What if you were able to find the right group of keywords from that 20% and continuously get optimization tips on autopilot and enable team to act on it?

How much could you increase the traffic to your website? 

An insane amount!


Narrow down on the pages you should optimize

Screen Shot 2022 05 19 at 10.36.30 AM

How do you optimize existing pages?

If you wear many hats, creating and optimizing content yourself, you can probably optimize all four categories recommended above. Even then, you should still prioritize content optimization based on the above categories.

But, if you are part of a team and extensive changes on pages mean extensive approvals, you need a different approach. 

You should optimize your content for:

1Keyword emphasis and minor adjustments to headings, titles, meta tags, and bold text

Keyword emphasis increases the importance of the given keyword in your content. If you do this correctly and address the smaller content gaps, you can better align with the intent behind that keyword. 

This is a relatively easy task to achieve.

Also, a search usually results in an exact match. Having an exact match also increases the chances of ranking.

(Some dynamics are changing here with the introduction of the “unique point of view” in the Google algorithm. We will discuss this in a future blog post.)
2PageRank or Page Authority (getting more link juice to this page from internal or external resources)

Improving the internal linking structure to a page and getting backlinks can improve the rank, provided that you have the right content and anchors linking to a page. This is easy to do and only requires a web team to make changes to a webpage.
3Media and alt tag optimization

Another great on-page optimization technique we have used involves adding the right anchors to images and adding video to the webpage when possible.

You should use your own YouTube or video channel to source these videos if you have them. If you don’t, feel free to use an external video (obviously not from your competition). This will definitely make a difference.

In our experiments, we have noticed that having FAQ and Q&A-type schema marks greatly improves the probability of ranking in People Also Ask. 
5Featured snippet optimization

This is a very new trick. If you rank on the first page of Google or even early on the second page, you can optimize the answer around a primary question that contains the keyword you want to rank for. If your answer is precise and one of the best compared with ranking pages (remember that most are not optimized for this), you can improve your chance of ranking as a featured snippet. 
6CTR improvement

This is an insane trick that has been known to improve ranking over time. If more people click on your URL, even when it’s not ranking at the top, it tells Google that people like your content and hence give you a ranking boost. 

There are best practices and tricks you can use to adjust your title tag.

Most of the time, no editorial approvals are needed for this type of change.
6Content gap (addressing LSI, NLP, and target keyword gap)

This is the last resort if you feel you have done everything and still can’t get the darn ranking to budge.

In a nutshell, you import your content into Outranking and find the content gaps, revamp the content a bit, and then send it for review, approval, and publishing. 

This offers a clear pathway for prioritizing and improving existing content. The challenge here is a workflow that helps you go through this entire process of finding, prioritizing, and sending optimization briefs to the respective stakeholders to accelerate organic traffic. 

This is why we built “Actions” into our 7.8 release.

“Actions” is an SEO content checker tool for data collection and on-page suggestions that help you find, prioritize, and send optimization tasks to your teams with precise recommendations. 

In the last two months, we have had three releases: 7, 7.5, and 7.7.

The major focus of the entire 7 series and its minor releases has been:

  1. Enabling content and SEO teams to work better in a cooperative environment to create and optimize content
  2. Collecting more and better data
  3. Adding more advanced capabilities for AI content optimization
  4. Simplifying the platform even further so you can do more in much less time

Release 7.8 focuses on three goals in particular:

  1. Actions (aka Quick Wins) – Optimizing existing content with actionable tasks
  2. Content briefs – Managing workflows for sharing and automating content briefs
  3. Team workflow and rights management – Status and workflow automation and access for team members

Let’s get right to it.


  1. Connect to your Google Search Console account.

To connect to Google Search Console, you need an account that has been verified as an owner. 

2. Narrow down the keywords using the filters and click Track on the keywords you want to optimize.

Actions - Outranking

Outranking collects important suggestions and starts tracking the rank of those keywords.

Outranking collects important suggestions

3. Click Optimize to find suggestions and add them to optimization briefs.

optimization briefs

4.  Print and send the optimization brief to the teams.

Print and send the optimization brief

Outranking will now track if the changes have been implemented and report on the improvements in ranking. We plan to bring many additional data points and enhance this utility to help you accelerate growth.

We are launching “Actions” in beta, and a limited number of people will be given access. If you have a website that brings some organic traffic and you want to accelerate growth, email to get beta access. 

Content briefs

We extended the features of content briefs in this release to be more team-friendly and give you more control to customize the briefs.

Content briefs

Team workflow and rights management

You can now assign roles and status to a team member. This will allow you to do two things:

  1. You can automate the workflow. If you change status, the team member will automatically be notified. This will reduce the time you spend sharing documents and managing the status and updates for each.
SEO team collaboration

2. You can give additional rights to the utilities you use on Outranking. We started with basic restrictions on the features and plan to enhance this for more granular control.

WordPress plugin

We have updated the WordPress plugin to make it even easier for our customers to move content into and out of the Outranking editor. 

With one click, you can insert all content into the editor. All SEO best practices around images, alt tags, styling, nofollow, and headers are automatically applied, saving you quite some time in formatting the post in WordPress.

Download link: Outranking WordPress Plugin