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Winning From Position 3 Through 5 – Brianna Anderson // BEAST Analytics

Episode Overview: Obtaining the coveted top two ranking spots on any search engine takes hours of SEO optimizations, discovering the right keywords and creating standout content. Achieving a spot in the top two can actually be obtained another way – Securing a spot through three and five. Join host Ben as he continues his conversation with BEAST Analytics founder Brianna (Brie) Anderson about how obtaining a spot in position three through five can pave the way for ranking in zero through two.


  • If your site ranks between spots three and five, a few, simple tweaks can easily catapult your site to spots zero through two.
  • Industry giants like Amazon or Walmart own essential keywords, monitoring highly volatile keywords and altering them can help capture spots three through five, or elevate your site to spots zero through two.
  • If your site is in position five, click all the links ranking ahead of it and compare those sites to yours. Research the pages within it to see if they’re doing something your site isn’t.
  • Implementing an optimization or structural process from one of those sites can elevate your website out of spots three through five into zero through two.


Ben:                   Welcome to the Voices of Search podcast. Today we’re going to discuss how to think about SEO analytics and the impact that they have. Joining us today is Brie Anderson, who is the founder of BEAST Analytics, which offers data-driven digital marketing strategy and analytics consulting, audits, workshops, and content production services. She’s also a contributor to well-known SEO publications, including Moz and the Search Engine Journal. Yesterday, Brie and I talked about her guide to modern SEO metrics. And today we’re going to talk about why it’s important to win position three through five. Okay. Here’s the rest of my conversation with Brie Anderson, founder of BEAST Analytics. Brie, welcome back to the Voices of Search podcast.

Brianna:           Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here again.

Ben:                    Excited to have you back on the show. We covered a lot of ground yesterday talking about the metrics of the modern SEO, where we’re not just looking at direct response, we’re not looking at ranking, we’re not looking at conversions; we’re looking at the whole funnel. We’re looking at brand metrics, we’re looking at performance metrics, everything. And it really depends what you’re trying to accomplish with what given keyword. Today we’re going to talk a little bit about why it’s important, not necessarily just to show up in position zero, position one or position two. How about the middle of that page? Why does it matter so much if you’re winning positions three through five?

Brianna:            So that is a very good starting place for a company, because once you are in positions three through five, generally speaking, it’s just going to take a few tweaks to get into one and two. Specifically for those highly volatile keywords, so the keywords that the rankings are changing all of the time. So you want to make sure that you are watching whatever keyword monitoring tool you use, whether that’s search metrics, and if it’s highly volatile, that means Google hasn’t found their favorite answer yet, and that the competition isn’t as strong. So you’re not competing against, let’s say, an Amazon or a shopping keyword. Google is still picking their favorite. So if you’re in position three through five, that sets you up for really, not easy success, but it puts you in a good position to compete for those one or two positions.

Ben:                     So it sounds like this is mostly about what you should focus on from an optimization perspective. If you’re in three through five, and you’re seeing volatility at the top of that keyword, you’re pretty close, and Google hasn’t necessarily settled in on who they think has the best content for that page. So talk to me about, hey, I’m in position three for the keyword Martech. We run the MarTech podcast and, hey, it goes between adage and the MarTech conference and somebody else, and me. And why should I be focusing on that keyword as opposed to something long tail that might be a little bit down the funnel and easier to rank for?

Brianna:            So I guess for me, this isn’t so much on why you should focus on it, but how you can get out of three, into one to two.

Ben:                     So tell me, if it’s a volatile keyword and I’m in the top five, I’m in the running for first place. How do I actually get there?

Brianna:           Okay. So the very first thing I always do is I go to the actual server. I open up all of the links for one through four, because we’re five. We’re going to pretend for five. So I open up one through four and I go through those pages. What do they have in common? And then what are the slight differences? Because those slight differences are generally what Google is trying to figure out is best for the user. So you have a couple options here. One is you could test those site differences on your site. So let’s say the headline for the first three are MarTech in 2020, and four is choosing MarTech. So we can assume that MarTech 2020 is doing better because the top three are all using that H1. So maybe we change our H1 to that.

Brianna:           Something that I found really interesting, actually, one time I was working with a golf cart parts client, and I was doing this for them. I think we were in the third position, and I did this and all of our pages looked pretty similar. They had the same structure, same internal linking, all that kind of fun stuff. Our domain authority and page authority were pretty similar. The only difference was our checkout process. So it was for a specific part. The only difference was our checkout process. And the difference there was the top two, were both using numbered checkout process, and ours was just one page and we didn’t number the process. We changed that and we actually ended up starting to go back and forth in that one to two position. So it can be, seriously, the smallest things. And for me, the three to five position is definitely the best place to go in and test those factors.

Ben:                   When you start thinking about your SEO strategy and you realize that you’re close to the top of the page, you’re in three through five, you’re in the running, and there are some micro optimizations you can make to the page that will vault you up. Is it worth the effort to try to go through what could be any number of factors to go from page three to page five? Or should you be starting to think about developing more content? When you think about what your actual optimization strategy is, when does it matter whether you get to number one? And there’s a trade-off here of, you could be producing more content and targeting other keywords. How do you think about that?

Brianna:           It’s a number of different things, but mostly it’s your volume and your intent. So if it’s high volume, and even medium intent, so your mid funnel, that could be a lot more valuable to you than something that’s low volume and not very high intent. So I don’t have a good example of one of those keywords off the top of my head, but we’ve seen them. You can use your favorite keyword tool to find those keywords. But if you’re mid funnel in medium search volume, for me, that’s still a good place to try and win that one to two position, as opposed to trying to create something completely new and rank it.

Brianna:           Now, I will say, if you do create something new as kind of a hub to point back to that page, that internal link is still going to give you some Google juice, is what I like to call it, give you a little bit of an oomph there. But now, if you’re looking for, like I said, those low volume, low intent keywords, then yeah, maybe you don’t focus so much on that three to five position. You kind of leave that one where it is and you focus on something new. But really, once you are looking at the bottom of the funnel and that search volume, even if it’s low, the conversion rate for those high keywords might be worth winning position one or two. Because you have to remember, position one gets 90 percent of the traffic, and then two gets a little bit less, and three gets a lot less, especially if there are ads up top. So you really want to get as far up that as you possibly can so you can take your portion of those conversions.

Ben:                    Yeah. This becomes a math problem more than anything else of-

Brianna:           Absolutely.

Ben:                    What is the volume of the keyword? How do you figure out what the intent is for your brand? And then is it worth the lift in visibility, getting from position three or position five to position one? Or should you be trying to rank first for another longer term keyword? Brianna, it’s really interesting to hear your thoughts on the value of those sort of second tier keywords. And really, my takeaway here is, if you’re in position three through five, you’re not far away from position one. So you need to look at intent, figure out whether it’s worth going through the process of conversion rate optimization, the micro tweaking of your content to actually get into one, and that’s balanced against what are some of the other things that you could be doing. We’re going to continue to talk about how you do that optimization, how you figure out what to actually change on your pages when you’re in position three through five, in tomorrow’s episode.

Ben:                    So that wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Brie Anderson, the founder of BEAST Analytics. We’d love to continue the conversation with you, so if you’re interested in contacting Brie, you could find a link to her LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can contact her on Twitter. Her handle is Brie_e_anderson. That’s B-R-I-E underscore E underscore A-N-D-E-R-S-O-N. Or you can visit her company’s website, which is

Ben:                   Just one more link in our show notes to tell you about. If you didn’t have a chance to take notes while you were listening to this podcast, head over to, where we have summaries of all of our episodes, contact information for our guests. You can send us your topic suggestions, your SEO questions, you can even apply to be a guest speaker on the Voices of Search podcast. Of course, you could always reach out on social media. Our handle is Voices of Search on Twitter, or you can reach out to my personal handle, which is Benjshap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P.

Ben:                   And if you haven’t subscribed yet, and you want a daily stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, in addition to part two of our conversation with Brie Anderson, the founder of BEAST Analytics, we’re going to publish an episode every day during the work week. So hit the subscribe button in your podcast app, and we’ll be back in your feed soon. All right. That’s it for today. But until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.

Tyson Stockton

Tyson Stockton

Tyson has over 10 years' experience in the digital marketing industry. As Vice President of Client and Account Management, Tyson manages the Enterprise Client Success team and SEO Consulting efforts at Searchmetrics. Tyson has worked with some of world’s largest enterprise websites including Fortune 500 and global eCommerce leaders. Prior to Searchmetrics, Tyson worked on the in-house side managing the SEO and SEM efforts of a collection of 14 sports specialty eCommerce companies in the US, Europe and Australia.

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