Ranking on page one in Google is nearly every business owner’s dream, and few business owner’s reality. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a multi-million dollar industry today, for a good reason: turning up on page one of Google is a no-brainer: once you’re on page one you will forever have a limitless source of free traffic to your website.
Very few businesses don’t have Google on their digital marketing channel strategy, and if they don’t it’s usually because you already know about them, and know where and how to find them.
For most of us, this isn’t the case, we’re small to medium sized businesses trying to claw our share of wallet out of the market, and not lose our pants while doing it!
So why is it so hard to rank in Google?
The truth is, it isn’t hard at all, the only reason why people don’t turn up on page one in Google is because they are not following these 9 easy steps:
1 – Know your Keywords, and Use Them
Keywords are phrases or words that people search for when looking for your product in Google. This forms the bedrock of everything you do, from the pages you create, to what you name each page, to the images and text you put on the page.
If you don’t know your keywords, then you don’t have an SEO strategy. Don’t know what your keywords are? Let us or a reputable web agency do some research for you. We’ll create a report and help you plan your content strategy and get you ranking in no time.
2 – Fresh, Unique Content
Make sure you are constantly adding new relevant pages filled with key search terms to your website. Don’t copy anyone else’s content, Google will know and will penalise you (you will lose your hard-earned rankings and might never rank again), so make sure it’s unique and relevant to your site.
So what should you do? One of my clients created two new pages and within a week they were on page one (for a long tail search term) and had over 500 views per page. Another client started adding a new page of relevant content every week and moved onto page one within a few weeks. Yes, it differs per industry, but if you don’t start working on it now, you won’t know will you?
3 – Sort out your On-Page SEO
Your developer needs to read the Google handbook and code according to those standards, simple right? Yet somehow 90% of the websites we come across have not been coded to Google’s simple standards. Links need to be labelled, images need to be labelled, header 1’s and 2’s and 3’s need to be used appropriately, cross linking of content, xml site maps, page title, domain name, subdomain, URL string, body element, alt attribute, bold/strong tag, etc. All of these and more need to be in place before a site gets the thumbs up from Google.
So what should you do? Have us or a reputable SEO company review your website to make sure all of this is in place, and to sort it out if it isn’t. Nearly every website we’ve been referred has not had the basics in place, yet the web developer assured our client that it was SEO compliant. Not so!
4 – Get Back Links
Get website or blogs that are related to your industry to link to your home page, this is called a back link. Do not buy backlinks links as once again this will get your site penalised by Google. Google doesn’t like it when you do 1:1 link exchanges (you take mine and I’ll take yours). It has to be organic and natural.
So what should you do? YouTube (owned by Google) is a good place for backlinks and you would have created videos that are relevant to your users here, and that adds value to your site. Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites are also taken into account. Blogs are great for backlinks, LinkedIn groups and online directories, and don’t forget Google+.
5 – Create a Great User Experience
Google is getting smarter and smarter, and with each new version, factors that influence how users experience your site are becoming more important. How big is your site and how long does it take to load? How long are users on your website? Which site do they go to after your website? All of this informs Google about your site’s quality. Make sure you keep users and don’t frustrate them.
So what should you do? Create a website where users are engaged, that they enjoy coming to. Adding social conversations, writing white papers and getting people to share your content is a great way of improving site rankings.
6 – Go for the Long Tail, and not the Fat Head
The Long Tail refers to sentences that people are searching for that are long and very specific. These search terms usually generate higher sales, as people who search for specific makes, models and areas are eager to buy. For example: ‘Camera Canon EOS 1100 d Cape Town’ is a search by someone who wants to buy and soon. ‘Canon camera’ is a Fat Head search and will generate hundreds of millions of results, and probably no sales.
So what should you do? Once again, find out what your keyword search terms are, and create a few pages around the ‘longer tail’ search terms.
7 – Thinking of Redoing your Website?
When migrating an old site to a new design, make sure you involve us early in the process. We have to prepare Google for the fact that old pages are now renamed or removed. If you don’t do this you will lose any Google equity you might have had.
So what should you do? Work with web developers who understand Google, and who know how difficult it is to build up web traffic, and who won’t jeapordise that for the world.
8 – Use the Right Web Developer
It’s so important that you select a web development agency that really gets Google. Unfortunately it’s pretty tricking selecting the right one, they all say they know SEO, how do you sift the sheep from the wolves?
So what should you do? Read our blog on how to choose a web developer who understands SEO or use a developer that can show you proven track records, or who comes recommended by someone who used them and as a result turned up on page one.
9 – Can you pay to rank in Google?
Finally, a question I get asked often is, can’t you just pay Google to rank on page one? The answer is yes, you can! With Google Adwords pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, anyone can turn up on page one, for a small fee.
So what should you do? If you can afford upwards of R2,500 a month, I would suggest you do both strategies, try to rank in google ‘organically’ which is the previous 8 points above, and get an agency to create a PPC Adwords campaign for you, there’s no reason why you pay to rank while you sort out your organic ranking strategy.
If you feel intimidated by this list, just select and implement three of the above points and I promise you, you’ll start seeing the results. Good luck!
If all else fails, contact us for advice and pricing, and we’ll take the entire burden from your shoulders.