Your Business Needs To Be At or Near The Top of the Google Search Results to Be Visible
More than 25% of people click on the first Google search result.
People trust Google. And Google has put a lot of work into earning their trust.
As a modern business, having an online presence is a must. And if you want people to visit your website, you simply have to be at the top of the Google search results page.
So I thought I’d put together the most important tips to enable you to position your business to the top of search engine results pages and increase your web traffic.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. This boils down to the way your business ranks in organic searches on search engines like Google. Put more simply, the way you design your website, the content on the website and your overall internet authority influence where you rank on the Google search engine results pages (SERP).
An important point: you need to understand and accept (that can be harder!) that SEO is the “long game” and not a get-rich-quick scheme. If your marketing needs are very time-critical and near-term (perhaps it’s August and you’re targeting an event in early November or a haunted house in late October), SEO may not be the right strategy for you.
However, over the years, and across industries, SEO has been consistently shown to be the most cost-effective way to market your business, 24/7.
Taking the time to learn more about how and why SEO works will help you save time and money in the long run, and keep your business at the top of Google.
Create an SEO Strategy
The first thing you need to do if you want your business to rank at the top of organic search results pages is to develop an SEO strategy. You must first determine:
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What problems are they trying to solve that you can help them with?
- What topics and keywords do they use to describe their challenges?
- What action do you want them to take in order to engage with you?
Having this information in hand can truly guide your strategy.
Research Topics & Related Keywords
One of the most important elements of your SEO campaign will be topics and keywords. Keywords are the words that search engines users are searching for to find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
Most web pages rank for more (often many more) than a single keyword.
For example, a page about “the best places to buy guitars” might rank for “best places to buy guitars”, “guitar store near me” and “guitar shop”. This is why we emphasize focusing on the topic(s) for which you want to rank, because keywords are subordinate to your overall topic.
You can use free analytics tools such as the Google Ads Keyword Planner to identify the best keywords to compete for.
You can plug in your website and even the websites of your competitors to see which keywords Google thinks are relevant to the given website.
Your list should be broad to start. Narrow down your list to keywords that are specific and get plenty of traffic, but aren’t so competitive that you won’t stand a chance.
If your customers are primarily local, you may wish to focus on keywords that include your location and the specific services you offer.
Of course, there are much better tools for keyword research than Google Ads (formerly “Google Adwords”) Keyword Planner, which, to be fair, focuses on Google Ads.
Some of my current favorite keyword research tools include Ahrefs, Semrush and more esoteric tools like Answer the Public and Writerzen, which has a great keyword research tool and keyword clustering functionality built in.
Optimize Your Website
Once you have your keywords ready, you’ll need to optimize your website and its content for these keywords.
Every page of your website plays an important role in helping search engines determine your rankings on their search engine results page. Your keywords should be naturally worked into your website.
The most effective places to use your keywords are in your page’s title tag, meta description, URL or “slug”, and anywhere on your website where an internal link is used. We have a deep-dive blog post where we discuss these spots in detail.
Remember that your website needs to be user friendly. Avoid using keywords too often as this can lead to Google thinking that you are “keyword stuffing”. In the old days, this technique actually worked! These days, keyword stuffing can hurt your ranking as it is a spam signal.
Finding the right balance takes research, trial, and sometimes – error.
Create Valuable Content
Optimizing your website to rank higher in organic search results is an ongoing process of building great content, and linking to it properly.
Google uses an algorithm to determine search engine results rankings and it looks for websites that are continuously updated to provide valuable content to users.
So what exactly is valuable content, from Google’s perspective? Well, fortunately, more and more each day, Google’s perspective is getting closer to your reader’s perspective. The key question is: does your content address the searcher’s intent in a satisfying, easy-to-consume and unique way?
As your website grows, your ranking on SERPs will increase.
Your website shouldn’t exist just to sell your product or services. Instead, users should get value from visiting your website without having to buy anything from you.
Your website should include valuable content such as informative content, tools, and downloadable resources.
Start a Blog
If you want to succeed in the digital age, your website needs a blog.
A blog article is like a “signal flare” that you send up to Google, telling it in effect “We know this topic”. And if Google thinks you know a topic, it may think you’re relevant to a variety of searches around that topic.
Not only will your blog help your Google search results ranking, but it will help your brand development overall. Blogging is all about giving readers value without asking anything of them in return. When you create blogs that provide value to readers, your authority as a brand increases.
Readers will view you as a trusted voice in your industry.
Every well-written blog you write will help your SERP ranking. This means your blogs should be intertwined with your overall SEO strategy and should focus on the topics you researched.
Blogging is also a valuable tool for social media marketing. Blogs are easily sharable on social media pages like Facebook and Twitter.
Remember these key tips for writing a blog people will want to read:
- Keep it casual and easy to read
- Less is more when it comes to length
- Break up your content with images and headers
- Avoid being too salesy
- Close with a call to action
Don’t forget to pull pieces of content from your most recent blog article and share these valuable tidbits on social media! You can often pull 5-6 important tips from any blog article, effectively extending its value to your website by driving traffic from social media channels.
Use Quality Links
Another key element of SEO and getting to the top of organic search results is the effective use of links on your website. These can provide value to readers and guide them to other pages on your website where you can advertise products and services.
There are three types of links you should be using.
- The first is internal links. As the name sounds, these links are to other pages within your website. Internal links can pipe relevance to other key pages on your website and can help Google better understand your content. Go ahead and use your most overt and obvious keywords in the anchor text. It’s your website, so Google knows you are controlling the anchor text.
- The second is external links or outbound links. These are used to link to other authoritative websites, that enhance the value of your content. When Google sees you linking to authoritative resources on the web, it may “trust” your content more completely.
- The third type of link is called an inbound link, more commonly referred to as a “backlink“. These links are used by other websites and link back to your own. If you can get vendors, suppliers, or authoritative sites within your industry to link to your website, your search engine rankings will improve.
A recent factor that Google is emphasizing are backlinks that come from topically-relevant web pages and domains. For example, if your biotech engineering firm got a backlink from a local grocery store website, that might not be as relevant to your target audience as a backlink from a biotech industry directory.
If you run a local business like a plumber or HVAC contracting firm, getting links from other nearby businesses, regardless of their industry or topic, will help boost your geo-relevance, which helps you rank in the Google Map Pack.
Overall, when it comes to links, your focus should be on quality and relevance rather than quantity.
Regional & Local Ranking Factors
If your business has regional and/or local relevance (HVAC company, retail store, realtor, etc.) then you’ll want to spend some time optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly known as “Google My Business”. This is because the Google property that displays business information for local businesses is the most visible spot in the SERPs.
If your business relies on locality, optimizing your GBP will encourage its inclusion in Google’s search results. And being on top of Google’s map listing, along with having some pretty “stars” from your glowing reviews, makes it very easy for people to find your business.
Always try to get reviews from your satisfied customers, and always respond to them, where advisable (there are some HIPAA considerations for medical practices; be sure you know the rules before you respond!)
Analyze Your Success
To determine whether your SEO strategy is working, you need to find a way to measure your success.
You should regularly review your strategy and your metrics. Analytics and reports can help you see what’s working and what isn’t in your question to reach the top of Google’s search results.
Google is always adding in new functionality to Google Search Console. One of our new favorite ways to give clients meaningful reports is to reference the Search Console Insights, hiding in plain site in GSC.
Mastering SEO is a learning process. Spend more time on keywords that aren’t moving enough. If you have tried something in the past and it worked, use the same strategy going forward.
When you see content reacting and people visiting a blog article (like what happened on boomcycle.com with this very article!) it pays to update that content, and ask Google to re-index it. Which we’ve now done multiple times.
Continue to review and refine your strategy as you go.
Want to Get Your Business to the Top of Google Search Results?
As you can see, getting your business to the top of the Google Search Results page is no easy task. It involves developing and monitoring a campaign with many moving parts as well as a big investment of time.
For many businesses, this isn’t something they want to take on alone. Outsourcing your SEO efforts is beneficial for many reasons.
We know how to get you the results you want. Eliminate the guesswork and let us take the reigns.
Spend more time focusing on your business goals by letting us handle your search engine optimization campaign.
Click here to contact us today and learn more about what we can do for you.