Every business wants to get a high ranking on Google. High rankings mean high visibility. High visibility means clicks, conversions, and sales. The vast majority of clicks only go to sites that are on the first page. So, how do you do that?
There is no sure-fire way to get #1 every time. But there are things you can do to push up your rankings in an easy way. Let’s define “easy way” – the way where all types of resources including time financial used in minimal ways. We’re going to go over seven of these things in this article. Some are easier to implement than others, but we hope that at least one of these will aid you in your quest for Google visibility.
1. Know How Long it Takes
SEO is not fast, especially if you’re brand new. Most pages that rank high for quality keywords have been around for at least a year. The average amount of time for the top ranking pages is about three years. Even for long-tail keywords, the usual amount of time is 2-6 months for a new page to start ranking on Google. Patience and a solid foundation are the keys.
2. Register for Google MyBusiness
If your business has a physical location where customers can visit you, go register for Google MyBusiness. This is how businesses get listed in things like Google Maps and in location searches. It’s also how they get those neat cards with all the business information right at the top of Google’s page. Sadly, this only applies to businesses with a physical presence. If you haven’t registered, you are missing out on a huge SEO opportunity.
3. Get Your Easy Backlinks
Backlinks are the backbone for Google searches, but not every site grabs the low-hanging backlinks. Every social media and business profile site that your business has should have a link back to your website. These are free, easy, and powerful backlinks that help Google start building your brand presence online. You can find such opportunities by simply using Google searching your business name. See if these pages have links to your site, if no, ask to be added.
4. Stop Targeting Impossible Keywords
Google’s keywords have statistics connected with them. One of these is competition. Keywords with high competition make Google a lot of money through AdSense, but from an SEO perspective it’s very hard to rank high with them. If you’re a plumber and you’re pinning your hopes on getting to the #1 spot for “plumbing” in a national non local search, you’ve picked the wrong target.
In fact, most of the sites that get to the top of rankings for generic profession terms aren’t businesses at all. They’re informational sites. You need more nuanced words and phrases for your website copy. How?
Browsers who are looking for a solution for something through Google have one of two mindsets. The first mindset is that they know exactly what they are looking for and put in a targeted search query (e.g.” emergency furnace repair in Minneapolis”) to find it. The second is that they don’t know the thing to ask and put in a question (e.g. “Why won’t my pilot light stay lit on my furnace?). The keywords and phrases in these two queries are the ones you need to aim at because the searcher looking for a solution and is willing to pay for it.
5. Get Your Basics Right
From a search engine perspective, good SEO lets search engines know exactly what your site is all about and how it can be categorized in their database. Many sites, older ones especially, make this job harder for them than it needs to be. Moz.com has free tools that you can use to find easy SEO fixes for your site. Some may be a little technical, but the search engines will thank you for them.
Basics go beyond just the technical side of SEO. The site’s user interface can have a profound effect on SEO. If your site is hard to navigate people will leave quickly. Google will notice if that is a pattern and deduce that there’s something about your site that people don’t like and push it down the rankings. This correlation is well establish whether it’s direct or indirect. Avoid this by making your site easy to navigate. Don’t make your visitors work to get the information they wish to read.
6. Update When You Can
If Google revisits your site and sees that not much has changed, then it won’t waste time digging deeper into your site. By updating your site every so often with new information, Google takes notice. Now, just because you update your site regularly doesn’t mean you’ll rank higher on the keywords you want. It does tell Google to check your site more often and it gives them more data to work with. It doesn’t even have to be a huge change. We’ll be sharing a strategy below on how you can do incremental per-page changes to boost SEO that will also be seen as updates.
7. Get Your Analytics Right
Without good analytics, you have no way of determining how good your SEO is. Just searching for your keywords is a poor way to do it. Google Analytics is the single most useful tool in your arsenal. Learn what the different metrics mean and how to read them over time. Ideally, get at least three months of data into Google Analytics before you start making assumptions about patterns and traffic.
If you already are using Google Analytics, or have multiple analytics targets like Facebook, Twitter, AdSense, and more for the same site, there are tools that can bring in all of the info at once. Supermetrics is a great tool to pull SEO data: with Supermetrics for Google Sheets’ you can easily pull data from 35+ sources, including MOZ, SEMRush and Google Search Console. And the Add-on’s built – in template gallery will make it easier to get started
Perform Incremental Improvements
If you have all of these basics in place and you have several months of good data, then you can start making incremental improvements. You do this by finding a page that has some quality keywords it’s already ranked for but hasn’t quite pushed into the first page of results. By tweaking the page slightly to optimize for that keyword, you can get the page past that crucial first barrier. This article from Orbit Media goes more into the process and some of the potential pitfalls.
By applying these tips, you should start seeing your ranks climb relative to your competitors. If you don’t, then it’s time to consider hiring a professional SEO company to see if there is something hindering you that’s not so easy to fix. Problems like bad backlinks or competition that uses advanced SEO strategies require professional assistance. That said, remember that SEO takes time to improve. Don’t give up!
About Chris Hickman
Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 14 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com, helping busineses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google.