Online content will generate organic traffic, but getting it in front of the right audience will take your content to the next level. If your content doesn’t speak Google’s language, it will be buried in the search results. While a well-crafted SEO strategy can give you an edge, the rules are always changing.
In a nutshell, Google frequently reviews your website to gather data on how relevant and accessible your site is and whether or not it provides value to the end user. If your content isn’t speaking the search engine’s language, then your website will get passed over and others will rank higher on the search engine results pages. Google must be able to discover, understand, and retrieve the information that your site is putting out. Below, we’ve outlined exactly how to rank on Google and increase your organic search traffic in 10 simple steps.
Start with the fundamentals and make your website mobile-friendly. Google ranks mobile-optimized sites higher because most users access Google from mobile devices. To make your site more mobile friendly you can create accelerated mobile pages (AMP), work to decrease load times, remove unnecessary content, and use a responsive web design that actively adjusts your site based on the device your audience is using.
Do you know what questions your target market is asking? Do you know where to find them? To reach your audience you need to understand them and what they are looking for on your site.
The Google Keyword Planner Tool and SEMRush.com can generate popular search terms people use when looking for businesses in your specific industry. You can optimize your site based on these keywords by organically sprinkling them throughout your blog posts, landing pages, and static web pages. Keeping an eye on trending keywords and questions that can inform your company on what your audience cares most about.
For more information, here is a five-step guide on how to do keyword research. Don’t just guess—get in front of your customers by knowing what they are asking.
Take the keywords you have found that resonate with your audience and use them to connect. Write regular blog posts that answer the questions they are asking. Gather testimonials and feature them on your site to build trust. Engage with your current and potential clients in comments that allow the search engines to see that your business is active and engaged. Consistency is key here—a steady stream of quality content over time will lead to a significant competitive advantage in how your site ranks with Google.
Link building is essentially the relationship networking of the internet. Similar to people connecting over a cup of coffee at the local cafe, links pull information together and share collective knowledge between websites. It’s a way to share and build audiences with a complementary industry or business.
Link building isn’t a quick fix. It can be a slow process over time. Within each additional blog post, add one or two new links to outside sources. In turn, consistently reach out to other businesses and ask them to link back to you in return. Make it a win-win, and offer to customize blog content from your site so other businesses can utilize that content on their site. The links in the article that connect back to you will have a significant impact on your business over time, just make sure you link-back to high-quality, reputable sources.
The headline, or SEO title, is the first thing your audience sees about your company on Google after searching their questions. The clearer your headline is, and the more concisely it answers the question, the more likely they are to click through. Click-bait is makes for a bad user experience and more and more readers are able to identify it and keep scrolling. Keep it simple and either restate the question or give the answer right there in your headline. Not sure how to go about writing an internet-friendly blog headline? Here are five simple steps to get you there.
Voice search is steadily on the rise with more and more people searching via Siri and Alexa. According to PWC, over 70% of people use voice assistant devices to conduct online searches.
Voice search is more conversational, mobile, and locally focused. One strategy some companies have implemented is creating shorter content that can be read back to the on-the-go customer. Instead of using one keyword, utilize the answer to the question. For instance, instead of using “increase Google rank” for this article, our voice-optimized keyword search could be “how to rank on Google?” or “How can I rank on Google?” To learn more, read our voice search optimization guide.
It is important to keep a watchful eye on your competitors. Every now and then, check in on them to see what they are actively working towards regarding their blogs and keyword focus. What questions are they responding to in their blog posts? How are people interacting with them? Be on the lookout for topics and trends that you may have missed and then take corrective action. Find an angle to the story they have not explored, or offer five steps to fix a problem as opposed to the three steps they shared. Establish yourself as the expert and watch their audience migrate to your page.
One of the easiest items in our list is to claim your Google My Business listing and go through the verification process. It’s free and essential to help customers find you. Upload picture of your office, staff, and services or products. Come back regularly to upload pictures as an active, verified, and optimized Google My Business user. This profile can help you stand out in search results and improve your search ranking.
Word of mouth and online reviews are a great way to generate more business and gain the trust of Google. Having reviews on multiple platforms is key. Encourage loyal customers to leave reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other sites that may be important to your industry.
According to Forbes, there are six simple ways to get your customers to review your business online: setting up profiles on multiple review sites, asking your customers to leave reviews via email or in-person, make reviewing as easy as possible, offer a review incentive, thank your reviewers, and always make reviews a part of your work process. None of these encourage fake reviews, which search engines will penalize you for. Transparency is an important part of building trust with your audience—fake reviews can kill your rating and your reputation.
The truth is that algorithms change constantly. If you are tailoring content to only catch the attention of Google, you are doing it wrong. The search engine is not your audience, your customers are. The search engine is nothing more than a tool to help you reach your audience—never lose sight of that. Your content should sound natural, conversational, and provide value.
Google gets smarter everyday and can detect when websites try old SEO tricks like keyword stuffing or spammy back-linking. If the search engine thinks you are trying to trick it, you could be blacklisted. Instead, focus on providing real value and quality content to your audience. Be mindful of keywords and phrases but weave them into the post naturally.
Remember that gaining Google rankings isn’t an instantaneous feat. The more effort you put into providing your audience with quality content that answers their questions, the higher you will rank. Keep plugging away. You’ll get there!
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