Digital marketing is always an ever-changing process. What might work for you might not work for others, and so on.
Among the many branches of digital marketing nowadays, we have Search Engine Optimization, SEO - a scary term to some, and the light of salvation to others.
We all understand the importance of Google, The Big G, when it comes to our website’s success.
If people can’t find you through search engines, you’ll surely have a bad time.
But Google doesn’t hate you nor ignore you - you just need to carefully craft an SEO strategy that powers your Google Rankings.
That’s why in this blog post we’ll be further discussing the following topics:
Getting organic traffic is hard - we know it, they know, and you know it.
There are so many sources of information across the Internet that standing out is a real challenge that not many websites can achieve.
But imagine what your project can achieve with improved search traffic:
All in all, the advantages of ranking higher on Google are the fuel that your own website or project needs to rocket your results efficiently, consistently, and, more importantly, organically.
Just because you need to rank higher on Google doesn’t mean you should follow all the pieces of advice you can find around.
We are quite aware of the “cliche” nature of the following sentence, but it perfectly fits here: SEO is a marathon, not a race.
And you can’t win a marathon without a preparation. Therefore, before starting to improve your search ranking, consider the three following factors:
For practical purposes, we have divided this guide into 5 different ranking factors that should always be considered regardless of the current state of your site. Each ranking factor has its impact on Google’s Search Engine Results Page.
Before starting, we must say that no one has the “secret sauce” behind the search algorithm, but understanding what Google and the people want is what is going to subsequently bring you the high Google rankings you need.
And also always keep in mind, that the ultimate goal of Google is to provide users with the best search results matching the search intent behind their query. If you can discover the user’s intent and deliver exactly what they want, you’re golden.
First things first - life is a competition. Whoever says otherwise will hardly find the success rates they need.
Google has an utterly natural competitive nature that can’t be avoided. Hence, identifying your main competitors is the first step if you want to rank higher on Google.
The “quick roadmap” should work like this:
It’s not about copying your competitors, it’s about analyzing their results and extrapolating this information to handcraft a strategy that works for you and will allow you to beat them.
Pro Tip: Google is highly against spam techniques within the SERPs. Although we can’t avoid having a competitive mindset, we should never use shady strategies to harm others. Watch this official Google video to learn more about this matter.
How do people search for things on Google? Through words! They type in their query, and they “click” on the result that appeals to them the most.
That’s why keywords are so important in every SEO aspect that we can think of.
Needless to say, understanding each keyword we use is the key to answer the user’s query properly.
Before using a particular keyword, think about everything that surrounds it.
Think about the following target keyword: “Car Rentals.” This short keyword phrase isn’t as specific as we would like it to be. What does the user want? Does he want to rent a car? Or find a car rental company? Maybe he’s trying to estimate the cost of renting a car?
In fact, the results around this keyword might not even be targeted at the user’s intent because it’s too generic.
On the other hand, think about this one: “Car Rentals near Miami.” Now, you are quite aware of what the users want when looking for this exact keyword.
Head keywords vs. long tail keywords should be carefully studied before you use them.
At first, you might think that a seed keyword, such as “Car Rental,” is what you want to rank for - think twice and find the right keywords!
There’s a saying: “You can’t fix what you don’t measure.” Perhaps you found some hidden keywords that were going to help you rank, but they are not working.
If you fail to track the overall performance of the keywords you use, then you won’t know what is working and what isn’t.
You can use free tools, such as Google Search Console, for this matter.
There are of course paid tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, MOZ, Ubersuggest, SE Ranking, WebCEO and many others that will keep the track of the keywords. If you value your time more than money, you should consider using them.
Google is the absolute king for a reason: they know what the users want (including those who want to rank higher in Google, i.e., you!)
That’s why you should never ignore official Google SEO Tools. Google Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, and the aforementioned Google Search Console, are strong allies that you should always take to war with you.
Using these Google Tools is a great way to find target keywords by analyzing related searches in your niche.
Linking your site to your Google Analytics account is an absolute must. You can integrate your GSC with Google Analytics for a better performance and more data.
Luckily, this isn’t rocket science - Google offers different free resources for webmasters so they can learn the dos and don’ts of their official tools.
Without a good On-Site SEO, it would be impossible for Google (and your audience) to understand what your site is about.
Thus, in order to improve On-Page SEO, take the following three factors into account.
Another cliche, yet useful, phrase for you: content is king.
Think about it: if you have good, and we mean good content, people will feel attracted to your website. There is a slight shift towards the video content, as people get lazy, but still a good, well-researched, in-depth article will do magic.
Creating a piece of information that matches the search intent is worth more than what you believe.
Consequently, think about the following before you start making content for your website:
Ultimately, cracking the “right formula” to make an article is not easy - it varies depending on the topic and intent.
But, overall, we can say that using SEO’s best-known practices, such as identifiable headings, a good title tag, visible anchor text, and more, will lead you into the right direction.
We cannot stress this enough - search intent is all. You want to get to the first page of Google, we know it, but you can’t do so without people.
And the needs of the people that look for a query are the most important thing in search engines.
You won’t create On-Page content about “Chicken Wings” for people looking for “Car Rentals,” right? That doesn’t make sense - you know it, your readers know it, and Google knows it.
So, what does the user want when they look for “Car Rental”?
This is just a general example, but it gives you a broad idea regarding search intent and its meaning on Google.
There are four main types of search intent.
Internal links go from one subpage of your site to another. Including relevant internal links within your content is useful both for readers and Google crawlers. A well-designed internal linking structure is crucial as it will spread the “link juice” all over the page, enhance crawlability, and basically tell Google Bot which pages are important. Employing useful anchor text links that are related to the main query is always appreciated in the eyes of Google.
On-Page SEO is utterly important to increase organic traffic, but you can’t sleep on Off-Page SEO. In this case, we are talking about the things that do not happen within your site, but also impact your rankings.
Link Building is one of the most important parts of nowadays SEO strategies. Whenever you create a useful backlink, Google understands that you are relevant for that specific topic. Backlinks directed to landing pages provide the site with “link juice,” which is quite important in Google’s eyes. Likewise, links that come from resource pages are as useful as they get, but they should be carefully crafted - you don’t want spammy or useless backlinks pointing at your website, do you? You can think of backlinks as a sort of recommendation. Running a car rental business, you could use some backlinks from Autonews or MotorTrends. Meanwhile a backlink from a housekeeper’s cooking recipes website from Arizona won’t do much. Not to mention spammy backlinks from link farms that people are still trying to push.
There’s a reason why there are SEO professionals solely focused on link building strategies - it’s not easy. A good linking strategy can only be properly tailored to a website if dozens of different factors are previously analyzed. Internal links, unlike backlinks, are under your control, but backlinks and their relevance are way more difficult to manage. That being said, networking and providing really useful content are just some of the existing methods to get powerful backlinks.
Last but not least, technical SEO is as important as the previously mentioned SEO factors. Google needs to crawl and index your website. If, for any reason, Google crawlers can’t do their job, your site will be lost on the 20th page on the SERP.
Your website must be secure - no one wants to access a site with faulty security features! It is quite known that Google prefers HTTPS sites due to their security protocol. Either way, it’s not just about appealing to Google - it’s about keeping your audience safe from Internet threats.
Page Speed is one of the most important factors when it comes to Google rankings. With Core Web Vitals becoming a thing recently, it has to be taken care of. If your website fails to load within 3-4 seconds, there’s a good to fair chance a user will bounce. Your title tags and keyword research strategies might be on point, but you cannot neglect page speed. Learn more about Google and Page Speed here.
5.3 Think About User Experience (UX) and Mobile Optimization
63% of all Google searches are performed via mobile devices in 2022. There is a Mobiles First Index as well, meaning that Google looks at your mobile version of the website first. If it looks poor, your desktop version won’t rank high either.
If you want more organic traffic, you have to make your website mobile device-friendly.
This is not optional. Even if you manage to rank high somehow, your click-through rate will heavily drop once Google (or the users themselves) identifies that your site doesn’t work as it should for mobile phones.
Likewise, when it comes to UX, little things, such as descriptive URLs or large font can help a lot.
Having a clean, understandable, and easy-to-spot URL is way more important than some marketers believe, so don’t skip on it.
This was just an appetizer - the SEO world is way bigger than it looks.
The way in how Google displays your website is subject to changes due to monthly, quarterly, and yearly Core Updates.
But even if the SERP can get quite volatile from time to time, following the tips in this guide will give you a broad idea about how to rank higher on Google.
It will be a challenge, but nothing in life that’s worth having comes easy.
You now have the 101 information you need to power up your rankings - it’s time to put your hands to work!
Yes and no. You can indeed pay for Google Ads, but this is not the same as organic ranking. In short, paying for Google Search Ads may put you at the top of the page, but that doesn't improve your organic search rankings.
Google’s Search Algorithm is the code used to determine the ranking SEO factors in the SERP. Its intricacies are yet to be fully analyzed before understanding the algorithm's way of working. Click on the aforementioned link to learn more about this matter.