Every business wants to be at the top of the search engine results page for their business category. But how do you rank higher for less money on Google? With some time and diligence anyone can improve their Google Rank.
To be clear, we are talking about organic search or SEO. Businesses who rank highly in SEO do not get there by accident. While some might argue that improving your ranking is all about ego it is really all about business. 97% of all clicks take place on the first page and 55% of all clicks go to the first 3 organic listings.With some planning and execution you can move your business there as well.
Start by focusing on 3 factors, Technical, Content and Links.
When thinking about the technical part of your website think about how it is organized. Is it easy to understand what your business does? A good website should be simple to navigate. If it is easy for an individual it will be easy for Google. Make sure that your web pages are properly titled and tagged. Carefully write your Meta descriptions, so searchers and Google know what your pages are about. Clean, easy to read design is the best.
Examine your website from mobile first. Make sure it reads well and is easy to navigate on any device. Google ranks site based on mobile site first. Finally, check your site speed. If your site loads too slowly you will penalized by Google. Visitors to your site will drop off dramatically if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Use Google’s own site speed tool to test both site and page load times. Google provides suggestions for improving speed along with the test results.
One of the more popular digital sayings these days is “Content is King”. Interesting content grabs people’s attention. Google tracks the content you post. Obviously, posting new content to your site is important, but so is social media. Write content based on the keywords that you want to rank for. Write about important topics and keywords in a natural way. Over-use of keywords can be interpreted by Google as “stuffing” keywords, an attempt to use the words often to trick the system. Google will penalize “keyword stuffing”. You are better served by using the keywords steadily over time and in different content pieces.
By regularly updating your content you show search engines that your site is always current and growing. Your site becomes more relevant and Google will rank you higher.
It is hard to over-state the value of links, particularly backlinks. A “backlink” is a link from an external site back to yours. It is essentially a “vote of confidence” that shows Google others think your content is valuable. They are an essential part of SEO. Backlinks can be time-consuming to earn. Creating high quality engaging content is the key. Reach out to bloggers and “thought leaders” in your industry. Link to their content. Ask if you can quote them in your content. By creating a relationship with these people and developing your own quality content you can get them to link back to you. Those links are worth their weight in gold. Quality backlinks are another sign to Google that your site is relevant and worthy of a higher rank.
Links from directories are also of value. Start by creating a complete Google My Business listing. Make sure that all of your entries in subsequent directories use exactly the same information. Little things like writing your address as “North” on one directory and using “N” in another can confuse search engines. If you want to make sure all listings are the same spend a few dollars and use a service such as Moz.
SEO does not happen overnight. It requires consistent effort. You will be better served to spend a couple of hours a week to the process than spending five or six hours one day a month. If you want to rank higher for less money you will need to invest the time. But consistent efforts will yield results. Higher search rankings usually mean more traffic to your site and more business. Who knows, with enough effort your site could be at the top of the page.