You’ve figured out your product, started building your business, built a website, and maybe even made a few sales here and there. Yet, if you want to find lasting success, you need to find a way to attract your target market to your business. In today’s world, that means getting your website to rank for relevant searches on Google.
Sure, there are other ways to market your business and get your name out, but getting on a first page of search results on Google is the most effective way to attract your target market. By knowing what kinds of things they search for and making sure your website ranks for those terms, you set up your business for lasting success. Here are the best methods to make sure your website ranks on that first page of search results.
Write Quality Content That Matters
If you had asked an SEO expert a decade ago how to rank, they would have talked about stuffing as many keywords as possible on each page so Google knew exactly what you wanted to rank for. Those days have long past, though, and now the quality of your website’s content is essential to ranking well.
Building quality content is not easy. Most businesses, including your competitors, are trying to utilize content marketing to attract their target market, so you’ll need to find a way to beat them.
Before you even start writing the content, you need to do some research. This includes identifying keywords and terms your target market are likely to search, analyzing what other sites already rank for them and whether you can beat them, and how to properly use those searches to get people into your marketing funnel.
After doing the necessary research, then it’s time to write. Quality content will answer your target market’s questions or concerns while also pushing visitors towards making a purchase. No matter the topic you are covering, do the necessary research and cover the topic with authority. Make content for people first, and Google second. That way, visitors are happy with their experience, your content comes across as natural, and your content helps you gain sales.
As you produce high quality content relating to relevant keywords, Google will start to take notice. As Google’s bots crawl your site, they’ll learn whether your content is worth putting on a first page on results or not.
Build Links to Your Quality Content
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One of the largest factors Google considers when ranking sites for a search result is how many links are pointing to it. Google takes this as a sign that the website is trustworthy and authoritative since other websites are linking to it. While gaining links naturally from other sites because your content is so great is the goal, sometimes it needs a little help.
Link building is the process where you reach out to other sites in an effort to get links pointing to your site. Then, once Google crawls those sites, they’ll see a new link pointing to your site, improving your rankings and the search engine’s trust.
The methods to link building are varied, each requiring specific skills and having their own challenges. After creating a very useful or creative piece of content, you could email to other industry leaders explaining why linking to it on their site could benefit their following. Another method is to guest post on other sites and link to your own research, content, or website within the post.
There are some ways of link building that you should avoid though. Many of these worked a long time ago, but since then Google has caught on and will penalize sites associated with black hat link building. This includes linking to your site extensively in comment sections, buying thousands of links on extremely low authority sites, and creating additional websites just to link back to your website. All of these will lead to lowering your search rankings and possibly even being banned from Google search results.
Consistently Updating your Website
When one of Google’s bots crawls your website, it creates a copy of each page. It uses this data to analyze your site and determine your rankings. The more often a bot crawls your site, the more current data Google has and the better rankings you receive.
That means you need to give Google a reason to send a bot to your site more often than normal. To do this, create a habit of putting up fresh content on your website and updating it regularly. When Google discovers that you’ve been updating regularly, they’ll send their bots to crawl your site more often, thus increasing your rankings.
A popular way to accomplish this is producing new content for a blog on a weekly or bi-monthly schedule. A key part to doing this correctly, though, is not letting the quality of your content suffer in order to stay consistent. Find a schedule that lets you produce content that will help your marketing efforts and keep Google coming back regularly.
Ranking for Local Results
If you sell exclusively online, this isn’t as much of an issue, but if you do business with your local area, you need to account for local search results.
While still doing the above mentioned tips, make sure it’s clear to everybody, both bots and visitors, that you are a local business. Put your address in the footer of every page. Have it on your “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages. Produce content that specifically targets and addresses local problems and events. Make it clear that you do business in and are a part of the local community.
Optimized for Mobile Devices
Over half of all internet traffic is done on mobile devices. Having your website optimized for mobile devices isn’t a choice, it’s a requirement. Google has openly stated that sites optimized for mobile devices will rank better than those that don’t.
If you want any chance to be on the first page for searches, you need to be optimized for mobile. That can include having a responsive site that changes depending on browser or screen site, having a separate site for mobile devices, and making sure the site looks good on a smaller screen.
Stay Up to Date on the Latest Trends
Marketing and SEO is constantly evolving — Google improves their services, target markets change, and technology advances. Whether you’re grinding to get to that first page of results or looking to maintain your current rankings, stay up to date with the latest in marketing trends.
By keeping up with the newest tactics and working to constantly improve your site, you’ll reach your goal of being on the first page of search results. It’s like rolling a boulder down a hill; at first it’s hard to push, but as you gain more momentum you’ll start to see results pour in. The more authority you gain with Google, the easier it will be to hit the first page for other search results.