Increasing your search rankings on Google is essential if you want to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions.
To do this, the main areas you need to focus on are:
- Increasing Backlinks
- Optimizing Your Site For SEO
- Optimizing For Local Search
Before you look at increasing your rankings, it’s important to understand the difference that it makes. The top result on Google search results gets 31.7% of all clicks and is 10 times more likely to be clicked than the result in the number 10 spot. On average, moving up one spot in search results will increase your click-through-rate (CTR) by 30.8%, however, it does depend on the initial position. For example, the difference in CTR between positions seven and 10 is negligible. But moving from position three to two will give you a significant CTR boost.
Beyond the first page of results, there is a huge drop in CTR. In fact, only 0.78% of Google searcher’s clicked a link that was displayed on the second page of results. That means that if your site doesn’t rank highly and you do not appear on the first page of results for relevant keywords, your CTR will be almost nonexistent.
Google currently holds 92.95% of the market share for search engines and the majority of consumers will use online searches to find businesses when they are in need of products or services. So, it is absolutely vital that you work to improve your search rankings on Google.
The order of search results on Google is determined by an algorithm that takes lots of different factors into account. Marketing experts spend their entire careers trying to make sense of these algorithms and crack the formula, which Google makes more difficult by constantly releasing updates. If you are going to rank highly, it is important that you’re aware of any updates because they may impact your rankings in a big way.
You can find a history of all the updates from December 1, 2000, and on here. It’s important to be aware of these updates, but unfortunately, there is no magic formula. The rules are always changing, but there are certain core elements that you need to get right if you are going to improve your rankings on Google.
Here they are!
Content marketing is an important part of any marketing strategy and it benefits your business in a lot of different ways. Creating good quality, informative content is an effective way to build trust in your business. By providing detailed information about your products, or the industry in general, you need to show consumers that you’re knowledgeable, which inspires more trust in your products.
Informational content can also act as a sales tool. Consumers have a lot of choices when they are shopping online, and so they are more likely to do research before buying a product. Content that outlines the benefits of your product and shows why it is superior to other similar products can help to boost sales.
But the most important function of content marketing, and the one that we will focus on here, is boosting your search rankings on Google.
The first step in any content marketing campaign is keyword analysis. When you are creating content, you need to ensure that it appears on the first page of a Google search, which means choosing the right keywords. There are three main factors to consider here:
- Search Volume
- Keyword Competition and
- Traffic Value
If you analyze the number of searches for relevant keywords using software like Moz Pro or SEMrush, you can find out how often those terms are searched. For example, if your business sells novelty mugs aimed at middle-aged men, you should look at keywords like ‘mugs,’ ‘novelty mugs,’ and ‘novelty mugs for men.’ It is likely that ‘mugs’ will get the most searches, while ‘novelty mugs’ will get fewer. ‘Novelty mugs for men’ is even more specific, so search volume will be even lower. Based on these statistics, it would seem that creating content with ‘mug’ as the main keyword is the best option. But it’s never that simple!
The second step is keyword competition. ‘Mug’ is a very general keyword, and there will be a lot of companies that already rank highly for it. If a lot of well-established brands appear on the first page of search results for that keyword, it will be difficult for you to rank highly. But more specific keywords like ‘novelty mugs,’ or ‘novelty mugs for men,’ will have less competition. The key is finding a balance between search volume and search competition so you can direct content in the right way. It is often best to go for a term that has fewer total searches, but also has less competition so your content makes more of an impact.
Finally, you need to consider traffic value. Even if your content ranks highly and your CTR rate increases, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get conversions. If you notice that your content campaign works to improve company rankings on Google, but you don’t see an increase in sales, you may need to rethink your keywords. It may be that you are drawing traffic from consumers that are not interested in your product and you need to consider more specific keywords.
Unless your brand is already well established, you will have to prioritize lower difficulty keywords and try to fill content gaps. This will be far more effective than attempting to rank for the most competitive keywords.
Layering content is a good strategy when you are finding it hard to rank for certain keywords because they are too competitive. If you can write about complementary subjects that are easier to rank for, you can include internal links to other content with keywords that are harder to rank for.
Let’s go back to our previous example with the mugs. You may not be able to rank highly for keywords like ‘mugs,’ but there may be other topics in the same area that are easier to rank for. For example, you could create content about different brands of tea or coffee or a Christmas gift guide, which then gives you opportunities for internal links to your content about novelty mugs. This is a good strategy when you are finding it difficult to rank for competitive keywords. Internal links to product pages can also help to boost sales as long as they are natural.
Regular Posting Schedule
A regular blog posting schedule is vital in any content marketing campaign. If you do not post on a regular basis, it will be difficult to improve company rankings on Google because the algorithm considers the ‘freshness’ of pages when creating the rankings. They aim to provide people with the most up-to-date content available, so sites that have not posted in a month or two, or sites that only post sporadically will be penalized.
As well as posting new content on a regular basis, you need to continually update old content. This is something that a lot of businesses neglect, and it’s often the reason that their content marketing campaigns fail to improve company rankings on Google. A piece of content that performed well a year ago will not do much to improve your rankings now, so you need to add to it. You can repurpose old articles and post new versions, or you can add visual content to them like videos and images. It’s also a good idea to include a ‘last updated’ feature at the top of each page so you can keep adding new information to them.
Backlinks are an important part of your SEO strategy. They benefit SEO but they also help to drive more traffic to your site outside of searches, so they are a vital part of your marketing strategy. One of the best ways to increase backlinks to your website is by increasing linkability in your content.
The quality and clarity of the writing are important here as people will not link back to a low-quality article. If you ensure that content is entertaining as well as informative, it will be more linkable. It also pays to do your research and use lots of reputable sources because that will lend credibility to the information in the article. If you can include new and original information that does not appear in any other content out there, that will make a big difference as well.
If your content marketing campaign covers all of these bases, it will help to improve company rankings on Google.
Increasing backlinks is an effective way to improve company rankings on Google because it lends authority to your website. The Google algorithm is designed to give searcher’s the most useful and informative results and ensure that the information is up-to-date and accurate. If a lot of other sites link back to yours, it tells the algorithm that you are a reliable source of information, and that will help to improve company rankings on Google.
The quality of the sites that link back to makes a big difference as well. So, the more authoritative the website that links back to you, the more it will improve your search rankings.
Ensuring that your content is linkable should help to boost your backlinks in a significant way, but there are other methods that you can use as well.
The Broken Link Method
The broken link method is a great strategy for getting easy backlinks! It involves contacting the host of a website and informing them that there are broken links on their website. Then you can suggest links to replace them and, of course, some of those will be links back to your site. They will be grateful that you have notified them and they will be eager to fix broken links that affect the quality of their content, so you will get a lot of backlinks using this method.
If you go into Google and search ‘keyword + links,’ you should get plenty of hits. Using our earlier example, do a search for ‘novelty mugs + links,’ and you will get relevant content containing links. Then you can use a browser plugin that identifies all broken links on that site.
Now, you simply send a polite email to the webmaster, introducing yourself and explaining that they are linking to resources that are no longer available. Suggest a few alternatives, including your own site, and see how they respond. Often, they will use your link, but don’t be surprised if they don’t.
People respond well to visual content online, especially where engagement is concerned, so infographics are a very effective way to build backlinks. A good infographic is more likely to be shared on social media than a text post, and if it contains a link to your website, you will get a lot of backlinks. Influential sites like Mashable publish posts with infographics from all sorts of different sites, and a backlink from them will be very effective if you want to improve company rankings on Google. Once you have created some infographics, you can submit them to directories (find a list here).
Guest posting is an effective way to drive traffic to your site and increase backlinks at the same time. If you can find other companies that are complementary but not in direct competition with your business, you should approach them and enquire about their guest posting policy.
For example, a business that sells mugs may guest post on the website of a tea or coffee company, or a home and kitchenware business. If you can create good quality content to guest post on their site, you will get a good backlink. It also helps you to expand your reach and expose your business to more consumers. It’s a very effective way to improve company rankings on Google and it can also help to boost your social media following as well.
Optimize Your Site For SEO
Before any site can appear on the first page of a Google search, it needs to be indexed. To understand how this works, it is first necessary to understand what is meant by the terms indexing and crawling.
When a Google bot ‘crawls’ a website, it explores that website and all of its pages. If there are instructions in the code to say that a page can be indexed, that page is now eligible to appear on the search results pages. If there are instructions that specify ‘noindex,’ that page will not be included in search results. Before a bot can crawl a page, it must be given permission. The instructions on whether or not to index a page are contained within that page. If a bot is not allowed access to a page, it does not know whether to index it or not, but it will usually index it by default.
It’s important that you control the crawling and indexing of your site so you can direct search results, so optimizing your site infrastructure for SEO is vital.
Optimize Robots.txt File
The Robots.txt file resides in the root directory of your website and it gives instructions on how to crawl and index your website. In a lot of cases, it should be fine as it is and you won’t need to make any changes. However, there is a chance that mistakes in your Robots.txt file are blocking certain pages on the site that you want to be indexed. That means that those pages will never rank on search engines at all, which makes it a lot harder to improve company Google rankings. If you do not have a Robots.txt file at all, Google will assume that all pages of the site can be crawled and indexed. It’s important that you go through these text files and optimize them so the Google bots are crawling and indexing your site in the right way.
Most people assume that you want all of your pages to be crawled and indexed, but that is not always the best strategy. Crawling is a very resource-intensive process and if multiple search engines are crawling a very large site, it can cause performance issues. If your website has a lot of pages, you should consider using the Robots.txt file to block pages that do not affect your SEO performance.
It is also worth noting that backlinks to your site allow that page to be indexed, regardless of whether they have been blocked to crawlers or not. If there are certain pages that you definitely do not want to appear on search results, you need to manage your backlinks effectively.
Site speed has a big impact on search engine rankings because the algorithm is trying to direct users to the best possible site for their search, and performance is just as important as content here. Google will assess the speed of your website and you will be penalized if it’s slow. Then, it’s far more difficult to improve your Google rankings if your site has performance issues.
Aside from managing your Robots.txt file properly, there are a few simple ways to improve loading times on your site. You can use Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool to get a score for your site so you know whether you need to make changes.
A site that has too much going on is likely to load slowly. If you have pop-up videos and lots of images on your landing pages, you may want to consider stripping it back and going for a more minimal design.
You may also have issues with your servers. This is something that a lot of businesses struggle with during a growth period. As traffic increases, their current servers can no longer handle the number of users and performance is affected. It is important that you improve servers as the site grows if you want to maintain good loading times.
Optimizing For Mobile
In 2018, 52.2% of all global web traffic came from mobile phones. That number is increasing and Google algorithms take this into account when ranking search results. If your site is not responsive for mobile, you may notice a significant drop in its ranking. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool here to see how your website ranks.
Optimizing For Local Search
In some cases, it is important for businesses to optimize their sites for local search. If you run a retail store or a restaurant, for example, all of your customers will be from the local area. It’s important that your site ranks highly for location-specific keywords. For example, a restaurant in Chicago won’t get very far if they only rank for the keyword ‘restaurant.’ If they are going to see an increase in revenue from their efforts to improve company rankings on Google, they need to rank highly for the phrase ‘restaurant Chicago,’ and other similar keywords.
The best way to do this is to alter your existing pages and include the name of your town and city where it’s natural. Adding a contact page with your address and phone number as well as including a map is useful too.
If your business has multiple locations across the country, you need to create specific pages for each location so that you rank highly in all local areas.
Local directories are a simple way to boost your rankings for local search terms. Google’s My Business directory is the most important one when trying to improve company rankings on Google, but there are plenty of other directories like Bing Places, Yahoo, Yelp, and Foursquare. Adding your business to these directories will make it easier for customers to find you and improve your local search rankings at the same time.
Improving company rankings on Google should always be a marketing priority because it will drive traffic to your website and boost conversions. If your business doesn’t appear on that first page of results, traffic will disappear overnight.
We hope these best practices will help you improve your business’ rankings on Google!
At RSM Marketing, we have a team of experts who are here to offer insight and solutions to help effectively promote your products and services to new and existing clients and customers. From SEO services to outsourced marketing support, we’re here to help our clients achieve breakthrough in their business!