Normally I ask a ton of questions such as where do you currently rank, for which keywords & phrases, did you put any effort into getting that rank and do you actually get any traffic, enquiries, leads, conversions or sales from that ranking?
But you came here in response to the question how do I rank higher on Google?* so I will answer that for you…
*Other search engines are available
1. Create a Quality Website
This is your number one goal. Create a high quality website with high quality content. Make that website fast, make it accessible, make it open to the search engines, get them to crawl it, make sure they can identify and index everything in your site and make sure that everything is clearly marked up, as text or video, for starters.
That’s easier said than done but it’s a good starting point. If you have good quality content as your primary goal then you’ll earn a reputation for that. With lofty ideals you’ll set the bar high and you’ll develop and maintain a quality mindset.
Back in 2007 I used to write news for the small business sector and when I first started I decided to base my approach on that of the BBC, the best provider of news in the UK in my opinion. Even looking back now the Beeb still publishes its BBC News style guide and Editorial Guidelines, two very good reference points for anyone wanting to practice quality journalism.
Now you may not consider yourself as a journalist but you will have to wear that hat if you’re going to produce high quality content.
So set your sights high.
2. Do that Keyword Research
So you want to rank higher on Google? Well, for which search term? Is it one you currently rank for or one that you would like to rank higher for? Do people actually use that as a search term? Does it actually get any traffic? Do you have lots of competitors? Are they competing and ranking for this term too?
This is where you really need to do your homework. It’s all well and good wanting to rank for the term you want to be found for but if people aren’t searching for it then what’s the point? You’ll know because you’ll check your Google Analytics and that search term doesn’t show up. You’ll check your Google Search Console and there are no clicks for it.
This is where you’ll need to do your keyword research and find other variations of terms. You don’t have to develop a Shakespearean vocabulary but it helps to think like a human thesaurus. When I worked for the SME sector, the acronym SME could also be written as Small to Medium-sized Enterprise, Small to Medium-sized Business, SMB, small business, micro business, enterprise, commercial venture etc. You get the picture.
Why wouldn’t you want to repeat the same single term over and over again I hear you ask? Because it can look spammy and unnatural. Humans can see the same keyword repeatedly and search engine algorithms see it too – it’s call keyword stuffing and you can get penalised for doing it.
3. Build Authoritative Content
One thing some of our clients often say to us is that they’ve already written a single piece of content on a particular subject, so why should they publish any more? We then look at their stats and see how they’re doing – and quite often that’s not particularly well.
The “build it and they will come” attitude from “The Field of Dreams” is OK for fictional drama but doesn’t cut it in the real world. That’s why we advise that if you’re the expert in a particular subject, back it up with good quality content.
If your core business is video production then don’t just post one paltry page. Build a core page, some “cornerstone content” and then support it with subpages that feed into it.
It’s a bit like a library – you’ll not earn a reputation for a quality psychology section if you have just one book on the shelf from Sigmund Freud. You’ll be far more appreciated if you stock up on Carl Jung, Ivan Pavlov or Erik Erikson.
So build a body of reputable work and you will benefit from the search engines crawling and indexing your body of expertise. Think about it this way – People search with Google because it is a reputable and trusted service. Of course, it’s not perfect, but if you do everything to let Google know that you’re the expert in a particular subject or field then it will reward you with good rankings. And what do high rankings mean? Traffic!
4. Do your On-Page SEO
Just before you publish your new content, make sure it’s fully SEO’d. Have a meaningful URL without stop words. Create a compelling title and meta description. These are the parts of the snippet that users will see in the search results. Here’s an example…
You want to make sure that your listing is the one that stands out, that fulfils the user’s intent, that answers their question. You want your listing to be the one that they click.
Then, once they land on your page, you want them to immediately know they’ve come to the right place – have a relevant image, supporting headings, etc.
Is there a strong and clear call to action (CTA) on your landing page? Will your visitors enquire, do they want to know more, are they sufficiently fired up to go to the next stage with you?
So make sure you SEO every page that you create and SEO it well.
5. Share your Content
Now that you’ve got a quality website with great content, you need to make sure people know it’s there.
Start with the search engines of course. You’ll have built your website with an automatically updating XML sitemap, right? Submit your sitemap to the Search Console or Bing’s Webmaster Tools. This will encourage crawling and indexing. Ranking happens later.
Build links to your pages from your partners’ websites.
Share your message on social media and ask for people to share further.
Send your link out to your email subscribers.
You want to broadcast and amplify your message so make sure you’ve got every channel primed for your output.
6. What About your Competitors?
You’ll need to take this in mind when you want to achieve higher rankings.
Who are your competitors? How big are their businesses? How big are their websites? How much content do they have that directly competes with yours? What are their budgets? How much do they spend on maintaining high rankings? What clout do they have in the grand scheme of things? Do you stand a chance of competing against their might?
These are all big asks and maybe you know, maybe you don’t. But if you’re a tiny little SME with half a dozen staff competing against a global giant then maybe you should look at your ranking strategy in a different light.
Rather than going head-to-head with a blue chip corporate you can do your keyword research to find a more niche product or sector to target instead.
Whatever your strategy to rank higher on Google or other search engines, do your homework. If you need help, ask Clever Marketing. We can do your keyword research, your competitor analysis, we can craft you a content strategy, a social media strategy.