A ‘Real World’ Guide On How to Rank Better In Google Search Results
In order for people to find your website online, you need to ‘rank’ in search engines. Thus the reason why many people want to know how to rank better in Google. Frankly, there are a lot of factors that contribute to your ‘rank’ but in this guide, we will focus on the most important things that give you the biggest return for your efforts. Keep in mind, SEO and increasing your Google ranking is not an easy task, but it is possible. It won’t happen overnight but the key is to tackle it one step at a time.
How you should really think about SEO
Ultimately, when someone is searching online they are looking for answers. Google’s job is to return the best possible result or ‘answer’ for that search query. To do this, Google is looking for the most relevant, authoritative, and user-friendly results. That is how they determine the quality of a website or web page, and thus determine that page’s ranking for the given search query.
This means that your site should focus on being optimized for the user’s total experience rather than just trying to appeal to search engines. Before going further, do yourself a favor and watch this short video about how search works from Google.
At the end of the day, optimizing a site to rank well is mostly common sense. For example, if a site has relevant, high quality, well-written content, loads fast, looks nice on any device and is easy to navigate, you would assume that it was a quality result. Odds are, Google would agree with you and will rank the page accordingly. For more on this check out this blog post.
- SEO = Search Engine Optimization
- Page Rank = Your placement for a certain keyword phrase in Google search results
- Signals = Key indicators Google looks at when ranking pages to return for search results
- Query = A search phrase entered into a Google search
- Authority = The relevant quality of a site (see more about Google Page Rank)
- Keyword Phrase = The exact wording of a search query you are optimizing for
- Google Adwords and Keyword Planner
- Google Search Console
- Yoast SEO (for WordPress sites)
- Website Marketing Grader by HubSpot
- Google Page Speed Test
- Other Resources
Common Ranking Factors
There are over 200 ‘signals’ in Google’s algorithm. It’s almost impossible to know everything about how to rank better in google, but here we have identified three general areas to focus on.
- Technical optimization
- Image sizes, page speed, meta descriptions, site title, mobile friendliness, security, etc.
- Content optimization
- Titles, featured image with alt tags, readability, usability, etc.
- Relevant, high-quality links and backlinks (contributes to site authority and page rank)
- Mobile friendly, visual appeal, responsive design, easy navigation, etc.
Other factors may or may not affect search results directly, but should still be considered.
- Frequency of fresh content publication
- Content and call to action user flow strategy
- Social media profiles, links, and engagement
- Analytics data such as traffic volume and quality, pages per session and average time on site
SEO Baby Steps
Here are some practical steps on how to rank better in Google.
- Build your website with the WordPress CMS (more on what is a CMS)
- Install an SSL Certificate on your site (free options available)
- Use a responsive theme so the site is innately mobile friendly
- Optimize images and design elements for faster page loading speeds
- Be sure to include alt text and descriptive titles for images and other media
- Create a list of priority keyword phrases you want to rank for
- Customize your main site title and meta description
- Develop content around those keywords (landing pages and blogs) and include relevant internal links where applicable.
- Install the Yoast SEO plugin and use it to generate an XML sitemap
- Go through and optimize key content pages using the Yoast tools (see how to video here)
- Set up Google Search Console and submit your XML sitemap to the Google index
- Be sure to back up and update your site regularly because getting hacked can have majorly negative SEO implications.
- Set up social profiles on the most relevant platforms for your audience
- Set up a Google My Business page and customize/optimize local listing(s)
- Generate genuine authoritative backlinks from reputable and related sources (professional blogs, publications, industry journals, local media, etc.)
- Link from your site to outside resources and sites that are relevant and authoritative
- Be sure that the site is visually appealing to visitors and is easy to navigate
- Be sure to tweak the mobile responsive view for an enhanced mobile experience
- Make sure that the site loads fast on desktop and mobile
- Consider adding social share buttons (with taste) and an email sign up for more content
There you have it! Following these steps will put you on the path to rank better in Google search results. For more information, here is a playlist of SEO related videos.
*** BONUS SEO Tips ***
Example Content Creation/Publication Workflow For Maximizing SEO
Here is an example workflow for increasing SEO and pushing out content for a wider reach.
- Select a targeted keyword phrase.
- Develop new content or repurpose existing content to create a landing page or blog post for that topic.
- Once you create the new page/post with the fresh content, optimize the page/post for the desired keyword terms. How to video here: https://youtu.be/snrTLy9VuX0
- Next, share the content with posts on social media. Note, you can recycle the same content multiple times on social media with different post titles and/or descriptions. The key is to get back links from social media, drive traffic, and boost engagement (likes, share, and clicks).
- You can also publish the content on LinkedIn publishing or other similar platforms. See more about that here: LinkedIn Publishing
- You could then create a Slide Share (which has surprisingly good SEO benefits) with the same or a slightly modified version of the content in your other posts. Be sure to link back to the original article on your site for a back link.
- You could also create video content around the topic. Upload it to YouTube, optimize the meta description and keywords, and then embed it on your website page/post. Then post the video on social media for even more exposure.
- You can utilize the content in your email blasts or other marketing campaigns as well. Either for specific campaigns, as part of a newsletter, or as part of an automated DRIP campaign.
Following this guide should give you a good idea of how to rank better in Google and also get more marketing mileage out of your website content.
If you have any questions on the topic of ‘how to rank better in google’ please feel free to contact us at HNHmarketing.com/contact