Search engine ranking is really quite important.
Look at your own searching habits, for example. How often do you click through to page 2’s results when Googling something?
I’d bet that if what you’re looking for doesn’t pop up on the first page, you’re more likely to rephrase your search term than move on to the next page… Am I right?
That’s because you (like most) trust Google’s ranking system to produce the most relevant content first.
According to Protofuse, the top 3 organic results on Google (#1, #2, #3) capture 61% of clicks. Less than 10% of people advance to Page 2.
While the sophistication of Google’s algorithm is incredibly useful for its users, it creates some pretty vicious competition amongst those wanting a slice of the limelight.
This blog puzzles out the search engine ranking enigma, allowing you to go forward with content creation safe in the knowledge that you won’t get lost in the crowd.
How to rank on google:
1. Don’t think you can outsmart Google
Google is smart. Google is that kid at school who didn’t study for a test and still aced it.
Trying to outsmart Google won’t work…and more importantly, it won’t do you any good. Think about it, in the past people tried to improve their ranking by using cheats like back-linking in comments or keyword stuffing.
And it worked!
For a bit…
Then Google figured out a way to spot when this was happening, and penalized anyone involved. Suddenly the ‘cheaters’ were down somewhere on page 5 (shudder).
And that’s what they’ll continue to do with every new hack that emerges.
Google hasn’t become the most used search engine in the world by producing search results full of irrelevant, spammy content.
This user-centric company cares most about ensuring that it satisfies its users’ needs, as quickly as possible.
So, first and foremost: create good quality content that will be genuinely useful to your target audience. If Google trusts that you are a valuable source then it will reward you by ranking you higher up on a page.
If not, well… Say hello to page 5.
2. Speak your target audience’s language
If you want your target audience to find you, you need to do a little digging to figure out exactly what they’re searching for.
Once you’ve got a firm grasp on this, you then need to find a way to connect your firm with it.
This is what keywords, an SEO basic, are for.
Searchers use keywords to help Google give them a more specific search result. Businesses use keywords to help them show up in these searches.
Here at JTN, we use Google’s Keyword Planner to identify industry-specific keywords that have a high average monthly search but low competition (this means lots of people are searching the keyword, but there isn’t much content out there that contains that keyword).
Then, we use our chosen keyword to inform the angle of our content. It’s all about what your target audience wants to know, not what you want to write about.
We recommend using long-tail keywords (longer words or phrases that are more specific to an industry) because they are more likely to rank and tend to result in more relevant traffic.
3. Supercharge your keyword
When you’re writing your content, there’s a few things you can do to really enhance the efforts of your keyword (and your chances of nabbing those prime spots).
- Make your content keyword-centric–but don’t overuse it either. Aim for a ratio of 70 – 80% Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords (keywords that are semantically related to your primary keyword) to 20 – 30% of exact match keywords
- Get your keyword in to your content’s title (in a natural way).
- Link to a number of internal and reputable external website links in the text
- Write a relevant meta description–this is the bit of descriptive text that you see under the blue clickable links in a search engine results page (SERP). While the inclusion of your keyword in this text doesn’t directly influence Google’s ranking algorithms for normal web search, it can entice people to click on your link over your competitors
- Use a keyword containing slug–nope, this is not a slimy mollusk. A slug is the nice part of the URL that explains the page’s content. It should be concise, focused and descriptive.
Keep in mind that, above all else, Google rewards content that is written for humans. While getting your keyword into the copy is important, if it’s ‘stuffed’ into a sentence in a clunky, clumsy way, it’ll be more of a hindrance than a help.
4. Chase Backlinks
A backlink (the link between two websites) from a reputable source indicates to Google that you are trustworthy. Because of this, it’s one of the most powerful ways to improve the search engine ranking of your content.
Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a “vote of confidence” from one site for another (Source: Moz)
However, building a portfolio of backlinks isn’t an easy feat. While great content will naturally attract more backlinks, it can often be quite a slow process.
There are a couple of ways you can get the ball rolling, the first being to write content for authority sites and backlink to your own site. A backlink from a few of these sources is definitely worth the time and resources it will take to create content for an external source.
The other option is to simply ask reputable sources to link to your site/content. You can often find websites dedicated to publishing content on a certain topic (which you have covered in your content) or who are writing similar things to you. If you don’t ask for the link, you won’t get it, so give it a go!
Getting on to the first page of a SERP is competitive, but not impossible. It does, however, take a fair amount of time, effort and expertise.
If your content isn’t driving the traffic you’re looking for, our team of pro copywriters can help you devise a strategy that will not only ensure your content is seen by your target audience, but will also spark enough interest to make them want to know more.
We don’t just create stunning, valuable content, we also teach you how to use it in order to get the best return on your investment.
Get in touch if you’d like to speak to someone about how we can help ensure your efforts aren’t going to waste by ending up on page 2.