Why Get On The First Page?
Despite the fact that Social Media is more and more widespread, Google is still the biggest source of traffic.
People search Google an unbelievable 3.5 billion times per day. 66 percent of all buyers search before making a purchase decision. In today’s world whenever someone faces a dilemma of making any decision or looking for something, ‘Google It’ is the most commonly used phrase by almost everyone, as it’s an answer to all their questions.
Higher rankings = more visitors = more profit
“How to hire an SEO” video by Maile Ohye of Google
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is all the actions you can take to increase your website’s ranking.
You are competing against a lot of other websites. Your awesome content will remain invisible (no matter how valuable it is) if you do not utilize the basics of SEO.
The game today is earning Google’s trust. Proving yourself over time is the key.
The Two Updates
The Google Panda and Penguin are algorithms used by the search results for ranking sites. These algorithms will impose sanctions and penalize sites that fail to follow their guidelines.
There are three main requirements these days:
- High quality and unique content
- Quality backlinks
- Great user experience
However, many people don’t realize that that getting on the first page of the search engines starts a lot earlier. Webhost internet connectivity. Coding. Plugins. Why?
Do you realize that your site’s loading speed directly influences your ranking? Go to Pingdom and test your site. See how fast it loads in the US. How about Europe? People don’t want to wait a lot for sites to load.
See if you have a responsive theme. Google will penalize any website that is not mobile friendly.
Additionally, all hosts have downtime and at the beginning you probably won’t be able to afford cloud hosting.
What Do You Need To Do?
- First of all, you need to install an SSL the moment you start your site. Later on it will be a lot more difficult to switch over. Get a host that supports automatic domain validation SSL with the green padlock. Spammers don’t take the effort and even many honest website owners have trouble confronting this subject. Doing so will increase Google’s trust in you.
- Install WP Supercache plugin. You will see an instant improvement in site speed.
- Set up CDN. Cloudflare is included in many cPanel webhosts. I use Web Support Revolution CDN, a UK company that has databases in the US, Europe and Australia. It has a free plan and my website’s loading speed changed in Europe from 7 seconds to 1.2 seconds, and in Australia I experienced a similar improvement. The other advantage was that I managed to get rid of the downtimes, which was several minutes each time, as the CDN serves the pages even when the site is down. It is true though that it takes some tech skills to set up.
The Main Google Ranking Factors
Moz just released a study, using data consisting of 600,000 keywords. The following are the factors they found to be influencing rank, it the sequence of listing:
- Direct website visits
- Time on site
- Pages per session
- Bounce rate
- Total referring domains
- Total backlinks
- Total referring IPs
- Total follow-backlinks
- Content length
- Website security (HTTPS)
- Total anchors
- Keyword in anchor
- Keyword in body
- Keyword density
- Keyword in title
- Keyword in meta
- Video on page
It was surprising to me that the #1 ranking factor is not an on-page or off-page factor. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it.
- Direct website visits are when someone types in a keyword, or they click from an e-mail or an e-book. Not from Search or another website. It is considered by google as a sign of authority.
- The next category is user experience factors – time on site, pages per session and bounce rate. They indicate relevancy for the searchers.
- Then come the backlink factors. A strong backlink portfolio is crucial for website rankings. All the metrics of the backlink portfolio are interconnected and a blind manipulation of only one of them will not increase your rankings, unless you also work on the other metrics. Focus on your natural backlink profile, and try various link-building strategies.
- Then comes content length. Long-form content creates the impression of in-depth analysis and therefore looks more trustworthy. However creating content of a certain length is not an advantage if the content is irrelevant to the user’s query. However, the results of their research indicate that pages that rank higher have longer content on average.
- Long-tail search queries return pages with more content on average than short heads – almost 20% more.
- You can see that if you have an SSL certificate, that is still high on the list, much higher than the different keyword factors. This is a point where many websites could gain more rank. Technical difficulties can scare people away from implementing it. The majority of domains for the high-volume keywords however do have HTTPS.
- Then come all the on-page keyword factors.
- The presence of a video didn’t show a significant influence on page rankings, so video itself is not going to solve everything. It will. however, increases the time spent on the site.
The Next Step
SEO is optimizing your website. The best advice I can give you that will stand the test of time is the following: See what other websites are doing and do the same.
These days it’s just as much about authority building as ranking for keywords.
- Don’t concentrate on link building and individual keywords. It’s more keyword groups. Figure out the user intent behind the keyword groups and what user experience they expect.
- Previously some people were trying to link out as little as possible to “save link juice”. Outbound links to niche authority sites help to make your site more relevant and it will rank better.
- Look in your Google Search Console and optimize the pages and keywords you are already ranking for.
- Increase click-through rate by optimizing title and description.
- Very important: Your products need to be keyword targeted and cool enough to go viral. Share everything on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+.
- You need visitors, social signals, social engagement.
- One should make sure that the website is fairly easy to navigate. The website should be well structured so that customer goes to the page he wants, finds what he is looking for and can smoothly navigate on your website.
Cross links to your own site with appropriate anchor text – it will be more easy to rank the other page this way. Add alt text to your images. See Wikipedia as an example of a highly authoritative site, it has a huge amount of internal links.
Getting Google’s Trust
So how can we convince Google that our site is worth ranking? You need to know about the sandbox.
a) By ensuring that the visitors don’t go back to the SERPs for the same search term! b) By encouraging people to return to your page for the same search term more than once! c) By targeting related search terms about the same/similar topics and doing (1) and (2) above for those terms and the same searchers!
d) Give a reason to your visitors to visit more than one page, thereby decreasing the bounce rate.
Understand what people want, give them what they need AND what they want, and then exceed those two things by giving them extras. Those extras could include related content, additional insights, expanding their knowledge to related items etc. etc. etc.
What if they landed on a page that showed them exactly how to do it, how not to do it, what to avoid, what tools they would need … and then linked to where to get the tools/parts, and had a video of doing it, and had the PDF manual, with detailed diagrams for download?
The searcher stays on site for ages and doesn’t go back to the SERPs.
Better yet, the next time they do an instructional search, which site are they likely to click?
In order to rank a page, you need long content. Over 2,000 words in most cases.
Use bullet points, numbered lists, sub-headings. This way you pages are well organized and people will want to spend more time on your site.
Include some images and videos. If the video is 4 minutes, people will spend 4 minutes on your site, and Google will like you more. Use appropriate videos from YouTube, you don’t need to create your own. Put your videos to the top of the post.
If you have an e-commerce website, which means thin content, include a blog with longer keyword targeted articles.
This is the fastest, most powerful way to rank.
Creating high quality content starts with good keyword research. This task will help you pinpoint the most ideal keyword groups for your content writing and optimization efforts.
The shorter the keywords, the harder it will be for you to rank. Especially if your site is still new. It is advisable to target long-tail keywords as they are less competitive and far easier to rank.
How to Find the Right Long-Tail Keywords
You can find an ideal long-tail keyword through Google’s auto-suggest feature. To use this, do the following:
- Get ideas from the Google keyword tool.
- As you type the keyword in Google, you will notice a drop-down box with some suggestions. Write down the ones that you find relevant to your content. Choose at least 3 to 5 of the most suitable keywords.
- In the Adwords tool, there is a column called competition. Each keyword is categorized as low, medium or high competition. Ignore that column because that is for Google ads and not search competition.
- It should be a keyword that you can compete for on the SERPs. Look at the top ten websites in the search results and see if there are non-competitive listings, such as low-DA sites, YouTube videos, Quora articles, or even actual garbage content that doesn’t make sense when you try to read it.
- Search volume doesn’t matter at this stage. I usually searches with 1-100 volume. When your site gets older, it will rank for higher search volume keywords. At this point you are trying to create multiple posts with low search volume.
- When you have completed your analysis, choose a primary long tail keyword that you will use on your content.
Creating and Optimizing Your Content
When you are creating content for your website, you must ensure that you meet the basic specifications for a good optimized content. These specifications are as follows:
- It must have one primary keyword and one or 3-4 secondary keywords
- If it is an article or blog post, it should contain a minimum of 1,000 words but a 2-2,500-word post is recommended. If you publish a 500-word post, later you will need to go back to update it.
- It must be unique, deep, well-researched and provide real value to your readers
Another thing to consider is the on-page optimization of the post within your site. Make sure that the primary keyword is in:
- The page at least 1 percent
- The title of the content
- The URL of the page
- The meta description
- The alt title of image that you will use in the content
Quality Link Building
Link building is very important, and your site will not progress in rank without links, as it is one of the main ranking factors.
PBNs – While everyone needs to make their own decision on this, be aware that Google is hunting them down and your competitors will report you. At the same time they are the most powerful way of link building.
Quality of links is more important than quantity. High DA sites are the best.
You can rank pages, using the above method, with appropriate long-tail keywords without links, even on brand new sites.
Just do a quick math, if you write 50 pages of content using the above guidelines, and each one gets 20 visits per month, that is 1,000 visitors. The strategy will not work every single time, because competition cannot always be judged easily.
Moving your rankings up on search results for more competitive keywords, however, require quality links and relevancy.
If you use the above strategy on an established website with higher DA, this will create miracles. I did a guest post as a test, and it ranked within a few hours:
How To Acquire Quality Backlinks
The general rule when it comes to link building is to avoid “spam tactics.”
- Try to acquire links naturally, even if it takes time.
- Build your links consistently and organically, which means you should schedule your link building efforts and follow it by heart.
- Do not use link farms or low quality directories.
- Do not use any automated tools.
- Do not buy links.
Keep Track of Your SEO
To monitor your results use Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Monitor the keywords that show up in your account.
You can also use those keywords to write new posts, or update the ones that are ranking in the 20-40 range to increase their ranking.
1st Page on Google = Hard work!
It is possible to get your website content on the 1st page on Google, but it takes a lot of hard work to get there. The elements we spoke about can definitely help a website rank higher and they even work for a brand new website.