Ranking on Google is desirable. Ranking in the top five of Google search results, on the first page, is the ultimate dream. In fact, most would agree it’s critical.
Unfortunately, it’s tough to do. The massive search engine has strict standards and updates its algorithm roughly 500-600 times a year, according to Moz. The most recent noticeable update, called “Fred,” rolled out in March 2017 and affected link quality, particularly link spam.
There’s another thing about these updates – Google gives no advanced warning, and they rarely even confirm that they happened at all. Marketers have to keep their ears to the ground and their SEO up to snuff to stand a chance.
If you can’t keep up, you won’t hit the first page of the search engine results, let alone the top 100.
But, if you don’t try, you’ll never succeed.
3 More Reasons Why Hitting Google’s First Page Should Be Your SEO Goal
Ranking is great, but ranking on page one is better. Here are some of the biggest reasons why.
1. Search Engines Are Where Customers Turn for Answers
You know you have the answers to a specific customer problem. That’s your money-maker. How do customers find the answer you offer, though? More often than not, it will be through a search engine.
If you’re not where the people are, then your potential customers will find somebody else who is, who can solve their queries.
According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of all experiences on the web begin on a search engine. That’s a huge number. If you’re not right there, you’ll be missing out on the potential of that statistic.
2. Most People Don’t Look Past Page One
While most people start their online journey on a search engine, the majority won’t look farther than page one for answers.
This means, if you’re on page two or three, you’re not going to win. In order to get the most out of online searches, you need to rank, and you need to rank really, really well. For the most visibility and the highest click-through rates, getting on the first page is essential.
3. SEO Can Dramatically Increase Your Traffic and Sales
This doesn’t need saying, but SEO is a proven method to increase traffic to your website, which can increase your conversions and sales. When you’re more visible where people are searching for answers, and you have the solution, you’re guaranteed to benefit.
Of course, your visibility is at its peak when you reach page one of the search engines. This should always be your ultimate goal.
How to Improve Your SEO to Rank at the Top: 7 Key Strategies
So, how do you rank at the top? Use these proven strategies to zoom to the first page of search engine results. What it all boils down to are smart choices and consistency in order to climb those ranks.
1. Don’t Try to Rank for Top Industry Keywords
Top keywords in your industry are too competitive for your fresh endeavor, small business, or mini start-up. You don’t have a chance.
Why? The big guns who rank for those keywords right now have spent years getting to that point. They are domains with authority. They’re noted industry experts, and have hordes of backlinks, shares, followers, and hits to prove it.
What do you have? Right now, not much, but you’re trying to build something. You can’t compete with the gravitas of larger, more established names. Not yet, anyway.
2. Focus on Long Tail Keywords
So, what do you try to rank for, if not hot industry keywords? Go for the long tail.
Long tail keywords are more specific than short tail keywords, or head keywords. They’re targeted, and often location-specific. For example, “bookstores” versus “used bookstores in southern Missouri.”
Alone, long tail keywords don’t get as much traffic as competitive head keywords. However, when you rank for a whole bunch of long tails (as opposed to one head keyword), your traffic will add up just as quickly.
Target local traffic, and don’t forget to get a Google listing so people can find your physical location when they’re traveling in the area.
3. Use Keywords with Relevance
Of course, if you choose random long tail keywords, you won’t see any benefits.
You need to shoot to rank for long tail keywords with relevance, that people are actually using in searches.
To find them, do a bit of keyword research. Use tools like KeywordTool.io to help you find the perfect keyword niche. The right ones will be targeted, specific, and three to five words long.
4. Put Out More Content
Now that you understand which keywords to target, put out more content that uses them strategically.
With more content, your chances of ranking for keywords shoots up. There’s a caveat, though. The content has to be high-quality.
As such, you might want to consider pouring extra resources into your content marketing. It’s hard to churn it out all on your own – invest in help, and you’ll add to your content cache, which will help your chances for that top ranking.
5. Write Longer Posts
Consistently, longer-form posts rank higher on search engines. This means more in-depth discussions, more detailed guides, and more comprehensive know-how from you to your readers.
The posts that rank well are usually over 2,000 words, have lots of images, and include internal links and even embedded video, according to Quick Sprout.
Based on this information, a measly 500-word post you cranked out in one hour isn’t going to cut it. Posts that rank are thorough, exhaustive, relevant, and long.
6. Promote Your Content
You can’t just post your content and expect it to work miracles for you. You have to actually promote your content and essentially say, “Hey! Look at this!”
Whether you promote on social media or send out a link in your newsletter, you need to get it out there to get it noticed.
With the right promotion, your content will get more hits, more shares, more comments, and more engagement. You’ll get backlinks, and your authority will build. The search engines will take note, and you’ll slowly rise through the ranks for the keyword you targeted in your blog or article.
7. Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile-Optimized
Targeting the right keywords and putting out lots of quality content isn’t enough. You additionally have to make sure your site is friendly no matter where users are accessing it.
Web search on mobile devices is huge, and it’s only going to get bigger. More people than ever are browsing on their smartphones or tablets. If your site looks terrible on a smaller screen, or is hard to read, it doesn’t matter how well you rank in search engine results. People will leave the second they see how behind you are with technology.
Web users expect more, and you have to stay up to snuff to compete with your peers.
Ranking in the Top 5 on Google Isn’t Impossible
Yes, there is a way to rank, and rank well, on Google. You can even land on page one, but only with the right commitment and strategy.
You don’t have a chance at ranking for top keywords with cut-throat competition. However, if you refocus on location-specific, long tail keywords and produce lots of content that target them, you’ll be in business.
The web is a powerful way to drive traffic to your website, get noticed, and convert users to customers. If you want to get in on the power of Google’s first page, choose your battles wisely for best results.
Need help with your rankings? Thrive Internet Marketing has solutions that can help. Turn to us to get a major boost toward the first page of search engine results.