Increasing your search rankings on Google is essential if you want to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions. So, how do you improve your rankings on Google?
The main areas you need to focus on in order to do this are:
- Content Creation
- Increasing Backlinks
- Optimizing Your Site For SEO
- Optimizing For Local Search (if applicable)
Before you look at the steps you need to take to increasing your rankings, it’s important to understand the difference that getting a good position on the results page means.
Why Increase Your Search Rankings?
With more and more of your competitors putting their money towards digital marketing efforts, it is absolutely vital that you work to improve your search rankings on Google, no matter what industry you are in.
The order of search results on Google is determined by an algorithm that takes lots of different factors into account.
Marketing experts spend their entire careers trying to make sense of these algorithms and crack the formula, which is made all the more difficult by the fact that Google are constantly releasing updates.
Recommended Read: 6 Reasons Your Website Isn’t Showing Up on Google (and How to Fix It)
If you are going to rank in a good spot, it is important that you are aware of any updates because they can impact your rankings in a big way.
You can find a history of all of updates since December 1st, 2000 here. It’s important to be aware of these updates, but unfortunately, there is no magic formula.
The rules are always changing, but there are certain core elements that you need to get right if you are going to improve your company rankings on Google.
- Assess Keywords
- Layer Content
- Blog Updates and Posting Schedule
Content creation and promotion is one of the most important parts of any marketing strategy and can benefit your business in a lot of different ways including:
- Increasing brand visibility and building trust
- Informing prospects of your product or service
- Increasing sales leads and conversions
Creating good quality, informative content is an effective way to build trust in your business. By providing detailed information about your products or the industry in general, you show consumers that you are knowledgeable, and that inspires more trust in your products.
(Recommended Read: 3 Things Your Online Content Needs to Succeed)
Informational content can also act as a sales tool. Consumers have a lot of choices when they are shopping online, and so they are more likely to do research before buying a product. Content that outlines the benefits of your product and shows why it is superior to other similar products that are available can help to boost sales.
But the most important function of content creation, and the one that we will focus on here, is boosting your search rankings on Google so you can get more traffic and more leads to your website.
The first step in any content marketing campaign is keyword analysis. When you are creating content, you need to ensure that it appears on the first page of a Google search, which means choosing the right keywords.There are 3 main factors to consider when creating content:
- Search volume
- Keyword competition
- Traffic value
If you analyze the number of searches or search volume for relevant keywords using keyword planners and software, you can find out how often those terms are searched.
For example, if your business sells funny novelty mugs aimed at middle aged men, you should look at specific keywords that speak to your brand not just generic keywords that it will be hard to rank for.
It is likely that ‘mugs’ will get the most searches, while ‘novelty mugs’ will get fewer. ‘Novelty mugs for men’ is even more specific, so search volume will be even lower. Based on these statistics, it would seem that creating content with ‘mug’ as the main keyword is the best option. However, it is not that simple and this brings us to our next point.
The second thing you need to consider is keyword competition. ‘Mugs’ is a very general keyword, and there will be a lot of companies that already rank highly for it.
If a lot of well established brands appear on the first page of search results for that keyword, it will be difficult for you to rank there. But more specific keywords like ‘funny mugs for men,’ or ‘funny gifts for dads,’ will have less competition.
The key is finding a balance between search volume and search competition so you can direct content in the right way. It is often best to go for a term that has fewer total searches, but also has less competition so your content makes more of an impact.
The key is finding a balance between search volume and search competition so you can direct content in the right way.
Finally, you need to consider traffic value. Even if your content ranks highly and your CTR rate increases, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get conversions.
If you notice that your content campaign works to improve company rankings on Google, but you don’t see an increase in sales, you may need to rethink your keywords or how users and prospects perceive your content.
It may be that you are drawing traffic from consumers that are not interested in your product and you need to consider more specific keywords or enrich your text with more related keywords.
Unless your brand is already well established, you will have to prioritize lower difficulty keywords and try to fill in content gaps. This will be far more effective than attempting to rank for the most competitive keywords.
Layering content is a good strategy when you are finding it hard to rank for certain keywords because they are competitive.
If you can write about complementary subjects that are easier to rank for, you can include internal links to other content with keywords that are harder to rank for.
Let’s go back to our previous example with the mugs. You may not be able to rank highly for keywords like ‘mugs,’ but there may be other topics in the same area that are easier to rank for.
You could create content about different brands of tea or coffee, which then gives you opportunities for internal links to your content about novelty mugs. This is a good strategy when you are finding it difficult to rank for competitive keywords. Internal links to product pages can also help to boost sales as long as they are natural.
Blog Updates and Posting Schedule
A regular posting schedule is vital in any content marketing campaign.
If you do not post on a regular basis, it will be difficult to improve company rankings on Google because the algorithm considers the ‘freshness’ of pages when creating the rankings.
They aim to provide people with the most up to date content available, so sites that have not posted in a month or two, or sites that only post sporadically will be penalized.
As well as posting new content on a regular basis, you need to continually update old content. This is something that a lot of businesses neglect, and it’s often the reason that their content marketing campaigns fail to improve company rankings on Google.
A piece of content that performed well a year ago will likely not do much to improve your rankings now, so you need to add to it.
You can repurpose old articles and post new versions, or you can add images or videos. It’s also a good idea to include a ‘last updated’ feature at the top of each page so you can keep adding new information to them.
Backlinks are an important part of your SEO strategy and we will discuss these in further detail later on. One of the best ways to increase backlinks to your website is by increasing the linkability of your content.
But, how do you increase the linkability of your content?
The quality and clarity of the writing are important here, people will not link back to a low quality article. If you ensure that content is entertaining as well as informative, it will be more linkable and likable for that matter.
(Recommended Read: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts for Your Business)
It also pays to do your research and use lots of reputable sources that lend credibility to the information in the article. If you can include new and original information that does not appear in any other content out there, that will make a big difference as well.
If your content marketing campaign covers all of these bases, it will help to improve company rankings on Google – especially if you are in a mid-sized city like Kansas City or St. Louis.
- The Broken Link Method
- How to Find Broken Backlinks
- Guest Posting
Increasing backlinks, as we said, is an effective way to improve company rankings on Google.
Increasing backlinks lends authority to your website. The Google algorithm is designed to give searcher’s the most useful and informative results and ensure that the information is up to date and accurate.
The quality of the sites that link back to makes a big difference as well. So, the more authoritative the website that links back to you, the more it will improve your search rankings.
Ensuring that your content is linkable should help to boost your backlinks in a significant way, but there are other methods that you can use as well.
The Broken Link Method
The broken link method is such a great strategy for getting backlinks. It involves contacting the host of a website and informing them that there are broken links on their website and suggesting links to replace them – some of which will be links back to your site.
They will be grateful that you have notified them and they will be eager to fix broken links that affect the quality of their content, so you will get a lot of backlinks using this method – but it is a bit of a time investment.
How to Find Broken Links
If you go into Google and search ‘keyword + links,’ you should get plenty of hits. Using our earlier example, do a search for ‘novelty mugs + links,’ and you will get relevant content containing links. Then you can use a browser plugin that identifies all broken links on that site.
Now, you send an email to the website owner, introducing yourself and explaining that they are linking to resources that are no longer available. Check out the article below for some email examples.
Suggest a few alternatives, including your own site, and see how they respond. Often, they will use your link, but don’t be surprised if they don’t.
People respond well to visual content online, especially when engagement is concerned and infographics to improve engagement and backlinks.
A good infographic is more likely to be shared on social media than a text post, and if it contains a link to your website, it will be extremely valuable.
Influential sites publish posts with infographics from all sorts of different sites, and a backlink from them will be very effective if you want to improve company rankings on Google.
Once you have created some infographics, you can submit them to directories like the ones on this list here.
Guest posting is an effective way to drive traffic to your site and increase backlinks at the same time. If you can find other companies that are in your industry but not in direct competition with your business, you should approach them and inquire about their guest posting policy.
For example, a business that sells mugs may guest post on the website of a tea or coffee company, or write something for a home and kitchenware company.
If you can create good quality content to guest post on their site, you will get a super valuable backlink. It also helps expand your reach and expose your business to more consumers both through organic search and on social media.
Optimize Your Site For SEO
- Optimize Robots.txt File
- Site Speed
- Optimizing for Mobile
Before any site appears on a Google search results page, it needs to be indexed. To understand how this works, you need to become familiar with the terms indexing and crawling.
When a Google bot ‘crawls’ a website, it explores that website and all of its pages. If there are instructions in the code to say that a page can be indexed, that page is now eligible to appear on the search results pages.
If there are instructions that specify ‘noindex,’ that page will not be included in search results. Before a bot can crawl a page, it must be given permission.
The instructions on whether or not to index a page are contained within that page. If a bot is not allowed access to a page, it does not know whether to index it or not, but it will usually index it by default.
It’s important that you control the crawling and indexing of your site because you can better control direct search results, so optimizing your site infrastructure for SEO is vital.
Optimize Robots.txt File
The Robots.txt file resides in the root directory of your website and it gives instructions on how to crawl and index your website. In a lot of cases, it should be fine as it is and you won’t need to make any changes.
However, there is a chance that mistakes in your Robots.txt file are blocking certain pages on the site that you want to be indexed.
That means that those pages will never rank on search engines at all, making it a lot harder to improve company Google rankings.
If you do not have a Robots.txt file at all, Google will assume that all pages of the site can be crawled and indexed. It’s important that you go through these text files and optimize them so the Google bots are crawling and indexing your site in the right way.
Most people assume that you want all of your pages to be crawled and indexed, but that is not always the best strategy. Crawling is a very resource intensive process and if multiple search engines are crawling a very large site, it can cause performance issues. If your website has a lot of pages, you should consider using the Robots.txt file to block pages that do not affect your SEO performance.
It is also worth noting that backlinks to your site allow that page to be indexed, regardless of whether they have been blocked to crawlers or not.
If there are certain pages that you definitely do not want to appear on search results, you need to manage your backlinks effectively.
Site speed has a big impact on search engine rankings because the algorithm is trying to direct users to the best possible site for their search, and performance is just as important as content here.
Google will assess the speed of your website and you will be penalized if it is slow – it is extremely difficult to improve company rankings on Google if your site has performance issues and site visitors will likely leave if your page doesn’t load fast enough.
Aside from managing your Robots.txt file properly, there are a few simple ways to improve loading times on your site. You can use Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool to get a score for your site so you know whether you need to make changes.
A site that has too much going on is likely to load slowly. If you have pop-up videos and lots of images on your landing pages, you may want to consider stripping it back and going for a more minimal design.
You may also have issues with your servers. This is something that a lot of businesses struggle with during a growth period. As traffic increases, their current servers can no longer handle the number of users and performance is affected.
It is important that you improve servers as the site grows if you want to maintain good loading times.
Optimizing For Mobile
In 2018, 52.2% of all global web traffic came from mobile phones. That number is increasing and Google algorithms take this into account when ranking search results. If your site is not optimized for mobile, you may notice a significant drop in your ranking.
It’s important that you build a specific mobile version of the website alongside your desktop browser version, and use Google’s Mobile Friendly testing tool.
Optimizing For Local Search
- Optimize Robots.txt File
- Site Speed
- Optimizing for Mobile
In some cases, it is important for businesses to optimize their sites for local search.
If you run a local construction company, for example, all of your customers will be within the area. It’s important that your site ranks highly for location specific keywords.
For example, a construction company in Kansas City won’t get very far if they only rank for the keyword ‘drywall’. If they are going to see an increase in revenue from their efforts and improve company rankings on Google, they need to rank for the phrase ‘construction Kansas City,’ and other similar keywords.
The best way to do this is to alter your existing pages and include the name of your town and city, without spamming keywords. Adding a contact page with your address and phone number is useful, and you could even include a map.
If your business has multiple locations across the country, you can create specific pages for each location so that you rank highly in all local areas.
Local directories are a simple way to boost your rankings for local search terms. Google My Business is the most important one when trying to improve company rankings, but there are plenty of other directories like Bing Places, Yahoo, Yelp, and Foursquare.
Adding your business to these directories will make it easier for customers to find you and improve your local search rankings at the same time.
Improving company rankings on Google should always be a priority for your marketing team because it will drive traffic to your website and boost conversions. If your business doesn’t appear on that first page of results, traffic will disappear overnight.
A little overwhelmed? That is okay, we are here to help. If you have any questions regarding Google rankings, SEO, or just want to completely revamp your digital marketing strategy, hit the contact button up top and drop us a message!