More and more with every year, it seems like the world revolves around Google. While there are other search engines (Yahoo and Bing, for example), 77% of online searches are performed via Google making it so the others just don’t seem to matter nearly as much. If Google likes your site, people see you, visit your site, and buy! If Google doesn’t like your site, well…you essentially cut yourself off from an enormous amount of potential business. That’s why today we’re going to dig into how to Rank Higher On Google.
To rank highly on Google (and stay there), you have to continually put effort into optimizing your site. It is not something you can work on for one day, one month, even one year, and then walk away from without consequence. It is a living, breathing process that requires ongoing, constant monitoring and tweaking. This is why there are companies that charge big money every month to manage search engine optimization (SEO) for you. The good news? There are some outstanding providers out there that can perform what seems like magic to the rest of us. The best news? There are more (far more) scammers out there that will promise to hang the moon for a low monthly fee and deliver a whole lot of nothing. That said, even if you do plan to hire out for help, it’s wise to learn at least some SEO basics so you’re positioned for success.
Watch this video now, or keep reading below, to learn how to rank higher on Google.
There are 2 big things you need to think about when trying to rank on Google:
1. What You’re Doing On Your Site
- It must be mobile friendly. If you created your site more than a few years ago, chances are, it is not mobile friendly. This is a huge problem. Google will automatically rank mobile friendly sites higher than those that aren’t. In many cases, 60-70% of your website traffic is coming from mobile. This may not be true if you’re audience is in the 80+ age range, but if you’re targeting people younger than that, and especially if you’re targeting millennials, you absolutely need a mobile friendly site. Without one, the audience you work so hard to attract may just click away.
If your site is on WordPress, developing a mobile-friendly site is easy: you simply need to purchase a responsive theme. If your site was built elsewhere, you’ll want to look into the theme options and/or talk with your developer about what you need to do to make it responsive.
- It needs to be fast. The ideal loading speed for a website is just 2 seconds. You might think that if your site loads in 5 seconds, it’s good enough. But the truth is, people will click away like *that* if it doesn’t load quickly enough. I recently tried to go online and order my son’s yearbook from Jostens. This is a huge company that’s been around for what seems like forever. And when I went on their site, it wouldn’t load. I tried again the next morning and it still wouldn’t load. My husband tried to visit the site on his tablet – no dice. The result? My son still doesn’t have his yearbook, and Jostens missed out on a sale. In order to please google, your site has to load very quickly. Visit pingdom.com to test the speed of your site.
- It needs meta-tags and meta-titles. If you go to Google and type in “blue suede shoes,” you’ll see a list of results. Each result has a title (the meta-title) and a short preview/description (the meta-tag). These two pieces of info are actually customizable. If you don’t tell Google what to feature, it will automatically pull whatever info it thinks is most important. This might be right, but it might not be. Ideally, you want to control that information yourself. If your site is built on WordPress, get a plug-in called Yoast. It is free, and it will show you what your meta-title and meta-tag is for every page on your site. There’s a ton of other info available, and they do have a paid premium version, but for now I want you focus on the meta titles and descriptions in the free version.
- It needs to be keyword dense. Yoast can help with this too! In order to optimize your blog posts for Google, you need to set a keyword for each post, and then use that keyword as many times as possible in the post. Yoast will tell you exactly how well you’re doing, based on the number of times you used your keyword compared to the number of words. So if your post is 100 words long, and you used your keyword 3 times, your keyword density is 3%. Is that good or bad? Well, Yoast will tell you that, too!
- It needs to feature the right keywords. There are short keywords, and there are long keywords. A short keyword could be “shoes.” If I go to Google and search for “shoes”, I’m going 1.92 billion results that may or not be related to what I’m actually looking for. And chances are, if I’m searching for a term that broad, I’m not looking to buy anything, I’m just browsing shoes. So no matter how high you rank on that keyword, it’s probably not doing you any good because nobody is actually buying from you. On the other hand, if I rank for a long keyword, say “ladies blue suede shoes in las vegas,” I’m going to drastically reduce the amount of competitors I have (this particular search took us from 1.92 billion results to just over 3 million) find the people who are looking for exactly what I’m offering, making them way more likely to buy.
You also want to try to use words that your audience will be looking for in relation to your product or service. “Coupon,” “Sale,” “Deal,” etc. Are all great words that people looking to buy will include in their Google search.
- Find out if your site has been penalized by Google. Every time Google changes their algorithms, if you don’t fall in line with the changes, they can ding your site and will actually lower your ranking because of it. Check Google Webmaster Tools to find out if your site has been penalized by Google.
- It needs to feature both long form and short form content. Long form content is pages that have 2,000 or more words. Short form content is typically around 1,000 words. You need both on your site. There are people who will appreciate short form content, and others who will appreciate long form content. And there are some circumstances that call for long form content. For example, one of the things I offer is SizzleForce Marketing Club. I want you to go take a look at that page and see how much copy there is. I did that on purpose, because I want people to buy from me. If someone visits that page, who has never talked to me and has no idea who I am, I need to prove to them that I’m credible, and that takes time, and words. For blog posts, 1,000-1,200 words is a good length. Google wants to see quality content, and often that means they want to see lengthy content. Check out Social Media Examiner to see what I’m talking about. This is a company that does marketing really well. Check out the format of their blogs. They’re long, and they include images, headlines, etc. Follow that pattern; it works.
2. What You’re Doing Off Your Site
- It needs backlinks. Lots of them. This is any other site that links back to your site. Let’s say you sell unicorn pinatas. If I have a company that sells water bottles, you don’t want me to link back to your site. Now, it’s not hurting you to have my water bottle site link to you, but it’s not helping you either. A better site to have linking to you would be a party planning site, or a site all about unicorns. You also want to make sure you have backlinks from sites that already have established authority and an established audience. For example, I recently wrote an article that was published on Forbes. That was huge for my business, because Forbes is an authority in my industry.
Like I mentioned, search engine optimization is an ongoing process. You have to decide whether to try and DIY it (be prepared for it to take a lot of time and to make plenty of mistakes before learning what really works), or to outsource it.
I’ll be honest: the people who keep hitting you up and offering to manage your SEO for a few hundred bucks (or less) each month, are not going to do a good job. If you’re planning to hire an SEO company, get recommendations from people you already know and trust. Don’t find some random person on Fiver and expect them to get your site on the front page of Google. It’s just not going to happen. I don’t do SEO in house, but I do know people who do it, and do it well. If you’d like a referral, let me know.
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