How to make it to the top on search engine results?
“How can I achieve a number 1 spot in Google?”
Recently someone in my network asked me if I can help her website get to the top ranking in the search engine results. As a web developer, this is not an uncommon question. My clients’ success is my success, and so I set out in quest of the perfect solution. Paying for ads will boost the rating; however, the first goal is to boost the chances of being found on an ‘organic search’ or unpaid search.
Each search engine has a different method to rank websites known as an algorithm. That is why results differ between Google, Bing, Ask, DuckDuckGo and Yahoo. The problem is that they are continuously looking for ways to serve better search results pages (SERP) and anticipate what the query was about. This means that they must frequently change their algorithm to be competitive, and they do not share the details with us. Each algorithm can have hundreds of criteria, so this is largely a guessing game. We recognize that if the SERP is not relevant, it is very easy to open up another search engine and increase the possibility that we will click on their ads instead.
When a user searches for content similar to yours, will he find relevant, updated information on your site?
Is the message clearly and simply displayed or is it necessary to click around?
You typically have three chances to tell the search engines what your page is about.
2. On-Site – Use internal links on the website to link to pages internally
3. Off-Site – Backlinks – links to your site from other quality websites.
- Location -Maps or Places
- Social Updates
If the product is highly competitive, the only way is to use Sponsored or Advertising links.
Who are you?
This is typically displayed on your home page, about page or bio page.
What do you do?
Often displayed on the Services or Shop page, describe the main service that you offer and break it down into components. Bullet points are great!
Why should I pick you?
This is the most difficult part. Here you describe what differentiates you from other people in the same field. You can display your passion by offering valuable content on your website and commenting on other sites.
There are three types of information in the Results.
- Business name, brand or personal name and variations of that name. Basically, the search engine will find who you are.
- What you do: For example if you are a hair stylist that specializes in hair color and chemical treatments, you should have a dedicated page to explain about your hair color treatments.
- The last type of result answers the why question. If you blog, publish a newsletter, video or have other valuable content, this will enable you to showcase your specialty and what makes you shine.
Generally speaking, the recommendation is to have between 5-20 keywords per page. The keywords should appear a few times on the page, but should not be overused. Overuse can result in penalties.
According to Nate Dame the issue is that sometimes the keywords that Google suggests as being relevant are not very relevant. He believes that this is due to the fact that Google is selling a service of pay per click (PPC) for keywords, or that there is insufficient high quality content on certain topics for Google to mine.
The focus on keywords has changed over the past few years and the recommendation is to have fewer keywords, but focus on topics and user intent. When a user types ‘Hair color’ into the browser what does she mean? Is she searching for a product, salon or hair stylist?
3. Quality Backlinks
Getting high quality websites to link to your content or website will earn you a higher ranking. Search engine believe that if a good website links to your site, your site must be trustworthy. Can you get a reference from a high quality site like a .edu site or a .gov site? If you are a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, then you have a natural quality backlink, since the Chamber of Commerce lists your business as a service to the community.
Note that ranking often goes through a manual audit, so if the link is not earned and there are multiple spam links, then the site will be demoted in the ranking.
4. Mobile Friendly
At least 40% of people who browse the internet are using portable and mobile devices. Websites that are not mobile friendly are being penalized and those that are mobile friendly are being rewarded. Google has added a measure of mobile friendliness with AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages Project).
5. Social Media
Depending on your target market consider making the content shareable. Social Media has a huge impact on content and can drive more traffic to your site. In addition, social engagement with other blogs or shares can increase your links if you add value.
I recently learned at a Google seminar that “likes” on Google Maps help. Clients that you serve can go on Google Maps and rank your business, even if you do not have a brick and mortar store.
6. How to get a New Website Discovered
Google maintains that it has web crawlers that discover all the sites on the internet and specific listing is unnecessary. There are some tactics that can improve the relationship between your site and the Googlebot, such as
- Creating an XML sitemap and submitting it to Google Webmaster tools,
- Submitting the URL to search engines,
- Creation of social media profiles where the URL is shared, and
- Using bookmarking tools like Delicious and StumbleUpon.
In conclusion, there is no magic formula and no guarantee. The best we can do is follow the suggestions and know that in order to Rank No. 1, we need to have the most relevant content that matches the search terms. Google will be right behind us with a manual monitor to ensure that we deserve to be there!
According to Google :
“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or a
dvertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or through the Google Sitemaps program, and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.