Want to climb the Google ladder? That’s the objective of virtually anyone who builds a website to build an audience. Although it’s a competitive practice to reach the coveted first page of search results for a term you want to rank for, it’s possible to do by employing the right SEO techniques.
How to Rank Higher on Google
Google’s algorithm is complex and ever-changing. Fortunately, you can try some basic SEO steps that are proven to boost Google ranking time and time again. With these tips, you’ll have a solid foundation of knowledge to set your site off on the right foot.
1. Understand What Your Audience is Looking For
Rather than just coming up with keywords relevant to your website, you need to think of the search intent behind them. In other words, what is your audience looking for when they search that term? What are they hoping to find?
Browse the list of top results for a term you want to rank for. The information in the first-page results can give you an idea of the information people hope to find. Your job is to make your information bigger and better than any other to become the go-to resource for your target keyword.
2. Build Your Content Around Relevant Long-Tail and LSI Keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that target something more specific than a shorter keyword. Because they’re narrower in scope, they’re typically less competitive and, therefore, easier to rank for. LSI stands for latent semantic index(ing), and LSI keywords are words or phrases related to your primary keyword. LSI keywords help Google learn what your page is about.
For example, say you’re trying to rank for “virtual field trip.” “Virtual field trip middle school” might be a long-tail keyword you can use instead, while “aquarium,” “zoo,” “live,” and “science” might be good LSI keywords to target. LSIGraph is a helpful and free tool that generates LSI keywords based on your target keyword.
3. Make That Content the Best Out There
Your content should include more information and be more helpful than any similar content that’s already ranking for your keywords. Look up your keyword to find the top-performing content. Build yours in a way that adds more value and information for any visitor who reads it. Doing so gives your content the chance to get more traffic and links to improve your Google ranking.
4. Build Backlinks to Your Site, Pages, and Posts
Google looks for backlinks – links from other websites that link to your website or content – to understand how important a page is. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your chances of ranking high on Google.
Quality backlinks come from having excellent content that other sites want to link to and a link-building strategy, like guest posting, that Google appreciates. Check out these tips for creating a Google-friendly guest posting campaign.
5. Keep People on Your Site
Once you get people visiting your site, you want to keep them there as long as possible. Google sees the time people spend on your site as a vital metric in determining your site’s importance. Here are a few ways to prevent people from going elsewhere:
- Make a navigation funnel that directs people where to go. Your menus, links, and breadcrumbs should all be simple and easy to follow.
- Don’t allow ads to take away from the user experience. Check your site’s pages to ensure that ads aren’t slowing down pages or interfering with your site’s navigation.
- Create internal links in your posts and pages. Internal links are those that link to other parts of your website to keep people moving through.
- Speed up your site. Optimize images for faster loading times, remove unnecessary plugins or add-ons, and check that your code is as streamlined as possible. Visitors shouldn’t have to wait more than a few seconds for pages to load.
6. Build on Keywords You’re Already Ranking For
Analyzing your site’s SEO might lead you to find some unplanned keywords you’re ranking well for. That’s okay because you can add onto your already existing, high-performing content for that keyword and help it rank even higher. The more pages you have doing well on Google, the better it is for your site overall.
7. Improve the SEO of Each Post and Page
You may have some older content that needs an SEO refresher. Check that each post and page on your site follows best SEO practices:
- Your primary keyword is in the title as close to the beginning as possible.
- You also use the primary keyword within the first 100 words of the post or page.
- You include internal and external links within the content.
- Your meta description is optimized for your primary keyword.
- You have relevant, high-quality images with ALT tags that incorporate your keywords.
- Your content uses LSI and long-tail keywords.
8. Target Mobile Users
Mobile internet usage hasn’t quite beat out desktop internet usage yet, but it’s close. Mobile internet usage has steadily increased over the years, and mobile users want to have the same experience as desktop users get on your site. Speed, image, and video optimization are crucial to keeping mobile users checking out and coming back to your site.
9. Build a Network
Building a complete network around your website and brand can help you stay relevant to Google. Be active on social media channels that make sense for your brand. Have an area for visitors to leave comments on your blog posts. You might also consider creating a community with a Facebook Group, LinkedIn Group, or Reddit Subreddit.
And always make your content shareable. It’s the easiest way to generate buzz around your content without putting in extra work. You never know which pieces of content might go viral through shares. Installing share buttons is an easy (and free!) way to encourage your visitors to share your posts on their favorite social media platforms.
Want an easy way to keep tabs on your website performance? Install the Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress plugin for access to essential website stats – such as your top 10 page views, your top 5 traffic referral sources, and more – right in your WordPress dashboard.