Getting a business website to the top of the Google heap – and making it stick – is easier said than done. After some trial and error, most new SEOers will figure out how to move up from the 20th page and steadily make progress over time, but that elusive top spot can definitely be a pain in the neck to get to. This can make it seem impossible to get maximum eyes to your site, without the services of a search engine optimization specialist.
Being that they’re responsible for 80% of online search, Google is the obvious place to start your journey to higher-rankings (and higher profits from online efforts!) The truth is that if you do your research, formulate a plan based on that research, and persist — play the long game with your SEO efforts — achieving and maintaining a top 3 spot on the first page becomes very do-able.
By now, everyone who owns a website understands how exposure on other sites (ie., guest posts and media featuring your business) can get a lot of traffic to a website. Link building has also been talked to death, and much of the shady blackhat tactics from years back have been abandoned by legitimate businesses who don’t want to get Mother Google mad at them. And, most of you understand if you’re running your site on cheap crap hosting that doesn’t meet Google’s standards for the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, you’ve already lost the battle!
So what then can a company do to get their business website to the top of Google and keep it there? Our friends at Local Digital, a Sydney SEO specialist, offers five solid strategies you can start employing right now to up your online rankings game and get more eyes on your website.
1. Start by familiarizing yourself with top SEO blogs
There are so many worth mentioning, but it’s safe to say your best resources for getting started and keeping up on the 500 or so algorithm changes Google makes every year, should be those blogs who consistently rank for SEO-related search terms like “How to get your business website to the top of Google.”
Sites like Search Engine Watch, Neil Patel, Search Engine Land, MOZ, and dozens of others including top hosting provider blogs, are all great resources to bookmark and sign up for newsletters and updates about Google’s algo and other information relevant to ranking sites.
2. Optimize for local
It’s a well-known fact in this day and age that consumers aren’t loyal to many brands. Convenience and easy access is what locals and those who find themselves traveling through your locale are looking for. There are many factors that can lead to better local search rankings, as detailed here.
If you do nothing else, set up a Google My Business page and get the ball rolling. If you haven’t signed up and set this up yet, and you’re running a local storefront, what’s holding you back? Customers looking for a company just like yours right now, who are in the vicinity of your business, will immediately see you in search and be given access to your website too. After a number of positive reviews get posted and you get lots of targeted traffic coming to your site, your SEO rankings will improve.
3. Optimize for voice search
Voice search as increased 35x since 2008, and its use has grown 7x since 2010 (source). What this means for businesses looking to get more visitors to their business site is an oft-neglected opportunity to capitalize on Internet users who prefer hitting the microphone button on their favorite browsing app. This is particularly important in attracting smartphone users who don’t speak English as a first language: typing languages like Russia, Chinese, Japanese, etc., into a smartphone is very cumbersome when you just want to find the place with the best burgers in town.
Voice also fills the gaps left by aggressive (and well-placed) texting while driving laws. Even users who would text if it were legal will use voice search to avoid getting a ticket, and those with even more brains recognize the benefits of living instead dying in a fiery car crash! The key to optimizing for voice search is all about long tail search queries — conversational type keywords that mimic the types of questions consumers ask you about your business when they call you on the phone or walk in the door.
4. Get your social media game dialed in!
You’d think at some point SEO experts like me could stop telling small business owners they NEED to have a social media presence! However, there is a shocking number of business owners who have no clue what the ‘Facebooky’ is (people spend an average of 35 mins a day on the network). Let alone the branding advantage an Instagram presence offers. Not to mention that YouTube gets the brunt of people’s time spent on social, with the average person spending at least 40 minutes a day on the site to learn and be entertained.
Don’t get locked into thinking people don’t want to hear from you because you make burgers or manufacture “widgets”. People want to learn from an expert who has your skills and experience. Considering you can link out to your sites with each post you make (in addition to having it in your profile information) there are few things more effective at generating traffic now, and passive traffic for years to come.
5. Learn how to rank for keywords related to your business
This is a topic is like a dead horse that just keeps getting beaten – and beaten – and beaten – long after it dies! If you don’t have a clue how to do keyword research and how to apply those keywords to your content, read this great primer from Word Stream.
WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO make it pretty easy to make sure all your keyword bases are covered once you’ve nailed the research aspect down. Keywords will always be important, but they’re certainly not the be-all, end-all they were back in 2007 either.
Get to work – go get your piece of the Google pie!
There you have it. There are tons more tips out there for ranking and maintaining your website’s position at the top of Google, but if you’re diligent about following the 5 listed above, you’ll find yourself leaps and bounds above most of your competitors.