How to Conquer Mt. Google - And How To Know When You’ve Done It.
We get it. Google is an intricate, complicated beast that seems near impossible to tame.
How do I get my site higher on Google, you've asked, perhaps a thousand times. Sometimes, it feels like Google must hate your website, and there's nothing you can do to change that.
Fortunately, you can get there, with the right strategy. But it will take time, creativity, and dedication.
Mt. Google is the tallest one you'll climb. We promise it's worth it. Let's tackle it together.
Why isn't my site on page one?
Google rankings revolve around the core idea of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). That is the art of ensuring your website is visible to Google. So when someone does a search, Google will determine if your site is relevant and potentially serve it as a result. The more relevant you are, the higher up you'll show in Google Search Results.
Google is a powerhouse, a king. We turn to it for everything, just like your customers do. So investing in SEO is unquestionably important to your business.
Conquer this and you'll see:
- increased traffic and visibility
- improved organic traffic
- expanded reach beyond search engine visibility
- a better user experience
- increased brand awareness and customer engagement
There are lots of articles out there that will tell you about SEO 101. Some agencies might suggest that increasing traffic by ranking as fast and hard as you can for anything guarantees leads. They'll tell you to go for as many keywords as possible with low competition. That sounds smart... right? More rankings, more clicks, more leads?
No. We wish it was that easy.
Anyone can rank for non-relevant search terms.
Good SEO is a lot more than just ranking for a bunch of random Google search results. Often, we need to tackle the keywords WITH the highest difficulty as these will hold the highest value for the business, with searchers that are closer to your target market. You want to be there when people are looking for things of value to your business.
Meet their intent with the perfect solution, at the perfect moment, and the rest will be history.
Sure, so how do I know what are the right words?
Keywords are the building blocks for your strategy so identifying the right phrases is essential for a strong foundation. The keyword phrases that will help you rank are based on how well you know your customer and how they think. Find the right target keywords, and people will find you.
Like we said above, it's all about search intent.
Let's say you've got a business selling high-end roller skates to professional skaters. You might be tempted to hit page one when someone searches for "roller skates". There are nearly 50,000 people running that search every month! But hang on a second, what is that person looking for really?
They might be trying to compare a few different brands they've vaguely heard of. They might be trying to see what's in the market. But they most likely aren't a professional. Bottom-line, they're in the initial research stage. Are they going to visit your site and buy professional skates? Probably not.
Having said that, even the right customers with the right intent might not make a purchase right away either.
Keyword phrases that may not lead to a sale could still be useful for brand awareness and credibility. If not a sales page, it might be worth ranking for with a well-written blog post. Keep it in your back pocket for later.
Your website should lead your target market through the full purchase journey: awareness, interest, consideration, purchase and evaluation. You need people to know your brand and what you're about, relate to you, get hooked on your stuff, and lay the foundation for ongoing loyalty.
Doing keyword research is an important part of the process, starting with understanding the thinking behind a target keyword and connecting that to a valuable action on your website.
Here's why that's so powerful
The search term 'commercial painting' has 720 monthly searches.
Let's say you hit rank one on the search results with hard work and good SEO. Plus you've got an eye-catching title tag and meta description (more on that in a minute) to reel the searcher in. We can assume a good number of people will click on that, say 30% (the average for anything ranking at position 1). That's 216 visitors to your website in a month from that term.
If your site is set up well, with compelling offers, strong copywriting and an amazing user experience, then you'll probably see a high conversion rate. Say 20%.
If 20% of 216 people book your painting service, at an average sale price of $4000, then that single well-targeted keyword has made you $172,800 this month alone. With zero spent on ads.
But wait, there's more.
A page that ranks number 1 for a single keyword is incredibly likely to rank really well for a huge range of other keywords. So double that number. Actually, triple it. A page ranking 1st for that target keyword could potentially make (in this example) $518,400 in revenue... every month.
How do we know this? Because we've been there. That's our commercial painting client, that we worked with to get in front of the right searches, at the right time.
Once you've found the right keywords for your website and needs, you'll be on track to converting sustainably off your organic traffic.
You can then think about secondary keywords of interest, like the example above, to make sure you're getting people at various stages of the funnel.
Target Keywords are just one piece of the puzzle
Unfortunately, you can't just take a target keyword and shove it a bunch of times in your page content and expect to rank number one. The search algorithm will determine if you're actually talking about that topic based on any proof and relevant terms, otherwise known as LSI keywords, present as well.
These LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing, if you're curious) are all about related or similar words to the search query. For example, say you sell custom timber flooring. You might want to write a blog post that will show up when someone searches 'timber floor care'. To make sure the search algorithm recognises that you're providing valuable information, you could also include 'wood polish', 'European Oak', 'floorboards' and other similar words that create a holistic view of your topic.
You can also address these with long tail keywords which provide more context to users and address search queries with more specific intent. Following our current example, your blog could have subsections around 'products for engineered timber flooring' or 'ongoing maintenance of timber floors'.
Long tail keywords can further give you a handy little list of FAQs to create a section that provides targeted information to site visitors.
There's also a number of other ways you can get LSI keywords and target keywords on your page.
- Title tags
These help the search algorithm understand what your page is about and will often be the first impression a searcher has of your site.
- Anchor text
This is the text you choose to attach internal links to other content pages on your site or external links to other websites, and can be used to provide easy navigation for users and provide signals to search engines on credibility.
- Meta descriptions
These offer more details to the search engine about the content on your page, like a really quick summary. It's also an opportunity to hook searchers into clicking through to your website.
Keep in mind, wordsmithing your blog posts, page content and meta tags will only get you so far.
Everything we've just spoken about relates to On-Page SEO fundamentals. You've done your keyword research, found the right target keyword opportunities, make sure your website content is relevant and set all the right meta tags to speak to the crawlers - a great first step. At this point, you've essentially got your digital warehouse tidied up.
It's definitely a lengthy journey, relying heavily on out-of-this-world copywriting to hit those targets while staying engaging and relevant to users.
It's also just one part of the larger mission to climb higher on Google Search Results.
There's two other big pieces of the SEO puzzle: user experience and site credibility.
Fine. There's more. What's next?
To nail those higher rankings, you're going to have to prove to Google that you're going to treat their people right. After all, searchers are their customers and they want to make sure every user is taken care of when they click through to a website.
This second step is critical not just in hitting number one, but in staying there. If you entice people to click and deliver a poor user experience, they're going to run right out the door. If loads of people keep doing that, Google's going to think twice about whether you deserve to be at the top. Say bye to those precious search engine rankings!
So, here's how you make sure people fall in love at first sight.
This is about how you organise your website, how you group and link content and present it to a visitor, allowing them to find their way more easily. It will also help Google's crawlers index your site easier. Your navigational menu, categories, tags, internal links and breadcrumbs are all part of how you help people get around your website.
It's one thing to show Google all your LSI keywords and say you know what you're talking about. It's another thing to actually give people what they want to see. They've come there to find out a specific thing and you need to answer their question. This is where knowing your customer and what stage of the purchase funnel they're in is essential.
This is a big one. Visitors won't even give your content a chance if your page takes forever to load, especially at a time when we've all become accustomed to instant gratification in the digital world. Google's very own PageSpeed Insights tool will give you a good idea of how your site is performing.
Page speed also largely impacts website performance, one of the four Core Web Vitals that Google will be paying a great deal more attention to in 2021.
Intuitive user design
You know when you get a new phone, you sort of just know how to use it? You don't have to think about it, even when things might be slightly different to your old phone. That's intuitive design, born of our exposure to the world around us.
The same principle applies on your website. A visitor expects certain things to be a certain way and you don't want to drift too far from the norm. For example, making sure your logo is visible in the header and linked to the homepage.
There are billions of mobile devices accessing websites across the world. There is no excuse for not having your site optimised to show on a mobile device. In fact, in some cases, it's even more important to optimise for mobile over desktop.
How can I be sure people are loving my site?
Google Analytics is a great place to track all the important metrics that will give you an idea of how people feel on your site. The best way to identify your user engagement would be to look at:
- Bounce rate
A bounce happens when someone lands on your website, takes no further action and leaves. This usually indicates they've immediately realised the landing page has no relevance to them.
- Pages per session
This metric is about looking at the number of pages a visitor clicked through to, including the original landing page. If you've done your job well, engaged visitors will be enticed to explore other areas of the site, increasing the pages per session.
- Average session duration
This measures how long people stayed on your site in a single visit. Longer sessions usually indicate the time taken to thoroughly review content.
So if people on your website are happy, Google will be as well, and you should enjoy higher rankings.
However, it takes constant monitoring to make sure these metrics are sitting in a good place, across all your key landing pages, with assessing and adapting and tweaking to make sure it stays that way. SEO is never going to be a set-and-forget formula.
This is where outsourcing to an experienced agency can be useful in staying on top of all the changes that need to be made, especially with Google's ever-evolving algorithm.
Now, to get a bit technical
The last part of SEO is a little more technical. One really important ranking factor to help you stand out is credibility. With potentially thousands of websites talking about the same thing, how should Google know you're the most reliable?
It's all about the elements that build trust.
Remember when we spoke about internal links and anchor text? This is where it comes into play again. These links help distribute page authority and ranking power across your site. For any given page, it shows Google that there is a strong network of related knowledge behind it.
Backlinks or inbound links are also critical in raising trust, perhaps more so. These are links from other websites pointing to you. Think of it like other credible sites vouching for yours.
This is measured with trust flow, which tells Google about the quality of the URLs pointing to your pages. The higher the authority of those sites, the greater the influence on your site.
You've also got to make sure your site can be crawled, which sounds pretty basic but is an essential step. A useful tool that Google's provided here is the Search Console. Beyond having a well-planned structure, you can also create and submit a sitemap in Google Search Console to provide information about the elements on your website and the relationship between them.
And there you have it. The SEO trifecta
Simply put, doing good SEO is knowing what people are searching for, giving them what they want and reassuring Google you're qualified to do so.
From keyword research to getting your site comprehensively indexed, these are steps to take for higher rankings and improved organic traffic. Like we said at the beginning, SEO is a long term investment and will produce dividends in the long run as you see your website crawl up Google search results for target keywords that will convert into valuable actions for you.
Let's get down to business!
Need help climbing the mountain? We've got you.
It's a lot to take on, especially amidst the day to day of running a business. To get valuable results from SEO and truly conquer Google, you'll need to invest time and effort into continuous improvement on your website and strategy, to match both evolving customer needs and the demands of the search algorithm.
But don't worry, we're here to help.
If you want to ease the burden of tackling Google and get in front of your customers, speak to the experts at Dilate Digital today.
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