"How can I rank number 1 on Google?"
This is a question I hear 99 percent of the time when working on website design projects. Ranking number 1 in a search result is the holy grail of every marketer and business owner. While there's no sure thing to accomplish this, there are things you can do to improve your overall ranking in a search engine like Google or Bing.
But before we dive-in further, I need to be specific on one thing. In this article we're going to focus simply on ranking better with organic search results, meaning results that appear in a search without the use of paid advertising such as Google AdWords. Organic results show up naturally through keyword placement and quality content on pages. Paying for top placement can be effective, but it's even better if you can back that paid result with an organic result.
See my example below:
Now that we have that cleared up, let's dive in a little further into search engine optimization, or better known as SEO.
Step 1: Focus on a topic, rather than a keyword.
It used to be with SEO that you would focus on one keyword for each page for optimal results. While this is not the worst strategy to follow, you will have better results if you think of your keywords using a topic where other keywords can flow together naturally. For example, if you're selling shoes like Zappos.com, you might want to write about other things besides "shoes" such as "boots", "sandals", "comfortable shoes", or other relative words to "shoes". Search engines are recognizing this content as more conversational and relevant to the user.
Step 2: Whatever you do, don't keyword stuff your pages!
This should be a given by now, but it's something that still comes up in SEO. Google, and other search engines alike, are going to recognize this and demote your page in ranking. Instead, use your keywords in a natural way.
Keyword stuffing would include using the keyword in multiple places throughout the page over and over again. For example:
At Zappos Shoes, we have all types of shoes. Our shoes are great and will keep your feet comfortable. Shop a wide selection of shoes.
In that example, I used the keyword "shoes" four times in less than a paragraph of text. While there's no specific rule to follow, that line of text was not interesting to the reader and Google will see that as keyword stuffing.
Step 3: Don't forget the meta description.
You can rank number 1 all day long, but if you're not getting any click-throughs to your website, it's probably best to take a look at your meta description. A meta description is going to be the text that appears below the search result's title. This is a space that gives the user a preview of what they're going to see when they click to visit your page. You should use this as an opportunity to grab their attention and make them want to click through to the site.
Step 4: URL Structure is important.
Search engines love organization! Having keywords in your URL will help search engines know what is going to be on that page - but remember what I said about keyword stuffing? Don't overdo it and try to target every keyword in your URL. If Google or another search engine figures out what's on your page isn't exactly what you had placed in the the site's URL, it may demote your page. Using a hyphen will tell the search engine that a space needs to be there. Using an underscore, will tell it that no space is suppose to be there. Following the Zappos example, here's how they have their page URL setup for "men's shoes":
Step 5: Write content for humans, rather than search engines.
The best strategy you can have when optimizing your website's content is making sure you write for humans first, search engines second. Develop a buyer persona and think about what your persona would want to read about. What are they looking for? What is most important to he or she? Having that train of thought will produce better results for you and keep visitors engaged longer on your site.
Conclusion: Where do you go from here?
Overall, the biggest thing to take away from this is that SEO is an investment of time. You will spend a lot of time writing, revising, reviewing results, and revising again. Efforts such as blogging, can help back up your SEO strategy.
If you found this article helpful and want to do SEO the right way, download our free guide on the top 10 SEO mistakes commonly seen by expert digital marketers. In this guide, you'll find helpful tips, tricks, and things to avoid when optimizing your website.