Improving your Google search ranking to appear on the first page is crucial to avoiding the loss of valuable traffic and revenue to competitors.

how to get to the top of google search results

Searching for information on Google is second nature to most of us, but business owners can’t ignore how important this habit is to their traffic and revenue goals.

Your target customers use Google to search for what they need by typing specific search terms into their search bar. When the search results appear, these potential customers click on the ones they see first.

A 2020 study by Sistrix showed the average click-through rate (CTR) for the search result in the top position was 28.5 per cent. After that, the numbers dropped swiftly, with the second search result garnering 15.7 per cent of clicks and the third result attracting just 11 per cent. By the time users reached the tenth listing on the page, only 2.5 per cent of them had clicked.

If your business isn’t on that first page of results, chances are the potential customer isn’t finding you.

Why is improving your Google ranking so important?

Google’s algorithm tends to show results that best match the user’s search intent and the keywords used to search. It also prioritizes results from websites where site speed, content quality and other factors make them appear relevant and useful.

While Google may return dozens of pages of possibilities, most people will only click on the first few results.

How to get to the top of Google search results

Let’s look at the steps you’ll want to take when planning content for your website. These basics apply whether you’re creating a new website, or reviewing your existing site and adding new content.

9 tips to improve your Google search ranking:

  1. Decide which keywords will help users find you and use them on relevant pages.
  2. Invest in the quality of your content with a content marketing strategy.
  3. Include keywords in URLs and titles to help search engines catch relevance.
  4. Put effort into writing clear and informative meta descriptions.
  5. Fix duplicate content on your site to avoid penalization.
  6. Optimize all content for mobile to improve user experience.
  7. Improve the quality of internal and external links on your website.
  8. Pay attention to technical details, like site and page speed, to avoid losing users to delays.
  9. Include alternative text on images across your website.

What else can improve Google search ranking?

Here are a few questions business owners run into as they plan and implement strategies to improve their Google search rankings.

Should you use paid Google ads?

You can use pay-per-click (PPC) ads to reach new audiences, but you should know how organic searches compare to PPC ads. Google’s Economic Impact Report states that organic search is five times more valuable than Google ads.

Paid search can help in the short term, but organic search’s long-term benefits are clear. Creating Google ads can help people find you in the short term while building momentum with some of the longer-term ideas.

Remember that paid ads aren’t a guaranteed win. You’ll need to create ads, match those ads to relevant content on your website and compete with others for popular keywords. As a result, you may run campaigns that aren’t as successful as you hope.

Lacklustre ad campaigns can happen for several reasons, from poor keyword matches to budget constraints and competition with other advertisers.

What about local SEO?

Local search engine optimization (or local SEO) can help you show up when people search for products or services in your neighbourhood or delivery area. This type of SEO can be essential when your business only serves people in your immediate area.

Consider how a pizza delivery restaurant might advertise differently from a bookstore that can ship across the country. The pizza shop’s customer base is local. It is one of the best options for them to get what they want: a steaming hot pizza delivered to their door!

Search results for pizza shops hundreds of miles away are no use to these hungry customers, so a local shop’s efforts with Google features, such as Google maps and Google My Business, can improve search its ranking.

What are Google featured snippets?

Google featured snippets are answers that pop up in search results when users type in a question. In some cases, your website content might so accurately answer a question that Google will preview your page to users, showing some of your content in advance.

The searcher can tell immediately from the snippet that you are a relevant source of information and have what they need, making their click-through to your site almost a guaranteed win. You can garner this positioning by answering common questions people might ask about your product or service early in your content.

Getting to the top of Google with organic SEO

Organic search engine optimization, or organic SEO, is the long game of Google search ranking improvement. Optimizing your website for organic search means making sure you are offering quality content to match the intent of your ideal customers when they are searching. As noted above, it’s more powerful than paid ads. However, it can take longer to see results.

You’ll need to develop a long-term strategy, and keep adding to the quantity and boosting the quality of the content on your website.

It may mean reworking the written copy on existing pages, on-page formatting to make it easier for both humans and search engines to understand what your content is about, and adding pages of new content. It can also mean creating a blog so that you are regularly adding new content to your site.

Benefits of increased Google ranking

Improving your Google ranking is vital to beating out competitors, but it also has other benefits:

  1. More website traffic from relevant searches.
  2. Increased revenue from more relevant customers finding your business.
  3. Increased business authority and leadership.
  4. A bolstered business image through increased visibility and awareness.
  5. Reduced ad costs through Google’s search console.

What happens if you don’t appear on the first page of the results page? Only a quarter of searchers tend to make it to the second page of search results and on average, less than one per cent of Google searchers click on something from the second page.

Reaching the first page of Google results is a worthwhile undertaking and could mean the difference between winning that next new customer or losing them to a competitor.

Measure progress over the long term

Getting to the top of Google search results is a long-term project implemented and measured over time.

The long-term perspective means you’ll be setting up your strategy, working from your plan and measuring results over time. Optimizing your website for your target customers doesn’t happen overnight. The metrics available through Google’s detailed analytics platform give you all kinds of information to analyze. Repeat the actions that work and adapt those that don’t seem to move the needle.

Understand which parts of your strategy will take the longest and be willing to invest in them and watch gains over the long term.

If you want to improve your ranking with a detailed Google search results plan, be prepared to dig in for the long term and work on several factors at once to see rewards.

It can be challenging for business owners to commit the time and energy needed to create and execute these plans, much less stay on top of algorithm updates. If this is the case, you can trust an experienced agency to guide you through changing trends and best practices.