If your competitors are ranking higher on Google, investing in SEO will improve your ranking and help put you ahead of the competition.
Google is on a mission to “make a better web.” To deliver on this mission, the world’s most popular search engine has a series of signals and factors it looks for when ranking brands on search.
In a nutshell, to rank high on Google, the search engine wants to trust you are authentic, that your site is secure, that you have high-quality, relevant content for searchers, and that your website is fast and easy to access. There’s more, but these are key.
Why is this important for your business? Because ranking high on Google is a competitive advantage that can help potential customers find you. Consider these two numbers: Google has more than 70 per cent of the search market share and captures nearly 85 per cent of mobile traffic, according to HubSpot.
If you’re competitors are outranking you on Google, then they’re reaching customers that could have been yours. How? Search engine optimization (SEO).
In today’s digital age, investing in SEO is what will help your business show up when your customers are searching for your products or services. Not investing in SEO means missing out on these leads and potential customers.
How to show up at the top of search results
Up your keyword game
This is the most important way to help you show up on search engines. Keywords are the words and phrases people are using to find what they’re looking for. Making sure your website content features the keywords and phrases people are using to find your products and services is what will help you rank higher on search engines and bring more potential customers to your site.
There are two types of SEO keywords:
- Short-tail keywords include one or two keywords with big impact because lots of people search them. This means they are also being used by your competitors, so it’s hard to stand out just using short-tail keywords.
- Long-tail keywords can consist of more than 10 words, which means they are much more specific. However, they are also used a lot less.
Tip: There are several free online research tools to help you find the best keywords for your business, including Keyword Tool and Answer the Public. For a fee, Keywords Explorer by Ahrefs will both suggest and analyze the ranking and traffic potential of keywords.
Use search intent to create relevant, high-quality content
Google’s algorithm assesses what it reads on web pages to determine relevance and quality based on keywords and other factors. To earn a high rank on Google, make sure your website has content that searchers will find useful. It should be original, informative, authoritative and, above all, helpful. Grammar, spelling and flow are also important. Adding relevant audio, video and photos will further boost your ranking on Google.
Link to other quality websites
Your link profile, also known as your backlink profile, is one of the most important ways Google’s algorithm determines quality. The more quality sites your site is connected to, the more likely you are to rank above your competitors on Google.
Tip: To build your backlink profile and your brand’s reputation as a thought leader, comment on other blogs, regularly contribute to online forums, write guest posts and buy listings on well-known web directories.
Make sure your site is secure
Google defines a better web as a more secure web, which is why security is a key factor in ranking high on search. It even makes a point of labelling websites without “https” in their URLs as “not secure” in the search bar.
Those letters in the URLs of secure websites stand for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. The S means the connection to the site is encrypted and secured by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. SSL certificates are provided at three different levels: domain validation, organization validation and extended validation.
Fast fact: 85 per cent of online shoppers skip over unsecured sites.
Optimize your Google My Business profile
Google My Business is a free business profile that shows up in Google searches and maps. It includes the name of your business, location and category. It may also include other information Google has indexed from across the internet. To boost your visibility even more, make sure your profile is complete and you’ve filled in all your contact information. Keep your page up to date, add photos and FAQs, and ask for and respond to consumer reviews. The more information you provide, the better Google can determine which searches you should show up for, giving people more opportunity to find you.
Get the technical aspects of your web presence right
This means making sure all your web pages are structured to ensure they are easy to use and show up when potential customers are searching.
For example, Google Search now determines ranking results by incorporating criteria such as how fast pages load, visual stability and whether pages are optimized for mobile. If your site doesn’t load quickly in a web browser, there are broken links or it’s not mobile friendly, you won’t rank as high as competitors’ websites that are fast, easy to access from any device and user-friendly.
Fast fact: 53 per cent of people will leave a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Simplify your URL by using words that make it clear who you are and what people can expect when they visit your site. Complex URLs are confusing and will hurt your ranking.
Put your keywords to work in your title tags and meta descriptions. A title tag is the title of a web page and what shows up on search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s what users will click on and a factor Google considers when assessing your page for usability. Make sure your title tags are compelling and feature your core keywords.
Meta descriptions appear below your title tags and provide a short summary of what viewers can expect from your content. Keywords should appear early in the description for maximum impact.
Google’s algorithm considers hundreds of factors when ranking websites. As a business owner, you know how important it is to be more visible than your competitors. Today, that means outranking them on Google Search. The best way to do this is by implementing a comprehensive SEO strategy. It will help put you in front of your potential customers and ahead of competitors.