Mad respect to you if you’ve actually gone where no one else has; the uncharted domain that borders the first page of a Google search. Let’s be real, most of us don’t bother clicking next while searching online. In fact, page one hogs all the limelight with a whopping 95% of all search traffic!
Don’t believe us? Just take a look at these stats:
- The very first result on the first page sees about 33% overall traffic in terms of clicks.
- Users click more than twice on the first page.
- 75% of people will never scroll past the first page of a Google search.
- And the kicker? There are over 1 trillion searches every single month!
Honestly, it’s pretty tough getting yourself up there on the first page where you’ll have to battle it out with high-profile competition that’s been around for a long, long time. While it’s true you would probably need a few years and a little more moolah to rank on the first page, it's not all doom and gloom.
So, how does one get noticed and bag the coveted front page spot? Simple, you start by re-adjusting your SEO strategy and adopt different methods to get yourself noticed.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
1. Keyword research
“Why need I volumes, if one word suffice?” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson got that one right. When it comes to winning the first-page popularity contest, there’s no better way than researching and identifying keywords or key phrases. Essentially popular words and phrases people automatically enter into search engines; keywords help sites figure out a way to get ranked higher.
The stepping stone of any SEO strategy, keyword research is extremely important. People search using specific words or phrases; summarizing what they are looking for. The search engines in return, rank websites accordingly (depending upon which they get found) based on the inclusion of such words or phrases in their content. Which is why you must never compromise on your content’s relevancy.
Researching keywords gives you a chance to better understand both the demand and the competition. Hence why it’s never a one-time thing. Repeatedly researching keywords not only boosts your website ranking but amplifies user satisfaction and search engine visibility.
Just keep it simple with the following checklist:
- Find the right keywords according to your website.
- Try picking out long tail keywords (those three and four keyword phrases specific to whatever you are selling)
- Place main keywords in the title, meta description, and the meta tag.
- Avoid using more than 5 keywords in one blog.
- Avoid grammatical errors and duplicitous content.
- Use clean URLs with focus keywords (not more than 4 words)
2. Website Architecture
Imagine stepping out to go visit your local architectural marvel, only to find yourself stuck in traffic or hit by roadblocks or restricted from visiting certain areas due to reconstruction or restoration. Maddening isn’t it?
Well, that is exactly what happens to websites when they’re not optimized to add to the user’s experience. A canceled visit? No big deal, let’s go back when the work’s done. But the online world? Not so forgiving my friend. Once a user hits ‘roadblocks’ or faces those pesky ‘404 errors’, they won’t bother coming back for a second visit.
Site architecture is essentially the design and structure of your website; easily navigable by Google. The more accessible you make your website, the easier it becomes for users to steer through. And the easier it is for users, the more likely your website finds itself rise to the top.
When it comes to pushing a website to the forefront, your site’s architecture is meant to be doing the following:
- Helping users move smoothly.
- Page indexing to make it search engine discoverable.
- Building website authority.
“Digital platforms are worthless without content. They're shiny sacks with bells and whistles, but without content, they're empty sacks. It is not about pixels versus print. It is not about how you're reading. It is about what you're reading.” - Maureen Dowd
Content. Content. Content. We cannot stress enough about how important your content is when it comes to getting you noticed. Google certainly has a love affair with websites that have content resulting in a great user experience.
In today’s hyper-aware age, content means more than just your average blog. Nowadays, content includes videos, images, infographics, articles/blog posts, webinars, live chat lists, how-to guides, success stories, customer reviews/ testimonials, media mentions, social media integration and so much more!
When your audience gets the low-down on where to go (answering queries, solving problems) and where to stay away from (by giving your visitors exactly what they’re asking for), content can be used to improve both your website ranking and customer satisfaction. It’s pretty simple. Provide reliable and relevant content and watch your website grow.
With Pandas and Penguins breathing down your website’s neck, it’s important to be in Google’s good books by creating content that follows 3 major rules:
4. Satisfy Search Intent
Search intent, simply put, is understanding the what and the why of online searches. All ears? Good. Before we learn what search intent truly means, let’s first try answering the question - “Why do people even search in the first place?” That's because:
- They need answers and they need it fast.
- They are simply arriving at a pre-established location.
- They are on a research mission.
- They are involved in transactions (purchase or sales).
- They are completing specific targets/tasks.
So, there we have it. A few reasons why people are quick to jump online and smash that Google search button. But how does this all fit in with SEO? Aah, now this is where search engines get one up over us. As everything gets smarter (authors and audiences alike), search engines are more likely to toss aside any content that fails to match an audience’s purpose behind a particular search.
I mean George freaking Martin, with all his evasiveness, could write an article for you and it still wouldn’t cut it unless it satisfies a user’s search intent. Which brings us to another critical point. Doesn’t matter if you’ve channeled Shakespeare or Shakur; slapping on words (no matter the limit) won’t rank you higher unless, yes, you’ve fulfilled that search intent!
So, how do you make sure you’ve been meeting this requirement? Easy, just follow the steps listed below and you’re good to go!
- Content already available? Worry not, just tweak it to engage with the user.
- Get that magnifying glass out, ‘cause you need to investigate. Always look out for clues that let you understand the intent behind every search.
- If you’ve got some problem areas that fail to meet the mark, optimize. Focus more on the searcher and his experience than trying to impress search engines.
- Identify key statistics at this point — so that you can measure where you’re at now and where you need to go.
- Keep an eye out for the analytics. Record every result and make adjustments accordingly.
This isn’t just about getting that top spot but also an exercise in gaining your audience’s trust. Make an effort to know your market, provide them with some solid proof, earn their trust and watch how, as once your page starts attracting traffic, search engines hotfoot after you.
What exactly does one mean by ‘backlink’? A backlink is either: (a) a hyperlink that points back to your website or (b) an incoming link to a webpage. And why is it so important? Building links are pretty crucial when it comes to SEO. Think of it this way; your website is an intersection made up of different pathways driving traffic across a much wider space, i.e. the Web. So, the more connected your website is, the more likely it’s going to come within a search engine’s field of vision.
When it comes to backlinks, it's not always about the quantity but the quality as well. And when we talk about quality, we really mean relevancy. Whatever the inbound link embedded in your site, it needs to be relevant to the information present on the website. The greater the relevancy, the better the quality. Imagine a fashion website listing out the year’s hottest shoe trends (say kitten heels), with the backlink redirecting to a particular brand (say Louis Vuitton) But if it was said a link from a site about chocolate making then, well, doesn’t really make sense now, does it?
Think of backlinks as sort of a map. Building and launching a website is only half the work done, you need visitors (a whole pack of them actually) and you need them fast. This is where quality link management plays a part. By convincing other websites to trust you enough to link up, you help in pointing a way for visitors to navigate.
Most search engines are quite free handed with page rankings when it comes to backlinks, especially if they’re from sites that they respect. On the other hand, links recognized as blackhat (dodgy SEO tactics) can negatively impact your ranking. This is why quality backlinks are so important when it comes to improving your website’s search engine rank.
It’s never easy trying to catch Google’s eye. Want to be it’s favorite? Then you gotta put in the hard work. A strategy like this doesn't necessarily give easier or faster results, but it will give you results. Follow these steps, take the necessary action and may the odds be ever in your favor!