Hitting the first page of Google is a long and drawn out process that requires a clever strategy – remember, you’re doing more than just stringing together keywords and sentences.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: you won’t rank on the first page of Google overnight, in a few weeks, or even a few months. Provided you do everything right and hit all the checkboxes, it will take you anywhere from 4 to 6 months to get there. If someone promises you overnight results, run for the hills.
Now, if you analyze the top page rankings on search results, you’ll notice that all websites have unrealistically high domain authorities –to the tune of 80+. Each top link also tends to have over 10,000+ backlinks.
The typical modus operandi for search engines is to use several social signals to evaluate the content on each page and see if it’s worth ranking. One of these is backlinks. If another website with enough domain authority links back to you, that provides Google all the validation it needs to increase your ranking.
Plus, most of these results have been around for years and have been read by millions of readers. If you’re starting out from scratch, you’ll definitely have your work cut out for you.
Does this mean doom and gloom for your website? Of course not. It just means that you have to pursue different strategies to rank higher for your target keywords.
In this guide, we’ll explore 12 working strategies that are bound to produce results.
Pro tip: Refer to the table of contents below to skip to important areas of the blog.
How to Get on the Front Page of Google
Optimize On-Site SEO
On-Page SEO is the foundation of your content marketing efforts. Plus, it’s super easy to perform since you can get it done within a matter of minutes. You’ll also get a ranking boost within days – provided you have enough content to rank on.
We have covered all the most important aspects of technical SEO for beginners. You can refer to this in our blog here.
Here are some quick SEO tips to follow:
First, make sure your keyword is located at the beginning of the title tag. For example, if your target keyword is “Mechanical Keyboards”, here’s how you can frontload it into the title tag:
“Mechanical Keyboard: X Important Cleaning Tips”
You’ll notice that tools like Yoast SEO emphasize this tiny detail when calculating your final SEO score.
You should try to place keywords in the following places of your webpages:
The meta description shows up underneath the title tag in search results. It provides useful clues to search engines about the niche and topic, and provide searchers with a summary of what they will find should they click on it.
It is hoped that this will increase the number of relevant clicks to your page. For obvious reasons, the meta description can make or break your SEO efforts and put your website on the front page of the internet. Make sure you spend a couple of minutes writing a well-thought-out meta description.
The URL consists of the domain name, followed by a slash ‘/’, followed by a simple text. The text should include keywords to help search engines figure out what the page is all about. Make sure your URL is easy to read for the average user. A URL that matches the search results page appears trustworthy and appealing to users, and will rank higher automatically.
Google will only rank images if you provide it with an alt tag (aka text alternative). Bonus points if you include keywords on the alt tags. It could contribute to increasing your search results.
What makes this so important?
Because Google has been observed to emphasize web pages that ‘frontload’ the keyword in their title tag. This isn’t the end-all and be-all for SEO, but it’s something to worth considering.
It is also worth heading over to Google Search Console to check your site for errors. Google Search Console will reveal any possible errors that it may be encountering on your website.
Here’s how the search console looks like:
2) Long-Form Content
We can tell you from experience that long-form content ranks far higher than shorter blogs. And this also makes sense.
Most users prefer to do their research in the shortest time possible and if your article provides them all the relevant information, they’ll spend a longer reading it.
A cursory look at the search results page will help you uncover an important trend: namely, that almost all the top pages have content above 3000 words.
Businesses such as Neil Patel, Moz, Yoast, Backlinko, and others, will write insanely massive articles that are usually above 4000 words.
This is why we try to make sure that all our pages cover everything anyone would possibly want to know about the subject matter.
This blog is somewhere above 3000 words.
This rule isn’t set in stone, however. Some topics or situations don’t require long-form content – try not to needlessly increase the word count.
Another rule worth noting is the number of keywords on your page. You should add a healthy dose of keywords in your content.
This doesn’t mean you should go overboard with too many keywords – you’re not ‘fooling’ the system. You’re optimizing your blogs for search engines.
Instead, try to add keywords organically to your page. This will tell Google what your page is trying to rank for.
The end result is a huge ranking boost. As a general rule of thumb, you should target a keyword density of about 1% – which is about 10 keywords per 1000 words. Once again, this isn’t set in stone. You should sprinkle the keyword a handful of times on your page only when it makes the most sense.
Speaking of keywords, you have to first conduct a keyword audit. You could do this with a simple Google search or use a tool like SEMrush to track a particular keyword’s positioning. For our intents and purposes, the minimum we would want to find is the following information:
- The primary search keywords
- The search terms that our website is ranking for
- The top positions along with their search query
All of this is relatively easy to do using a tool like SEMrush.
Under SEMrush, select “Organic Research” and then enter your website’s address. SEMrush will reveal the complete organic search position data for the website (whether it’s your own or a competitor’s URL).
The keywords can be single words or phrases.
Examples of keywords include:
- “Target store near me”
- “Target store”
- “Air conditioner repair Michigan”
- “how to clean Mechanical Keyboard”
Try to target a different keyword on each web page so that they aren’t competing with each other.
The right keywords for your website are the ones that your ideal prospects type in search engines to get the products and services they need. For more help in choosing the right keywords for your business, check out our comprehensive guide on using SEMrush here.
LSI Keywords are an advanced SEO strategy and they’re working admirably well on search engines.
So what are LSI keywords anyways?
They are phrases and words that are closely related to your topic.
Here are a few examples of LSI keywords for “Mechanical Keyboard”:
Together, these LSI keywords work in tandem to help Google form a complete picture of the topic that your content is all about.
There are many tools that let you find LSI keywords for your topic.
Our favorite tool is LSIGraph, it’s free and easy to use.
Simply type in your target keyword into the search bar and you’ll automatically find various LSI keywords to target in your content planning.
Note: Only the first three results are free, so LSI Keywords isn’t completely free!
Here’s the results page for ‘mechanical keyboard’:
While it makes sense to target long-tail keywords with high search volume, it’s better to target less competitive keywords. To this end, long-tail keywords hit the sweet spot when it comes to search volume and conversion rates.
For example, the search term “brown switch mechanical keyboards near me” will almost always have a low search volume than either “brown switch” or “mechanical keyboards”, but they will have a much higher conversion rate.
A person typing ‘keyboards near me’ is doing so to buy – at least 9 times out of 10.
But a person typing ‘keyboard’ could be doing so for a million different reasons. Make sure you prioritize search terms with intent. They’re easier and convert.
Suppose you’re getting 100,000 clicks on your website but no one is converting – it’s only wasting your hosting resources. This is why it makes much more sense to optimize your blog for long-tail searches to dominate SERPs.
Alright, this is a short term solution, but one that could inject a ton of money into your business at a time when you need it the most.
While AdWords is not organic search and they cost money (prices depend on the keyword), they effectively help you ‘cheat’ to the top of the search results page. However, since you’re dealing with real money, we recommend using keywords that match the searcher’s intent (to buy a product or service).
Here are a few tips to get the most out of your appearance on Google Adwords:
- Implement tracking with links and phone numbers
- Test your ads with A/B testing
- Use negative keywords
- Make sure the landing pages are optimized to handle the incoming traffic
- Keep track of all important KPIs
- Write a compelling ad copy
When it comes to ranking higher on search engines, you should bet on two things: consistency and persistence.
Consistency means publishing at a reasonably high frequency.
Persistency means being relentless in your pursuit of keywords and being patient with results.
In other words, you’re going to have to create a lot of content to generate the most noise. Think of SEO ranking as a screaming competition – whoever screams the loudest (and clearest) will get noticed the most. The more you content you publish, the better your prospects of ranking on the first page of search results. This is because more pages will be getting indexed and generate a ton of traffic to your write site.
5 to 15 blogs a month is a good target, but it’s not enough. Not if you’ve got low domain authority and are starting over from scratch.
Most of your top competitors are probably publishing more than 20+ long-form blogs every month. How can you reasonably expect to outrank your competition if you’re writing less? You need to publish blogs as if your bottom line depends on it. Because based on search engine trends, it does.
This means you need to write more in-depth content that provides actionable solutions to your readers. The content should be filled with images, step-by-step instructions, examples, and if possible, case studies.
If you or your team doesn’t have the time to start writing content, you should either consider hiring or outsourcing to agencies and freelancers.
The good news is that content marketing isn’t nearly as expensive as other forms of marketing. At the same time, content marketing yields thrice as many leads.
You have to make sure your content isn’t a word-to-word copy of your competitor’s blog. That will result in a penalty and won’t send a good message to your more savvy shoppers who’ve been there done that.
Another key strategy is to optimize your content so that it generates the highest possible CTR. This is best done by optimizing your meta descriptions and headlines for searchers. This will result in a10% increase in CTR.
Higher CTR is always a good indication of your website ranking higher.
CTR isn’t about manipulating search engine algorithms – it’s about grabbing user attention. Did you know that the average attention span for online users is less than 8 seconds? That leaves you with a very short window span.
This is why it is so important to become creative when writing your headlines. Instead of writing a basic headline, try to use ‘power’ words that evoke human emotion.
Here are a few powerful headline templates that will maximize your click-through rate (and with it, you ranking):
- 10 Easy Tips to _________
- The Beginner’s Guide to ________
- The Definitive Guide to ________
This is an important step and should be done right after you publish your blog. If you’re writing a particularly big piece of content, it helps to promote it before it is published. Your goal should be to get the content out in front of as many prospects as possible before search engines can know about it.
Fortunately, you can do this quite easily by leveraging your contacts on social media:
- Share your blog posts through social media accounts, this includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Email Newsletters, youraccounts, and even advertisements.
- Include social buttons on your website to make content sharing easy for your users. They are more likely to share or tweet your article if it can be done with a single button.
- Try to build as many links to your content as possible. Link building remains a very important component of SEO, even if it is slightly more difficult (or annoying depending on who you ask). Click here to learn all there is to know about backlink building.
We recommend creating an email newsletter using autoresponder tools like GetResponse. Make sure to strategically place a contact page on your website so that users can submit their contact details. Once you’ve got enough contacts, you can start sending your blogs directly to their inbox. Remember not to do this too often during the week otherwise you run the risk of annoying your users.
People tend to agree with blogs more if you can prove that others also share the same views. This is done by linking to a website (or even a competitor) for some extra validation and information. Furthermore, external links show search engines that the author has conducted enough research in their write-up. That being said, it is important to make sure that the external links are relevant to your content.
The more authoritative the external links, the better your own chances of ranking higher.
Internal linking is absolutely critical to increasing your website’s optimization and decreasing its overall bounce rate. This is because you’re providing your readers with extra information by linking different pages together. When you create enough internal links, users will stay on your website for longer and the site traffic will also increase.
If you do it right, you can improve the user’s navigational experience.
This is one of the criteria search engines use in order to rank your website.
Internal links also lower the bounce rate of your web pages.
Bounce rate is a measure of how many users visit a page through search results and then leave the page. If a website has good internal linking for easy navigation, the bounce rate will naturally decrease because the user will be redirected to other relevant articles on your website.
It is important to note that Google’s bots are designed to evaluate the bounce rate of your website. If the bounce rate is too high, Google will know that something isn’t right and will respond by penalizing your site’s ranking. Good websites are adept at using a network of internal links.
Just make sure to not overdo it. Your best bet is to link to 2 or 4 other posts whenever you publish a new blog.
Pictures make your blog appear more user friendly.
But there is another aspect to them – you can use them to rank higher.
By giving your images proper names and attributes, you can improve the overall optimization of your blog because it provides more clues to search engines about the target niche. Optimizing images is relatively easy and will naturally boost your ranking.
Also, your images will rank on Google image search, which could be another means of increasing traffic. The more the merrier.
Depending on your target niche, it may be more effective to get reviewed and featured in round-ups instead of spending time and effort on search engine optimization. Think of it as free advertisement. You’re getting more exposure and validation. Furthermore, reviews also serve as an excellent source of signals for search engines.
If you have a product or service, try to get it featured in roundup-style posts. You can send an email to various authoritative websites to have your service features in their comparisons.
The results can be extremely advantageous to your website.
The more you get featured on comparison posts, the better your traffic and ranking. More importantly, these users will be ready to spend money on your services.
All you need is a few simple outreach posts to get reviewed and you’ll quickly get to the front page of the internet. This is a low-effort approach that doesn’t require any time and money. If you ask nicely enough, many websites will be willing to do a free review.
In addition to optimizing your website, it pays to build an online portfolio by getting your website listed on various online business directly listings. This is a surefire way of adding authenticity and credibility to your website.
Here are a few places to start getting listed on:
- Better Business Bureau
- Google My Business
Make sure your business profile is consistent across all online directories.
- Complete every section of the profile
- Keep the information consistent by using an exact name for the business at all times without any discrepancies
- Update the information as and when needed
- Obtain reviews and engage users (even if they’re unhappy)
- Upload photos where relevant
Showing up on the first page of Google can be insanely hard, but it is not impossible.
Most people who are already ranking on the top results page have been producing content for years. This is why they’re dominating in the first place – because they have built credibility that comes with years of experience.
You won’t get the first page when you’re new.
But there are workarounds to this rule: targeting low-competition long-tail keywords that reflect the searcher’s intent to buy a product or service.
What is your strategy to rank on the first page of Google? Let us know in the comments below!