But before we go on, I need to tell you how Google and other search engines work. Just a quick search engine 101 course. I’m sure you’ll love it.
How Google (And Other Search Engines) Work
The first thing you need to understand is that Google is only a search engine and not the whole internet. It means your website can exist on the internet without getting traffic from Google. That’s a fact.
Thousands of websites, in diverse niches, don’t even appear in Google top results pages but they’re extremely popular.
However, Google is a vital part of the internet as many internet users carry out searches daily to find the right information on the internet. For instance, Google accounts for 72.68% of the desktop search engine market share.
When there’s a search on Google, the search engine will check its index and then use its ranking signals, that are as many as 200 factors, to reveal the best results for the search engine user.
The key to pushing your page from page 3 to page 1 for a particular keyword is to implement for many of these ranking factors than other competing pages.
How do you achieve that? Here are some tasks you can implement to achieve it:
1. Analyze the Competition on the First Page
The reality is that for any keyword you’re trying to rank for today, some pages are already ranking for it. They’re mostly your competitors.
And if you don’t have a content page that creates better value, there’s no way to rank above these (competitors’) pages.
However, you may be in the dark when it comes to creating quality content for that topic.
One of the best places to learn is to check your competitors. The first step to do that is to type your target keyword into Google and see the results.
Let’s say you want to rank for “accounting services in New York,” you can search for the term on Google.
After doing this, you’ll see the pages that currently rank for the keyword. You can check the top 5 pages on the search results.
Here are the important details to check on these pages?
- Domain authority: This is a value that shows the power of a domain to rank high in search engines. If your website has a domain authority of 30 and you write the content of similar quality to a website with a domain authority of 80, you’ll likely rank lower.
- Page authority: This is the ability of a particular page to rank high in search engines. You can get these values by installing the Mozrank bar in your browser.
- Quality of content: The quality of content is its ability to solve a reader’s problem. Does your competitor’s content answer all the questions a visitor might have?
One of the first things we do at Bloominari, our San Diego Digital Marketing Company when we’re working on client’s website is to analyze their top 5 competitors. It’s a complex task but we love doing it. If you need some help, check out our Services Page.
2. Create More Comprehensive Content
With thin or/low-quality content, there’s no chance of ranking high for a keyword. In fact, Google’s search quality guidelines state that quality page content is the type of content that’s more likely to rank on Google.
It says that creating this type of content would require time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill.
In most cases too, such type of content tends to be lengthy. This is because explaining a concept in details will take many words.
Backlinko, in a study of 1 million search results, found that a post that ranks number 1 on Google search results page has an average of 1,890 words. There’s also a correlation between the length of posts and their rank.
This is not to say a long post will automatically rank. But it’s almost impossible for a short post to rank higher than a short post, all other factors remain constant. Generally, a post about a wide topic will need more words to explain in details than a post about a narrow topic.
Michael Karp, a UAV coach, after creating a comprehensive post about quadcopters ranked his page number #1 for terms like how to fly a quadcopter and how to fly a drone. He also increased organic traffic by 12,134%.
3. Build More Contextual Inbound Links
One way Google judges the trustworthiness of your page is the number of backlinks it has gained. Backlinks are a show of trust from other websites. It also increases your credibility as an authority on that topic.
The position of these links is equally important. That’s why a link that appears within the content carries more juice/value than a link that appears elsewhere (e.g., the footer), according to Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz.
Make no mistake, backlinks are one of the most important ranking signals. Google’s search quality analyst, Andrey Lipattsev claimed that content, backlinks, and Rankbrain are the 3 most important ranking signals.
You can get more editorial links (i.e., links that you got for free through your marketing efforts) for your website when you write more guest posts for other websites.
It even has a bigger effect if you’re guest blogging on authoritative websites. By building contextual editorial links, Felix Tarcomnicu increased a website’s organic traffic by 210% in 2 years.
4. Implement E.A.T.
In terms of the Google algorithm, The acronym E.A.T. stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.
In most cases, content that shows Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness will rank above those that lack it.
According to Google search quality guidelines, this is one of the most important factors to determine the overall page quality rating.
As the author of a piece of content, your expertise will affect the page content. There authoritativeness and trustworthiness ratings for the author, the content itself, and the website it’s hosted.
For example, if a random website/writer writes about “eye cleaner, Google will be skeptical about the author’s expertise and level of trust.
But if trusted sites like WebMD.com or AllAboutVisiton.com shares articles on the same topic, Google will trust their opinion because their authors are certified medical practitioners, opticians, etc. Take a closer look:
E.A.T is particularly applicable when your field is health or finance related. Google wants to serve its search users information from qualified writers and companies. That’s the focus.
If you’re not a medical or finance expert and you have a website in these fields, one thing you can do is create and update your social media pages, add an ‘About’ page on your site, and showcase your achievements no matter how little they might seem.
Jay Baer has a good “About” page that shows trust, expertise, and authority.
To further boost your expertise, create more guest posts and craft a trustworthy author bio blended with your expertise and authority.
The more places you appear across the web, the more trust you’re creating. And eventually, Google will see you as an authority in that field.
5. Rank for your Service in your Area
Local SEO is a trend that any business must pay attention to. According to Google, 4 in 5 consumers conduct local searches.
More so, it’s easier to rank for a local keyword as there’s a lower competition due to fewer websites trying to rank for those keywords. To rank for local keywords, you have to target keywords that include your location.
For instance, if you’re a real estate agent in New York, you can target keywords like:
- New York Real Estate agent
- New York realtor
- Best real estate agent in New York
- Real estate agent near me
Other steps you need to take to rank in your locality are:
- Add your business information to local business listings
- Create and update your Google My Business page
- Get customer reviews for your business
By following these local SEO tips, RoofCrafters was able to rank for important roofing keywords in their locality.
This also led to a 4,342.44% increase in their organic traffic in 6 months.
6. Consider Searcher’s Intent
Without the knowledge of a searcher’s intent, it can be difficult to solve such a searcher’s problem. While targeting a keyword, the question to ask is: “what problem is a searcher looking to solve when they put this keyword into the search box?”
In most cases, it’s easier to judge the search intent of a long keyword than a short one. For instance, what does someone searching “shoes” want? It’s difficult to tell.
However, someone searching “buy winter shoes in Boston” has shown you the searcher’s intent. The ‘intent’ may fall into one of these 4 categories.
Targeting long-tail keywords makes it easier to get that page 1 ranking. This is because fewer pages are competing to rank for them. Likewise, it’s easier to convert visitors from these keywords as you can meet their needs easily.
Furthermore, long-tail keywords represent a large portion of search queries as 50% of search queries are 4 words or longer.
7. Increase your Page Speed
Web pages are getting heavier due to more media content. However, website visitors are getting more impatient.
As a page load time increases, more visitors abandon the page. A study found that by the time your page loads for 4 seconds, about 25% of your visitors would have abandoned the page. In fact, the faster your page loads, the lower your abandonment rate. [source]
When your page has a high bounce rate, it’s a bad signal to Google and your page will lose search rank. To increase your page speed, the first step is to know your page speed. You can use a tool like Pingdom to test your page speed.
When you enter your website address into the tool and click on “Start Test,” it will show you details you need to know about your website’s speed.
Pingdom will show you details of parts to improve on your website to increase its speed.
Other steps you can take to reduce your page size and increase website speed are:
- Compress images and videos before adding them to your website.
- Use a content delivery network
- Use a fast website host
- Implement Google’s accelerated mobile pages (AMPs)
8. Increase User’s Time on Site
When search users from Google results spend a long time on your website before leaving, it’s usually because they’re satisfied with your content. It could mean that your content is useful and interesting at the same time.
When you’re able to achieve this, Google rewards you with a higher search rank. Some ways to increase users’ time on your website are:
- Use a readable font
- Write engaging content
- Increase your page load speed
- Use a beautiful theme
- Use the right images related to your content
- Make your website mobile-responsive
When Larry Kim and his team carried out a study on WordStream rankings, they found a correlation between time on site and their organic position of ranking pages.
Pushing your website from page 3 of Google results to page 1 is not rocket science.
When you take these steps, it’s only a matter of time -- short time -- before your website starts dominating search results for important keywords.
After all, when you provide the best content possible to solve your visitors’ problems and add a great user experience to the mix, you’ll dramatically increase your search rankings and traffic.