Nothing could be more disappointing than your website not ranking on Google, despite your continued efforts to rank high. With a vast amount of content available on the internet, finding out the accurate answer on how to rank on Google would be close to impossible. Google has a few ranking factors, but it makes these ranking factors up of not just one but a wide variety of algorithms. To help your website rank on Google, we have come up with a few solutions.
Let’s get started with our first ranking factor, i.e., choosing relevant keywords.
What is Google Ranking?
When a user enters a search query, Google ranking refers to the position at which a webpage appears in Google SERPs.
When you search for something on Google, the search engine displays a list of relevant web pages. The order in which these pages are displayed is determined by Google's ranking algorithm, which considers various factors to determine the relevance and quality of each page. A higher Google keyword ranking means that a webpage appears closer to the top of the search results, making it more likely to be seen and clicked on by users.
Why is it Important to Rank High on Google?
Achieving a high keyword ranking on Google is a primary goal for websites, and here are five reasons why:
- Increased visibility: Most users tend to click on the first few search results, so being among the top results increases your chances of getting noticed.
- Higher click-through rates: Users are likelier to click on links at the top of the search results.
- More organic traffic: Higher Google rankings result in more organic traffic, reducing the need for relying solely on paid advertising to attract visitors.
- Credibility and trust: Users often associate higher-ranking websites with credibility and trustworthiness. Ranking on the first page or in the top positions implies that Google recognizes your site as a reliable source of information, products, or services.
- Better business results: Improved visibility and higher traffic can translate into tangible business results, such as increased sales, leads, sign-ups, and conversions. This can contribute to the overall growth and success of your business.
Understand Your Current Google Rankings
To boost your Google keyword rankings, you need to know where the website currently stands in the search results. You can do this manually by entering your target keywords into Google (assuming incognito mode to prevent your personal search history from affecting the results). Alternatively, you can use specialized SEO tools that track your positions for the necessary keywords in just one click and show you additional data for ranking analysis. Among the most popular ones are SE Ranking Rank Tracker, SEO PowerSuite, and Spy SERP.
The second way is more insightful and efficient. Tools provide detailed insights into your website's position for all the needed keywords across various locations and other data. For instance, you can monitor ranking fluctuations, check keyword cannibalization issues, or see the SERP features you get.
How to Improve Keyword Rankings on Google
Now that you grasp the significance of ranking highly on Google and know your current positions on SERPs, the question arises: How can you climb to the top of the SERPs? It's a multifaceted journey involving numerous stages of website optimization. Let's delve deeper into these pivotal steps.
1. Choose Relevant Keywords
The aim of ranking websites on search engines is a dream of every marketer. But, to accomplish the task, we require a lot of effort.
However, targeting the right keywords and audience is the major tip to improve your website ranking. Along with that, creating well-optimized content will give a good boost to your website ranking.
Your website can reach on top much sooner than you think, but only if you follow the steps mentioned below:
- Pick out a list of keywords that are relevant to your subject
- Identify the keywords that your competitors are ranking for
- Use third-party tools like Google keyword planner to choose keywords with less competition and more search volume for your website
- Brainstorm your ideas and identify LSI keywords on Google
- Get active in communities (such as Reddit, Quora), where the audiences ask questions on specific topics
- Stay up-to-date on the latest updates of industry news, as it will help you learn new jargons (without even doing the keyword research)
Moving further, let's discuss how creating high-quality content can help your website rank #1 on Google.
Stated below is an example of a Machine Learning video ranking #1 on YouTube search result.
Primary keyword: Machine learning
Secondary keyword: What is Machine learning
2. Do SERP Analysis
To outperform your competitors and excel in your niche, you must surpass them. Achieving this requires a careful analysis of their strategies. By conducting a thorough SERP analysis, you can gain valuable insights into ranking high on Google.
Upon selecting relevant keywords, your next step involves a detailed SERP analysis for each query. Begin by entering the keyword into Google and then analyze the top-ranking pages, focusing on their:
- Titles and descriptions
- Content: Assess format, structure, amount of text and images
- Keyword usage and related terms
- Domain authority (DA)
- Page speed, mobile-friendliness, and layout
- Backlink profile
- Organic traffic forecast
Moreover, pay attention to the Google SERP features displayed for the query. Maybe optimizing your website page to appear in SERP features is a good idea.
3. Check Search Intent and Match Your Content to It
Understanding what users are looking for when they type in a specific query and tailoring your content to match that intent is essential for user satisfaction and search engine visibility. To effectively match your content with search intent:
- Examine the keyword you're targeting. Is it informational, transactional, navigational, or commercial? This will guide you in understanding the user's purpose. Search a reason behind a user's query—whether they're seeking information, looking to purchase, comparing options, or exploring a topic.
- Look at the top-ranking pages in Google for your keyword. Are they blog posts, product pages, comparison articles, or guides? This provides insights into what type of content aligns with user expectations. For example, if you type “what is SEO” in the search box, your SERP will most likely look like this:
- Craft your content to fulfill the user's needs based on intent. For informational queries, provide in-depth explanations. For transactional queries, offer clear calls-to-action and product details.
By checking and matching your content to search intent, you provide value to users and increase the likelihood of higher engagement, lower bounce rates, and improved search engine rankings.
4. Create High-Quality Content
So what is high-quality content? We can explain it to you in simple words if you ask us.
Quality content accomplishes its marketing goal.
Marketing goals include increasing brand awareness, improving click-through rates, gaining leads, and gaining maximum social shares of a website.
Content Marketing Institute confirms that 88% of B2B companies give priority to content marketing.
Content marketing involves a wide variety of content types, such as blog posts, newsletters, webinars, videos, and so on, to attract the target audience.
Below we have listed down some of the useful tips to consider while creating high-quality content:
- Perform research on your chosen keywords
- Create content that completes users' requirements
- Make your content readable to your audience.
- Ensure that the content flow is organized
- Include resources from reputed sites in your post to increase the credibility of the content
- Opt for white hat techniques, as it helps with ranking
Note: White hat technique is a technique used to improve search ranking on SERP. It follows search engine rules and policies
- Prefer different forms of content
- Feature infographics in your post
- Include videos and images in your post
- Review your content thoroughly
Note: When a reader stays on your web page for a longer time, Google will favorably rank your website. To increase user attention/dwell-time, always create comprehensive, long, and engaging content.
Some of the steps to create high-quality content are:
- Begin with a comprehensive introduction
- Ensure the content is relevant to the chosen keyword
- Create a click-worthy title and include LSI keywords in your content
- Make sure the heading and subheadings have keywords and variants
- Shorten your sentences and paragraphs, or you can list down the answers in bullet points
- Build a comprehensive internal linking structure of web pages
- Add suitable images with descriptive alt text
- Incorporate callout boxes
- Update your content regularly
- Finalize your CTA.
In the video format, showcased below is an example of high-quality content for the keyword: what is machine learning?
Moving onto the next technique, let's see how to Optimize on-page SEO.
5. Optimize On-page SEO
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing web page elements. On-page SEO includes:
- Title tag
- Meta description
- Header tags
Optimizing on-page SEO is easier than you might think. What follows is some practical advice.
The title tag is the web page title that appears on the search engine results page.
Let us discuss some of the ways to optimize on-page SEO:
- First, watch the title tag. Ensure the description is between 50 - 60 characters
- Avoid stuffing keywords in your title tag
- Give every page a unique title
- Place important keywords first
- Write for your readers
It is a summary of the content of your web page.
Let us discuss some of the ways to optimize on-page SEO:
- First, ensure the description is between 50 - 300 characters
- Avoid stuffing keywords in your meta description
- Use targeted keywords in your meta descriptions.
- Impress readers to click by giving them a concise description of your content
- Write call-to-actions in the description, such as "click on this result"
The header tag provides structure to your site by identifying headings and subheadings of your web page.
Optimize your tags by:
- Including keywords in your Header Tags
- Ensure only one H1 tag in your content
- Make sure that the header tags are in sync with the content
- Maintain the hierarchical structure of tags
- Do not repeat the same h1 tags on other web pages of your website
- Do not include header tags as hidden text
- Keyword stuffing your header tags should be avoided
- Ensure the length of the tags are between 20-70 characters
Below is an example of a well-optimized web page in terms of on-page SEO. The keyword used here is: Digital marketing certificate
So far, we have discussed 3 ranking factors on how to rank on Google. Next, we will look at how to optimize website level factors to improve website ranking.
6. Optimize Website Level Factors
Website level factors include a sitemap, security, and page speed. Optimizing these three elements will improve your rankings and traffic.
A sitemap is one of the important ways to enhance your website's ranking by providing information about the pages.
Some of the crucial ways to improve sitemaps are:
- Prioritize high-quality web pages in your sitemap
- Include your canonical versions of URLs in the sitemap
- Opt to create dynamic URLs sitemaps for large websites
- Ensure to design a smaller sitemap
- Avoid adding noindex URLs in your sitemap
According to EDGY, "Using sitemaps for SEO can increase your website's visibility and help get it indexed."
Sites with HTTPS server boost in website rankings, whereas Google calls HTTPS as a ranking signal.
Some of the ways to improve site security are:
- Scan your site for vulnerability
- Secure your domain using DNSSEC protocol
- Use SSL certificates
- Use HSTS as it includes an extra layer of security over HTTPS
It is one of the most important ranking factors on Google. It is the time taken to load the content on a web page.
Page speed with poor performance results in a high bounce rate and low average time spent on the web page.
Below are the ways to optimize page speed:
- First, optimize images that are larger than 150 bytes
- Next, choose a simple website design
- Leverage browser caching for files
- Upgrade server response time
- Minimize redirects and optimize code
Note: Page speed with poor performance results in a high bounce rate and low average time spent on the web page.
For example, Neil Patel had confirmed that Walmart experienced a decline in conversions when the page speed increased from one to four seconds.
7. Gain Links to Your Site
Acquiring backlinks from other websites is one of the important ranking factors.
Neil Patel says, "75% of people will never scroll past the first page on a Google search." which indicates the ranking your website on the second, third, or fourth page of Google will not improve your website ranking.
In that case, building external links to your website can increase your organic search ranking.
Some of the benefits of link building are:
- Improved search engine rankings
- Increases brand visibility
- Increases the domain authority
- Increases referral traffic
- Improves the credibility and trust of your website
Now, you might be wondering: ‘What is a high-quality link, exactly? And how do I build them?’ That's what we are going to cover now.
Let us tell you a few essential techniques that could help in building links:
- Opt for guest blogging
- List your website in reputable and trustworthy directories
- Opt for testimonial link building; it helps build trust and authority to your website
- Constantly promote content on social media
- Use resource links from reputed sites
- Leverage the broken links strategy
Note: Backlinko has confirmed that pages with more backlinks tend to rank higher than web pages with fewer backlinks
For example, the web page below has a high number of backlinks.
The below screenshot is taken from Ahref tool:
8. Improve Site Structure
According to Neil Patel, "A good site structure provides your site with site links."
Having many web pages on your website is no longer important. Still, it is essential to have a website appropriately grouped into categories so that based on the search query, Google can know what content to display on the search engine results page.
A well-defined website architecture helps in ranking. This way, bots can effortlessly access and index the content, which results in improved indexing and a higher probability of website ranking.
Following are the important techniques used to improve your website structure:
- Improve the website by creating a logical hierarchy structure
- Balance the number of categories and subcategories
- Use CSS or HTML language to code for your site navigation
- Build a comprehensive structure of internal linking
- Review the links in the website footer
- Create a URL structure that follows your site's navigation hierarchy
- Create breadcrumb navigation as it will enhance a site's internal linking structure
Keywords are still important for rankings, but subject relevance is equally important, and one of the ways to accomplish this is through a good website architecture.
Below is an example of a strong logical site structure, where individual sub-pages are connected to one another.
So far we have discussed six website ranking factors. Now, only one ranking factor has to be discussed in the article “How to rank on google”, the last ranking factor is social media platforms.
9. Use Internal Linking
Internal links help users navigate your site, promote your main pages and give a deeper understanding of a particular topic or concept. As for Google, internal links help to understand and find all the pages for better crawling and indexing. Moreover, by passing link juice, they also signal to search engines the importance and relevance of specific pages.
Therefore, there is no way to do this without internal linking. Here are a few basic ways to do it effectively.
The first rule is incorporating internal links in your website's navigation menus: footer, sidebar, header, etc. This gives users and search engines easy access to important pages and improves site structure.
Next, add contextual links across all the essential pages of your website.
Link relevant content together. The good idea is to create content hubs by identifying cornerstone content pieces that cover broader topics and are comprehensive guides. Link related blog posts or pages to these hubs, forming content clusters that signal your site's expertise to search engines.
Avoid the temptation to add links solely for the sake of quantity; each link should genuinely enhance users' and Google's navigation experience.
Another important thing is to work on an anchor plan. Use different anchor texts, mostly descriptive text that gives readers and search engines an idea of what they'll find when they click the link.
Bear in mind that internal links can become broken or outdated. So, you need to review and update these chains. Use tools like Google Analytics to monitor the effectiveness of your internal linking strategy. Analyze user behavior and engagement metrics to refine your approach.
10. Add Schema Markup
Schema markup, also known as structured data, is a unified code that provides additional context to search engines about the content on your website.
Schema markup enhances search engine results by creating rich snippets—extra details displayed beneath a search result. You’ve definitely seen snippets with ratings, price, phone number, and event date, as shown in the screenshot below. This additional data improves click-through rates and user engagement and helps your content stand out.
Moreover, Schema markup benefits mobile users and voice search by presenting concise information that's easy to consume.
The finalized code must be added to the page through the site’s admin panel or directly to the HTML file.
You can also implement structured data with the help of CMS. CMS developers provide special software that structures the code. For instance, All In One Schema Rich Snippets and Markup (JSON-LD) structured in schema.org modules; Drupal employs Microdata and Schema.org extensions, while Joomla uses Google Structured Data.
11. Continuously Optimize & Improve Content
To maintain and improve your rankings over time, a continuous content optimization process is essential. Google's search algorithms are dynamic and constantly evolving. Content that ranks well today might not maintain its position tomorrow.
The first step in content optimization is conducting periodic content audits. You need to identify outdated, irrelevant, or underperforming content. You can do it with the help of the major of analytic tools. Track key performance metrics such as bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rates. Delete unnecessary pages that are duplicates, have not had any sessions in the past year do not focus on specific keywords or offer minimal value to your audience.
Other pages should be improved by updating content:
- Incorporate new keywords naturally into your content.
- Revise and expand existing content to include recent information, statistics, and examples.
- Enhance readability, structure, and formatting to make your content more user-friendly.
Don’t forget to regularly publish new content on relevant topics to demonstrate your expertise and authority in your niche.
Maintain a balance between optimization and natural, engaging content.
12. Stay on Top of Algorithm Updates
The search engine frequently updates its algorithms to enhance user experience, provide accurate results, and thwart black-hat SEO practices. Certain algorithm updates target practices like keyword stuffing, link spam, poor mobile usability, weak E-A-T signals, etc.
Now, Google makes thousands of changes every year. These updates can significantly impact your website's rankings, making it essential to stay informed to avoid penalties.
Here's how to stay on top of algorithm updates:
- Subscribe to Google's Webmaster Central Blog and follow Google's official social media accounts for announcements regarding algorithm changes.
- Stay connected with reputable SEO news websites, blogs, and online communities, and follow SEO experts who regularly share insights about algorithm changes.
- Monitor Google Search Console for alerts, messages, and notifications about potential issues affecting your website's performance.
- Regularly monitor your website's analytics, including ranking fluctuations, traffic patterns, engagement metrics, and conversion rates, to identify potential reasons for these shifts.
13. Pay Attention to User Experience Signals
UX signals are behavioral patterns that affect your page rankings. Among the most crucial are click-through rate and bounce rate. In essence, it's important to Google that users click often on your snippets and stay on the pages for a long time.
Google Analytics will be your best friend when it comes to measuring your bounce rate.
Google Search Console will help you to monitor CTR.
Once you spot UX issues, try to do everything possible to follow basic rules to improve user experience:
- Implement responsive design principles to provide a consistent, user-friendly experience across different devices.
- Make it easy for users to find what they're looking for by organizing content logically and using clear navigation menus.
- Craft high-quality, relevant, engaging content that comprehensively addresses user search queries.
- Incorporate interactive features, such as videos, quizzes, and infographics, to keep users engaged and encourage interaction.
- Avoid intrusive pop-ups or ads that hinder the user experience and disrupt navigation.
14. Setup and Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Google Business Profiles increase your chances of appearing in local search results (so-called Google Local Pack), a coveted spot at the top of SERPs. This leads to higher visibility among users in your area.
According to surveys, 21% of customers use the Internet to search for local businesses daily, and 35% do so multiple times every week. Having a Google Business Profile is essential if you have a physical business.
If you haven't already, claim your business profile, providing accurate and consistent information, including:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Website URL
- Opening hours
- Brief description of your business
Add high-resolution photos that showcase your products, services, and location. Visual content increases engagement and provides a glimpse into your business. Choose accurate business categories to help Google understand your services and match you with relevant searches.
Once you're in the local pack, track your results: monitor the number of views, website visits, searches by keywords, phone calls, direction requests, reviews, etc.
Remember to promptly update data if there are changes to your address, phone number, or other details.
15. Track and Monitor Your Results in Google
Without a clear understanding of how your SEO strategies are performing, you're essentially flying blind. By identifying which strategies yield the best results, you optimize your resources, saving time and money.
First, define KPIs that align with your goals, such as organic traffic, conversion rates, and engagement metrics.
Second, utilize SEO tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other trustworthy SEO tools to access detailed data about your website's performance.
Don’t forget to continuously track your target keywords' rankings using SEO tools or specialized rank-tracking software. This helps you understand your visibility and track progress.
16. Leverage Social Media Platforms
Off-site engagement aims to boost the value of your content by the practice of earning links from other authoritative websites. The impact of link building on SEO is high. A website owner needs to develop an effective and long-term approach to link building rather than earning links through non-authoritative websites.
Attaining backlinks from multiple domains is crucial, as they help in bringing referral traffic to your website.
Some of the off-site engagements are:
- Bookmark your webpage on popular bookmarking sites (like stumbleupon.com)
- Participate in forum discussions (like Reddit, Flickr, etc.)
- Join high PR Q&A sites and post answers to your business's questions (like Quora, EHow, etc.)
- Promote your content on LinkedIn
- LinkedIn has over 610 million members, wherein 63 million of those are decision-makers
- Approximately 50% of corporate website referral traffic comes from LinkedIn, proving that it is a powerful distribution platform to receive quality leads
- Engage with target audience via the Twitter social media platform
- 22% of the American population is on Twitter
- 36% of B2B marketers gain leads through Twitter
- Twitter has noticed a 2.5x increase in customer service conversation in the year 2015 and 2016
- Twitter has 145 million active users getting engaged in various topics. It would be a success to promote content on Twitter
- Promote your content on Facebook
- Approximately 5 billion videos are being watched per day, and this may help you gain traffic to your content
- 59% of B2B marketers make use of the YouTube platform for content distribution
- 76% of marketers noticed an increase in sales due to video content
- 73% of marketers have confirmed that video marketing improved their ROI
- 99% of marketers will continue to use video in their marketing strategy
- Experiment with new content formats
- Audiences pay attention to the content paired up with images, videos, and customer reviews from brands (Search Engine People)
- Infographics play a major role in improving web traffic by up to 12%.
- 6 out of 10 audiences prefer online videos rather than watching TV
- 64% of purchases are influenced by video marketing
The below example has a high number of views within a period of 1 month:
And with that, we have come to the end of this article on ‘How to rank on Google’.
In this article titled ‘how to rank on Google’, we discussed the top 16 techniques that could rank our websites well on search engines. Focusing on these techniques alone will drive more organic traffic to your website and improve your search rankings without risking a Google penalty.
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