For digital marketers like myself – and SEO in particular – ranking on top in Google SERPs means everything! And it is no exaggeration to claim that the entire field, to a large extent, is centered on this concern. I learned this lesson the hard way, over fifteen years ago. This was the time when Google and Facebook became a big deal. And I could count on huge discounts on my Frontier TV Packages plan, whenever I gave the ISP a good review. Call it cheating, hacking or whatever – many startups still resort to this practice regularly. And some really do manage to artificially promote their services, as well as their profits!
How Does ‘Ranking Well’ Help, Exactly?
Imagine that you’re a company that sells a signature variety of fried chicken. You have a secret recipe that you like to cash big on. And everyone who eats it is appreciative. If you decide to market your dish online, you’ll have to face-off against your competitors. Which could be all the fried chicken cafes and restaurants in your location.
Ideally, you would want everyone to be aware of your product, for which you’ll have to make use of Digital Marketing. This includes relying on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and Social Media Marketing.
SEO, in a nutshell, helps you to ‘rank high’ in Google and other search engines’ SERPs (search engine results page).
When you rank on top, your website’s URL appears on the first search results page. And if you play all your cards (optimization hacks!) right, in one of the very first five positions.
Once your website is positioned in this way, you stand a much better chance of receiving potential customer traffic. Especially when compared with those instances when you rank on the second or third page. Because in these latter placements, only a few people come and click on the site’s link. Which, of course, means that you end up receiving fewer customers – and hence less revenue. Something which no business wants to happen!
What is SEO all about?
Till date, SEO professionals – who are part of an unofficial global body of their own making – have compiled a number of ‘Ranking Factors’. In total, they are said to be over 200 in number.
These factors describe the way in which search engine algorithms – the artificial ‘brains’ behind sites like Google and Bing –work. And more precisely, how they decide which websites to rank in particular positions. By exploiting their knowledge of these ‘decidables’, SEOs suggest a number of important changes. These alterations, in turn, have to be carried out by website content writers, developers, and graphic designers.
Once these changes have been made, the completed website stands a much better chance of ranking well. But this process isn’t quick – and often takes anywhere from three to six months. Because this is the time in which search engine bots are able to fully ‘crawl’ your site. And then index it accordingly in the engine’s huge database.
Two Powerful Strategies for Ranking Well
As a beginner, you can become an SEO novice yourself. And in this section, I’ll teach you two powerful methods in which you can step-up your Google ranking game. These are, namely:
- Making Use of Targeted ‘Long-tail’ Keywords
- Making the Content Readable
Keywords are the popular search terms people enter into Google search fields to find an answer to their query. In practice, they are short, self-explanatory, phrases made up of two to five words. Sometimes, their length can be more than this, and they’re called ‘long-tail’.
For businesses, it is very important to rank high for the keywords that describe, or are related to, their exact industrial/market niche. In this way, they stand a good chance of attracting customers to their websites in search of a particular product or service.
For your company website, you can easily search for the right keywords using popular online tools like the Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush. You’ll also be required to be a bit creative in your search attempts. This will help you to narrow-in on keywords that your competitor might not have thought of. But which are still likely to fetch online traffic.
Once you have a complete and refined keywords list, you can start adding them to your content. For a particular keyword, one word for every one hundred words, is a good rule of thumb to follow. But don’t go overboard, or you’ll risk getting your site penalized. It is also important to tailor your content in accordance with the meanings/themes projected by the keywords.
If you do this part well in all your content-production efforts, you’ll start to rank better in no time!
Ideally, all your on-page and off-page content should read somewhere between the (U.S) grade levels 7 and 9. If you go higher, you risk confusing your readers with complicated prose – and hence missing out on potential conversion opportunities.
To help you to do this, you can rely on many free readability calculators online.
Readability is not specifically counted as a ranking factor in & of itself. But for many years, Google has been strongly recommending webmasters to keep improving it. On a recent Frontier High Speed Internet project, I witnessed firsthand how complicated words damaged my ranking efforts. And it was only after I had completely revised the language of the entire website that its SERP position went back up. For obvious reasons, I plan on not repeating this mistake again…