Google doesn’t mess around, it indexes trillions of pages, keyword searches are done by most of the human population, and new blogs posts, articles, and webpages pop up every single second. So, while it is large in this sense, Google, and similar search engines, really just boil down to one thing – page one. If your business’s content isn’t on page one or isn’t actively working to be picked up by search traffic on page one, then you might as well not be there.
That may sound harsh but think about it. As a customer, when you’re making search queries, and typing in a target keyword or two, you’re not scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking ‘page 2’, and looking at the content there. At best, you may endeavour to look at the answers provided by a piece of content that is ranking at around position 5. If you don’t find the answers to your questions, or haven’t been able to find the services you need in the first 5 Google rankings, chances are you’ll type a whole new keyword or question in, and visit a bunch of other websites.
For businesses, this can seem daunting, to be at the behest of impatient users who won’t even bother to look for your website or blog posts if it isn’t on page 1. However, fear not, Embryo, specifically me, are here to help. In today’s blog, I’ll be chatting about how to get on the first page of Google and discussing three of the most important steps and options that businesses need to seriously consider when looking to get their content to rank highly. All this is relevant no matter your goal – whether it’s to beat competitors, enhance your industry authority, boost clicks, or sell your products and services more effectively.
#1 – KEYWORDS: Work out what terms you want to be ranking for.
The first, and most important step, in my opinion. Spending a good chunk of time looking at relevant topics and competitive keywords will make writing any future content targeted, and aimed at steady traffic – all of which is a recipe for success. Let’s say you’re a mechanic, and you want to boost your Google ranking and increase website traffic so that more people book MOTs and repairs, and come to you. The first step to making this a reality is to do some keyword research. Use SEO tools, such as Ahrefs, and start by just observing keywords, typing in phrases that you, as a customer, may type in. This will start to give you an idea of the opportunities, and intent that is out there (spoiler alert: at this stage, you’re already doing more than most businesses).
Once you’ve got a list of say 30 keywords, begin to drill down into the data. This will help you weed out keywords that, no matter how much content you write, you’re never really going to rank for (and, for that matter, wouldn’t want to because they are too general). Instead, you want to find a dozen or so niche keywords that have a good monthly search volume and consistent organic traffic that you know you can achieve a good search engine ranking for and other relevant searches. Below are some basic examples.
Here, we can see that the search term ‘car repair garage near me’ gets a healthy amount of UK monthly searches (1000) and has a low keyword difficulty. This is a quality keyword to target because it strikes a balance between the level of organic search and ease of ranking.
Another one of many great search terms, ‘car mechanic near me’ gets over 2000 Google searches, and has an even lower keyword difficulty.
For small to medium-sized businesses, these keywords are the first step in ensuring a high placement on the search engine results page. Without this, you’re shooting in the wind, making decisions about your websites, organic listings, marketing campaigns, and other major factors, without any data to back up your choices.
#2 – USER EXPERIENCE: Think about what the audience would want to read, not Google.
A long time ago, people who worked on SEO campaigns wrote solely for Google and other search engines, paying no consideration to the consumer. Nowadays, user experience and high content quality are two huge ranking factors. Gone are the days of writing keywords in a paragraph, placing them at the bottom of the text, and changing the font colour so that it couldn’t be seen by users (a thing that happened). Search algorithms are cleverer than ever before which is why, after you’ve targeted your keywords, you should focus on creating long-form, quality content.
The best way to do this is to take yourself out of business mode and think about your search intent, and the things you’re looking for when you’re clicking on links. Combine this with your knowledge of your industry and the quality score of your content will skyrocket because you’re always keeping your target audience in mind.
When thinking about the content you’re creating you, of course, want to sell your products and services but, to achieve a strong placement in search you want to impart as much knowledge and insight as possible. This shows to users, and search engines, that you’re a company that knows a great deal about this industry or sector, more than maybe the page, guide, or blog posts that are currently ranking number one or two on Chrome, Safari, or any other browser. These efforts are commonly referred to as ‘Ontology’ and should be considered vital if you want to rank on page one of Google. This writer loves this topic so much that he wrote a blog post about it in December titled: ‘The Importance of SEO Ontology in 2021’, which incidentally ranks number one on the SERP (search engine results page) for the keyword ‘SEO ontology’ (see below).
#3 – LOCATION: Target the areas that your audience are in.
The third and final point is to target the location that you operate in. Unless you’re a multinational business, which most aren’t, you’ll likely have an area that covers 3 to 4 different places. You want to find, therefore, keywords that include your location and that are relevant to your sector and business. This might take a little more digging but trust me, it is so worth it. Think about it, you can then create targeted content for Google that explicitly mentions the areas you need to get business from. The traffic may be smaller, but it is just that bit more targeted and increases the chances of those people, in that area, clicking through to your content and helping boost your conversion rate.
Location, along with ontology, should be at the forefront of getting to the page of Google because even if someone in say Bury doesn’t type ‘near me’ or ‘Bury’ in their search term, the content in the search will still be locationally relevant to them because of their IP address. Make it as clear as possible to Google that your website is targeting certain areas by mentioning them, writing about the places, and including outbound links that go to other websites in that area. You want to create a web of work that links together, through internal links, and other link building tools, such as guest blogs, so that your location is undisputed.
How to get on the first page of Google, conclusion: This is just the tip of the iceberg!
These three points are just, in my opinion, the most important things you should be doing. There are dozens and dozens of others such as guest posts, mobile-friendly websites, business listings, and featured snippets. All of which will help you get on the first page of Google. To learn more about how we can supercharge your content, boost your website authority, and get you more visitors, why not get in touch with our team here at Manchester-based SEO agency, Embryo? We’d love to chat about this more with you.