3 Steps to Increase Your Google Ranking
Getting ranked on Google can be a real pain in the ass. It is time consuming, less than enthralling, and can be expensive. You basically have two options, hire someone to get you ranked (like me), or bite the bullet and learn how to do it yourself. Either way, you are doing your business a serious solid; we are getting to the point in today’s digital age where SEO is an absolute necessity to survive in the business world.
If you are unfamiliar with the term SEO, I’ll give you a super simple explanation: SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process by which you optimize your website so that it is found higher in Google’s search results. Here’s an example: You Google ‘Denver Carpet Cleaners”. Dozens of businesses pop up. The ones that make it on Google’s first page are websites that are optimized. The greater a website is optimized, the higher it will rank in these search results.
The SEO process can be daunting – there are countless technical terms to learn, tools to use, and methods to employ. Instead of bombarding you with industry jargon and expecting you to piece the process together, I’m going to break the whole thing down into 3 simple steps. Now, let me preface this: This is not an article for the SEO professional. The target audience for this article is the Average Joe business owner who is looking to boost his website rankings, land more business, and make more money without taking an entire SEO course. My goal is to keep things simple; I strive to teach you this content in plain english so that even your decrepit grandmother could understand it.
"How do I increase my websites ranking on Google?"
This is probably the most common question in the digital marketing industry. The answer is simple: First, create tons of keyword relevant content. Second, network your little heart out. Now, don’t worry, I’ll expand on that down below, the bottom line is this: To rank higher on Google, your website has to out-preform your competitors. As an SEO consultant, I often get asked: “Why would I want to increase my Google rankings?”. This is a fair question, so before we dive into the ‘how’, let’s answer the ‘why’.
Why bother getting ranked on Google? I’m going to answer that question by giving you a direct example: When Googling “Carpet Cleaning Denver”, I get a list of results (61 million to be exact). Roughly 40 of these are actual carpet cleaners in the Denver area, spanning the first 5 pages of Google. Now, it’s estimated that a whopping 95% of people do not move past the first page of Google when searching for a service, so if you happen to own a website on page 3, you are missing out on an incredible amount of business. Using my magic SEO tools, I can see that the top ranked carpet cleaner in Denver drove 1200 people to their website last month. 900 of these were driven to the website after searching “Carpet Cleaning Denver”. Let’s say 10% of these people purchased a service from this business ( 10 percent is a safe guesstimate, it’s probably higher). That’s 90 customers that were brought to their door, all from being ranked for the search term “Carpet Cleaning Denver”. An average full house carpet cleaning cost $500 dollars. 500 x 90 = $45,000 dollars of potential business from being ranked #1 for that keyword. That’s a shit ton of money, and guess who is not getting that? The guy ranked on the third page.
The amount of business the top Google search result drives is absolutely ludicrous, even for off-kilter search terms. The point of the above demonstration was this: You want to be ranked on the first page of Google. Plain and simple. Now that a small proverbial fire is lit under you, let’s talk about how we get ranked.
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Step One: Research
Before we begin making changes to our website, we need to do some research. This will allow us to properly identify what we are up against and gives us a good foundation to build upon. Pull out your pen and paper boys and girls.
A keyword is a term that a consumer uses to search for any given topic. For instance, if I want to get my carpets cleaned, I may search “Carpet Cleaners Near Me”, “Denver Carpet Cleaners”, or “Denver’s Best Carpet Cleaner”. These are all examples of keywords. Now, it is really easy to get in the weeds with the topic of keyword research, and this can easily justify an entire article of it’s own, so I’m going to give you the quick down-and-dirty (remember, Grandma needs to understand).
Using keywords people are searching for is the key to getting found online. If you are using a bunch of words no one is looking for, customers have no way to discover your website. So, what we are going to do is ‘research’ keywords that pertain to our business. In a new tab, open up Ubersuggest. This is a stellar web application that we can utilize to discover the keywords that we need to be using on our website.
On a piece of paper, write down your overall website category and the different services that your website offers. (For instance – DJ Service, Wedding DJ, and Special Events DJ). Now, head over to Ubersuggest and type in your first keyword:
Here we can see how many people are searching for that term. For now, just pay attention to the “search volume”. Now, scroll down to “keyword ideas” and click “view all keywords ideas”.
Now on your list, jot down the relevant keywords that people are using alongside “DJ Service”; for now just stick to the highest ranking keywords that are relevant.
You will now repeat that process with the other services your website offers. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to do keyword research for every ‘service page’ your website has. Note that even if you do not offer goods or services, you can still use keyword research to your advantage. Type in the phrase you think consumers would use to find your website and write down a list of relevant keywords that Ubersuggest pulls up. Our list of keywords will be used in step two of this process, when we begin to optimize our content.
As I mentioned earlier, the key to outranking your competition is to optimize your website better than theirs. Google the search term you are trying to get ranked for, i.e. Denver Carpet Cleaners. Now, click into the website of your top three competitors. If you can beat out the top three, you will beat out the rest. Here is what I want you to make a list of:
You need to make a list of all these factors. This will give you an exact benchmark to overcome. You need more content then them, you need better website flow then them, and you need to rank for more keywords then them. There is one more thing I need you to do. Head back to Ubersuggest, and click on Backlinks.
Now, copy and paste your competitors URL into the search bar and click search. Jot down the number of backlinks your competitor has. I’ll explain this further in Step Three.
Awesome. We now know the keywords that we need to be using and we also know what we are stacked up against competition-wise. Let’s take that information and optimize our website!
Step Two: Content
Alright killer, I know that first section was some heavy stuff, using new tools and such. This step will be far easier; to understand at least. Here’s the deal with content: The more content you have, the better. Google is just a big machine that scans through the text on a website. It is through this text that Google decides what a website is about. Hence, the more content you write (the more words you have) about your business and your services, the more you are affirming to Google “Yes, we are a business about [blank] and we offer [blank]”.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to have anywhere between 1000-2000 words on any page that you are trying to get ranked. For instance, if I am trying to get my website ranked for the keyword ‘Denver Wedding DJ’, I am going to have a page talking about my wedding dj services in Denver, and I’m going to make sure there are 1500 words on that page. I know writing that much sounds daunting, so here’s the best way to go about this: Look at your competitors web page for their Wedding DJ services. See what they talk about and just mirror that. Do not copy their content, just their layout and content ideas. Now, on your own site, just talk about what they talked about, in more words. Sneaky, I know. Here’s the bottom line: Google likes content. If you have more content than your competitors, you will beat them out in this regard.
Using Your Keywords
As you are filling out your website with content, start peppering in your keywords. Shoot to have each of the keywords you listed plugged in in 3-5 times throughout the content. This will only get you so far, so another great practice is to think of ways a customer might search for your website. Find ways to plug this in as well. An easy way to generate more content (more words) is to elaborate on a keyword. For instance, you can put a section headline of Denver’s Best DJ Service, and then elaborate on WHY you are Denver’s best DJ. See what I mean? Find ways to stretch your content, all while using the keywords your customers are searching for.
Flow & Interlinking
This concept is fairly straightforward – you want to have an aesthetically pleasing site that functions efficiently. The ‘good looking’ part is challenged by the copious amounts of content you now have, so you need to get creative. Break up walls of text with pictures, videos, or GIFs. This gives the eyes a break and gives your reader something else to focus on. Also, be creative with lists, bullet points, and the bolding of text. This also breaks your site up and is pleasing to the eye.
As far as flow is concerned – make sure your website makes sense. This sounds ridiculously obvious, but it’s unbelievable the number of websites that just have content randomly placed around. Don’t throw all your content on one page, break it up into different ‘service’ pages to keep everything nice and tidy.
Interlinking is the last thing we will touch on in Step Two. Interlinking is the act of linking one page of your website to another. For instance, on your homepage you will typically list all the services your business offers. You may also give a short description about these services (you do NOT want 1000 words about that service on this page). In addition to your homepage, you also have full pages dedicated to those individual services (this is where you put those 1k words). You want to link these two together by placing a hyperlink on your homepage, connecting a certain word, phrase, or button to the specific service page. This concept is super simple, but I just want to make sure I’m clear, so here’s an example: You are talking about your different DJ services on your homepage. You mention Wedding DJ Services, and then give a short description. At the end, you put a link that says “Click Here To Learn More“. You then highlight and right click that sentence, click insert link, and paste the full URL link of your Wedding DJ service page. That text now turns a different color, and can be clicked on. Do this for each of the services you offer on your website.
Note: Reviews are another great source for content and keyword stuffing. The text in a review counts towards your page total. Reach out to your prior customers and try to get some reviews! Post these throughout your site. As an added bonus, people love to see social proof.
Step Three: Network
Alright, so content accounts for roughly 50% of our Google ranking. If we have good content, we will rank higher than a website that has poor content. What’s the other 50%, you ask?
Whew, I could not only write a whole article about backlinking, I could create an entire 8 hour course on it. With that being said, it is imperative you have a basic understanding of what a backlink is and how you can go about getting them. Simply put, a backlink is a link from another website back to your site. For instance, a Cuddly Cat blog talks about their favorite cat food, they also place a link directly to a web page that sells said cat food, that is a backlink. The cat food supplier’s website is now a little bit stronger because of that link. Google views this as a ‘positive vote’, if you will. Generally speaking, the more of these backlinks you have, the higher your site will rank on Google.
Now, it’s important to understand that not all backlinks are equal. A backlink from a site with a lot of influence (a site that is highly ranked on Google) will carry much more power than a backlink from a dinky site that has poor ranking on Google. Make sense? Alright, now remember when I had you write down the number of backlinks your competitors have? Take a peek at those now. You need to gather more backlinks than that to have a shot at the top spot.
So how do we go about getting backlinks?
Well, this is where an SEO professional usually steps in. This is an incredibly time consuming and mind numbing process, and the fact that not all links are equal confounds this process exponentially. Without muddying the water too much, let’s just focus on getting more links then our competition. I’ll outline some ways you can go get a backlink to your website:
1. Blog Commenting: Many blogs will allow you to submit a comment that includes a link back to your site. This is a great easy way to obtain more backlinks. Search Google for “[Your Niche] Blog” and find some highly ranked, interesting content to comment on. Make sure you check out the ” domain score”, as I will outline below, before commenting.
2. Outreach: One of the most efficient ways to obtain a high quality backlink is by reaching out to the owner of a high authority site. Send them a simple email asking them if they can place a link back to your website on their homepage. You will typically have to pay for these links, so don’t hesitate to pitch them a low number to start out with.
3. Offer Your Services: This is more of a spin off of outreach, but find high authority sites and offer to give them goods or services in exchange for a link on their website.
Remember, we are just shooting to obtain more backlinks than our competitors. If you are in a competitive niche where the competition has thousands of backlinks, it would be well worth your time to reach out to an SEO professional. Now, let’s touch on more more important factor regarding backlinks.
How do I check the authority of websites?
As I mentioned above, different websites have different authority on Google. A link from a high authority site will carry far more weight than ten links from low quality sites, so really go out of your way to find quality backlinks. The easiest way to check the authority of a website with our free limited tools is to once again use Ubersuggest. Again, go to backlinks and copy and paste the web page where you are looking to obtain a link from. You want to pay attention to the ‘Domain Score’ that I have highlighted below. The closer that is to 100, the higher authority the site has. This is also a great place to check your own score, and to monitor your improvement!
Utilizing the three steps we outlined above will greatly improve your search rankings. The fact of the matter is, the majority of small businesses do not have any clue as to what SEO is, so just by reading this article you are miles ahead of the competition. The common belief holds that search rankings cannot be manipulated, and that individuals website’s are ‘stuck’ where they are at.
It must be noted that SEO tactics do not improve your ranking overnight. Google needs time to come through and scan your site, indexing your changes and updating their databases. This process can take weeks, more often months. Be patient with your site’s growth and stay consistent with the steps we outlined above. If you do, I guarantee your rankings will improve.
Or, you know, you could just hire me to do all that for you..
Here’s to all your future success! Remember friends, an Empire wasn’t built over night.
Stay patient, stay persistent, you will come out on top!