How to Rank High in Search: The Best Secrets for DIY SEO
Today, online search is the foundation of our lives. It helps us answer trivia questions, locate a rare collectible and help us discover new products, services and businesses. So, it's no surprise that every business - big and small - is concerned with their search visibility.
Any why shouldn’t they be? Where you rank on search engines can determine how well your business succeeds.
Large companies can’t help but invest a lot of money into SEO because they can’t afford to let their competitors get an edge. However, small businesses and companies that don’t have this luxury need to maximize their marketing dollar.
This blog post will give you the best approach for increasing your search visibility. Many of Cascade's website clients have never spent money on Google Adwords and come up organically under their desired search terms. So, this totally works!
The question is--should you invest in SEO, or should this money be invested elsewhere?
The good news is that Google is getting better at rewarding worthy businesses. While SEO companies previously attempted to trick the system with back links and redirects, this has become obsolete. Do you think Google is not aware that these SEO companies are trying to cheat the system? Of course, they realize it. Do you think SEO companies are smarter than Google? Of course not.
Google’s main objective is to show the most relevant and timely information to their users. What websites show higher? If you and your competitors are optimized the same and have the same keywords, the biggest factor for ranking will be clicks to your site.
It would make sense that if someone searches for “rubber bands”, the site with the most visits that include these keywords will appear highest. The reason being that if you have the most hits to your site, you’re probably also the leader in the industry.
The question is, how does one get more clicks than their competitors?
One of the quickest ways to get clicks to your site is doing a Pay-Per-Click/Search Engine Marketing (PPC/SEM) campaign. This means putting paid advertisements on search engines.
If you’re going to spend money getting your company noticed on the web, why put it towards SEO, hoping that you’ll be on the first couple of pages, when a PPC campaign can guarantee you’re on the first page? You don’t need a huge budget to get started – start with as little as one dollar a day.
Be sure to select keywords that target your exact audience. If your product is rubber bands, you don’t want to be mixed in with rock bands. Your website will only be shown when someone searches for your exact keywords. The best part is that you only get charged when someone clicks on your ad. You can set up a Google Adwords account yourself, but the most efficient way is to work with a professional, who is in the search weeds daily and knows how the system works and to maximize results.
Another large factor that determines rank is how easily Google can find keywords on your site.
Are they included in the page tabs (browser descriptions) and meta tags?
Are keywords deep down in your site or at the top of your page? Are they organically included in site copy or are you trying to keyword load? Organic is better.
Are your primary keywords consistent?
Are they included on images? Tag your pictures and videos.
And most importantly, is your website mobile friendly? This is a big one with 60%+ people using mobile for all search.
It’s hard to believe that there are some companies that still don’t have a mobile/responsive site. These businesses will slowly fall in search rankings. Why? Like I mentioned before, Google’s objective is to show the most relevant information to searchers. Since many people use their mobile devices for finding information, they give a lower credence to non-mobile sites since it’s harder to view content. Because of this, Google will rank sites higher that are easy to navigate and display information clearly. What’s the message? Get your website mobile!
Are you updating content on your site at least once a month? Google also gives higher rankings for websites that make consistent changes. Even changing one sentence structure from (.) to (,) can be enough to trigger Google to see it as new.
Remember, Google's goal is to give people the most recent, most accurate information.
If you don’t pay attention to your website and only make edits 6 to 12 months, why should Google pay attention to your site, either? If the information on your website is not current, up-to-date or seen as "new", then your site will become archived.
On the other hand, if you make weekly changes, Google will think there’s a lot of activity on your website and you’re very busy in your industry, which translates into a viable company with content worth showing and sharing.
1. Google really likes are changes to the Home page, since they know this is bigger news, rather than something mentioned deep down in your site. Even making a minor change like one word to the home page can make a difference.
2. Authentic authority content - According to a 2022 survey by Conductor, big brands are all in on organic search and content that can be amplified through digital/social posts and advertising. Using your blog to create a brand-related magazine or place to share expert content can have big results in search.
One of our most read blog posts appears in a coveted "knowledge panel" spot at the top of the page when people search "can a business over discount". This drives even more traffic to the blog and clicks to the website, telling Google that this content interests people.
Add a credible link to your website and watch your rankings shoot up. Whether it be a media company or university, Google will think if you’re connected to an important website, you must be a player in the industry.
For small businesses just starting out, make sure you’re signed up for Google My Business. Google wants to find your business. That’s why they set up this system so you could list your business with them so it’s easier to find you. The best part is that it’s free. Just go to Google.com/Business and fill out the requested information.
For more on search visibility and content as part of your PR campaign read this post.