There are many factors to take into account if you want to rank high on Google but some of them are more important than others. What I will outline below are the essential steps that you need to take if you want to get better rankings on the Google search results.
Why you need to rank higher on Google?
Good rankings are hard to get and when you do it’s only after a lot of patience and hard work. By knowing the benefits of having a web page on the first positions of Google you can find the motivation and courage to work until your targets are met.
#1 – Higher rankings means more traffic – Obviously the first advantage has to do with the traffic gains. The higher your ranking is, the more organic traffic you will get from Google. Have in mind though that statistically the first 5 positions get the majority of search traffic, more than 60%.
#2 – It’s a signal of trust – One of the reasons Google became the World’s most popular search engine is because people trust it. They trust it because they know that when they search for something on Google they will find what they are looking for.
Google is using more than 255 signals and more than 15 years of research and development on ranking algorithms and they became very good in choosing quality websites to show in their search results.
When users find your website in the first pages of Google they know that it’s a good website since Google is trusting it and showing it in their results.
#3 – You will get more social media shares and comments – A website found in the first page of Google gets more social shares and comments because it receives more traffic and because of the ‘trust’ reason explained above.
#4 – Good rankings on other search engines – Google is not the only search engine available but it’s the one with the most traffic. Nevertheless, the other search engines have SEO rules which are similar to Google and once you get a good ranking position on Google, it is certain that good ranking positions will soon follow in the other search engines as well.
How to get a higher ranking on Google
Now, that you understand the importance of good Google rankings let’s see how to get them.
#1 – Age of the domain – Sometimes we tend to forget this but a domain that is new will not easily get a high ranking on Google. It will take a lot more work to get the attention of the search giant and establish Google trust.
This does not mean that it’s impossible to achieve something good with a new domain, it just means that it will take more time.
#2 – Quality of the content – You need to have unique and original content published on your website. This is a must and one of the most important factors for a website’s success.
Copying and republishing content from other websites will not work since content originality is very important for Google rankings.
#3 – Volume of content – In addition to having quality content, you also need a LOT of content. The competition is huge in any niche you might think off and it is important that you stand out of the crowd.
Remember though that if you have to choose between quantity and quality, always go with quality.
#4 – Content Length – The content length of a blog post is a ranking factor. Several studies by quicksprout, moz and seriq showed a direct relationship between number of words in a blog post and Google rankings.
In short, articles with more than 1500 words have more chances in achieving higher positions in the Google SERPS.
#5 – Mentions (links) from other websites – To get the attention of Google it is necessary to have mentions (links) from other websites on the web pointing to your website. If the link is coming from big and trusted websites it has more value and that’s even better.
Link building or off-page SEO is a huge chapter and something I will cover in more details in a different article but what is important to note now is that incoming links are like ‘votes’ from other websites and this is something that Google takes into account when deciding which web pages will get a higher ranking.
#6 – Good on page SEO – Besides the incoming links you also need to make sure that your ‘on-page SEO’ is correct. On-Page SEO is a set of rules to make your website SEO friendly.
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An SEO Friendly website is a lot more easier for Google to ‘read’ and the more information it can ‘understand’ from a website, the greater are the chances of achieving a good ranking.
You can also review our comprehensive SEO checklist for more information on how to get on-page SEO correct.
#7 – Inter-linking your pages together – Internal linking is when you add a link to a web page that points to another web page in the same website. Internal links are a very powerful way to tell Google what a page is about, it is good for the user since they can find new pages in the same website and it’s also an incentive for Google to crawl more content from the same website.
A good internal link uses anchor text that describes the linking page. For example, I can add this link: how to increase your blog traffic to this article since it is relevant and can help people find out more about the certain topic. See also how I added other internal links to this website.
#8- Website loading speed – Although this is part of on-page SEO, it should be stressed that a fast loading website can get better Google rankings than a slow loading website. Speed is a known ranking factor and very important for usability as well.
#9- Mobile friendly – More and more people are using their mobiles to search Google and there are a number of studies that show the importance of mobile search for businesses and website owners. When it comes to rankings, having a mobile friendly website is a must since Google is now ‘punishing’ websites that don’t offer mobile users a good mobile experience.
#10- Tell Google about your website – To establish some kind of communication with webmasters, Google created the Google webmaster tools. Webmaster tools among other things, is a great way to give information to Google about your website and also find out what Google knows about it.
There are several settings you can configure within Webmaster tools like preferred URL, target country, sitemap etc and also several diagnostic tools you can use like ‘fetch as google’ and ‘robots tester’ that will eventually help you rank high on Google.
#11- Take advantage of the Social Media Buzz – The role social media has to play in Google rankings is a popular subject among marketers. There are different opinions as to the effect social has on rankings but what is certain is that a successful social media marketing campaign has a lot of advantages to offer to a website that go beyond rankings and it is something you need to use and benefit from.
Read also Social Media VS SEO for my take on the role of social media and google rankings.
Google is constantly looking to find quality websites to add in their index so as to provide the best possible results to their users. A happy Google user will come for more searches and this is their goal.
Your goal as a webmaster is to create a website that provides real value to the users, make sure that Google can understand what you website is about and also prove to Google that your website deserves one of their top positions by getting links (votes) from other trusted websites on the net.
Finally, be patient – high google rankings take time to achieve but if you keep working in the right direction there is nothing to stop you from getting the positions you want.