Here’s the thing about getting a page to rank on Google; it’s hard. Think about it. You’re literally competing with every other website on the planet for a temporary residency in one of ten ever-revolving slots by trying to crack the code of an unfathomably complex algorithm developed and administered by the most powerful search engine in the history of the world. I hate to paint such a bleak picture for you. I mean, I suppose I could’ve titled this article “Five Super Simple Ways To Get Your Page to Rank On Google” or “Here’s The Secret Formula To Rank Your Page In Just Five Minutes” or whatever. But if I did that, I’d be doing both of us a disservice by flat out lying. There’s a lot that goes into learning how to rank on Google.
All that being said, here’s the second thing you need to know about ranking on Google’s first page; it’s not impossible. You can totally do it, but just like anything else, you’ll need to put forth the effort and be patient. Here are a few ways to get started.
- Find Your Niche: Okay, so what do we mean by this? Think about what sets your business or organization apart from the competition. Let’s say you own an ice cream shop. What are you offering your customers that no one else is? The biggest variety? The lowest cost? A unique theme or promotion? Perhaps you’re the only place in town that offers pumpkin stracciatella gelato or hand-rolled waffle cones. Discover, develop, or invent that edge and you’re in good shape for the next step.
- Choose Specific Keywords: Now that you’ve identified and embraced your niche, focus your time and energy on those keywords rather than broader, more competitive terms (e.g. “pineapple soft serve fro-yo” instead of just “ice cream”). While the search volume for “ice cream” might be greater, you’ll find yourself going up against competing shops, grocery stores, dairies, fast food chains, and every “Grandma’s Famous Homemade Ice Cream” recipe on the web. Instead, consider optimizing your site for a series of specific keywords and reaching your audience of hungry ice cream seekers that way.
- Create Content: Ahh, the fun part! This is a chance to do three things simultaneously: 1) Grow your website, 2) Engage your audience, and 3) Brag (but not TOO much). Ultimately, more pages means more keywords and more time spent on your site–both of which will improve your ranking! And make sure to use this content to link to other pages within your site as well as other relevant websites.
- Get Links To Your Site: This one’s easier said than done, but if you can manage it, you’re golden. Linking to pages within your own site is one thing, but having other websites link to your content–the more the better–is a surefire way to let Google know that your page is important and deserves to be seen by the masses.
- Fix Your Website: Sometimes we can get so caught up in keyword research, backlinks, content creation, and everything else, that we forget that a major part of being SEO-optimized is giving people a positive user-experience when they come to visit your site. That means your site should be quick to load, free of broken links, responsive, and easily viewable and navigable from any device. You can know everything there is to know about content ranking, but if your site is running sloppily, you’re no better off.
Mind you, we’ve really only scratched the surface on what it takes to get a site to rank (remember, difficult but not impossible). SEO is an ever-changing beast to tackle, but following these steps can get you on the right track.