5 Steps to the top of Google

Thursday 13th November 2014

by Lloyd Sutton

SEO is not a one-day fix. Working your way to the top of Google and Bing takes time and is an ongoing effort to keep your head above the crowd of competitors. But it’s worth it - 75% of users will follow a link from the first results page (i.e. the top 10 results) and if you're not up there, you're losing traffic.

1. Start with a Plan

Keyword planning is very important when devising your SEO goals. You’ll need to look at what you’re offering the user - what is your product or service? How would you search for it? These phrases or keywords will structure the content of your page. Focusing on one or two keywords per page will make the keyword content rich and ensure that your page provides the user with the information they’re trying to find.

2. Write quality and engaging content

Google’s objective is to provide search engine results that give searches the most useful and relevant information possible - as Google develops, the system gets better and better at doing this. Quality and engaging content means different things to different people, but here are a few common characteristics you can focus on:

  • Add value. Make the content of your posts useful to your visitors. Content that’s interesting to users will engage them and increase your credibility. It will also increase inbound links, which in turn boost your position in SERPs (search engine results pages).

  • Improve readability. Make sure you are using correct grammar. Learn how to produce content for the web, which means short paragraphs and a lot of white space!

  • Keep it relevant. Make sure the content is all relevant to the title of the page and to the keyword that you’re optimising your site for. If a user has come to your page after searching for “coffee”, the page should not have a paragraph on “baking” - this should be saved for a different page, perhaps called “baking”. ;-)

3. Focus on the user and not just the optimization

Google began (in 1998) as a product to help users find pages on the internet, and that’s still its primary focus - the searcher. Like Google, you need to focus on the user by creating engaging, interesting content that will increase hits on your site and reduce your bounce rate, thus creating happier users and more clicks on that all important “call to action”. Google monitors how long a user will spend on your site - if they bounce straight back off the site (i.e. hit the “back” button), you’ll be penalised in the SERPs. An engaging site for the user will make for not only a happy user but also a happy search engine!

4. Design for multiple screens

Having a user-friendly site is key to ranking well in SERPs. If your site is not intuitive, you’ll get a lot of bounces as users move off to more friendly destinations. With increased mobile/tablet use, the need for a responsive website is more important than ever. Google have made this very clear - no mobile experience, no love from Google!

5. Make links relevant

SEO practices of the past went along the lines of “create as many links back to your site as you can”. Obviously it was only a matter of time before Google updated their service with the introduction of Penguin penalties and frequent manual review, penalising those who are trying to dupe Google.

So what do we suggest? Focus on your content - if you need to link to another site to explain the content on the site or provide additional information around your subject, do so. But don’t create irrelevant links to try to trick Google - it won’t work!

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