6 Essential Strategies to Improve Your Google Search Rankings
When it comes to digital marketing, few things are as valuable as a high-ranking spot in Google's search engine results. While the specific factors and signals that go into Google's ranking algorithms remain a closely guarded and ever-changing secret, there are some tried-and-true strategies for outranking your competition on Google that have stood the test of time. Below are the best ways to improve your content, fine-tune your SEO, and climb the Google search engine rankings like a pro.
Analyze the Competition
To defeat the competition, you have to know the competition. Take a close look at what the successful businesses in your field are doing, paying special attention to the social media platforms they are leveraging. They have likely already put in the work to find out where the target audience is, so there's no reason to reinvent the wheel and spend precious time figuring it out through trial and error. Analyze their engagement rates, keyword usage, and posting schedules, and find out what kind of content seems to get the most attention so that you can employ similar strategies right out of the gate.
Create Stronger Content
One of the best ways to have your content climb the Google ladder is to provide the most detailed and authoritative information possible. While this is certainly much easier said than done, there are often opportunities to dethrone a competitor if you are willing to put in the work. Generally speaking, the best content tends to be unique, very detailed, roughly 2000 words long, and accompanied by photographs or animations. This sort of definitive, high-quality work is commonly referred to as "10x" content, and being able to produce it--or to pay someone else who can--is the single most efficient way of climbing the search engine rankings and becoming an authority on a given subject.
Build Links the Smart Way
While every search engine has different criteria for its ranking algorithms, reaching the top spots on a Google search still relies heavily on the number of trustworthy external links pointing to your content. While some people advocate buying your way into links, that strategy rarely pays off, as Google can easily distinguish between low-quality, high-volume purchased links and the more authoritative, organic links that you should actually be aiming for. In fact, the best way to build a strong network of backlinks is to simply produce high quality content that other people want to read and share. Other methods of getting links include guest posting, contributing to forums related to your field, and commenting on related blogs or social media pages. These strategies take more time and effort, but they ensure that Google views your page as a trustworthy, authoritative voice in your field, which greatly affects your position in search engine results.
Infographics provide a fast and easy way of parsing information, and in an increasingly fast-paced world where many people are viewing content on a smartphone, having strong, professional visual aids can create an enormous edge over your competition. Not only should you create infographics for your own content, but you should consider reaching out to other people in your field and offering to create infographics for them as well--provided, of course that they credit you, link to your site, and possibly even let you write a small introduction to accompany the visual. Even though this may seem like giving your work away for free, this is actually a great way to build backlinks and to have your name associated with other high-quality content producers, all of which contributes to your own page rankings.
Optimize Website Speed
How quickly your pages load can have a major impact on your rankings. Analytical data suggests that slow page loading speeds are one of the biggest factors in someone abandoning a website, and even a one-second delay can result in a conversion-rate loss of up to 7%. If you are using WordPress, there are a number of free and paid plug-ins, such as WP Rocket, that can help you optimize your site's loading speeds. There are also manual methods of speeding up your site by improving things like image scaling and browser caching, but unless you are technically minded and have access to speed-testing tools, you are better off handing that task to a webmaster or a professional optimization service. It's also worth keeping in mind that the hosting package you are using can cause slowdown even if your site is fully optimized, which is why it's never a good idea to cut corners on hosting in an attempt to save a few dollars a month.
Boost Your Social Media Footprint
Social media is an enormous factor when it comes to increasing traffic, building backlinks, and climbing search engine rankings, but that doesn't mean you should take a shotgun approach and devote hours every day to setting up and sharing content on every single social media platform you can find. You should already have a reasonably clear picture of which platforms provide the best access to your target audience from looking at what the competition is doing, so the next step is to beat them at their own game. That means creating content that is more engaging and provides more value. There are countless ways of accomplishing that, and it largely depends on your strengths as a content creator. Are you a photogenic person with magnetic charisma? Then consider converting some of your content into a video format and sharing them on Youtube. Do you have in-depth knowledge or experience about a niche topic? Then share that information on forums and social media pages by answering questions, leaving reviews, or posting tutorials to establish yourself as an expert source. If you have a product, consider marketing a giveaway, which is traditionally an excellent way to boost page views, followers, and links.
Reaching the top of Google's search results is easier said than done, and it's a process that undeniably requires hard work and regular upkeep, but there is no better way to maximize your online revenue and dramatically increase your traffic. By applying the strategies above to your website, you can ensure that you've optimized your pages in the eyes of Google's algorithms, and that your search engine rankings truly reflect the hard work you've put into your content.