Ranking higher on Google organically for keywords related to your business and the services you provide can be a complete game-changer for you and your business.
Ranking your website on the first page of Google can give you :
- Free website traffic to your website each month
- Good quality leads with people searching for your services
- New clients without needing to pay for ads
- Predictable results every month
So the BIG question is HOW do you rank higher on Google?
Well before you rank higher on Google, you need to make sure you have a way to convert website visitors into leads automatically.
You can do this by using an automated appointment funnel.
This is a funnel designed to automatically convert strangers into clients without any extra work on your end.
To learn how to create this funnel step by step, be sure to watch this free training here.
After watching the free training, keep reading the rest of this article to learn how to rank higher on Google.
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How to rank on the first page of Google
It’s not enough to rank “higher” on Google. You need to rank on at least the first page. And more specifically, it’s better to rank within the first 5 positions of Google.
This is because over 80% of the traffic from Google searches will click on one of the websites in the top 5 positions.
So even if you rank on page 1 (position 6) or page 2 on Google, it’s a good start, but you probably won’t see much of a difference in website traffic.
Many of my clients have gone on to make 7-8 figure yearly incomes as a direct result of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and I started my journey in the digital marketing world over 10 years ago by building, growing and selling websites that ranked high on Google.
I did all this before I started my lead generation company.
And even today SEO lead generation is still one of my best and most profitable lead gen strategies.
Has SEO changed a lot in the last 10+ years?
SEO has changed a lot in recent years, but the main SEO principles still remain the same. They are:
- Have an SEO-friendly website (all the techy stuff)
- Create content that answers the search intent of users better than anyone else
- Get other websites linking to your website
When it comes down to it, those are the three most important ranking factors with Google.
But chances are you didn’t click on this article to read a “brief overview” of how to rank on Google.
Instead, let’s dive much deeper into the exact details of what you need to do to start seeing real tangible SEO results as fast as possible.
How to rank higher on Google (a beginners guide)
The first step to creating a winning SEO strategy is to educate yourself on how SEO (Search Engine Optimization) works.
When it comes to SEO, contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be some kind of SEO genius to get results and understand how the Google algorithm works.
You just need to follow some simple SEO principles.
In this article, I’m going to share with you 3 principles that will help you rank higher on Google (and other search engines) that will stand the test of time – regardless of any future changes in the Google algorithm.
See the video version of this article here:
1. Have a search engine friendly website
Good SEO is a lot like building a house. Like any house, it needs to be built on strong foundations.
With SEO, your website is the foundation of your whole SEO strategy.
If you have a weak foundation it doesn’t matter what you do to the house, it won’t last very long. Similarly, if you have weak website SEO foundations, it will hurt the rest of your SEO effort.
On the other hand if you build a house with strong foundations, it will be much easier to build a house that lasts a long time and looks great. And if you build a website with strong SEO foundations, it will help you get much better and quicker SEO results with everything else you do.
So, in other words, a good search engine friendly website will make it easier for you to be found by Google. A website that is not search engine friendly will make everything else you need to do to rank higher on Google much harder.
There are lots of things you need to keep in mind when building an SEO friendly website.
Here is a simple checklist to make sure your website is as SEO friendly as possible – try to answer “yes” to as many of these as possible:
Is your website PageSpeed score fast?
Since the Google Core Web Vitals update, having a fast website is critical. You can check how fast your website is by using the Google PageSpeed Score checker.
If you have a low score, then you’ll need to fix it.
Is your website on WordPress? If so, this is the best WordPress plugin to increase your website speed. It’s the same one I use on this website and it works perfectly.
It’s a little more expensive than other SEO site speed plugins, but at the same time it’s easier to use and it’s an all-in-one solution (which means you don’t need multiple plug-ins to do the same job which is what you need with cheaper SEO alternative site speed plug-ins).
You just install it on your WordPress website and at the click of a button your site speed will go from “poor” to “perfect” (or almost perfect) in a few minutes.
It really is incredible how well it works!
If you’re not using WordPress, you’ll need to check with your web developer or web host to see what you can do to increase your site speed if you have a low Google PageSpeed score.
In some rare cases, you might even need to hire a web developer to help you with this (e.g. if you have a custom built website that doesn’t work with other 3rd party plugins).
Is your website responsive and mobile friendly?
Google wants to make sure that everyone who visits your website has a great experience. Nothing annoys website visitors more than a bad user experience.
Some website elements that can cause a bad user experience include:
- Too many ads
- Text or images that is too small for mobile devices
- Navigation menu or links that don’t work
- A non-mobile-friendly website
If you install Google Search Console (it’s free!) on your website, you can see if your website is mobile-friendly or not according to Google.
Are the pages, text, etc crawlable by Google?
If Google can’t properly crawl your website, then it will never rank on Google.
There are two ways to see if your website can be crawled by Google.
FIRST: Go to Google.com and type in site:example.com and replace “example.com” with your own domain name. If you see lots of web pages show up, this means Google has found your website.
SECOND: Install Google Search Console and Google will tell you if there are any pages it can’t crawl.
If Google isn’t crawling your website then you need to make sure you don’t have an settings on your website that are blocking search engines.
If your website is new, it can take some time for Google to crawl your website.
You can speed up the process by requesting that Google index your website by copy and pasting your website or web page URL in the “Inspect URL” section of the Google Search Console as seen here:
Then Google will give you the option to click on a button that says “Request Indexing”.
Do you have an SSL certificate on your domain?
Having a secure website is now a ranking factor according to Google. You can check to see if your website has an SSL certificate by going to https://www.example.com and replace example.com with your own domain name.
If you can access your website on https:// without any errors, then you have a secure website.
Most web hosts will give you an SSL certificate for free as part of your web hosting package.
However, it is wise to purchase an SSL certificate from authorized SSL providers. These entities offer low-priced or a cheap SSL certificate that can fit your budget. For better search engine rankings, an SSL certificate is pretty much a requirement nowadays.
Have you made sure your website doesn’t have duplicate content?
If you have multiple pages and articles on your website, you might have some pages that are very similar or exactly the same as each other. This is called “duplicate content”.
Duplicate content is bad because it can confuse Google on which web page is best to rank for a certain keyword.
Another way you could have duplicate content is if you copy someone else’s content from a different website.
Google typically believes the first website they find with a certain article or piece of content is the original. So do your best not to copy the text on other websites that have been around longer than yours.
How can you fix duplicate content issues?
By installing Google search console on your website, it will tell you if you have any potential duplicate content errors.
Have you optimized the SEO Meta tags for each page on your website?
It’s important to optimize the meta title tag and meta description of each page on your website.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to optimize your website meta tags.
It’s also important each page on your website has unique meta title tags and description tags.
Is your website well organized with internal links?
It’s important to have a well organized website structure.
For example, your most important pages (the ones that will likely convert visitors into sales) need to be linked to from lots of other pages on your website.
The more internal links you have going to a certain page on your website, the more Google PageRank that is passed to that page.
The more PageRank a website has, the more important Google believes the page is.
Do you have a blog and/or lots of pages for your content?
Google uses something called “Topical Authority” to rank websites on Google. In other words, the more pages or articles you have on your website talking about a certain topic, the more likely Google will view your website as an expert on that topic.
This is why creating a few blog posts or articles on your website is never good enough to increase your SEO rankings.
You need to create enough content to achieve “Topical Authority”.
There’s no set rule on how many articles you need to achieve “topical authority” because it depends on which keywords you’re targeting.
But you can use the “Content Planner” feature of Surfer SEO to find out what content topics you need to cover on your website to achieve “Topical Authority” on a certain subject.
In my experience, most keywords require at least 52 articles on a certain topic to achieve topical authority.
Do you have no broken links or other error pages?
Broken links or error pages on your website will provide a bad user experience and will negatively affect your search engine rankings.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to ensure your website has no errors.
Google Search Console will tell you if you have any broken links or error pages on your website that you need to fix.
Is your domain a good few years old?
Although this is a relatively small ranking factor, in general, older domain names do tend to rank higher than newer ones.
When you have a new domain name, you get put into the “Google Sandbox”. This is a period of time where your website will not rank for anything until enough time has passed and you’ve built up enough trust with Google.
You can speed up the time it takes to get out of the Google sandbox by creating good quality content over time on your website.
Have you optimized your images, headings and other on-site features?
It’s a good idea to make sure you images have alt tags, you use various headings in your web pages and blog posts (h2, h3, h4, etc) and include other on-site features such as Schema if possible.
All this extra information tells Google what your website is about and helps Google understand how the information on different pages on your website are structured.
Top tip: To ensure your website is SEO friendly, be sure to install the Google Search Console. It’s free and it will tell you if there are any errors or things that could be affecting your rankings negatively.
2. Create content that matches search intent
A big mistake business owners make with SEO is to create content for the sake of creating content because other experts say you need to create content!
Yes, content is important. But content alone is not enough to rank higher on Google!
You need to create content that:
- Is searched by potential clients
- Has low search competition
- Has high search volume
Otherwise, if you just start creating random bits of content, it’s unlikely to get you any SEO results.
And if you don’t see any SEO results, it could cause you to burn out and give up on your SEO strategy.
Answer questions in your content
The best questions that are searched by potential customers have low competition and a high (or at least decent) amount of search volume are likely to be questions that your potential clients ask (or have asked you in the past).
So next time you’re on a sales call, pay careful attention to what questions they ask.
Any questions they ask are likely being asked by other prospects similar to them.
And if there are people asking questions, chances are high they are also searching for the answers to many of these questions on Google
If you can answer these questions, you’re likely to get EXACTLY the type of clients you want for your business.
Remember: you don’t just want to rank higher for different keywords. You actually want to get more CLIENTS from your content. Otherwise, what’s the point? Traffic doesn’t pay the bills. Sales pay the bills.
So when you create high-quality content, you must focus on creating content that your potential clients are searching for on Google.
Target long-tail keywords
If you try to target 1 or 2 phrase keywords (e.g. “social media”), it will be much harder to rank because there is going to be more competition. On top of that, the conversion rate will be lower. For example, if we ranked for “social media”, it doesn’t necessarily mean people will be searching to hire a social media agency or consultant. Maybe they are a competitor or a student researching a school project on the topic of “social media”.
Whereas, if we ranked for “lead generation social media packages” (which we are currently ranked #1 for), even though it might get fewer people searching for it, those that do search for it are likely looking to buy lead generation social media services.
Remember the more specific you are on Google, the easier it is to rank for that search term, and the better your conversion rate will be.
Ranking for keywords with more than 3 words are called the “longtail keywords”.
And you’re probably reading this article right NOW because of a long-tail keyword phrase you type into Google… Which is further proof this strategy works!
In your business, try to rank for as many “longtail keywords” as possible by creating content for every possible phrase that someone looking for your services might type in Google.
Focus on one topic at a time
Because Google uses something called “Topical Authority” to rank websites, it’s important you focus on one topic at a time until you achieve “Authority status” in Google’s eyes for that topic.
If you jump around creating content for different topics, it will take you much longer to rank for any of those keywords.
Instead, focus on creating content around one topic first.
Example topic: Lead Generation
- Content supporting this topic could be:
- How to generate leads on Google search?
- Best lead generation strategies?
- How does lead generation work?
There are literally hundreds of potential topics around the main topic of “Lead Generation”.
So in your business focus on answering questions from one topic at a time.
If you need help with doing this, you can use the “Content Planner” tool from SurferSEO. I use this for my own business (and for clients too).
Optimize content for lead generation
Once you’re creating content, you also want to optimize your content for leads.
How do you do that?
You need to have links in your article telling people to go to your lead gen funnel.
For example, I have links in all of my blogs saying: if you want to learn how to get 10, 15, 30 or more predictable appointments each month with your ideal clients, click here to watch a free training that explains how to do this.
By having links to your funnel, it means you’re not just creating content for nothing! You’re creating content that generates leads!
3. Have a link building strategy
Link building is essential to rank higher on Google.
Google uses a “voting system” where the more backlinks a website has from other websites, the higher it ranks.
Each backlink from another website is sort of like a “vote”. The more votes (or backlinks) a website has, the higher it ranks on Google.
And it’s not just the amount of “votes” (or links) that helps you rank higher on Google. It’s also the quality of those votes (or links).
For example, if you got a link from the BBC going back to your website, it would be worth a lot more than a link from a small blog that no one has heard about.
Why? Because the BBC has a lot more authority – and lots of websites talking and linking back to them as well.
Focus on relevant backlinks
A link from a website that is on the same topic as yours will be worth a lot more than a link from another website that is completely unrelated to your website.
In fact, I would recommend not even trying to get links from other websites if the site is unrelated to yours.
In short, if you want to rank higher on Google, you need to have a link-building strategy so that other blogs, websites, social media channels, etc are all talking about you (also known as citations) and linking back to your website.
Build quality backlinks
You can build quality backlinks to your website by getting a link from a website that doesn’t give out links to anyone.
These could be websites that are clients, suppliers or strategic partners.
If you have a business relationship with anyone else that has a website, reach out to them and ask if you can write a guest blog with a link back to your website. Obviously, though make sure their website topic is related to your website’s topic, otherwise, the link will be largely pointless.
Link building outreach
If you don’t know any websites you can speak with to get a link from, then your only option will be to reach out to website owners that you’ve heard of in your industry and start building relationships with them.
A good way to start is to buy anything they sell (this is a great way to get on their radar) and then reach out to them asking if they would be open to you writing a guest blog on their site for the benefit of their visitors.
Link-building outreach is hard work, but at the same time, you don’t need a LOT of backlinks to START ranking higher on Google.
Even just a handful of extra links from good quality websites can help you get better SEO results.
Is link building against Google’s rules?
Technically yes. Google does not want you to build links to your website. They want websites to gain links organically or naturally without any effort on your end.
However, the reality is, that many of your competitors are building backlinks. So if you don’t have a proactive backlink strategy it will be hard for you to rank on Google (especially if you’re targeting competitive search terms).
So this is why you want to be careful with backlinks and only get a link from a website that is a good quality website.
If a website lets ANYONE have a link from them (e.g. they let anyone write guest posts) then most likely this is a BAD quality website and I recommend you avoid it.
Build internal links
Google not only looks at the amount of links you have, but it looks at the anchor text of each link. The anchor text of a link is the text that appears on a hyperlink.
For example, if I link to my SEO lead generation course, the anchor text in that link says “SEO lead generation course”.
This is much better than having a link that says “click here”.
A link that says “SEO lead generation course” tells Google that the page it’s linking to is about an SEO lead generation course.
On your website, it’s a good idea to have descriptive internal links to different pages of your website. However, don’t repeat the same anchor text again and again each time.
It’s better (and more natural in Google’s eyes) if you use different variations of text when building internal links on your website.
If you use the same text each time, it could actually harm your SEO rankings.
So like most things in life, just be balanced and you should be fine.
Organic link building strategies
If you want to completely follow Google’s rules and not try to actively get links from other sites, then you can get backlinks the 100% natural way.
- Create high-quality content – if you create good content that provides value to people, other websites will link to it, and share it.
- Promote your content on social media – If you create content but no one knows it exists, then you won’t get many links back to it. By using social media to share your content with other bloggers, influencers, website owners, etc, you can increase the number of people that share and link back to your content
- Create stats-based articles – A good link-building strategy is to get links going to your website by providing statistics. Even if you are not the original source of the statistics, that’s okay. If you do the research and find the statistics from a bunch of other sources and you’re the one that compiles the information together in one easy-to-read article, chances are high you will get other websites linking back to your website as the “source”.
A warning about buying links
The quality of links is extremely important. Some websites will allow you to “buy links” from directories, dodgy websites or websites that are built for the sole purpose to manipulate the search results.
Don’t do this!
Not only is it against Google’s rules, if you get caught, it can do more damage than good and potentially even penalize you completely from Google’s search engine.
If you’ve already done this, then you may wish to consider “disavowing” those links in your Google search console, just in case you later get a manual penalty from Google.
SEO Results: Be patient and reap the rewards
If you’re looking to learn how to rank higher on Google, you need to remember that SEO is a long-term game.
Although you can get short-term SEO results by targeting long-tail keywords, the best results from SEO will be in the long-term (after you’ve created enough content to achieve topical authority).
It’s also a good idea to track your SEO results over time by using free tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
As you start to see your search traffic increase in Google Analytics, you’ll be motivated to keep going and get even better results.
If you’d like to learn more about generating leads & high-quality appointments with Google, YouTube, LinkedIn & Facebook, be sure to watch my free Masterclass training by clicking here.
Ashley Davis (or ‘Ash’ for short) is the CEO & Founder of Skyline Social. For over 15 years, he has been helping business owners with lead generation. Ash specializes in helping businesses get high-quality leads, appointments and clients each month in an automated, scalable and profitable way. You can watch his free Masterclass training to learn more.