Even though the internet keeps changing and growing, the need to rank higher in Google never seems to change. Sure, there are new products and services, new memes, and ways of doing things that vie for everyone’s attention and push boundaries (look no further than Dall-E as a great example).
No matter what happens, though, search engine optimization (SEO) expertise and digital marketing services are essential if people are going to find your work. If you don’t learn how to rank higher on Google, the world’s number one search engine, people are going to struggle to find your services.
The good news is that there are many steps you can take, both technically and editorially, to improve your ranking. Let’s break them down step by step and offer a few insights from our own digital marketing services that will make a difference for you.
Improve Your On-Page SEO
The fastest and easiest way to start getting your page to rank higher is via on-page SEO.
Before we go too far, though, let’s clear up the term SEO. It refers to certain actions that you can take to make your content more attractive to a search engine, and therefore rank higher in Google when people search for terms related to your business. Getting onto the front page in Google search results is like hitting the online jackpot for your company, so it’s definitely worth striving for.
On-page SEO starts with keywords — those particular words and phrases that you seed throughout your story to signal what your website and its various pages are about. Keywords are the words that you think your potential customers will type into Google when they are looking for information on a certain subject.
Try to frontload your keywords in the title tags, the page title that appears on search-result pages (SERPs). The earlier your keyword ranks in a title tag, the more weight Google assigns it.
SEO experts also recommend placing your keywords at least two to three times on each page. Don’t stuff in excess keywords so that the writing feels clumsy and forced. Rather, find ways to evenly distribute keywords across the piece so that they keep the search engine engaged and noticing you.
Did you know that longer articles tend to rank higher in 2022 than bite-sized pieces? On average, the top-ranking blog posts contain about 2,100–2,400 words. Longer pieces mean more opportunities for solid SEO, more headings, links and calls to action — all of which are valuable when it comes to digital marketing efforts.
Before you do anything technical on a page, try to work on the content of your page for on-page SEO purposes.
Once you’re happy with the content of your page, you need to start making it Google-friendly on a technical level. That means optimizing your page in ways that Google recommends and rewards, besides the content of your piece. The search giant is constantly refining its search engine and looking for new ways to make it smarter, better and faster.
Take a look at this handy Starter Guide from Google if you are new to SEO and want to understand how to rank higher. Here are a few of the key factors.
Website Loading Speed
Google is putting a lot of emphasis on how quickly a page loads when you visit it. Whether it’s text, audio or video, the goal is to have the most important block of content on any page load in under 2.5 seconds. The faster the load time, the higher you rank.
User Experience (UX)
Visual stability is an important new concept when it comes to providing a great user experience. Google punishes pages where an element loads on a page and then shifts around as the rest of the page comes online. For example, you see the “Buy” button loading and you go to click it but just before you do, it shifts down the page as a YouTube video has opened up right in its spot. That kind of poor UX affects your search rankings.
It should almost go without saying in 2022, but every web page needs to be optimized for mobile viewing. According to dropshipping experts Oberlo, most of your users (52.8% in the U.S. since May 2022) will visit your website from their mobile phones, so optimizing for mobile should be your priority if you want to rank higher in Google.
As phones get more and more sophisticated and accessible, that number is only going to rise. The future is mobile and your SEO needs to reflect that.
Internal and External Link Optimization
Google likes to see a healthy number of links on a page, both to internal web pages (from your own domain) and to external sites (related content on different websites). Internal links help to place your page in the context of a broader website and, with the right anchor text, can help search engines to better index your website. External links may seem counter-intuitive as you are directing potential customers away from your site, but when SEO experts do it properly, it increases your legitimacy in the eyes of Google and gives more context to your page.
Focus Only on High-Quality Content
You can have the best digital marketing services and SEO in the world, but if your content is not interesting and well made, no one is going to engage with it. In the end, it has to be about quality. Great writing that’s well presented and useful will always find an audience and be rewarded by the search engine.
The days of trying to game Google with keyword stuffing and other little tricks are passing away. The algorithms are simply too sophisticated for that now. Rather spend your time creating great multimedia content that loads fast, provides useful information, is a pleasure to read, and has no spelling errors or broken links.
Your assignment must be to produce the most compelling and useful high-quality content you can. Then work hard on getting the right title tag and meta tag wording. Make sure that your photos all have meaningful alt text to describe images and help Google further index your pages.
Without high-quality content that is useful to an audience, the rest of your efforts to rank higher on Google won’t count for much.
Use LSI Keywords
As Google became more sophisticated over the years, it started trying to understand context on a page as a whole by looking for words and concepts that are associated with a keyword and provide greater depth to it. That practice is known by the shorthand “LSI keywords,” which stands for latent semantic indexing.
It’s worth noting that a well-known Google representative did say in July 2019, “There’s no such thing as LSI keywords — anyone who’s telling you otherwise is mistaken, sorry.” But that hasn’t stopped SEO experts from working on context and developing deeper associations on their pages, something that definitely affects page rankings.
As an example, let’s think about two web pages that talk about picturesque golf courses. Both use the key phrase “golf courses of the world.”
If the one page contained other words such as scenery, fairways, putting, and beaches and the other one spoke about the cost of golf clubs and green fee special offers, which one would rank higher? Even though they both used the keyword “golf courses of the world,” the first one would rank higher on Google thanks to its range of keywords that point to topics closely related to that keyphrase.
Follow E-A-T Principles
Some factors that influence SEO expertise are more intangible and harder to achieve. They are principles-based, rather than simply algorithmic. One such idea is E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
As you can imagine, assigning a ranking to a writer’s level of expertise or the credibility of a source is difficult to achieve. Google doesn’t disclose how its algorithm works, but it’s a known fact that quality is hugely important to ranking well — and expertise, authority and trustworthiness are all keys to quality.
YMYL websites, which stands for “Your Money or Your Life” websites are a big reason behind Google’s embrace of E-A-T. These are the kinds of websites that can have a significant influence on your life or your wallet, so they need as much credibility as they can get. For example, sites dealing with medical, legal and financial sectors are all YMYL sites, and that’s where E-A-T principles become a major factor when you want to rank higher in Google.
Building a reputation for expertise is something that an online author can do over time by producing a steady stream of high-quality, accurate content for a variety of publications. It goes without saying that the higher a site’s profile, the more likely it is that it will increase your expertise score. So writing for Forbes or Business Insider is a better indicator of expertise than doing a serious article for a local business blog.
If you’re the manager of a blog, then you should consider commissioning some work from high-profile bloggers to prove your expertise, too.
Content is no longer judged only by what it’s about. Nowadays, algorithms seem to also track who wrote the content and give extra weight to authors with a positive reputation who have put out a lot of high-quality content. It’s still unclear how much of a factor authoritativeness is for ranking higher in Google. But it may be a good start to start crediting the writers of your online content, as there is anecdotal evidence showing that articles written by anonymous authors tend to rank lower than articles with names attached.
Google wants to recommend websites that are trusted by their users, as this reflects well on Google, too. Besides the quality of your content, there are many other ways to showcase the trustworthiness of your website. For instance:
- Be careful about who you let advertise on your site.
- Make sure you display any certificates and guarantees prominently.
- Be certain your domain name commands respect.
- Make public comments viewable.
These are all small, subtle ways that SEO experts use to signal that you are a trusted brand with no hidden agenda.
Match Your Content With User Search Intent
Everyone who does a Google search is looking for something. Do they always know exactly how to search for the thing they want? No. But Google’s algorithms are designed to figure out what they’re looking for. SEO experts call the purpose of someone’s Google query their “search intent.” That’s the aspect of a search you want to try and fulfill.
Broadly speaking, there are four different types of intentions people have when they search:
- Informational intent: They want to know more about something.
- Navigational intent: They’re looking to find a specific website.
- Transactional intent: They want to buy something.
- Commercial intent: They are gathering information before they decide what to buy.
When you know the intent of your customers, you can adjust your keywords so they give you a better chance of being discovered by the right user at the right time and ranking higher in Google.
For example, if you know your users have commercial intent, you can include words like “buy,” “discount” and “special offer” in your keywords. On the other hand, if you have informational content, you should include keywords such as “how to” or “best way to,” for example.
Knowing why people are coming to your site is a powerful SEO tool, and it can help you shape the content you produce.
Optimize Internal Linking
This one is simple to achieve and effective. It’s nothing more than linking one of your web pages to another one of your web pages so that your site is more connected and integrated. It’s the one area where you have total control, and your digital marketing services should exploit it wisely.
If you have particular expertise in something, or if you are really proud of a particular piece of work, for example, then make sure you link to that page every time you mention that subject. It will make a difference over time and help you rise in the Google rankings.
Of course, best practices still apply for internal linking. Don’t start stuffing your articles with as many links as you can find. Two or three links are acceptable, as long as they are relevant to the page you’re creating and the anchor text you use is simple and accurate.
Build High-Quality Backlinks to Your Site
A “publish and pray” strategy is not going to cut it when you’re trying to build a viable long-term communication channel for your brand. Your whole SEO strategy should be about getting your content in front of the right people, and building high-quality backlinks is an important part of that strategy.
Getting backlinks, where other sites link back to your content, is one of the harder parts of quality SEO because most aspects of the process are out of your control. You can make great stuff, but you can’t make people link to it. You simply need to try a few different strategies and see what works best for you.
- Guest blogging for other sites and linking to your site
- Creating quality infographics that people want to use that link to your research
- Giving interviews to a variety of publications
- Broken-link building — the practice of finding “broken links” on websites, then reaching out to webmasters to receive a backlink from the identified broken link
Backlinks are a good way of inserting yourself and your services into the online conversation and making sure that you’re associated with the leaders in a particular field. It’s hard to do at first but pays off when it begins to happen organically.
Boost Your Click-Through Rate
Why would Google reward a high click-through rate (CTR)? Because a high CTR tells the search engine that your page is the one that Googlers are looking for. If your page is the one that’s being chosen, then Google will want it to rank higher on the page. It’s as simple as that.
You can use SEO expertise to affect your CTR by using emotive, expressive language in your titles, creating short and distinctive URLs, and interesting meta descriptions that act as a subtle call to action for users.
Creating Rich Snippets, such as star ratings and reviews on a search results page, is a little-known factor that also improves SEO and may be worth your time.
Improve Your Bounce Rate
Reducing your bounce rate is one of the most important things you can do to improve your rankings. “Bouncing” is what Google calls it when people visit your site, take a quick look at the landing page, and then return to the search page, clearly unhappy with what they have found there.
Bounce rate is “the percentage of visitors that leave a webpage without taking an action, such as clicking on a link, filling out a form, or making a purchase,” according to Backlinko.
A high bounce rate is SEO death, so you need to work hard to fix it. And if you are getting your search intent right, then bouncing should not be an issue, as people are getting what they are looking for.
If you do have a high bounce rate, it’s useful to take a close look at the “above the fold” section of your webpage. That’s the part of the page that opens up when users click a link — the first thing they see before they need to scroll.
What information is hitting them first? Is it obvious that you are answering their needs straight away? Is there easy navigation that people can use to find exactly what they are looking for?
If your bounce rate is high, it’s probably because you are not making it obvious enough what problems you are there to solve for clients. Easier said than done, right? Yep — but it’s important. And SEO experts can help you make it right.
This article can show you how to discover your bounce rate.
Track and Monitor Your Results
At the end of the day, you must monitor the results of all the work you’ve put in. There’s no point in doing all this SEO work to rank higher on Google and then not making sure your efforts are landing.
Tracking and monitoring your results is actually quite simple once you’ve set it up. Your home for all the information you need is Google Analytics.
That’s where you’ll get a plethora of reports that will deliver the information you need to make sure your web page is delivering. Information is vast, ranging from sources of traffic to details about your web visitors, demographics of your audience, the bounce rate on a page … and on it goes.
Once you open up your Analytics page, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the volume of information that is available. SEO experts recommend starting with simple metrics that tell you what you need to know, and then slowly building up the level of detail that you can manage.
Be an SEO Expert — Or Hire One To Help
As you can see, figuring out how to rank higher on Google in 2022 takes a lot of time and energy. That’s why so many organizations are engaging professional digital marketing services and SEO experts to take on the role and work with them to build deep and meaningful SEO.
The simple fact is that Google is still the undisputed heavyweight of search engines, and being discovered on its pages can transform a company’s prospects forever. That’s why Orpheus has created a dedicated digital marketing service, where we bring our hard-won expertise to promoting the sites and services we’re building for you. And because we’re so involved in creating your digital presence, we know exactly how to make it visible online.
Get in touch with Orpheus today to find out more about how we can meet your SEO needs.