Every business tries to do it, including yours. Problem is, there’s no way every company CAN be at the very top of Google’s search rankings. After all, there can only be one No. 1. In order to achieve your company’s lofty goal, search engine optimization – or SEO – needs to be used.
Google uses a proprietary algorithm to determine what links go where when someone does a search. Although no one fully knows exactly how Google chooses the results, and in what order, those who have studied SEO have a pretty good understanding of what your website needs to rank highly in the search.
Before going into what your website needs, we have to talk about the good and the bad when it comes to Google rankings. Always remember, even though your website, blog post, etc., might reach No. 1 on Google, that doesn’t mean it will stay there. In fact, once it does get to No. 1, Google will begin to scrutinize your link even harder.
Let’s delve into the world of SEO and see how best to get your company’s website to the top of Google rankings.
1. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Up until a couple of years ago, the best way to show Google your company really knew what it was doing was to put it on your website, many, many times over. When potential clients do a search for a specific thing, they’re actually typing in keywords. Google searches the internet looking for those keywords.
Because of this, it was commonplace to see web pages, blog posts, etc., filled with those keywords. This is called keyword stuffing, and today, it is a no-no with Google. It’s still important to mention specific keywords so that Google does see your company’s pages, but never try to stuff keywords.
For example, if the content on your page reads like this, Google will punish you for it:
Our company is at the forefront of science in Maryland. With science in Maryland, experts know that it’s crucial to the environment and our own well-being that the science in Maryland is understood and implemented. That’s why our team of science in Maryland experts are here to help you.
Most times the pages in question aren’t as blatant as this fictitious company pushing “science in Maryland” as its keyword. Use your keyword, but do it in a way that makes sense – like the way we’re subtly including this reference to the fact that we have years of expertise with SEO in Maryland.
Keyword stuffing is a very serious issue and Google looks for that now, whereas they didn’t use to in previous years.
2. Choosing the Right Keywords
Just with food, alcohol, and pretty much anything else, moderation is necessary when it comes to keywords. Whereas it’s important not to overdo it with keywords – keyword stuffing – it’s just as important to find the right keywords that will work for you.
Although the term used is “keyword” it should actually be “keyphrase” as you should be using more than one word as your keyword. These phrases are called long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are used to target niche demographics rather than a mass audience. For example, “toast maker” could be a keyword, but if you used “toast maker Frederick Maryland,” that would be long-tail. Here are a few other things to consider.
- Focus on Good Phrases: Don’t overthink it. Start off by answering a simple question, “What products or services does my company sell?” If you are an interior design firm, you might be tempted to just use the keywords “interior design.” Well, that is what you do, but there are a million other interior designers out there using the keyword “interior design.” Branch out! This is where long-tail keywords come into play. What areas are you targeting? Do you do interior design for specific clients or businesses? Add these things to your keywords. “Interior designer Frederick MD” will give you a higher Google ranking than just “interior design.” Nearly 70 percent of page views are the direct result of long-tailed keywords. This is particularly helpful when it comes to companies who use PPC (or pay-per-click) marketing.
- Guide Your Content Strategy: Conventionally, we think linearly about content and keywords – we build a website, and then launch search engine marketing campaigns to drive users to our content. That approach has its limits. Instead of linear thinking, think more circular. Since your keywords reflect both what potential clients are seeking and the way that the search engines (particularly Google) “think” about keywords, use that to help drive your company’s content strategy. Put differently, to be phenomenally successful, don’t look to pry greater results from static content, leverage the existing needs of the potential clients and use that knowledge to help create the best possible experience. That, in turn, will be rewarded with higher rankings and greater traffic.
- Use Google’s Tools to Help: Google has a host of tools that can help you plan on the best keywords, most notably their Keyword Planner and the use of Google Adwords. Granted, Adwords is a little different since it deals with PPC marketing, but you have the ability to compile a list of prospective keywords and plan accordingly. It never hurts to use something Google gives you in order to rank highly on Google.
3. Update Your Site Frequently
Google does not like a stale website. If you haven’t changed something on your website in more than a week or so, Google will ping you for it. If you’re thinking, “Well, everything on my website is kind of static. What can we possible change?” – here’s what you should do.
One of the best ways to keep your site feeling fresh and relevant is to create blog posts. These blog posts can help you in a couple of different ways.
- Increases SEO value on your website: One of the purposes of having a website for your business is so people know you’re an expert in your field. Hopefully, you’ve covered all that your company does somewhere on your site. When you create blog posts – which cover a little more in-depth what your prospective clients need and how you can help them – you have the opportunity to add rich SEO content to your site. Just like the keywords you would use to help boost your individual web pages, the keywords you use, plus the overall quality of your post, will help guide it through the Google rankings.
- Showing your expertise: As we’ve said, it’s important that people who look for a company such as yours feel confident in your abilities. Your web pages can be filled from top to bottom with all the things your company can do, but it doesn’t really prove you know what you’re doing. By writing blog posts that illustrate your company’s abilities and knowledge on a range of topics, you give the reader a little more confidence, which in turn leads to a much higher conversion rate.
- New things to add to your website: By adding blog posts to your website once a week or more, Google will see that your site is active, which means it’s more likely to pull links from your pages. If a page hasn’t been updated in quite some time, it will continue to fall further and further behind in its Google ranking.
4. The power of backlinks
Backlinking is simple in principle, but a little harder in execution. However, if done well, it can push your Google rankings closer to No. 1.
Let’s say, for example, your website gets 1,000 views a month. Hopefully, it gets more than that (if it doesn’t, you might want to think about possibly redesigning your website). For now, though, let’s say it gets 1,000 views. If another website links to your page, that’s backlinking. Google treats backlinks as implicit recommendations from other sites, and gives you SEO credit in the process. If that website has a good reputation with Google, and gets around 100,000 views a month, that backlink will be even more valuable.
There are a few ways you can go about getting these backlinks. You’ll need to find websites that are in the same vein as yours, although business websites and other sites that promote things your company does will work. There’s always a possibility these sites might be willing to do some cross promotion with your company – you let them run something of theirs on your website in return for them running something of yours on their website. Quid pro quo.
Getting quality backlinks can be difficult, but the effort pays off in your Google search rankings.
Another option, which might be a little easier, is searching for relevant blogging websites and asking if you could guest blog for them. They get free content, which they like, and you get the backlinks you need.
Be careful, though. You want quality backlinks. If you decided to spam comment sections with your links trying to build backlinks for yourself, Google can tell the difference, and they will dock you for it.
5. It’s time to get social
There are billions of people around the world who use social media. That’s not an exaggeration. There are currently more than two billion users on Facebook alone. That’s not including the 700+ million users on Twitter, and the scores of users on LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. The point is, there is an incredibly large market out there for you to tap.
If you’re not currently using social media, you’re missing out every day on potential clients and sales. What’s more, using social media can actually help boost your website’s Google ranking.
Using social media allows you to post links to your website, blog posts, and anything else on your site you want people to see. The more eyes that see it, the more likely you’ll have views, which in turn leads to conversions. You will need to attract attention to your posts, however. Make sure you use great photos, catchy headlines, and whatever appropriate hashtags you need.
By staying active on social media, you also get the added bonus of picking up a following, who then will like, repost, or retweet your post and even more people will see your site. The more people, the better. This also goes back to letting people know your company has the experience and expertise they’re searching for on Google.
6. Getting help when you’re over your head with SEO in Maryland
Let’s be honest for a minute. If you, or someone in your company, puts the time and effort into doing all of this for your business, you know it will grow. That’s great! You want your business to grow.
The question now becomes, do you have the resources you need in order to do all of these things well? Do you have the time, energy, and money to hire full-time marketing people for your business? You want your business to grow, but you might not be ready for it to grow internally. The good thing is there are experts who can help you solve all of your problems so you can sleep a little better at night.
Here at New North, we know that getting great marketing results can seem intimidating. But, with the right approach, it can be done.
With our proven Marketing Growth Guideposts, we completely take the mystery out of marketing and figure out where you are on your company’s path to success. Sometimes businesses are at the beginning of their journey, which is fine, while others are closer to the middle, which is also fine. The main thing is that your company is on a path to success – you just need to have a guide to get you there. That’s where we come in.
From start to finish, we work with you to achieve your goals. If you want your pages to rank first on Google, we can help you. If you want better blog posts or someone to handle the daily social media posting you’d need to do, we can help you with that, as well.
Our staff of experienced professionals can push your company over the top. Are you ready to do that? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today for a free, no-hassle consultation and we’ll help you to analyze your SEO strategy and more to help your business grow.
Will C. Franklin is New North’s master at messaging. As an expert copywriter, he works to understand our clients and then crafts the language that will bridge them to their customers. He’s the mastermind behind New North’s social media channels. He is also frighteningly good at trivia. Twitter LinkedIn Email