Written by: Steve Hill | 13th Feb 2021
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
You have a website, it looks great, packed with information about your business, the products and services along with all the contact details maybe even a shopping cart. But do you have sales, leads or even visitors?
The most popular search engine is without question Google, all our web broswers, mobile phone and even our cars use Google to get us the answers to our questions or to find the latest product review or new gizmo for the kitchen. But how do we get our brand new, or indeed existing website onto the google search results pages and how to we get it to that very first page.
First the bad news
For many businesses, the answer has been to try a number of techniques from writing weekly blogs, faqs and interesting content to stuffing the pages with their chosen keywords as many times as possible. Then of course there is backlinks and signing up to every directory service you can find to get some decent backlinks, often all of this actually achieves little or no improvement at all.
What is Google and what does it actually do?
Google is much more advanced than spammy seo advice would have us believe, lets start with Google's mission statement which says "Our company mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. That's why Search makes it easy to discover a broad range of information from a wide variety of sources." - source google.com
The first thing to notice here is that the word "information" appears twice, this is very important, Google are saying their primary objective is to provide the search engine use with a variety of answers to their search question from a variety of sources, now this really means Google is focus on providing really great results that are accurate, informative and conculsive. For example the Google search "How do I make poached eggs" comes straight back with receipes followed by two really strong links to websites offering advice, then four videos each showing how to make poached eggs, finally we see related searches. What we are saying here is the search results are extemely relevant to the search term or question we put to Google, if we saw a listing for bacon rolls on this search result it would mean Google has not met their mission statement and had delivered us inaccurate results.
How to get your website on page one of Google
This is, of course, the question on everyone lips, it's the sales pitch from those spammy SEO sales calls too. Let's get one thing absolutely clear from the get go here - Page one ranking on Google cannot be guaranteed. Thre is no sure-fire way to get a website to this ultimate position and as such anyone offering page one should pretty much be ignored.
Now the good news
Getting your website and its content onto the first three pages and ultimately the first page is something that you can work towards, it takes quite a lot of time, effort, commitment, perseverance and in some cases money too. Once you achieve the first-page position you then will need to maintain it and of course, protect it from other knocking you off that spot! With the right tools and information, you can get there, stay there and here is how.
The 8 steps to get on page one of Google
Ok, so here is the first hurdle, if you are a start-up or existing business in a super competitive space, such as web designer or take-away pizza store, or maybe an affiliate site then the reality is this will be really difficult, especially if you are up against experienced, established businesses with huge marketing budgets, slick websites and lots of traffic. If you are in this place then make the top 30 your first target or look at how you can identify a niche the others may have missed and exploit that to gain traffic.
Similarly, if you are targeting a national or international market you will need to be thinking about how to identify your target visitors and what global keywords you want to focus on, a national or international strategy normal requires multiple traffic sources, a considerable advertising budget partnered with substantial social media campaigns.
Get the basics sorted
Make sure you have a Google account then setup Search Console and Analytics. These two platforms will help you examine your positions, audience, traffic sources and keywords. Install an SEO plugin for your website such as RS-SEO or Yoast and fix all those simple errors such as H1, H2 settings, spelling, word count, you will need to ensure all pages are satisfying as many of Google's requirements as possible. Finally create a sitemap and submit it to Search Console.
Make a list of Keywords & Phrases
Make a list, a big list using excel, numbers or a Google sheet where you will want to list as many keywords or keyphrases that you would like to be found for if you are a local business include your city or county also include the words "near me" if you are a local service or store. You are looking to create a list of two, three, four, five and even six-word phrases, think about the intent of the search here so "buy a hot tub in Reading" and "hot tubs in reading" have two different intents the first is looking to purchase and the second is researching. Make sure your list includes what we call commercial keywords such as buy and purchase along with informational keywords such as best or which for example "best hot tub for under £1000" or "which hot tub is value for money". Keywords with commerical intent and short phrases with large search volume are going to be harder to rank for.
Identify your target audience
Who are your customers, what platforms do they hang out on, what age groups are they in, what style is the language they use, what devices are they holding, what are there trends they follow, where do they live? It is vital that you get a really good understanding of your customers to be able to use that information to focus your strategy on them, there is no point in advertising on Google search results if your audience is all on Instagram or Facebook.
Here is where we get a little bit techy, now if you have a site built with Wordpress or Joomla this is reasonably straight forward, if you have limited knowledge of these products this could be a job for your web developer or SEO specialist. What we are doing here is making sure the website is doing everything Google expects, essentially we are ticking the boxes. The tools from eariler come back in here and will help you identify the issues along with any issues raised by Google Search Console. Basically we are ensuring the site is using HTTPS throughout, we have no duplicate content, all links in and out of the site are working any ranked broken links are redirected, URL structure is SEO-Friendly, improve site loading speed using either 3rd party tools or a better hosting provider and the big one of course is mobile responsive design, the website needs to be great on a mobile device, especially now that Google has listed mobile-first as a preference when ranking websites.
Link Building & Outreach
Finally at Step 8 we are ready to spend hard earned cash on advertising, with a solid website that is well positioned to capture traffic, leads and sales we can be confident that starting an ad campaign will now be money well spent and bring us the additional business needed. Creating and running ad campaigns is a whole other article a great place to start is of course Google's own pages which are packed with great ideas, have a look at Google Ads Manager
Getting on the first page of Google
Hopefully you found the information above really helpful and now have a plan for your businesses SEO strategy, of course if you would like to focus on your business whilst an SEO specialist does this work for you that is something we can help with, if you have an exisiting website hit the link below to receive a FREE yes, that's right a FREE review of your website and SEO strategy, in this review we will take a look at your website and provide you will a full plan of how to get your business ranking and generating real business for you, it's completely FREE. You can then choose to follow the guide we provide yourself, outsource it to your web developer or come to us.