Well, before I give you insights on how you can rank website on Google, allow me to tell you a brief story. I hope you don’t mind, do you?I have a curious mind, and I always desire to learn how everything around me works. So one day, I visited a coffee factory back in my village which has been making quality coffee since my grandfather was a small kid. One amazing thing about this factory is that it is very old, yet it has never compromised the quality of its products since its inception in the 1890s.
What wowed me about the factory is that most of its machines have been running for years and have never broken down. This left me wondering; with all the moving parts in the facility, how comes these machines run every minute but faced little or no mechanical issues? I got the answer I was looking for; a checklist was always used!
Before the machine operators hit the red “SWITCH ON” button on the machine, they carry out an extensive checklist to ensure that everything works as it should, and if they notice any hitch, the technical team fixes it ASAP.
Small businesses hoping to rank their websites on Google and enjoy massive free organic traffic that ultimately leads to the realization of business goals can borrow a leaf from this story. Just like the machine operators do, they can develop a checklist that will help them ensure perfection in their diverse SEO strategies.
Though I also learn a lesson from the antique coffee scenario, I also learned that applying this on SEO could not prevent me from falling in my quest to rank website highly on Google, but it would increase my chances of gaining a competitive edge over my competitors.
Therefore, before you publish your next article on your website, below is a checklist of the best SEO tips that you should never forget to run your content through if your ultimate goal is to see your site on the first page of Google search results.
- Do thorough keyword research.
When I launched my first website, I was super-excited. I knew that this was the beginning of success since everyone around the world would have an in-depth understanding of the products and services I was offering and the benefits they would get from them.
This is what I did- I took ample time and developed what I believed was the best quality content, used keywords I thought were attractive, and published it on my site. I, then, sat behind on my desk waiting for the World Wide Web miracle to happen. Little did I know that not all keywords would help me rank website on Google, I had some extra homework to do – do keyword research.
To develop a robust SEO strategy, you cannot run away from keyword research. This undertaking can be challenging, but with the best tools your SEO toolbox, there is no doubt that the entire process will be bread and butter.
Before you develop content, endeavour to find out the phrases and words users actually search for in your niche. The easiest way to do this is to use Serpbook, which is an SEO tool that gives you trendy keywords that people search, and gives you an estimate of every search phrase.
If you find the best keywords for your content, you will make it easy for your target audience to find your website, and you will undoubtedly rank website better on Google and other dominant search engines.
- Write valuable content
The quantity of the content you publish on your site will not determine how you rank website on Google, but quality will.
When creating content, have your audience in mind. Think about what the love, and the type of information they want to hear. Have background information about their culture, and come up with information that will conform to their values and beliefs. It doesn’t matter how many times your audiences have come across the information you are writing about. If it provides value and creates a ‘wow’ factor in them, they will doubtlessly read it and even share it with other people you had not targeted initially.
When writing content, I don’t care whether I am doing it for a blog, landing page, or e-commerce store. What care about is its quality and uniqueness, and the rest follows. Although you should write with the search engine in mind when you want to rank website in Google, one secret is to always write for the reader, not the search engine!
- Understand your competitors
Remember what they say? “If you can’t beat them, join them.” nevertheless, this old saying does not apply in SEO. In your mission to rank website in Google, you only have two options – you either beat them or beat them!
For a fact, you cannot beat your rivals if you don’t know who they are. This is why researching your competition ought to be a major item in your SEO checklist.
But, who really are your competition?
To me, it doesn’t matter when you launched your website. Even if you kicked off business yesterday, your competitors are those who appear among the #top 10 in Google. Period!
Luckily, you can use your browser to know your competition. All you need to do is switch to ‘private browsing’ mode on your preferred browser (note the name of the mode may vary depending on the browser. In chrome, it’s called “Incognito.” In Firefox and Safari, it is called “Private.” You will find it as “InPrivate” on internet explorer). Search for particular keywords that you identified during the keyword research stage and take note of the content that the first ten or so sites on the first page of Google search. Then, ask yourself the following questions;
- What strategies are the sites using to rank their website better than yours?
- Is there something you can do to rank website better than them?
- What can you steal for the betterment of your site? (I assure you that apart from duplicating content, Google will never penalize you for stealing and SEO strategy. Steal if you can)!
The bottom line is, know your competition so that you can develop ways to beat them. There are multiple tools you can use for competitor research, but I recommend Serpbook which has worked great for me through the years!
- Place your keyword in the header and at least once in the sub-headers
To attract readers to your site, your header needs to be highly attractive. This is undisputable. However, one thing you probably don’t know is that you should also write a header that allows the search engine to understand what your content is all about. To do this, you need to include the keyword in your header and at least once in your sub-headings. I use this trick, and I can assure you it yields fruits when I want to rank website in Google.
Bonus tip: if you want the people who will skim through your content and the search engine to have a deep understanding of your content, organize all your web pages by having a page heading or title at the top, followed by many sub-headings as I have done in this post. This will also go a long way in making your posts attractive even if they contain lots of words, and this can contribute to high traffic, which correlates with your ultimate SEO goal which is to rank website better in Google
- Have the keyword in the alt-tag and name of the image
Research has revealed that content that contains images attracts readers more than plain text. Therefore, having quality images for your blog post and web content is crucial in your SEO journey. However, you need to optimize all the images you use so that they can create a desired SEO value. How do you do this? Simple! You include your main keyword in the alt-tag and the name of the image. Without this, then your image will not help you rank website on Google or any other dominant search engine.
Changing the name of the image is not a vicious cycle. You can change the name on the computer before uploading, or you can as well change it in your website. Rather than having the name of an image as “124567.jpg” for example, you can have it as “why use Serpbook for SEO.jpg” if that’s your long-tail keyword.
In layman’s language, an alt tag is a text that the web browser will show to the user if the image fails to load. To optimise your images, use your keyword when designating the alt tag.
- Include the keyword in the URL
The URL is one of the ways Google can determine what your content is all about. Look at the following examples and guess the URL that Google will index first:
Well, if you guessed that Google will index the second URL first, then you deserve a round of applause! The first URL doesn’t contain the keyword, and it doubtlessly ruin your efforts to rank website first on Google. Tell Google what your content is about by having the second URL in all your posts.
- Get external Links
If you are looking at your checklist right now and it doesn’t have this tip, hold on, the list is not complete!
To rank website great on Google, you need to first convince this search engine that your content is good, and it will provide value to readers. Which would be a better way to do this than getting external links from other websites?
Just like in real life where people will believe what people say about you rather than what you say about yourself, Google believes what others say about your content better than what you do to ‘convince’ it.
Producing quality content is one great way to get external links, but hey, nothing comes easy. You need to invest in link building and reach out to webmasters, bloggers, and other website owners and request for links. You will sometimes need to pay for the links, but when you rank website and conversions start flowing, you will get a hefty payback, and your toiling will pay off.
The checklist I have outlined above may not contain all the tips you need to develop a great SEO strategy, but if you follow it to the letter, there is no doubt that you will rank website high on Google and a host of other dominant search engines, and business success come knocking at your door. Good luck!