Proven Steps Needed to Guarantee a Top Google Ranking
When it comes to driving traffic to your website, nothing is more important than your ranking on Google. The first five results on Google receive a whopping 67.6 percent of all the clicks. The next five results only receive 3.73 percent of website clicks.
Right now, depending on your industry, is your website topping the Google rankings ? No ? Then you can improve your ranking by following some proven steps.
1. Choose the Correct Domain
If you are starting out and want to achieve a top Google Ranking, start by choosing the correct domain name. Your domain name will display in the search bar. It consists of a name that you choose and the domain name extension, for example, .com is a top level domain name extension. You should look for a .com If you are a business or commercial business, if available. If not, then .net or a country domain name extension, like .co.uk for UK or .es for Spain etc.
There are plenty of Low-quality domain name extensions, such as .biz or .info, and it’s best to try and stay with the top level extensions like .com or .net if possible. The domain extensions are broken down like:
- .com domain extension – This is the top domain extension to have for commercial and business websites
- .org domain extension – Primarily for non-profit and charity organisations, forums and resource websites.
- .net domain extension – The .net domain extension is related to services and technology websites.
- .co.uk and similar domain extension – This domain extension is related to the country you are operating from. It lets the visitor know what country you are based. Examples are .ie for Ireland, .es for Spain.
There are new domain extensions now available with .website, .online, .store and .info to name a few and they are pretty self explanatory.
Next, you need to think of your domain name. At one time, companies benefited from getting exact match domains. These domains include the exact keywords that the site owner is targeting. For instance, someone might use “BuyCheapShoesOnline” since that is a popular search phrase.
However, since 2012, Google stated exact match domains will be penalised because they tend to be low-quality sites. Instead of choosing an exact match domain, choose your company name, a keyword term or place where you operate as suggestions. Try to avoid hyphens and numbers in your domain name.
2. Create the Proper Website Structure
Once you have your domain, you’ll be ready to build your site. A proper site structure is necessary for a great Google ranking. The site structure refers to the way the site is organised. A properly organised website has two benefits. First, it’s easy for users to find what they want on the site. Second, it’s easy for Google to crawl your site and index the pages.
Your website’s structure should resemble a pyramid with the most important pages at the top. The homepage should sit at the top of the pyramid. Your most important categories will sit below the homepage. Each category will have a theme. Your subcategories will sit under the categories. Subcategories aren’t as important and don’t drive as much traffic. For more on an effective website, read the our article entitled: You cannot have a effective website without these key ingredients
For instance, if you run a restaurant, your homepage could be the name of the restaurant. This is a general page meant to catch as much traffic as possible. It will provide an overview of the restaurant and will link to the other pages content.
The second-tier pages could consist of the menu, the main page for all the services, and an “About Us” page.
Then, the third tier could be specific pages for each service. This would be an effective pyramid.
Once you develop your hierarchy, make sure that each page is easily accessible within at least three clicks. If someone has to click more than three times to get to a page, it will impact the user experience and Google won’t be able to crawl it effectively.
You will also need to use some basic HTML tags to structure your data. Google’s crawlers will look at the tags when moving through the information on the site. You need to include:
- A unique title tag on each page.
- Insert a unique meta description for each page and blog post.
- H1 heading tags for the main heading on each page.
- Image alt tags for each image used on the website to describe and explain what the image is about for visually impaired visitors who use screen readers..
3. Use Responsive Web Design
More people access the internet from mobile devices than from their desktop computers. If you want to achieve a top ranking on Google, you need a responsive website design that responds to the device that it’s viewed on. With responsive web design, the size and layout changes based on the device that’s being used. This improves the usability of the site.
You might wonder why you can’t just create a mobile version of your website. While many business owners still do that, it’s a mistake. If you have a mobile and desktop version of your site, you will have issues with duplicate content. This will cause your Google ranking to take a hit.
4. Site Speed for Top Google ranking
Fast load times are also critical in Google ranking. You can measure the speed of your site by looking at the time to first byte (TTFB). When people visit your website, their browsers request information from the site’s server. The server grants the information request, causing the site to download the content. TTFB refers to the time it takes the browser to receive the first byte of information.
A fast TTFB is indicative of a fast-loading website. The TTFB should be under 500 ms. Test your website speed by visiting GT Metrix or tools.pingdom. These sites analyse your website and can show you what’s slowing down your website.
If your TTFB needs improvement, reduce the distance between your servers and your target market. When browsers and servers have to communicate from far distances, it takes longer to send and receive data. For example, if your customers are in the Europe and your servers are in Australia, there will be a long lag between requesting and downloading data.
Fortunately, you can fix this problem, even if you don’t know much about servers. You can move your site to a Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDNs consist of groups of servers in different geographic regions. The closest server to the site’s visitor delivers the content, speeding up load times dramatically. Also check out our article on the importance of a fast loading website and how important it is for a top Google ranking.
5. Build Domain Authority
Domain authority is also critical when moving up in the search engine results pages. Domain Authority is a ranking that goes from 1-100, with 100 being the best. Moz developed domain authority, and you can check your site’s on its Link Explorer.
Don’t worry if your domain authority is low right now. You can increase it by following some steps.
Backlinks help domains build authority. Backlinks refer to the links that point to your site. Creating amazing content is the easiest way to build high-quality links. Others in your niche will link to your site so their followers can see the content.
You can also build backlinks by using Quora. Quora is a question and answer website and a powerful link-building tool. Create a profile and look for questions that you have answered with your content. Then answer the question and include a link to your content on the site. Do not make the mistake of just including the link. That will look like spam and can hurt you. You need to take the time to write an answer for each link you submit.
You also need to incorporate a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy to increase your domain authority. As a bonus, this will also help you move up in the rankings.
6. SEO — The Finishing Touches
A solid SEO strategy begins with keywords. When you select the keywords, consider user intent. What are people likely to type into the search bar when looking for your site? Come up with a list and then type each phrase into Google and analyse the results. Are these sites in your niche? Are the results what you would expect for the key phrase?
Let’s look at an example. Assume a translating company wants to appear in Google ranking. It decides to use the word “translate” because that’s a service it offers. However, it never gets any traffic for that word. If you were to do a quick Google search of “translate,” the reason would be clear. The first page results are geared toward people who want to translate a word immediately. They don’t need a full document translation. They just need a word. Thus, a translation company is not going to rank for that word. This keyword is not geared to user intent.
You also need to use outbound links on your website. Link relevant content to high-authority sites. Check the site’s domain authority before linking to it. If it has a high authority, it will help you, as long as it’s relevant.
Internal linking is also important. Put at least two internal links on each page and every blog post you write. Internal links should be relevant and related. This shows Google and users the relationship between the content.
When you create internal and outbound links, you will use anchor text. This is the hyperlinked portion of text that people click on. Many site owners make one of two mistakes when creating anchor text. They either use “click here” or over optimised anchor text. Instead, use anchor text that fits in naturally. It can contain keywords, but don’t keyword stuff and don’t use the same keywords for each hyperlink.
Start improving your Google Ranking Today
Moving to the top of Google takes time and work, but it is well worth the effort. If you want to increase your site traffic, incorporate these tips today.