Ranking well on Google searches is one of the most important things a business can do to add more customers.
Google is the most widely used search engine in the world, owning about 86% of the market share. In fact, when people say they are going to search for something online, they often say they are going to “Google it.”
It’s hard to believe that Google has only been around for two decades; many people find it hard to remember what it was like before the company existed because it plays such an integral role in our daily lives.
At the Mobile World Congress in 2010, then-Google executive Eric Schmidt announced that the company would be developing its new ideas and technology for mobile devices first and desktop technology second. So, they were a main driver in pushing us towards a mobile-first society.
It wasn’t long after that when society made the switch. On Christmas Day in 2013, Google reported for the first time that searches from mobile exceeded that of desktop.
Data has shown that 97% of users do not click beyond the first page of Google results. Fifty-five percent of all the clicks on Google are on the first three organic search results.
Because of this, it is important that you rank highly on the search engine so people can easily find your website and content.
Here are some tips to follow to outrank your competition on Google in organic search results.
1. Perform a Website Analysis
- The first thing you’ll want to do is analyze your own website to identify strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself how the layout looks, what pages are getting the most views, is it easy to navigate, are there calls to action etc. Google Analytics is a good tool to help with this exercise.
- As part of this, you will also look at your goals to make sure they are clearly defined and if you are achieving them. For example, are you generating leads from your website? Do you have a clear target audience? Are you monitoring and acting on metric reports from tools like Google Analytics?
2. Perform a Competitor Analysis
- Your competitors may also be looking to rank well on Google, so it’s not a bad idea to study what they’re doing. Look at some of the keywords they are using and if those words are effective in driving traffic and improving search engine stature. Tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs can help you analyze how your competitors rank in SEO and what keywords they are using.
- There are two types of competitors: direct and indirect. A direct competitor is a company that is offering the same product and has the same customer base as you. An indirect competitor is a company that sells similar products but has a different customer base. Learning from the indirect competitor’s customer base can teach you a lot about your own business and customer base.
3. Choose your Keywords
- Keywords are words and phrases that are relevant to your business. These are the words that customers may use when looking for a product or service you provide or for your specific business.
- Having the right keywords is paramount when trying to rank highly on Google, and there are many tools that can assist you in choosing the right ones. These include the aforementioned Aherfs and SEMrush, as well as Google Adwords and Google Trends.
- Google has previously reported that 46% of all searches are for something local. An astounding 88% of people who search for something local either visit or call that business within a day. Because of this, you want to make sure the location of your business is part of your keywords.
4. Optimize your Pages
- There are other methods besides keywords to jump ahead of the competition on the Google search database. First, the pages on your website should have title tags that indicate the topic(s) that page will be covering. Integrate some of your keywords into this.
- Your URLs should be descriptive and easy to read. Under the URL and title should be a clear meta description, which is a brief description of your business or products. Use your keywords as part of the title, URL and meta description. Google prefers the meta description to be between 140-160 characters.
- All of the images on the page should have “alt tags,” which are used to briefly describe what the image is.
- The website should be mobile friendly and load quickly. Companies used to have two different versions of their websites, one more desktop and one for mobile. That should no longer be the case. Instead, the ideal website will be a “responsive” design that allows the same website to be displayed regardless of the device. Recent data show that 66% of all site visits come from mobile. In 2021, Google switched to mobile-first indexing for all websites. If your website is not mobile friendly and does not load quickly, users will get frustrated and leave.
- Google reports that over 60% of consumers will leave your website in favor of a competitors if yours isn’t mobile-friendly.
5. Internal Links
- Every page should have internal links that make your website easy to navigate. If Google cannot quickly navigate your website through these links, it will push your site down the page in favor of sites that are more user-friendly.
- Additionally, you should have descriptive anchor text with the links to help describe them.
- Google doesn’t give a limit to internal links, but adding too many could confuse the user.
- Having backlinks simply means that other sites or social media accounts are linking back to your content. This signals to Google that your website is considered a credible source of information and will reward it accordingly. However, paying for backlinks on “spam” sites or social media accounts whose only purpose is to post links could get you penalized by Google, so be honest with it.
- Achieving credible and relevant backlinks is one of best ways to achieve prominent status on Google’s search pages. But they can be harder to achieve than it seems. For example, if a restaurant links back to a retail department store, Google may not count that link as relevant and not give it as much weight. Similarly, if a backlink is hard to find or in a footer of a website, it won’t be rated as highly.
7. Quality, Clear Content
- Having quality content on your site, whether it be for informational or sales purposes, is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your spot on the Google search engine. Quality content will lead to backlinks, which will help build credibility and grow your brand. Google rewards all of this, so it’s important to make sure your content is clear of errors and concise with a call to action. If you follow this, it will help with the rest of the steps previously mentioned and improve your overall rankings on Google
Kate Smith is a Creative Director at Schubert b2b. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Design from Kutztown University. When not in the office, she enjoys snowboarding, eating cauliflower, and staying up to the wee hours of the morning playing Destiny.