Why am I not of the first page of Google?
This is a question that I am asked the most by clients and while I usually cover it 1:1 with them I thought it is probably a question you have wondered about too.
Unfortunately, it is not a case of “build it, and they will come”, if you want to appear on the first page of Google for your product or service, it is unlikely to happen unless your site is optimised for Googles search engine ranking factors.
Firstly optimising your site for search engines is an essential part of a website project and begins before the website exists. What do I mean by that?
There are four core elements of an SEO campaign:
- Keyword research
- Content SEO
- Technical SEO
- Link Building
The content on your website is not only there for your web visitor, search engines “read” content too. It is important to research your keywords and keyphrases before you create your website as you will want to use them throughout your website.
How do you do that?
Brainstorm Your Keywords
Write down your product or service keywords
Write down your geography
Think about who would be searching for your product or service, what it will do for them, what they will be using to search.
Write down your problem-solving keywords.
Look at the Search Volume
Then you want to look at the search volume of those keywords, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner to do that, but you will need to sign up for a Google AdWords account if you haven’t got one already (its free to create) and follow the prompts.
Categorise and Prioritize
Categorise the keywords into categories and then prioritise them by search volume then narrow this list down to 3 keywords with one primary keyword to use on your website.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is the keyword relevant to your customer?
- Does it have good search volume?
- Does it have high competition?
- Does it feel right?
- When you search for this keyword, would your website be a good fit in the list of results?
Your site content and the way you structure and present it is where “Content is King” is super relevant.
This is where using the keywords that you identified come into play.
You want to use them in:
Your URL. Someone can tell what the site is about from the URL alone and if possible uses the keyword
Your Navigation. Using the keywords that you identified to categorise the structure of your navigation.
Your Headings. Headings are a great way to structure your page, make content easier
to read, and reinforce important keywords for your site.
Your Copy. With your site structure organised you can start planning what content should sit in each of the main sections of the site using your keywords but always make sure that the content is unique and of a high quality.
Your Page Titles. Use keywords to describe what the page is about.
Your Meta Descriptions. Use keywords to summarise the content of the page and support the title.
Your images. Make your images relevant to your site by using your keyword to describe the image.
Designate the ‘buying intent’ keywords to the home page and service pages.
Designate the ‘research’ keywords to content pages such as the blog, FAQ etc.
Remember that your site, while you are “optimising for google”, ultimately needs to be understood by your potential client or customer. They need to immediately know that you can solve their problem. You may want to read this post on what makes a good first impression.
Lastly, remember to add new keywords and keyphrases to your SEO strategies when you add new content or make changes to your website.
SEO work that is done aside from the content is referred to as Technical SEO, and from an SEO perspective, the technical development of the website is the foundation.
It is as it sounds, technical. However, you can check all these yourself, but you may want to bring in your web developer or hire an expert to resolve any issues you come across, so I won’t go into details here, just provide you with the tools.
Firstly you want to make sure your website is indexed by google by searching ‘site:yourwebsite.com’ in Google, if not you will need to create and add your sitemap to google search console.
Check your website speed at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights
Check if your website is mobile friendly at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
Check if you have broken links with https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/
Is there more than one version of your site otherwise known as Canonicalization i.e. www.yoursite.com AND non-www yoursite.com both exist make sure pages only load with or without “www” (not both)
Add Schema Markup; you may want to hire an expert to do this
Make HTTPS standard; this is something that you would need to organise with your web developer or web host.
The main criteria Google uses to judge your website’s reputation are the links pointing from other websites to your website.
So, now that you have your site optimised now its time to put yourself out there by:
Setting up a Google My Business Profile
Submitting your site to Social Media sites; YouTube, Facebook etc
Submitting your site to directories; major national business directories, local directories, industry-specific directories.
Note: Ensure your Name, Address, Phone (NAP) is consistent on your website and all online profiles. Make sure you have added relevant keywords and descriptions and if you have more than 1 location that they each have a listing.
Develop content that people want to link aka Viral Content but not everything can be viral but make sure that it is worthy of being shared.
Write articles and submit them to industry related directories.
Guest Blogging. Find opportunities and make a pitch.
When it comes to optimising your website for search engines, there is no one single solution, and it is not a set and forget approach either. You will also want to think about paid marketing like PPC (Pay per click advertising) and advertise your site on other sites. Also depending on your business and budget offline marketing such as traditional advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio, television.