According to Brafton, the first page on Google receives 95% of traffic, while the following pages only get 5% or less of the total traffic.
There's no magic way of positioning your website on the search engines; it takes a lot of creativity, time, and consistency.
Regardless if you have the most beautiful website or portfolio, if you lack a proper SEO strategy and execution, you won't generate enough traffic or leads to your website.
What's truly important (more than knowing all the technicalities) is that you clearly understand how to improve your organic search (SEO).
How long does it take to position on search engines?
The reality is that; it depends. A study on 2 million random keywords made by Ahrefs (in terms of how long it takes to rank on Google) mentions that the average top 10 ranking pages are 2+ years old, and those who rank on position #1 are almost 3 years old.
The luckiest brands can rank on the first pages of Google (only 6%) in about 2-6 months, and 94% of the other websites never made it to the top 10 positions within a year.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more of a long game, and if someone is telling you that they can get it quickly, you need to be very careful with that. There's no straightforward way to go around this; you need to keep working on your organic traffic to position your website on the search engines.
This post explains some steps you can take to improve your visibility in the Google search engine results organically.
Let's start defining what SEO is?
SEO is all about 'organic' rankings, which appear in the middle of the search results page. These positions are earned (or won) through search engine optimization.
SEO is the process of attracting traffic, and potential leads to your website. The higher your website appears in search results, the higher your chances of having more traffic and leads coming to your website.
The objective of SEO is to capture users who are asking questions.
Your customers can be in the top, middle, or bottom of the funnel, and it's your job to find the right keywords to capture them in that search.
The goals of SEO vary and depend on each company, it's different marketing metrics or goals. For some, it might be brand awareness and building an audience, and for others, it will be engaging with potential customers or generating leads and sales.
According to Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media:
Google doesn't rank websites. Websites never rank. Only web pages rank. Relevance is built page by page. Google is trying to bring the visitor to the best page on the web for a specific topic.
1) Start by conducting an SEO audit
Having a poor website infrastructure can hurt your SEO efforts. If you have a website that is too hard to navigate for users, Google crawlers will not be able to read it. So have your website usability in mind always.
In these tools you can check:
- Where your site ranks in search engines.
- The first page on your site that comes up in the search results for a page.
- Your average monthly searches.
- Opportunities for improvement.
Some technical concepts for your SEO audit:
On-page technical knowledge for SEO:
- Page title: The title tag is used by search engines to display the title of a page. To have them optimized, write only 50-60 characters max. The rest won't be displayed on Google. The main keyword should be at the front of the title.
- Meta description: It is a tag of 155-160 characters that summarizes the content of a page.
- Alt-text: This is the text that appears when an image fails to load and helps crawlers to better rank your website.
There are many ways to win links and mentions from other websites. Some of these activities include:
- Digital PR
- Guest blogging
- Influencer marketing
- Blogger relations
Know where you stand now, and make any necessary improvements. You could use tools like authoritylabs or ahrefs to assess your ranking. Start by having an audit before making any execution and only after drafting a plan according to the position you currently have on the web.
2) Optimize your site speed
According to a study conducted by Geoff Kenyon:
- If your site speed is around 5 seconds, it is faster than approximately 25% of other websites. But, if your site speed is 2.9 seconds, it is faster than approximately 50% of the other websites.
Site speed is a major Google ranking factor. For both mobile or desktop, your website needs to load fast for visitors, which is why it's crucial to monitor your site speed and improve it. You can use Google page speed to benchmark your site performance or check your speed rate on a tool like Ahrefs.
To optimize page speed:
- Image file size: before uploading any image to your website, make sure you have it compressed and optimized. You can use tinypng to do so before uploading any image.
- Reduce redirects
- Improve your code (remove unnecessary commas, characters, or spaces on the code)
Here's how to test your page speed with Google page speed insights:
As long as your site scores 50, then it is good, this doesn't mean you don't have to improve it, but if it's less than 50, you need to fix it faster.
3) Ensure your website is optimized in mobile
Depending on your type of business, you'll have a significant amount of people searching for you on mobile.
According to Google, an estimated 50% of search queries happen on mobile and will continue growing.
In 2017, Google made it clear that websites where users can't access the content or are hard to use may not rank as high.
In Google mobile-friendly test, you can quickly check if your website is mobile-friendly. You'll get a 'yes' or 'no' with a list of things you could do to improve it.
If your site isn't mobile-friendly, I'll recommend you to do this:
- Use a responsive web design
- Dynamic serving
- Separate URL
- Check what errors you might have and fix them
4) Link building
Recent Google updates made it difficult for a website to have spammy links. If you use spammy links, it will hurt you and damage your SEO performance.
What is link building?
Link building is the process of building links to a website so it can improve its search engine visibility.
It is important to recognize the links that can be potentially harmful to you so you can remove them.
The most common low-quality links:
- Come from pages with a list of external links.
- Websites that aren't related at all with your industry.
- Comes from websites with low authority and low traffic.
How to get backlinks?
These are 5 types of content that generate the most backlinks:
- Original research
5) Find your keywords
Having the right keywords and placing them throughout your website is crucial for helping people to find you. Add enough of the right keywords to position your web pages without being too 'spammy.'
While doing keyword research, you might decide on the type of proper keywords that improve the chances that your site will be found.
There is some difference between the keywords that you want to position. Some of them might be only informational, while some others have a 'commercial' value.
Informational keywords have high search volume but won't bring you a lot of conversions. These are merely used for informing about a particular topic, product, or service.
- How to...
- Free ebooks...
- What is...
Transactional keywords show more targeted people that have more intention to buy your product/service. These are like invitations for your prospects.
These transactional keywords perform really well:
- Best software tools
- Top Product marketing certificates
- Get it
These are some of the tools you can use to find the right keywords:
Focus on having a mix of informational and transactional keywords that can lead people to convert on your web pages.
There's no straightforward way to position your website on search engines. It takes time, effort, and lots of creative work. Regardless if you have the most beautiful website, if people can't find you, they won't buy from you.
Start by conducting an SEO audit and work on a plan that starts by fixing the errors you might have before executing on any marketing strategy. Optimize your site speed and mobile experience as they are crucial factors to rank on Google.
Build authority and reputation by having original content that can lead you to increase your link building, and find a mix between your keywords to convert more.