Google has no shortage of websites trying to answer the queries of its users. So, it picks the best results and ranks them on the result page according to the value it thinks they offer.
You want to make sure that Google thinks that you are the best result for the searched query and offer the most value to its users.
How does Google decide which page offers the most value?
There is a number of factors involved in this ranking process.
This article is a complete guide to optimize your website for that ranking process, answering how to rank higher on Google.
- Start with the On-Page SEO
- Monitor Your Technical SEO
- Match the Search Intent and Content
- Bounce Rate Decreases Page Rankings
- Find Keywords You’re Not Ranking For
- Put Extra Effort on the Content
- Build Quality Backlinks
- Track Your Performance
- Boost the Click-Through-Rate
Start with the On-Page SEO
Content is the reason people would visit your website, and Google wants to provide the best of content to its users.
You have to use some SEO tactics to show this search engine that the content is relevant to the searched query.
Here’s how you can do that.
Use Keyword in the Meta Title
It’s the oldest trick in the book, and it works to date. If you understand SEO, you must know that proper keyword research is the first and crucial step.
You need to make sure that you use the main keyword at the beginning of the title. It’s alright if you don’t use it in the H1 tag. However, try to use it in the first phrase of your title.
Google prioritizes the content that has searched query at the start of the title. This shows that content is more relevant to the keyword.
Write Long Content
Many digital marketing influencers confirmed this years ago that Google prefers long-form content.
Many influencers gave different word counts, but all agreed that it should not be less than 1,800 words.
That said, it also doesn’t mean that you should keep adding content even if it has no need. The idea behind long content is to provide every piece of information there is to know about the subject that the user is expecting.
When drafting a content outline, think from the perspective of the reader.
- What he might want to know
- What he already knows
- Questions that might come into his mind while reading
If you notice, all ranking pages have 2,000 to 5,000 words of content in competitive niches. This is not the most important ranking factor, but it is considered by Google.
Use Keywords in the Content
It’s also no rocket science, and it’s still important in 2021. This is the first answer of every expert SEO service provider when someone asks how to increase Google page rank.
It doesn’t mean that you should start stuffing keywords.
Just look where you can naturally fit your target keywords in the content. This will help Google better understand the relevancy of the content.
Use LSI Keywords in the Content
Search engines, including Google, use a technique called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to see how some keywords relate to each other.
This is the reason why many SEO experts search for relevant LSI keywords and ask writers to use them in the content if possible.
Although search engines are smart enough to read the content and check its relevancy with the target keywords, it’s a good practice to make it easy for them.
LSI keywords are not the same as other keywords. These are just some random words that could relate to the subject. This helps the Google spider ensure that the page discussed the complete subject.
For example, rank, search engines, SEO, content, and backlinks are obvious LSI if your main keyword is “rank higher on Google”.
You can easily find LSI keywords for your article using a tool or doing a Google search yourself.
If you want to avoid manual effort, you can simply use LSIGraph. Enter your focus keyword, and it will give you a list of words you should use in your content. Oh, and good news, it’s free.
Other than this, you can also conduct a Google search of your keyword and see related searches at the end of the page.
Monitor Your Technical SEO
Most websites have no technical SEO issues in 2021. If it was developed by a professional and you have even a basic idea of search engines, it’s probably already fully optimized.
It may not improve your ranking, but it definitely won’t let you rank as long as there are issues. Technical SEO builds the foundation of your website and ensures that everything keeps running smoothly.
All your content and backlinks won’t benefit as much if their very own platform is dragging them down.
Here are a few issues you should test in your website to do its technical SEO.
Site architecture or structure refers to how all pages of the website are linked to each other. It also defines their hierarchy to help search engines understand what pages are more important.
A website hierarchy should be flat instead of deep. Its home page should cover the main keyword, and subpages should discuss the sub-keywords or sub-services.
A proper site structure ensures that each backlink benefits the whole site and no page is left unlinked. Furthermore, it also improves the user experience of the website.
It’s particularly important for e-commerce websites because they have so many product pages.
You can use tactics like breadcrumbs and facetted navigation to make the website easier to browse. Make sure that the website doesn’t have more than four levels.
Solve Crawling and Indexing Issues
Google crawler, also known as spider, discovers all the pages on the internet and studies their code and content. It does so to index them and then decide if their rankings.
To see if there are any crawling or indexing issues, open the Google Search Console of your website.
There go to “Index” and then the “Coverage” section.
See if there are any errors or warnings. A few warnings are no big deal; however, you should take every error seriously.
Look into those issues and see how they can be resolved. These issues require basic web development knowledge.
Optimize for Mobile Device
This also goes without saying that a website MUST be optimized for mobile phones. Google now uses Mobile-First Index to determine the rankings of a page.
It means that it tests how the article is viewed on a smaller screen and determines its value according to that. After all, almost sixty percent of all Google searches are not made from mobile devices.
You have to ensure that your website is responsive and looks great on all devices. We usually focus only on the desktop view because it’s our work and we use a laptop or computer for it; however, many consumers do searches in their leisure time and use a mobile phone for it.
Most WordPress websites are already optimized and responsive, but you will have to put extra effort if your website is using some other technology.
You can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to see if your site is optimized. This tool is free, and it will also show if there are any issues that need your attention.
Run a Speed Test
There is no second opinion about website loading speed being a ranking factor. After all, Google speed test itself mentioned this in its webmaster guidelines.
Remember, it’s not just good for search engines. It’s also crucial if you want users to stay on your website and become a lead or sale.
Internet users click the back button within 3 seconds if the page doesn’t load. You should treat them like they are looking for an excuse to leave the website.
You have to make sure every page provides the best loading time. It should be faster than your competitors, and it shouldn’t compromise the user experience.
You can use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to test your website. It will show you a score of its spend and suggest improvements.
Match the Search Intent and Content
Google is the best search engine, but it also has competition. It’s always investing in research and development and improvement. It knows that its competition won’t give it a second chance and take its place the minute it lags behind.
If even a giant like Google has to be careful, you can understand the importance of providing value to the user.
For that, you have to first understand what users want, so you can provide it to them.
If someone searches a query, visits your website, and doesn’t find what he was looking for, he will click the back button right away.
The visitor might stay for a few seconds to see if you can offer something valuable, but you can’t count on it.
You’re not providing what the user wants.
That’s why it’s crucial that you understand the user intent behind a keyword search before you write content on it.
For example, if someone searches “content writing” on Google, he could be looking for one of the two things.
- Tips for writing content
- Content writing services
You have to do thorough research of other relevant keywords and study top-ranked pages to see what they are offering.
Type of User Intent
Understanding search intent is not as difficult as one might think. You don’t need to read their mind to understand what they want.
You can judge by the words they use in their query. The search intent of internet users can be divided in the following categories to better help you understand what they could be looking for.
The user is only looking for information about a query.
- For example: is world flat, how to rank higher on Google, content writing tips
The user wants to visit a specific page of a website.
- For example: medium write for us, mywebace contact, facebook
The user is looking to become a lead or customer.
- For example: business card printing, best seo services, samsung lcd
The user wants to complete the transaction online.
- For example: germany to france flights, best grocery deals, buy yard signs online
Provide Every Information they Want
Search intent doesn’t just end with the subject of the page.
You have to make sure that the content also provides everything they want.
You might be relevant to their intent, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are offering everything they want.
If you are targeting a keyword with informational intent, make sure that the visitor gets the type of information he is looking for.
There is a chance that they might just be looking for tips, and you are providing a complete guide. You should try to understand what they already know or have and what they need.
For example, you can’t write the same SEO guide for a professional and someone who is just getting started.
Bounce Rate Decreases Page Rankings
It’s called a bounce if a user leaves your website after your website instead of continuing to other pages.
Your goal should be to make them stay as long as possible and get them to visit other pages.
Google uses bounce rate to see how relevant and interesting the content and your website is for the user. A high bounce rate means the user is not getting what he wants.
Matching the content with the user intent is a great practice to ensure a low bounce rate. In addition to that, here are a few more practices to reduce bounce rate and rank higher on Google.
Improve Above the Fold Section
‘Above the Fold’ section is the upper part of your website that visitors see first when they open your page.
Many sites use big menus and ads in this section, which sabotages all efforts of the user experience. Furthermore, avoid using a lead generation form in this section if the user came here for information.
You need to optimize that section by providing the content in the very beginning. There should be your logo and menus, but they shouldn’t take a lot of space.
Add Table of Content
Using the table of content gives the user the exact idea of what your page is about. He will see the headings and know immediately if he will find what he is looking for.
Add links for each heading in the table, so the user can directly go to the information he needs. If you want the user to stay longer, you have to create attractive headings with information that will make the user want to read more.
Properly Structure the Content
Visitors will click the back button or close your tab if they get confused.
They can get confused if they don’t know what they are reading, how much they have read, and how much more there is.
That’s why you have to properly structure the content in addition to providing a table of contents.
Well-structured content is easier to browse and understand, which is crucial if you want visitors to stay.
Add Visuals and Videos
Create content with the idea in mind that visitors are in a hurry and just looking for an excuse to leave.
Try to use some sort of visual after every 100 or 200 words. However, this visual shouldn’t be decorative. It should be something that offers value to the reader.
You can add screenshots, infographics, and even short videos. These make the page look attractive, improve user experience, significantly reduce the bounce rate, and help the page rank higher on Google.
Use Internal Links
Strategic internal linking with the right call to action ensures that the user visits other pages of your website.
If a user opens another page, his session is no longer single. Even if he closes one page, the other page is still open.
Websites like Facebook and Instagram are so great at engaging their users that most sessions last for hours.
Find Keywords You’re Not Ranking For
Each page is optimized for multiple pages. You will see that you are also ranked for many keywords that you didn’t even consider.
Open Google Search Console and see the keywords each page is ranked for. Also, notice the keywords that you didn’t target before, but your pages are ranked in a lower position.
Next, optimize your content for those keywords to rank higher on Google and increase your website traffic.
The process of optimizing the content for a few keywords is not that difficult. There is no need to use it multiple times in the content. Just see where it could naturally fit and use it one or two times.
Furthermore, look at which pages are not ranking at all and why. See why competitors are ranking and follow them to optimize these pages.
Put Extra Effort on the Content
Don’t consider content just a tool to attract traffic. You should be writing with the intent to actually help the reader and make an impression.
Why do you want to make an impression?
To build your image as a brand and win their trust so they will trust your recommendations and the services you offer.
As a bonus, you will also rank higher on Google.
Google only wants to provide the best to its users. If you are the best option, sooner or later, your page will rank on top.
The domain authority is still a strong factor, but it’s not as strong as it used to be. Instead of focusing on other SEO tactics, see how your content can be better than the top-ranked results.
It’s not just about the number of words on the page.
You should genuinely put energy into engaging and providing value to the reader. Google uses many ranking factors based on user experience.
These include bounce rate and dwell time. Every new update of this search engine is now more focused on the user side.
Build Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are the strongest ranking factor even in 2021.
That said, they don’t work the same way as they used to. Today, you can rank higher on Google only if the backlinks are from quality sources.
If not quality, it’s better not to waste time and resources on link building.
You will get a good ranking if there is little to no competition. However, you will be pushed back as soon as someone decided to enter the field.
Just getting more backlinks than your competitors is not enough. You also have to outmatch the sources that link to your websites.
The best and safest backlinks to acquire are:
- Niche Edits
- Guest Posts
You have to find pages that could provide a valuable backlink and contact their managers if they would give you a backlink.
You have to write a convincing email and offer value if you want to get backlinks from them.
Most websites agree to guest posts because you are expected to provide them a great article that offers value to their audience.
When writing a guest post, don’t think that you are writing for that website. Think that you are writing it for yourself and your audience.
- A link to your website from a quality article increases its value.
- Readers are likely to visit your website if the content is convincing.
- Quality content that provides value will build your image as a brand.
Remember that brands always rank higher on Google, and it’s not a secret. All well-known names dominate the top ranking spots until someone else starts to offer way more value than them.
Track Your Performance
Digital marketing is a continuous process. You can predict results, but they are not accurate, and there is always room for improvement.
Luckily, that’s the strongest suit of all branches of digital marketing, including SEO.
SEO includes the use of many tools such as Google Search Console and Google and Analytics that allow you to record the performance of your website.
Track each and everything there is to track related to the SEO of your website.
- Click-through rate
- Bounce rate
- Dwell time
- Conversion rate
Remember, you have to have to monitor these results for all keywords, whether you targeted them or not.
Each of them gives you clear idea of what needs to be improved, and they all play an important role in answering your question of how to rank higher on Google.
When you are not ranking for a page, you need to see how other websites have ranked and what they are doing that you need to do.
If you see that a keyword is too competitive and difficult for you, and you haven’t been able to rank for it, there is no need to waste time on it. Optimize the content for other keywords that are more approachable.
Constantly learning and improving is crucial for a business to survive in the online world.
Boost the Click-Through-Rate
Click-through rate is the number of searchers that click on your link on the search engine result page.
It’s bad because people are ignoring your result in the search engine.
Google monitors the click-through rate of your website. In addition, it tracks pogo-sticking for each keyword.
If Google felt that your page is not interested in its users, it will decrease your rankings.
Optimizing the click-through rate will help you avoid pogo-sticking. If you are constantly being ignored on the search results, it means you need to update the title and meta description.
On the other hand, if you are ranked last on the first page of search results, but your CTR is higher than any other result, Google will realize that you are most relevant to the search query.
If the user wants your page, Google will increase its rank. It wouldn’t want its users to scroll to the end of the page to get the desired result.
To get a better CTR:
- Make the title engaging
- Add emotions in the title
- Write compelling meta description
- Use a short and relevant URL
All this information is based on the research and experience of industry leaders. Although much has not changed from the previous year, Google is today more focused on the user experience than ever. When applying the mentioned tactics, make sure you do it with the mindset of providing value to the user.