When it comes to getting to number 1 on Google you can search everywhere and you’ll always find the same thing, Jargon filled marketers telling you just how difficult it is to stay up to the trends on Google’s latest “algorithm changes” at which point you ask yourself what the hell an algorithm is and forget the whole process. We’re of course going to use Semrush to make this easy but you can do all of this without it.
These people want you to get in touch with them, but you don’t need to. These people will sell you the latest tips and tricks to get there as fast as possible and they might work 50% of the time. One of the key tasks is targeting the right keywords and we’ll bring you through how you can do this easily.
However today I want to give you some tips that you can follow to get your website to number 1 on Google but you need to remember one thing. This is not an overnight process. In fact the path to this ranking can take anywhere from 6-18 months. Our goal here is to ensure that you can do the work now, forget about it, then watch your site traffic increase during that period dramatically.
Table of Contents
- Why Number 1 on Google is so Important
- The Tools you Will need to get to Number 1
- WTF is SEO anyway TBH?
- What is a crawler? Why is it important?
- The Basics
– Technical Basics
– Mobile Focus
- Keyword & Topic Research
- Getting the Edge
– Social Media
- Tracking Your Progress
Why Number 1 on Google is so Important
It is true that most local businesses are focused on Facebook pages, spending money on ads to reach their local market. This works but it works more like outbound marketing. Outbound marketing is a kin to an old fashion leaflet drop for example. This means you are also hitting people in the area who are not at all interested in your product or service. Thus you’re getting a lot of wasted marketing expense from this tactic.
Now think about a Google search, it is very much inbound. In the real world, with your local business, a Google search is like someone in your area asking a friend or someone on the street, where is the best butcher. Then they land in your butcher shop. They are much more likely to buy.
This is why Google ads are so effective, however they are also likely to show for users searching for other stuff which means you’ll still waste a percentage of this income.
The Tools you Will need to get to Number 1
The first is to find out where you stand right now in terms or your SEO and check your competitor and where they stand. There are, being honest, lot’s of completely free tools online. Now for what you need the Semrush Free Trial is by far the most advanced and if you just get what you need in the first 7 days, you don’t need to pay for it.
Now I will admit, we are a little biased. However the other free tools come no where near close to the level of detail that this tool will give you on where you currently stand. More importantly it will show you exactly what your competitor’s strategy is to give you some key insights.
The second will help you search for the questions people are asking around your keywords. One of the best free SEO tools out there to check this is Answer the Public. This tool is key for finding out what is known as “Search Intent.” We’ll cover this topic more later but to put it simply. Search intent is that people will search “Where is the best butcher in [local area]” but just “best butcher [area]” in general. Thus it is important to focus on this.
Lastly a tool to implement these changes on your website without any technical knowledge, just plain English. The best tool for this is Yoast which is a free plugin for WordPress. Given that 80% or more of all websites online now use WordPress, it is the one we will be covering on this website in the coming weeks.
Read our article about these tools for more detail, or continue reading the guide.
WTF is SEO anyway TBH?
What SEO stands for is Search Engine Optimization. This is, put simply, the practice of ensuring that your website is optimized for Google (and other search engines like it) to be able to index it. Now to make this even simpler, I’m going to take you through some of the key phrases and what they mean exactly.
This one you’ve probably heard of, but let’s break it down anyway. Google is an example of a search engine. This is a website, or to be more exact, an advanced piece of software which indexes every single website on the internet. It does this via a crawler, which is where SEO comes in, but I’ll explain that in a moment.
These advanced pieces of software go through every piece of content and look for certain content and key words which they then use to rank your site based on importance to these key words. This then allows them to serve these websites up to people searching in order of how Google’s software thinks the web page most closely relates to the search by the person.
What is Indexing?
When a one of these search engine goes through your website it makes basically a map of your website which is known as indexing. It can then use this index to serve up pages of your site to users searching. Basically it’s creating a massive Yellow Pages style list of every website on the web and then “indexing” them into different areas like “carpenters of chicago.”
What is a crawler? Why is it important?
What is a Crawler?
Each of these search engines use what is known as a crawler. This is a piece of software which goes around the web, through links, like a spider in a web…get it? Basically when it lands on your website, it then looks inside each link and grabs all of the information it needs. If there is a link to another page or another website on the internet, it also follows that. It then sends all of this information back to the search engine to be indexed.
Where does SEO come in?
Now that you now how the search engines get their information, using crawlers, the next thing that us SEO experts understand is how the crawlers work. These crawlers look for very specific information and if you’re website doesn’t have the information it needs, then it won’t add your site to the index correctly or it will down rank your website. Thus by implementing the correct SEO data to each web page, you are making the crawler’s job easy.
This then in turn ensures that you will rank higher than other websites which incorrectly setup their page and you will appear above them, gaining even more traffic.
In recent posts we’ve started explaining in simple terms what is SEO and why it is important and how you can get ahead by using the SemRush tool. However today we want to dive in even deeper into the basics of SEO so that you can begin today on working on improving your ranking on Google without technical help or paying anyone.
This is a really simple step that you can take to give yourself an edge over your competitors. All this is, is making sure, that your content is easily read by any body who comes to your website. Spell check the content, keep sentences to less than 20 words and use a passive voice.
The reason that this is important is that Google’s crawler is now so incredibly advanced that it will now take into account your writing. It will ensure that you’re using correct English and down vote your website for spelling mistakes.
Use this link to search through all of the different readability improvements that you can make and get started on the Basics of SEO.
This is where it gets a little more confusing but if you use the green light system of the Yoast Plugin for WordPress on each of your pages and posts, it will become simple. Just aim for green.
This will check some simple things such as, the correct amount of keywords being used in your page. That the title is correct. More technically you also need to ensure that you’ve added a Meta Description, you’ll find this at the bottom of the page. A Meta title and a correct type of link to the page. Yoast will show you the correct length and content for each of these.
Another key thing that you will need to do to ensure that you have the best chance of reaching the coveted number one spot on Google is mobile. What I mean by this is make sure that you pull your website up on your mobile phone and make sure that every thing looks just as good on a phone, as it does on your laptop.
Nowadays over 60% of your website traffic is likely to come from purely mobile phones. This means that Google now checks this meticulously and will subtract points from your score if it doesn’t work correctly on mobile.
A really simple way to get ahead of the competition in terms of Google ranking, is to localize your content. In simple terms if you are a butcher in Tucson, then make all of your content mention Tucson. This will mean that Google will promote your content ahead of others who are promoting to everyone in the USA.
It also means your likely to show up in other searches for the Tucson area in general and will increase your reach and therefore your traffic.
Keyword & Topic Research
Now that you’ve done the Basics of your SEO it is time to look at how you can expand your content. This sounds easy but for a lot of people this is where they find it difficult. What should you write about. Worse than that, most people just write without doing any keyword and topic research.
The issue with this is that you could write the best articles and blogs in the world but if they aren’t what your specific audience is looking for then you are wasting a lot of time completely.
Answer the Questions
One of the easiest ways to find topics to write about is to ensure that you are checking what questions people are asking. As part of your keyword and topic research, head over to Answer the Public first of all. Type in your niche or industry, such as “butcher” and it will show you hundreds of the most asked questions online.
Then you can simply take some of the highest ranked questions and answer them specific to your audience or location. This is an amazing way to get started writing content. It will also help you rank higher on “search intent” which is when someone asks a “how to” or “what is” question, Google will look for pages that answer this question specifically.
Find Competitors Keywords
The next easiest way to search for things to write about is to head over to the FREE SemRush tool and enter your competitor or a business in the same industry with success’s domain name. Then go to keywords and it will tell you all of the highest traffic keywords and topics that they have. This means you can then look at their content and make an improved version of that in a simple effort to rank even higher. You can also take this content and localize it to your location to target more local customers.
Keyword & Topic Research
The reason that Google still looks at incoming links is a simple one, it is an easy way for them to understand where you stand as an authority on your topic. Take for example my car website Motorheaded., we’ve got backlinks coming from some of the larger car websites and this means that our content must be good enough for the websites that are authorities on cars, which means that Google can also be confident in the content.
If you can give guest posts or get your content shared by the big boys it will drag you up in the Google rankings over all within your niche.
What has changed
Although the idea of having solid backlinks hasn’t changed, the way that Google looks at them has changed massively. When we get a backlink to Motorheaded from Drivetribe for example, Google will check the site and see how many likes, comments and shares the referring page has gotten to see how much authority that site has.
This is important because it means that the same can be said for the biggest change over the past ten years on the internet, which is social media. Getting a lot of social shares, comments and likes on your content will mean that Google sees your website as equally authorative.
What this means is that you need to work on integrating easy social shares into your content and allow people to easily promote your content which in turn will allow for organic and powerful backlinks.
Getting the Edge
In our last few posts we have spoken about simple SEO tactics for getting yourself in shape. We’ve also spoken about how you can use SemRush to ensure that you’re using your competitions data to your advantage. However now we want to discuss how you can get ahead of everyone by using these SEO for the future tactics. The latest ways that Google will ensure that you have got better content than the rest of the pack. They are also, incredibly simple.
One increasing factor as to what makes Google assume that you have authority on a topic in a location is it’s social media reach. The main thing to consider with this SEO of the future tactic is that you can improve this in one of two ways.
The first is to grow your own social media presence so that more people are engaging and sharing your content, which means that there will be more links from social media directing to your content.
The second, which gives us the main takeaway from the first, is that it’s not important that you have a big presence. The key is the amount of social media profiles linking back to your content. Therefore if you can simply encourage your users to share content from your website to their own social media feeds, you will also get the same uptick.
The other way to completely destroy the competition is Video. In 2020, 80% of all internet usage worldwide was video streaming. This means that Google is taking a very close look at video constantly and given they have their own massive platform, YouTube, this makes even more sense for them.
How does this help you? Now on Google if you search for something and a video matches this content, the video will show in the first result. We’ve found that searchers are almost twice as likely to click and watch the video if there is one than they are to click a usual result.
This means you can get light years ahead of your competition by simply creating a video version of your content, uploading it to YouTube, embedding it in your post and linking to your post in the description of your video.
Tracking Your Progress
Now that you’ve implemented the Basics of your SEO and you’ve implemented some of the future of SEO strategies. It is now time to sit back and wait. The issue with SEO compared to any other type of marketing that you can implement is that you will never get instant results but you can get into tracking your progress with your SEO easily.
The amount of time before you see results can be anything from days to even six months depending on how competitive your area is and also the amount of content with which Google has to work with. I would even suggest aiming for having thirty pieces of content before you even begin to track your progress.
Once you are in a position where you want to track content there are two different tools you can use to do this and I would suggest that you use both.
The first is Google Search Console, which is an ideal tool because it will show you the data from Google directly which will help you see the growth in your search traffic. This is one of the best ways to start tracking your progress with SEO It will also give you an idea of what they are clicking and what they are looking for that you are underperforming in.
The second tool to use is the SemRush tool. This will give you a lot of the same data as above but with two key difference. The first is that it will drill down on all of the data and give you suggestions in plain English so that you can continue to improve. In my opinion the more important factor is that SemRush will also compare your progress to competitors and show you where they are winning in comparison which gives you an instant way to improve and beat your competition.
Best of luck with your SEO progress and let us know your questions in the comments!