Ranking on google doesn't have to be a challenge. A few small changes can have you gaining Google traffic in no time!
I went from driving 0 traffic from Google, to over 17,000 monthly page views from it, all with a new domain and a single blog post! By simply implementing a few small changes, you can too.
The key; however, is to understand that it takes time and quality work. The purpose of Google is this: put the BEST information in front of the user.
That's it. They need to keep the user happy, to make sure the user keeps using the platform. They don't want to be replaced (think MySpace being replaced by Facebook).
Of course, it doesn't always work this way (we have all clicked on the top search results to find a terrible site). However, if you try to help Google fill that one purpose, you'll be rewarded.
By doing this, I've been able to rank on the front page of Google and grow my website and traffic immensely. The best part? You can too. However, keep in mind that you need to drive traffic from elsewhere to get to this point. This means focusing on your social media skills in the mean time.
Below are the SEO tips (and general good practices) that have led me to rank in Google!
OPTIMIZE YOUR SITE FOR GOOGLE
Before providing content, it's important to understand what your site needs to make it "high quality". A few key points include:
- Being mobile optimized
- Well organized (easy to navigate)
- Niche-specific (yes lifestyle is a "niche")
- Full of beneficial (and well-written) information
I highly recommend you have your own domain, own hosting, and a unique theme. If you think your website isn't up to par, consider rebuilding it by reading this article here. I build websites as part of my living through Wordpress using that exact strategy.
CONTENT IS KING
When creating content for Google, there are a few things to consider. These include:
- Time Spent on Site
- Backlinks (will someone want to link to your content?)
TIME SPENT ON SITE
Part of "time spent on site" goes into having a quality site. However, once your site looks sharp and runs efficiently, you are going to want to create quality content that keeps visitors on your site for as long as possible.
This also means making articles easy to read. To do this, I recommend the following:
Creating Headlines: Separating topics is important in understanding content. Therefore, separate any distinct ideas by creating short headlines, much like the ones in this article.
Keeping Content in Depth: Try to reach that 1,000-word mark as frequently as possible. If your content is good, people will want to read it, and most of the time this leads to longer time spent on the site.
Space Paragraphs Appropriately: Don't you find it easier to read paragraphs when they are spaced apart appropriately? Well, so do your readers. This helps separate thoughts and key points.
Having Keywords in Your Site: Keywords are going to be crucial! These are the words that Google searches for. I will elaborate more on this below.
You are also going to want engaging content. A great way to achieve this is by adding a variation of:
You don't need all of them; however, I do recommend using at least one of them.
For example, my best performing post on Google: "How to Become an Instagram Public Figure" includes a tutorial video. This video keeps the attention of people who don't always prefer reading as their primary source of learning. I guarantee you that because people reference this video, it helps it rank.
Why? Because people stay on my page to watch it.
Finally, make sure your content is relative to your brand and your purpose. They will know what to expect, what you are an expert of, and will then potentially mention you, or give you backlinks. This helps tell Google that your site is beneficial to the topic.
DO GOOGLE KEYWORD RESEARCH
You are going to have to learn about keywords.
Search engines don't know what you are writing about unless you tell them. So how do you tell them? By using keywords in key places.
Of course, its not quite that easy. There are some keywords that you will never rank for. For example, "business" is so broad that competition will likely always be too tough to beat.
However, there are plenty of phrases YOU CAN rank for.
This requires a little bit of prewriting research and some simple knowledge.
So what are keywords? They are simply words we love to Google. Keywords can be a single word such as "business", or long-tail words such as "online business training".
You will want to focus on long-tail keywords. These are more specific and therefore have less competition.
For example, look at the keywords below. As you can see "business" is an incredibly popular word people search for. However, it's competition is incredible. There are 263 sites ranking in Google for this keyword. In fact, the program below even informs you that your chance of ranking is "poor".
However, "online business training" would be relatively easy to rank for! Even though there are 199 competing websites, the program is telling you that these sites are beatable. If you ranked on Google, you would expect 80 monthly visits (according to this particular program), which isn't bad for a single phrase.
Here is what the above information means, according to Jaaxy:
- Avg: is the average monthly searches that phrase gets. For example, "business" in some capacity, gets searched for 415,031 a month.
- Traffic: This is the estimated amount of traffic you could expect if you ranked on the first page of Google. 70,000 pageviews a month from one term is A LOT of traffic.
- QSR: The number of competing websites ranked in Google for this exact keyword.
- KQI: This is simply their way to determining how easy it would be to use those keywords and rank. It's almost like a "recommendation" or a "warning".
- SEO: Similar to KQI - it's an equation to help you determine the odds of ranking (by their recommendation). Remember, it's a guide, not an absolute. The higher the number, the better the chance of ranking (from their data).
You will find a list of tools to help you identify these parameters below!
Where to Put Keywords
I recommend putting keywords in the following places:
- Your Title
- One or Two Headlines
- Photo Metadata
- 2 to 3 places spread throughout the post
- Within the first couple sentences of the opening paragraph
I have a few tools that will really help you out with this aspect. They are:
Jaaxy: As seen above.
Moz: Allows you 20 monthly searches before upgrading to premium.
Google Keyword Planner: A free, but not as beneficial program. It gives you the basic monthly searches for each term.
Keyword's Everywhere: This is an add-on for Chrome and Firefox browsers to help you see monthly search numbers.
Ultimately, the goals is to find low competition with relatively high search volume traffic! The above programs help you identify this ratio.
OPTIMIZE YOUR URL
Keep your URL's simple and include keywords. For example, "https://nicolestone.com/home/how-to-become-a-public-figure-on-instagram" tells Google and your visitors exactly what your website is about. It's also easy to remember. Whether you are using Wordpress, or a different CMS, make sure that your URL is set to include your blog title (which should have the keywords included). If not, adjust appropriately.
ADD PHOTO & SITE METADATA
Another important component is adding keywords to your blog photos and your website information! Your website description should include keywords that describe your blog and that will occur in many of your posts.
There are plugins to help you with this, including Yoast SEO, which is a standard on nearly any Wordpress blog.
POST REGULARLY FOR MORE TRAFFIC
One of the best things you can do for your website as a whole is to post regularly. Unfortunately, I don't do this enough. If you can stay on a regular schedule, your followers will not only know when to expect new content from you (increasing regular traffic) but Google acknowledges an active website. I've also noticed an increase from simply editing and improving my blog posts. Therefore, I recommend you do this as well.
Try to come up with a posting schedule and stick to it. Then promote those posts on your social media sites and marketing platforms to help kick start visitors to your site. If they like what they find, Google will know.
See my article: 5 Unique Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic.
USE "NOFOLLOW" FOR SALES
When it comes to affiliate links, or rather, any link that you get a commission from, it's wise to use"nofollow" links. These links tell Google to not share your 'link power" with that site. This is important when you are advertising sales.
For WordPress sites, Elegant Themes has a great tutorial you can reference here (or simply download a plugin!)
For Squarespace sites, I've embedded a how-to video from Karen Howell below!
PUT TIME INTO BACKLINKS
Backlinks are "follow" links that tell Google that someone is recommending your site. Unfortunately, these can often be for sale. DON'T BUY THEM. It's going to be a scam and can be done organically over time.
One great way to build up backlinks is to contact other bloggers. Simply reach out and help each other out. You can find these bloggers on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Additionally, you can gain backlinks by simply commenting. Many times, bloggers allow commenters to have "follow" website links. Use this to your advantage! Not only can it help you build up your website authority, but will help you support and connect with fellow bloggers as well.
FACTORS YOU CAN'T CONTROL (but you should be aware of!)
- Age of Domain: Older domains tend to have more authority than new domains. Age does matter. That's why it's important to stay consistent over time. Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Those who stick it out make it.
- Algorithm Changes: Google changes up the algorithm to try continually improve what it shows it's users. You will never know, or be able to account, for all of these changes.
- Mega Sites: Some sites are so large, pump out such large amounts of content, and have huge authority, that you will simply never outrank them. That's why "long-tail keywords" is ESSENTIAL to Google traffic. Find the phrases with less competition to build up your site and your authority over time.
Putting it Together
Google incorporates hundreds of factors when determining what sites rank on which page. However, by implementing the main points above, you are able to build a solid foundation. You will be able to rank for long-tail keywords, improve the quality of your blog, and gain traffic. All of these are crucial steps in improving your blog over time.
Remember, it's important to drive traffic to your blog from other marketing sources in the meantime.
To learn how I built up my traffic, check out: 5 Things I Did to Drastically Increase my Blog Traffic.