How do you get to the top of Google search and stay there?

The key is to think long term, not next week, and to make sure your website is ready for both visitors and Google.

In short, it’s all about relevant content, how you structure it, and who links to it. And yes, it’s not easy.

With a website, content isn’t just about the human readable content, like what you are reading right now, but equally about the content Google and other search engines reads too.

Content that your users will find helpful

The golden rule is; content is king. There are no shortcuts, and a one page website won’t win you any SEO awards. The more relevant and unique content you have, the better.

Google Ads Keyword planner

Find out what people search for to find you.

Are they looking to buy a product, find a service, or solve a problem? Create content to match what they are searching for. E.g. if you sell “electric tie racks”, then there’s the primary keyword right there, and you should use that in both the headers, content, and in the tags used to describe to Google what your site is all about. The alternative, long tail keyword, version of this might be location or service based version of the main keyword, e.g.  “buy electric tie racks”,  “electric tie racks in oxford”, or if you sell parts for them, “electric tie rack parts”.

We use Google Ads Keyword Planner (https://ads.google.com/aw/keywordplanner) to research search volume, how difficult the keywords are to rank for, and find related keywords. You don’t have to pay to use that tool, but will need a Google Ads account, which again is free.

Once you have mapped out your keywords, usually one master keyword with 3-5 long tail keywords associated, you need to create content for each of the master keywords, where the content also has mentions of your long tail keywords weaved in.

You can then use this to create a site structure, which essentially is a map of all the pages you will need on your website.

Site structure

Create the content

Use a correct document outline with H1, H2, H3 and paragraphs in correct order when creating the content.

Header tags (H1, H2, H3 etc.) are the most important pieces of text on each page. Google will match these headers with the meta title tag, described below, so make sure you keep it consistent. If your main keyword for our website is “Web Design Oxford”, make sure you have that in both the page title and in the H1. Then highlight your second most important keyword/phrase//long tail keyword using the H2 tags etc. Highlighting additional long tail keywords using bold also shows Google that this word is of more importance, and so does using list items to describe them.

Domains and URL’s

Always try to use a top level domain name for the region you mainly do business in. For the US that is .com and for the UK .co.uk. Keep it to just one domain but if you have several domains, don’t map them, do a 301 redirect instead as this will help Google to focus on just one domain and not spread the page rank across several domains.

URL’s (the web page address) should be human readable and if possible contain keywords. Avoid using PHP/ASP style URL’s. It’s also very helpful if you can show a clear structure in the URL, something like:

www.domainname.com/top-category/sub-category/actual-page-name

Internal links

Don’t just be obsessed with getting external links to your website. Linking to your other pages from within you page text can help you too and it can also increase your Google Page Rank. It also helps your readers and the search engine robots in there quest to index your website and can get new pages indexed faster.

Make sure you use keywords in your anchor text. There are too many examples of poorly created hyper links and the best example has to be “click here”, unless you try to get to the top of Google for the keyword “click here” off course 😉 Good quality anchor text will improve your search engine ranking for your keyword.

Content that Google will find helpful

Google will look at all of the above, but they will also look in your website code to see the title and descriptions tag, as well as any images description tags, called ALT tags.

Meta title tags

Look at the top of the left hand corner of your browser, see that? It’s your page meta title. It’s one of the most important things on your website. Keep it to the point, don’t spam it with keywords and don’t use more than 64 characters as Google clip the rest. Also make sure it’s readable for humans.

  • For your homepage:
    Keywords describing your business | Company name
  • For a page one level down:
    Page name | Keywords describing this part | Company name
  • For a page two level down:
    Page name | Parent page name | Company name

It’s very important to have unique title tags for each page and to make sure that they are factual and clearly describe the content of the page.

You can use a SEO tool like Screaming Frog to validate this and more.

Create your description tags

The keywords and phrases you use in your Meta description tag will affect your page’s ranking on search engines, but the description tag is equally important to your user experience as this is what’s shown in the Google search result and will help users to decide if that page is the right one for them. Keywords within your description are also highlighted in bold in the search result and this is proven to increase your click through rate from Google.

Don’t forget your image ALT tags

Make sure you use ALT tags and place a few selected keyword in there. Search engines can’t read images but they can read the ALT tags. Also very good for accessibility.

Inbound and internal links

External links are still important

The more pages that link to you the better, just make sure that the pages linking to your are of relevance. It’s key that the incoming links are text links and that you use a variations of keywords. Using the same link text on all external pages will make Google suspect that you are keyword spamming.

Make sure your website is accessible and W3C compliant

Using valid HTML and CSS might not be super important, but it can play a key role in how your website is presented to Google. Try to use DIV’s and then CSS to display the content in the right way to your users and in a different way to Google. Placing more important content at the top off your code, like your H1 tag etc., then move this using CSS so it’s in the correct place when viewed by a visitor. This way you can also avoid repeating the same content at the top (like your menu) on each page making sure Google see the actual content of each page.

Keeping track of your efforts

Use Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics

Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics are a great way to submit, track and analyse your website. They are completely free and offer you the best possible way to get started.

Hire a professional

Electric Studio offer free, impartial advice and thrive on making your business a successful business.

Well see you on top!