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The world of SEO is a world of wonder and surprise. It’s a world filled with head keywords and long-tail keywords, keyword research and analysis.
Many people claim that SEO’s unpredictability results in elusive success. Ranking high with Google’s search engine is hard. Think of Google’s complex algorithm and ranking factors that determine who ranks high and who doesn’t.
The list of SEO ranking factors never ends.
If you’re wondering how to rank high in Google fast, then you’ve probably landed on the wrong page. SEO takes time and effort. It needs to be consistent and strategic.
This is what this article is all about. Going back to the basics and establishing the four key areas of SEO that you need to consider when trying to rank high. Get these right and you’ll soon be making your way to page one of the SERP.
1. Technical SEO
Don’t let the term ‘technical’ in technical SEO scare you. When we talk about Technical SEO, we mean higher crawlability and better indexing.
Google’s search engine gives preferential treatment to websites that display certain technical characteristics. May sound complicated, but it really isn’t. Technical SEO is one of those things that you either get right or you don’t.
Compatibility is crucial, which is exactly why dedicated technical SEO teams exist. The technical side of SEO is quite complicated and explaining it in detail would require an article of its own, but bear with us.
When thinking effective SEO, here are a few things that should come to mind:
- Crawl. A crawler (also known as a robot, bot, or a spider) follows the links on the web. Think of it as tiny clever robot-spider that crawls around a huge web, thoroughly—and at times, not so thoroughly—inspecting pages on a journey that never ends.
- Index. These crawling robot-spiders are no ordinary spiders. They like to learn more about the huge web of pages around them so they spend a lot of time sorting, indexing, and ranking websites. Most spiders love bugs. Crawlers don’t (and that’s how you know they’re not real spiders).
- Speed. Crawlers, just like real-world spiders, like to go fast. If your website’s found guilty of being too slow, well, let’s just say that Google will make sure your ranking reflects their disappointment.
- Mobile. Spiders also love mobile phones—who knew? Google rewards pages that are mobile-friendly with higher rankings.
- Tech. Spiders are nerdy techies. They’ll be extremely pleased to find out your using search-engine-friendly tech or CMS on your website.
- Hierarchy. Spiders are disciplined and organised, which is why they value good website structure. Better structure translates to a better user experience.
Technical SEO is easy when you only have to manage a few pages at a time. This is why you should get things right from the very beginning.
Once your website starts growing, technical SEO will only get tougher and tougher to perform.
2. On-site SEO Optimisation
Your website should be optimised for search as a whole but also at an individual page level. Well-structured content makes on-site optimisation so much easier. Here are some main areas of focus:
- Keyword research. Knowing what keywords will help your pages rank higher with SERPs is of paramount importance. Use online tools (such as Google’s Keyword Planner) to perform keyword research and rank high.
- Descriptive URLs. All your URLs should be simple and descriptive.
- Page titles. Include your main keyword in the title and make sure it’s interesting and eye-catching.
- Meta descriptions. These should be crafted like ad copy to drive clicks and traffic. Come up with something interesting that will pique the reader’s attention.
- Content optimisation. Keywords are great, but you shouldn’t be mindlessly placing them everywhere. Make sure that everything that you write is still targeted towards humans and that it makes sense!
- User experience. Design is also crucial to SEO. Your website should feel good to browse through and links should be visible and easily accessible.
- CTA. Strong and effective calls to action. Use effective strategies and techniques to ensure users will be taking meaningful actions while on your website.
Always optimise with your customers and users in mind. Think of ways to make their user experience better. For example, if you’re a local business, you should focus on optimising around your address and location.
In this case, adding a big ‘call us’ button on your landing page might make a lot of sense.
Without great content to go along with your optimised page, your website can never rank high. Your content should tell users what, where and how to do things.
It should be able to convince customers of your authority and credibility. It should market your product or service.
Here are the three categories of content that you should be focusing on:
- Service content. You can’t expect people to buy from you if they don’t even know what to do and where to do it. Service content is all about leading your customers to the right places.
- Credibility content. If you want people to be buying YOUR products and services, then you should make sure they know you’re both reliable and the best option in the market. Work on contributed articles, case studies, interviews, and testimonials. Show off your awards.
- Marketing content. Establishing yourself as an authority in your niche is not easy. An effective SEO strategy uses marketing to build brand authority. Create content that highlights your product or service in a positive light.
An effective marketing and SEO strategy, in combination with great copy, will take you places. Optimise your content so that it’s in line with your marketing tactics and make sure you’re serving quality.
4. Off-site Authority Building
Links are the backbone of every effective SEO strategy. Building your authority involves link building. Creating strong internal links requires a substantial amount of content, but becomes easier with time.
Practice meaningful and sensible link-building. Your outbound links should only link to high-authority, high-ranking websites that contain quality pages. Easy enough.
Inbound links area a whole different story, however. In a way, these are the most valuable links and the ones that Google values the most too.
This is especially true if those links come from high-authority websites within your industry or niche.
If you’re linking to high-authority, high-quality websites, then you’re most likely providing your reader’s with good content—Google likes that.
But if you’re being linked by high-authority websites, then you have valuable content in your hands—Google loves that.
Long story short, work on building links that make sense and make sure that your content is good enough to be linked to.
Looking for more ways to rank? Check out our simple 2019 Google ranking guide!