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by Mike Vestil 

How To Rank Higher On Google: Steps To Successful SEO

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There is a lot of information on the internet about how to rank higher on Google. While some may be useful, much of it can be misleading or plain wrong.

The wrong information can be dangerous and costly. It would be a shame to invest time and energy into SEO to make mistakes that cause your website to end up ranking lower than before, or even worse, cause your rankings to drop altogether.

In this article, I will discuss the best ways to get higher rankings on Google so that you can get more traffic to your website and attract more customers. Keep reading to find out more.

Understanding The Difference Between On-Page Vs. Off-Page SEO

Many businesses are confused about the difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO refers to the factors that impact your website's rank within Google. You can control this yourself by optimizing title tags, writing optimized meta descriptions, identifying keywords for content creation, uploading sitemaps to Google Search Console, etc.

Understanding The Difference Between On-Page Vs. Off-Page SEO

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Off-page SEO refers to other websites linking to your site. This is usually done through link-building campaigns. You collaborate with bloggers or site owners in your industry or by guest blogging on influential blogs related to your company's niche to attract relevant traffic and build backlinks.

What Does Google Consider?

Google analyzes hundreds of different ranking signals when determining how a webpage should rank within search results for specific keyword queries.

Google considers how other websites are linking to the webpage, the location of the webpage's hosting server, whether or not your page is mobile-friendly, if your site is built on HTTPS, and much more.

Other factors that play a role in how high your website ranks include social signals such as Facebook likes/shares.

The best way to ensure you are doing everything you can to rank higher on google is to check third-party rankings sources for competitors in your industry. For example, SEMrush provides tools to analyze top-performing keywords for various websites so that you can learn from what they are doing right. You can also use Moz Pro or Ahrefs, which provide competitive link analysis and rank tracking.

Let's get into more detail about the two critical components for getting higher Google rankings: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

Steps To Successful On-Page SEO

The following are the steps needed to optimize your website to rank higher on Google.

Do Your Keyword Research

Web pages created to rank well on Google are known as 'SEO' or 'Search Engine Optimized' pages. The first step in creating these pages is to do your keyword research.

Keyword research is the process of finding out which keywords would be used by people who may be interested in your website's content and also finding out which keywords are the most popular on Google.

The process is relatively simple, but it can be time-consuming. It would help if you found out which words or phrases people type into the search bar of Google when they are looking for certain types of websites and determine how many times each term was used in the last month. This information will give you an indication of how much competition your keywords have. You will need to find out what other websites are ranking well for specific phrases to see if you can compete with them.

While this process can be done manually, using tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush will make the process much easier.

The great news is the proper keyword research is valid both for your website and also for other sources of income that you might have.

For example, if you sell an eCommerce product, chances are that you can use the same keyword research to rank for keyword terms in a variety of locations. When it comes to eBay SEO, chances are that people would also be looking for products on eBay using the same keywords.

Understanding Search Intent Is Also Necessary.

Let's suppose that you run a website selling red widgets and that the monthly searches for 'red widgets' are 10k. But when you look harder at your research, you find out that the phrase 'where to buy red widgets near me' is searched 2000 times per month. You will now need to determine if it would be in your best interest to target the phrase 'red widgets' to rank high for that phrase, or if you should focus on targeting the more specific phrase 'where to buy red widgets near me.'

Most would agree that if you're trying to sell a product, the latter is a much better keyword to rank for since it shows the searcher's intent and is much more specific.

Create A List Of Keywords And Phrases To Cluster

Once you have done your research and determined which keyword phrases you want your website to rank for, you should list all keywords and phrases you want to rank for.

This list will be used when writing the content of your web pages.

Create A List Of Keywords And Phrases To Cluster

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Clustering keywords together will help your google search results efforts because the google algorithm is smart enough to determine related phrases. It will help you rank for multiple keywords with just one web page.

One must use this list consistently throughout the pages of your website. Plugins available for popular website content management systems make this an easy task.

Write Irresistible Headlines, Subheads, And Page Titles

Search ranking and on-page optimization go hand in hand with how engaging the content of an article is.

When you're creating the content of a web page, you will need to spend some time thinking about what title would be most likely to catch a casual visitor's attention and get them reading or sharing your content.

Your headline will have a significant impact on how well your post ranks. It tells Google precisely what keywords you're targeting and tells readers what the content is all about.

I must mention the term "bounce rate" at this point.

Search engine optimization considers this concept, which refers to the percentage of people who click on a page from the search results and then (almost) immediately click the back button instead of reading further into the page, showing that they didn't find the answer they were looking for.

If people come on your page and don't find the correct answers, your Google rankings will drop rapidly.

The headline will make or break a page and result in (ideally) a low bounce rate, so spend time writing keyword-optimized and informative headlines simultaneously.

Your Google Search Console account will show you what phrases are getting clicks, and you can use information from this report to refine your headline writing efforts—the more specific, the better.

Use LSI Keywords In The Article Body

On-site SEO uses keywords relevant to your niche, but you will need to include some LSI keywords into the mix as well. 

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a phraseology technique developed by cognitive scientists to help computers understand what the content is all about.

LSI keywords are synonyms, related phrases, and even acronyms that relate to the main topic of your web page or article. LSI helps search engines determine what your page is about better, which in turn will help your pages rank for more types of phrases than if you didn't use such keywords.

For example, when you build a website about how to draw, your main topic would be 'drawing.' As such, "drawing" is the main keyword, but you should also use the words sketch, picture, tutorials, and art in your content.

With computers being somewhat limited in terms of context (though this is rapidly improving), sometimes they can't fully understand the context or other little nuances that go into good writing. So it's up to you to make sure they know what your writing is all about using LSI keywords.

To maximize your article's impact, try to choose one or two subsets of LSI keywords and sprinkle them throughout each paragraph of your web page. This will help Google determine precisely what your page is really about, and that can affect your search ranking.

Create An Optimal 1st Paragraph/Lead For Each Content Piece You Create

People that come to your website from search traffic are looking for answers to their problems. Your job is to provide these answers in the most straightforward, most concise manner you can.

Your first paragraph will be responsible for communicating to Google what your web page is about, and it should also try its best to tell your reader what they're going to get out of reading the whole article.

It would help to highlight the main benefits users will get (by the end of the article) at the beginning of the first paragraph so that people skimming for information will see them quickly and be enticed into reading more. There are always many results on Google, so you need to ensure that your article stands out by having a great headline and lead.

The right words can draw readers in, resulting in better conversions when more visitors keep reading to the end.

Set Up Internal Linking For Your Website Correctly

Internal links will help Google determine what your page is about. When you link to related articles within the same website, there is a better chance that these pages will rank for more search terms than they would if you didn't include internal links.

For this reason, you should also create a sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) to ensure that everything on your site is indexed correctly. Once you add your sitemap, Google will see all the pages on your site and what the URL is for each page.

Set Up Internal Linking For Your Website Correctly

Image Credit: http://moz.com

As you build new articles on your site, try to link to related content whenever possible. Suppose you were writing an essay about how to make a margarita. In that case, you could add a link to your article on a page that speaks about tequila and add a sentence like: "For more information about making tequila cocktails, check out my other article shaking up the best margarita."

Try To Use Images With Alt Tags

These types of images have several benefits. First of all, images can break up text and make it easier to read. Also, having a picture with an ALT tag is beneficial because it can help your SEO efforts.

Alternative text is also beneficial for people with accessibility issues because it will help them understand what an image is all about. Google also uses images to determine what the content of a web page is about, so having a mix of relevant photos with the right ALT tags throughout your article can help boost how well a page ranks for a particular keyword in search results.

Use Headings Appropriately

One should use headings and subheadings to break up the text in an article. Using headings correctly can make it much easier for Google to read and understand what your page is about, which will improve how well you rank in search results.

These headings should directly relate to the keywords you are trying to target. If you are writing an article about how to make a margarita, you could use headings like "What do I need to make tequila cocktails?", "How do I mix up the cocktail?" etc.

Also, nesting subheaders within your main headings is a good SEO practice. It helps Google and your readers understand how your content is structured and allows them to consume your content in the best logical way.

8. Don't use the exact keywords over and over

If you are using exact keywords in every sentence, there's a chance that Google might think that you are trying to 'cheat the system' by stuffing too many keywords. Don't overload your page with exact keywords, or your SEO efforts will suffer.

It's good SEO practice to use the primary keyword in the main paragraph and sprinkle it throughout your article (some say once per 100 words), but make sure you mix it up with other text. If you are writing an article about how to make a margarita, try to include the word "margarita" at least once every 300 words, but also use phrases like "blend the margarita," "add salt to taste," etc. 

Remember my point before about using LSI keywords - ensure that these are included in place of the main keyword.

Link Out To Authoritative Sites

If you are writing an article about making a margarita, try adding links to other web pages on the internet related to this topic. If you link out to authority pages on the subject, you indicate to Google that this site is relevant to the content you are linking out to.

By adding these links, not only will your website look as natural as can be, but you could also get a link back to your webpage (more on this later) from an authority site. This will improve how well your web page ranks in search results.

Auditing Your On-Page SEO

If you've already created content for your website, you should run an audit to optimize everything correctly.

Running frequent SEO audits will also help you identify any areas that need improvement. 

Here's how to conduct a proper SEO audit.

Crawl Your Website

The first thing you want to do is crawl your site. This will help you identify any issues with the way your website is structured, and it will also help you find broken links or pages that are not optimized for SEO.

Using tools such as Screaming Frog or DeepCrawl, you can crawl your site and generate a report that will show you all of the issues on your site.

Once you have identified these issues, you want to ensure they are fixed because they could be hindering your SEO efforts.

Define Your Site Architecture

The next step is to ensure that you have a clear site architecture. This means having an organized way of navigating your website. If people can't find their way around, they will leave and not be back anytime soon, which will hurt the amount of traffic you get.

Define Your Site Architecture

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There are several ways to do this, including:

  • using breadcrumb navigation (identifying where users are within your site)
  • using a sitemap (a list of all the pages on your website)
  • using internal linking (linking other pages on your site)

Using these methods should help improve how Google crawls and indexes your site as well, leading to improved rankings.

Update URLs, Page Titles, And Meta Descriptions

Next, update your URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions.

These are three of the most important things you need to make sure everything is set up correctly. They also directly correspond to how well the content ranks for each page.

If you are running your site on WordPress, one of the easiest ways to get this done is to use a plugin like Yoast SEO. This plugin makes it easy for anyone who has basic knowledge about website building or web development to edit these essential SEO components without learning a complicated HTML programming language.

Make Sure Your Keyword Is In Your URL

This tells Google what a specific page is all about. Take a look at the URLs of some of your favorite sites, and you will see that they usually include the main keyword of each page in the URL.

This is an easy way to generate more traffic from any single page.

To work correctly, you have to ensure that your content is optimized correctly with the keyword you want people to see. Having the keyword in the URL won't help if it's not.

Include Your Keyword Throughout Your Page

As mentioned before, using the main keyword (and its variations) throughout your content is key. This means making sure that your keywords are included in <H1>, <H2>, and <H3> tags as well as in your images and video assets.

Track Keywords And Topics For Each Page

It would help if you were tracking your most important keywords and topics in Google Search Console. This allows you to monitor how well certain pages are doing when it comes to attracting visitors/traffic, as well as giving you the ability to see what type of content is gaining traction in search engines (this is an excellent way to find out if people like the content that you're producing and then creating more of it).

Off Page SEO

Off-page SEO is equally essential as on-page because it helps to improve a website's ranking on search engines. By implementing off-page SEO techniques, you can help increase the number of links to your website from other authoritative websites, resulting in higher web traffic and better search engine results.

Getting Backlinks From Authoritative Sites

One of the most critical tasks for off-page SEO is to get backlinks from other authoritative websites. A high number of incoming links can help boost your website's authority on search engines, but it's also beneficial because it enables you to reach a wider audience. If more people are visiting sites that link to yours, there's a good chance they'll see your site, too - bringing new visitors and customers with them. You can build up your off-page SEO by using some simple techniques, as follows.

Commenting On Blogs

Blogs are still a great way to generate traffic for your website, and if you have a relevant article, they can also provide a good source of backlinks. By finding blogs in your niche and leaving helpful posts along with a link to your site (don't overdo it), it's possible to build a small number of links from different sources quickly.

Submitting Guest Posts

A more time-consuming (yet highly effective) strategy is to publish content on other websites related to yours - known as guest blogging. The guest site's quality should be as high as possible - otherwise, there's no point in this exercise. If the content is written well enough, it will drive traffic and typically allow you to include links within your author bio.

With that said, getting a link from a top DR (domain rating) site will be more beneficial to you, as it will help your website rank higher. Some of the best ways to find these sites are through industry-specific directories or Reddit sub-forums where people list their favorite blogs and websites.

You can also use tools such as Ahrefs to find where your competitors are getting their links from and reach out to those sites. Once you've found a suitable site, send your pitch explaining why your guest post will benefit them and wait for an answer. If they accept, you can then submit your article for publication.

Submitting Guest Posts

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Overall, there are a lot of different techniques you can use to increase the number of links pointing towards your site. Depending on your niche and target audience, this process might be more complex or straightforward, but remember that even one link from an authoritative website can make a big difference. Think about what sites and pages might be willing to link to yours and develop some ideas on how you can make it happen.

Other Tips That Will Help You Rank Higher On Search Engines

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind if you want to make sure your website ranks higher on search engines.

Use High-Quality Photos And Images On Your Site

These help the content stand out and get people to come back to your site.

In addition, don't just use images for the sake of using them - use photos and pictures that are related to your content and will be helpful for visitors. If you're selling an eCommerce product, take a chapter from Amazon’s picture requirements and don't just use generic stock photos - take the time to get unique pictures/images instead.

And remember: if you want people to revisit your site, it's essential to make sure your website looks good and provides lots of high-quality content.

Create Videos On Youtube

Many SEOs believe that Google will prefer video content in future search engine results pages (SERPs) over text and image-based results. So instead of having only a couple of pages on your site with some lousy videos, start publishing videos to YouTube and embedding them on your site. By adding videos into the mix, you can begin to build up more 'signals' that search engines like Google look for when ranking websites higher. The more signals you have pointing towards your website, the higher it will rank.

Whether you want to create a tutorial or talk about what's going on at your company, you can do it through video as well (instead of just text).

There’s also the benefit that you can go viral on YouTube with the right videos.

Be Consistent

When it comes to producing content for your site, it's essential to be consistent. If you create one high-quality article per week on average, continue doing so even if your site isn't getting as much traffic as you'd like - especially at the beginning. People will start coming back on schedule because they know that you'll publish another great piece of content on 'x' day of the week or month.

If your website is new and not receiving a lot of traffic yet, try publishing at least once per week until it gets off the ground. If your site is already established and has made some sales/conversions, you can also try increasing the publishing frequency (up to 3 times per week maximum) to drive more traffic to your website.

Use Short URLs

Instead of using long URL addresses with lots of parameters, try using shorter ones. 

Long URLs look ugly and are hard to remember. More specific (and shorter) URLs are more accessible for search engines to crawl and rank, so try making your URLs as clear and straightforward as possible.

Create A Company Blog And Use It Regularly

Google loves blogs because they provide quick and valuable updates about what's going on at a company and provide topical content on a specific subject.

By creating a blog for your website, you can boost its rankings in the eyes of search engines. Most people will also visit a website several times if it has fresh content added regularly.

Many website hosting companies will allow you to have a WordPress blog for free with your website. By adding a blog to your website, you'll have another way of ranking higher in Google and bringing in more visitors from search engines.

Include Social Media Sharing Buttons On Your Site

If you're creating great content, people will want to share it with their friends and family. Make it easy for readers to do this by adding social media sharing buttons to your site. You can add these to the top or bottom of any page - but make sure they're visible whenever anyone reads a piece of content on your site.

As well as boosting traffic from social media sites, having lots of shares also helps boost rankings because search engines see the number of times something has been shared as a 'signal' for its quality - so encourage readers to share your content whenever they can.

Monitor Your Competition

To figure out what keywords you should rank for, it's a good idea to check out where your competitors are ranking. You can see who has the top 10 results for a particular keyword and find which sites you're competing against at the top of Google. You can use this information to inform and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.

Keep Researching More Relevant Topics To Create Content About

Make sure that the topics you're writing about are relevant and popular. If you've found a blog post that's doing well, try creating more posts like it to see if it works for your website too.

Google's algorithm uses signals such as how recently you published a page and if lots of other people link to it when deciding where to rank websites, so search engines will take notice if you keep posting new content regularly.

You can also boost this method by using Google Trends or Google Alerts to discover what people are searching for online and then create content around those keywords.

How To Rank Higher On Google - FAQ

Is Having A Site Optimized For Mobile Devices Important?

Yes, it is essential. Google considers mobile-friendliness as one of the more important ranking factors.

In addition, having a page that loads fast and follows the Core Web Vitals update is key to ranking higher for your particular keywords.

How Can I Optimize For SEO In Local Search Results?

Your website needs to have an address and phone number associated with the site. Google will display this when people are doing a local search to know how to contact your company.

What Are The Benefits Of Getting Placed Higher In Organic Search Results?

Getting ranked higher for relevant keywords can make a huge difference. Say you get some traffic from being on page two for some of your main keywords. 

If you focused on your SEO efforts and ended up on page one, traffic could increase tenfold. This could double or even quadruple your website visits and generate more sales and profit for your company.

How Does The Process Of Analyzing Search Traffic Work?

Google Search Console has a ton of information to help you discover what people are searching for when they find your website from a particular keyword phrase.

What Are Some SEO Tools To Consider?

  • Keywordtool.io - This is a great free tool that allows you to find which keywords companies are bidding on, what price they're bidding, and how much traffic the average company gets monthly from those search terms. It also estimates how many searches there are per month for each keyword phrase.
  • Google Trends: This website shows if people are searching for specific words more often than others at any particular point during the past decade or so. It can give you ideas as to what things could be good topics for blog posts, showing whether searches for particular keywords have been increasing throughout recent years or not.
  • SEMrush: This is a paid service, but very useful as it provides you with more in-depth information on what keywords companies are bidding on and how much traffic they drive monthly from those search terms. In addition, it shows you which sites rank for your keywords of interest and estimates the value of those keywords so you can know which ones to aim for if you want to outrank them.
  • Moz - This tool helps provide expert advice regarding SEO. It has plenty of articles written by industry professionals about how best to optimize your website for search engines, along with other helpful SEO features.

Final Thoughts On How To Rank Higher On Google

In conclusion, optimizing for better search engine results is a challenging process, but not one that you can't do. It all starts with your ability to research keywords and figure out whether they are relevant to the content you're offering.

By following the above tips on how to rank higher on Google, you will get the upper hand over your competition, allowing your website's traffic numbers to grow by leaps and bounds as time goes by.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is the author of the Lazy Man's Guide To Living The Good Life. He also has a YouTube channel with over 700,000 subscribers where he talks about personal development and personal finance.

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