We know that the significant chunk of your content marketing strategy that is SEO can always use refining. Maybe it’s assessing your list of premium keywords, tweaking your on-page and off-page strategy or the data you are getting from Google Analytics? Either way, you are giving it the necessary time and weekly tracking. But to rank first in SERPs you need to learn these SEO strategies.
But what about the ever-evolving list of tricks and trends? 2019 is not showing any signs of these things slowing, and your need to increase leads isn’t lessening either. So to help you with that ever-present struggle for page one here are our top nine strategies to achieve or maintain your page one rankings.
SEO Strategies to Rank First in SERPs
Strategy 1: Learn a new language
We don’t mean you should figure out how to speak French; we are specifically referring to the language of your customers. This involves understanding their pain points, what questions do they have and in which ways are they asking them? The easier it is for your customers to understand you and how you are solving their problems, the more attractive your business looks.
For many businesses this may only be a minor tweak, you already exist to solve a particular issue anyway, right? The better you understand what your prospective customers are looking for, and you can tailor your communications to that, the easier it is to boost your rankings. This may involve a level of translation of your products and services, the format of your website and the language in your copy.
Your main goal is to become a resource in your field. Once Google can see that you have, up the SERPs you shall climb.
To get an idea of how your customers are speaking, do your own search in Google using your keywords and questions you would ask about your business. The list of related searches will give you all the information you need to tailor accordingly. There is also a range of SEO tools online that can advance your research skills with keyword suggestions and search volume data.
Strategy 2: Put most of your effort into your content
First, let’s define what we mean by content. It’s very simple – it’s everything. Everything that you put out there is content, obviously your blog, but also videos, webinars, live chat, whitepapers, etc. While it is recommended to have various content types, they all need to be of high quality and above all, provide solutions.
Every single piece of content you put out should have a purpose. You should be very clear on which information the particular piece of content is communicating. Keep it simple, helpful, relevant and well-laid out and edited. You also want it to be easily shareable, so it does the PR work for you.
The first point in this article helps with this as once you understand your client pain points you can tailor your content to be as helpful as possible. After this, you need to revisit and refine it continually to ensure it stays relevant.
At the moment, the video is the preferred content format as it is easy to understand, quick and doesn’t require as much effort from the user as reading. The text was the first thing we shared online, then it became photos, and now it is videos. Ensure the videos you release are of fantastic quality; however, users will switch off if they are not. It is worthwhile investing in professional help in this department.
Strategy 3: Keep your site healthy
Optimization is critical, or Google will zoom right past you. Page titles, URLs, alt-tags in images are crucial to your SEO. On-page elements are directly linked to how well your page will rank in SERPs. Use your most popular web page as a blueprint, whichever one is ranking the best, copy that for the rest of them as a start, then look at how to improve.
These elements are vital:
- Ensure your meta description is compelling
- Ensure titles accurately represent their content
- Use a Marketing Grader to run a health check
- Download a page scan app to assess areas that need improving
Remember that on-page SEO affects the HTML source code of a page as well as your content.
Strategy 4: Linkbacks
Google trusts consensus, so if there is a lot of other websites linking to yours, it assumes you have something of value, and many others agree on it.
Links from other sites to yours, or backlinks, are very beneficial for your Rank First in SERPs status. The higher the quality of the site that is giving you the link, the better. The flip side to this is terrible backlinks, low-quality sites that connect to your, Google considers you guilty by association, and it will negatively affect rankings. Luckily, you can check your backlinks and run a report to find out who is referring to your site.
This is considered off-page SEO. Find the bad links, get rid of them and cut the dead weight that is dragging you down the rankings.
Strategy 5: Acquire citations
Company listings on local or national directory websites are great for your rankings because it makes you more legitimate in Google’s grand eyes. The more citations you have (that are correct), the more exposure there is for your business.
This is particularly pertinent if you are a local business that services a particular area. Mobile engagement is enormous at the moment so you will be much easier to find if you are accessible to mobile searchers which improves both rankings and physical business through the door.
To achieve this, you need Google My Business, and your profile needs to be complete and accurate. Fill out every single thing you can on the profile including images and opening hours — the more info for Google to access the better. You may even want to have a local landing page that is well optimized.
Strategy 6: Be secure
Considering how paranoid people are about their data these days (and rightly so) an SSL certificate is a must. Google gives priority to things on secure channels (https). Unencrypted websites are classed as, and this means a drop in rankings.
Get yourself an SSL Certificate and ensure that your pages load within three seconds. If they are slower than this, users will bail, and the Google algorithm will punish your rankings.
Strategy 7: Up your marketing budget
The pool of competition online is vast; what is your plan to rise above it? Expanding your reach across various formats and ensuring that a wider audience actually sees all of the great stuff you are doing deserves more priority than you are likely currently giving it.
Networking is a valuable tool, and organic SEO is fantastic, but it won’t just happen simply because you exist. Investing some dollars in your marketing not only ensures that you get the word out, but Google is watching what you do, and it gives more significant exposure to those who invest in their business, in particular, and unsurprisingly when you give those dollars to Google itself. Think that is unfair? It’s not; it’s business.
Consider a social media manager, hire a copywriter to ensure your content is on point and let a professional marketing firm plan your marketing strategy. You are an expert in your field, so it makes sense that you would get other experts for the areas that aren’t your specialty.
Strategy 8: Analyse and report
You cannot improve if you don’t evaluate your current position. You are a shark, and sharks need to keep moving, or they drown. Tracking and analyzing your progress links directly to your SEO strategy and marketing iterations to ensure that you keep and build on the things that work and lose the things that don’t.
Choose the metrics and KPIs relevant to your specific business goals and make use of the free dashboards that can help track your progress.
Strategy 9: Don’t get overwhelmed
The biggest thing we notice is that nobody understands how much time it takes to get to the top spots on the SERPs. It won’t happen overnight.
Form your plan, use an SEO Checklist and the tools we have linked to in this article and above all, don’t get overwhelmed. Throwing your hands up in the air if all of the above sounds like garbage isn’t going to do you any favors and there are plenty of agencies who can take this tricky stuff of your hands so you can focus on what it is you do best.
Remember, you get out of it what you put in. High rankings on the search mean more business, and money, so you decide what that is worth and then react accordingly. Best of luck!