When it comes to driving traffic from search engines, Google is the main attraction and there are only two things that are important:
- To be indexed (Having your posts added to Google’s database)
- To be ranked on page #1
The first point is quite easy to get. As a matter of fact, my posts get indexed within a few minutes (sometimes seconds). The reason is my 5-year-old domain SEO profile. For newer domains, it could take longer.
But getting indexed isn’t any guarantee for traffic. It’s just a chance to improve your position on SERP (Search Engine Result Page) for more visibility. The core of natural traffic is point two (getting ranked on page #1) which is what we are focusing on.
How to rank on Google SERP with these two ranking factors
There are hundreds of Google ranking factors. But by the time you properly deal with these two, you would have completed a massive portion of the SEO task.
SEO is the core of online business when it comes to driving free traffic with content. Paid traffic is such a great deal but it dies down once you run out of budget.
Social Media posts are generally short-lived and demand a lot of energy posting and interacting with your community.
Ranking on Google page #1 seems to be the most difficult though. But once you are there, you’ll get good traffic that converts (with attractive page Titles and Meta Description of course) and your main task will be to maintain your leadership position. So what are these ranking factors?
This is the first and most important ranking factor because it’s the focus of every search action. Every other ranking factor is aimed at making Google believe your content is the best. And once you get Google to that point where it doesn’t see any other content near yours, you will be rewarded with position #1 on page #1
Your content has to be search engine friendly. These days, this seems to be more difficult. And yes, you’ll have to put in more effort to get content that will wow the search giant.
The main question is: What makes Google think my content is best?
An in-depth response to this question means touching on other ranking factors. But we will be looking at the most important factors that will have to do with your On-Page SEO.
1. Content in-depth ness and topical relevance
Gone are those days of keyword placement and density. It’s no longer important how many times you use a keyword in your content. Given that one piece of content can be ranked for many more keywords, this should shift our focus from splashing single keywords to semantic relevance.
Going in-depth gives you the space to cover your topic. Once you understand the intent of a search term, you won’t write for the literal meaning of the keyword. Writing for the keyword keeps you on the surface and you may never go anywhere near page #1.
Let’s take a simple example with the keyword “Best Managed WordPress Hosting”
Creating a 1000 word document with this keyword in the post title, permalink, description, article introduction, heading tags, image tags, etc will lead you to desperate disappointment.
The keyword has two phases that must be thoroughly tackled to come up with a competitive document:
- The activity of managed WordPress hosting
- The actors in the industry.
By the time you are done with details on these phases, you would have written 3500 words. Now you see the best way to understand the intent of a keyword is to break it into reasonable terms and try to understand which area of the industry is interpreted by those terms.
When writing an in-depth article, don’t be stingy with ideas. Spread out and cover the topic to its possible details. Use keyword clustering to create sub-topics and make your post a mini-course.
2. User engagement
Your content doesn’t really matter if your readers are not getting value out of it. Google has ways to find out if your content is loved by readers.
If you manipulate ranking and find yourself at the top, it will not be long for the search master to understand the usefulness or uselessness of your article.
When readers pogo-stick or quickly bounce off, it’s a bad signal. When dwell time is unreasonably reduced, google knows no one wants to spend time on the post. But when your article keeps readers sticking around, commenting and sharing, Google is smart to know something worthy is on the page.
Here are some useful tips to engage your readers:
- We’ve spoken about in-depth ness and relevance above
- Your introduction should be sticky
- Use proper formatting and make the whole thing scannable
- Use attractive images
- Add a video where necessary
- Remove unnecessary pop-ups and banner ads
So I’m talking about content as a ranking factor. It’s influenced by:
- Topical relevance
- User engagement
Earlier today, I got a mail from Neil Patel and this is what he got to say about backlinks:
Neil is an SEO god and I don’t need to try to convince you more that backlinks are necessary for ranking on google.
It is another form of user engagement but this time off your blog. Getting these links from relevant authority domains will definitely push you to the most coveted position on SERP.
But how do you get backlinks?
- Create great content to earn them from your community
- Step out and build them.
Here are some tips to help you build or earn contextual and natural links:
- Build relationships with like-minded bloggers. They will link to your content from around the globe.
- Step out and submit guest posts. While I do not advise you to guest post for backlinks, it’s almost inevitable.
- Take part in roundup posts and interviews. Ann Smarty’s platform MyBlogU is something you may begin with.
- You may want to hire the services of SEO companies
- At the same time, avoid buying backlinks from service platforms like Fiverr and the likes. You may end up burning your proxic with links from toxic domains.
I hope this post was helping with some tips to help you rank your articles on Google. Let me know what you think in the comment box below and thanks to my friend Vishwajeet Kumar for the opportunity.