So you’ve written an article and you want it to rank on the first page of Google.
I get that! What’s the point of writing an article where it is nowhere to be found, right?
On top of that, Google is constantly changing its search algorithm, and following all those updates is extremely tiresome.
So, how can you ensure that your article constantly pleases Google that it will rank on high positions in Google searches for a very long time?
Before we get into that, I thought you might be interested to know how Google Search Engine works and how Google decides to change its algorithm:
How Google Search Engine Works
How Google decides to change its Algorithm
With all that, we know Google points to only one thing.
Google puts strong focus on the relevancy of your content to its users. So, it would make sense to write your article based on what you think your audience would want.
Referring to the first video above where Matt Cutts mentioned about how Google ranks pages, it ask more than 200 questions to determine the rank of a page.
Brian Dean of Backlinko has so kindly compiled a list of Google’s 200 ranking factors.
But, the problem is, how are you going to implement them into your article so that it pleases Google?
I’ve sifted through the list of ranking factors and have broken them down into 9 actionable steps to get high ranking on Google. Enjoy!
Google will literally kick your ranking to the top if it sees this…
#1 Keyword Research – Your First Step to Success
Especially when your website is new, and you are trying to gain traction, performing a proper keyword research for every article you write could be one of the most important tasks as a content marketer.
Imagine having to spend hours researching and writing on your masterpiece, and to realize that your masterpiece is no where to be found on Google due to strong competition. How frustrating would it be, right?
And, there are so many websites that are already an authority in your niche, and competing with them is going to be an uphill battle.
So, to gain “Street Cred”, and to let Google know that your website is useful to its users, you have to start small.
Look for “Low Hanging Fruit” keywords (Keywords that have an acceptable number of searches per month , and has very little competition) to write your article upon.
With low competition, your article is almost guaranteed to rank highly on Google.
So, to reinforce the above, let’s do a little exercise:
Suppose I give you 2 keywords to choose from to write an article, which would you choose? Keyword A or B?
Keyword A: How to Rank on Google
No. of searches per month: 488
No. of Competitors ranking for the keyword: 208
Keyword B: How to Rank on Google first page
No. of searches per month: 80
No. of Competitors ranking for the keyword: 47
So, what is your answer? A or B?
The keyword that I will pick is…….
Remember, you want to get top ranking on Google, which means there should be… “LOW COMPETITION”.
But, the number of searches per month is so much lower for Keyword B, why would I select that, right?
Look, it is better to rank at high positions on Google and get some traffic, than to rank at low positions and get no traffic at all.
According to a study, 71.33% of the traffic from Google goes to the top 10 positions on a search, and only 5.59% account for pages that are ranked in the 2nd or 3rd page of Google.
So, wouldn’t it make sense to write an article that can be found on the first page of a Google search?
This is the vital information you need to understand in order to penetrate and position your website as an authority in your niche.
One thing you must know is that even though you are targeting a keyword, it doesn’t mean that Google will rank you for that keyword only.
Google will rank your article based on what they think is valuable to their users.
Which simply means that your article will rank for multiple keywords. That’s a good news!
Your Actionable Guide: Before you write an article, always perform a keyword research to find low hanging fruit keywords.
For me, I will always find keywords that has at least 50 monthly searches, and have lesser than 100 competitors.
The keywords research tool that I use to obtain this vital information is Jaaxy, feel free to check it out.
#2 Social Media Signal – A Friend of Search Ranking
I’m sure you know by now the power of Social Media, but how much do you know about the correlation between Social Media Signals and Search Ranking?
If you are thinking that Social Media has no relation to Search Rankings, then you are in for a shock!
A study conducted by SearchMetrics proofs that there is a high correlation between social signals and ranking on Google.
Actually, it makes perfect sense for Google to put weight on the social signal because the content that are viral on Social Media sites are normally highly demanded.
From the study of Search Metrics, we can determine that the top 4 Social Signals are from Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
So, if you haven’t been paying attention to your Social Media profiles, then this is a good time for you to take action.
The problem that most face when starting out on the Social Media is, “How do I get started?”, right?
You may have hundreds or thousands of existing friends on Facebook or Twitter, but are those “Friends” interested in what you will be sharing? Will they share your content or re-tweet your post? My guess is not.
If you have a business, my advice to you is to keep your personal Social Media profile separate from your business, unless you are creating a personal brand.
This will allow you to share relevant stuff to people who actually wants it, and it will also help you build rapport and brand identity with your audience.
NOTE: There is no hard and fast rule on keeping your personal Social Media profile separate from your business, this is purely my personal preference. Do what makes sense to you.
>In this article that I’ve written, you will understand the 5 Golden Rules for building your Social Media network
#3 Your Headline affects your Click-Through Rate which affects Your Ranking
“If you can come up with a good headline, you are almost sure to have a good advertisement” ~ John Caples
Tell me, would you read an article if the headline does not appeal to you? My guess is NO, right?
Why would you spend time reading stuff that does not interest you.
I’ll share with you an example:
Just a few days ago I was researching the “Best clip-on microphones for DSLR cameras”, and the following search results came up.
Which article do you think appeals to me? The top search result, or the second?
If you guessed the second, then you are right!
Luckily, both articles are from micreviews.com, otherwise they could have lost potential customers.
The reason for selecting the second article is simple, it answers directly to my question.
I wouldn’t select the first article because I did not know what a Lavalier Microphone was.
The gist is, you may have the best content in the world, but if your headline does not appeal to your audience, it will not be read.
So, how does the Click-Through Rate affects your article ranking? Let’s check out this video:
In short, if your article is ranked in lower positions, but it has attained higher click-through rates than other articles, chances are your article will be pushed up to the top.
Writing a good headline is so important, and if you are uncertain about the effectiveness of your headline, check out “How to Write an Awesome Headline that Sells“.
#4 Write Content that doesn’t Suck
Alright, hear me out. Your content doesn’t suck, but your competitors’ do.
The fact is, there is so much competition for almost every keyword that you can think of, and how can you beat your competitors?
If you are sharing knowledge and information that someone else have already shared, do you think Google will rank your content above others? I don’t think so…
The trick is to write unique content that is much better and provides more value to your audience than your competitors.
To do that, you have to research on the keyword that you are ranking for, and gather all the knowledge and information that you can get.
Then, think of a better way to structure all this information, and add your personal knowledge, experience and opinion to your content.
Here are 8 Simple Steps to Write Amazing Content.
Google is getting smarter every day, they will try to understand what are the common and relevant terms that are used in each industry.
The more you use relevant terms in your content, the higher chance your content gets a good ranking.
Start brainstorming by getting into the mind of your audience, and extract those relevant terms that your audience are looking for, and you will find your way to the top.
#5 Internal Linking – The Pride of a Content Marketer
Interlinking your content shows Google that you are taking pride on your work, and that you make the effort to further explain things that were unclear in the first piece of content.
Most importantly, when you are interlinking your content, those links MUST be highly relevant to each other. Remember Google puts strong focus on Relevance?
Just like this article that you are reading now, I’ve included links to my other content that are useful and relevant to this article.
Your Actionable Guide: Revisit your past content and determine how you can interlink them.
#6 Are Backlinks of any use?
There has been many discussions in the SEO industry about the effectiveness of backlinks.
Some experts are claiming that Backlinks are outdated, and some believe that Backlinks still carry weight on Google.
But before that, what is the heck is a Backlink?
In layman terms, a Backlink is a link from an external source. If I put your article link on this page, then you have a backlink from my website.
In my opinion, backlink is still a sustainable element in rank determination, because it shows that other people values your content and have no problem sharing it on their website.
However, some black hat marketers will do all sorts of method (like creating low quality websites and link them to a website for better ranking). Do not be one of them, it will hurt your website in the long run.
Your Actionable Guide: To get backlinks the white hat way, you have to reach out to other quality website owners in your niche. There must be an incentive for the other website owners to share your content, and this is the tricky part.
Technically, those people whom you are reaching out to are your competitors because they are in the same niche. Why would they want to share your article, right?
So, you might want to offer them a backlink from your end, or something that will entice them to share your content.
The thing is, when you’ve just started out, most likely your messages will be ignored, but when you’ve gained authority in your niche, your voice became louder and people will be more than happy to get a backlink from your website.
Another option is to try to solve other people’s problems from sharing sites like Reddit or Quora. If your content actually helps solve a problem, there shouldn’t be a problem for you to share it with Reddit or Quora.
The process of link-building is tedious and sometimes complicated. Some companies employ a person just for link-building, and that’s provided if you have the budget.
Otherwise, it is still fine to leave it to the public to share your link, but this would take time and it would mean that your content must be very helpful that people will share it.
Here is one of my articles from barenakedscam.com that was shared in Reddit, Quora, and several places:
#7 The Truth about Word Count
Are 250 words too little? Are 3,000 words too much? What is the optimal word count for an article?
Neil Patel has done an A/B split test on his sites and found out that the average number of words for an article to rank in the top positions of a Google Search is 2,000 words.
From my experience, humans hardly take the time to read an entire article of 2,000 words, unless there is an incentive for doing that (i.e. Gaining knowledge,etc.)
Most of my articles on barenakedscam.com have an average of 1,400 words, and most of them are ranking in the top positions of Google searches.
To me, the word count actually depends on the industry, or niche that you are in. For example, barenakedscam.com is in the business opportunity niche, and authoritative sites have an average of 1,200 words for each of their articles.
On the other hand, if you are in the weight loss niche, the authoritative sites have an average of 2,200 words. If you want to compete with them, you have to either match or go above the benchmark.
So, my opinion is, if you write above the benchmark of your industry or niche, you would have satisfied the criteria.
But, you should not write for the sake of satisfying the word count.
Don’t forget, your audience who have commented on your article will also be counted in the word count. If your article is written with love, your audience will return the favor.
The moral of the story is to write amazing content that is much better than your competitors.
#8 Google is whipping Websites that can’t Perform Faster
Although it sounds harsh, but it makes total sense.
In this day and age, people expect that every web page that they visit, be shown to them in a matter of seconds. 3 seconds are already considered long. What a century we are living in, right?
So, to provide a good user experience, Google has included site speed in their ranking factor.
Your Actionable Guide: To check your site speed, you can use this Google Tool.
#9 HTTP”S” sites will Rank better than HTTP
S – The SSL Certificate
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (Https), in layman term, simply means that your identity when visiting a website with Https will be kept confidential.
Google has already declared that, all else being equal, a website that has “Https” will rank higher than a website with only “Http”.
If your website is still with “Http”, it is time to change it to “Https”, and to do that, you have to buy an SSL Certificate which typically costs between $70 to $90 per year from either your web hosting agent or somewhere else.
Getting the SSL Certificate and installing it to your website is actually quite a daunting task if you are not IT savvy. Every SSL Certificate provider will have different ways to install the certificate, so you really have to follow the steps given by your SSL certificate provider.
Luckily for Wealthy Affiliate members, an online business learning center and community, the SSL certificate is complimentary for all the domains that are hosted at Wealthy Affiliate, and the installation of the SSL Certificate is just a flip of a switch.
The Google’s Search algorithm is constantly changing, but there are several fundamental principles that will never change.
If you follow this set of principles, you will never need to worry about the constant changing environment:
- Do a proper keyword Research for every piece of content that you write, and be consistent with posting useful, unique and valuable information on your website;
- Encourage engagement in your post through post comments and social media channels;
- Write Great Headlines;
- Always review your existing content and ensure that they are not outdated;
- Interlinking your content is much better than linking out to somewhere else;
- Find white hat strategies to attract backlinks;
- Ensure that your post word count is equal to or more than the benchmark of your niche or industry;
- Ensure that your site speed is fast enough;
- Protect the privacy of your website visitors by upgrading your website to “Https”.
I encourage you to share your thoughts with me on the above set of principles.
If you think there are more to be added to the list, feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope you can help to spread the word by clicking on the social media buttons at the side of this article.
Talk to you soon!