In the modern digital marketplace, every brand is looking for a way to boost their visibility online. Without a doubt, one of the best ways to reach more customers is to improve your rankings on search engines like Google. But if you want to get found on Google, you’re going to need to put in some work.
Search engine optimization takes time to work its magic. You can’t just write a great blog and expect the traffic to start pouring in. Instead, you’ve got to be strategic about where you spend your time and energy. Having a plan in place can help you focus your efforts on the most important parts of your SEO strategy.
Whether you are just getting your website up for the first time or you’re looking for ways to optimize your existing site, you can use the 4 steps below to get found on Google in no time:
1. Do your keyword research.
SEO keyword research is a critical first step to get found on Google. Keyword research helps you identify the keywords and phrases that your target customers use to find brands like yours on the search engine. This doesn’t just include broad keywords that are one or two words long but also long-tail keywords, which are more specific phrases that a search engine user might type in to narrow down their search.
Keyword research takes time, but it’s all worth it when you start bringing more relevant traffic to your site.
Take time to brainstorm.
To get started with your keyword research, you’ll need to brainstorm some potential keywords that are relevant to your brand and the products or services that you provide. This gives you an effective starting point for looking which keywords can actually drive the most potential traffic to your site.
Invite your whole team to get together and brainstorm which keywords and phrases they think potential customers might use to find you online. Don’t forget to include more specific long-tail keywords in your brainstorm.
Remember, this doesn’t have to be a perfect list and every keyword suggestion won’t make the cut. But it does give you a nice jumping off point for narrowing down your keyword list.
Expand your keyword list.
Once you’ve got an initial keyword list, it’s time to expand. There are a few different tactics that you can use to get started growing your keyword list:
- Localize your keywords. If you are a brick-and-mortar store or you target consumers in certain geographic locations, try adding city information to your keywords. For example, “Los Angeles air conditioning repair.”
- Use Google suggest. You know how Google suggests certain things to you based on what you start to type in the search bar? You can use these suggestions as additional keyword phrases.
- Look at similar searches. When you search for terms on Google, you’ll see a list of similar searches at the bottom of the SERP. Take a look at these and see if any of them are relevant to your brand.
- Look at your competition. Another way to expand your keyword list is to take a look at what your competitors rank for. You may also want to consider including some of these keywords on your list.
Research keyword volume and difficulty.
Now that you have a list of potential keywords, you’ll need to do some investigating to find out which ones are worth pursuing. Start by taking a look at the average monthly search volume for each of the keywords on Google Keyword Planner.
Narrow down your list.
Now that you know which keywords consumers are using to find brands like yours online and you’ve got the data to back it up, it’s time to narrow down your list.
First, you need to weed out the keywords that aren’t particularly relevant to your brand. There is no point in trying to get found on Google for keywords that aren’t relevant. This will only have a negative impact on your conversion rates.
Next, identify the keywords that you have the potential to rank for.
You will want to go after the keywords that have a high monthly search volume but lower keyword difficulty. Take a look at which keywords your competitors are going after and consider whether or not it’s worth it for you to try to rank for these keywords and phrases as well.
As you are researching keywords for your brand, keep in mind that effective keyword research takes time. And it’s also something you will need to do on an ongoing basis if you want to get found on Google.
The information above is just a basic overview of how you can get started with SEO keyword research. If you’re looking for more advanced tips, check out our post on keyword research tips that will take your SEO to the next level.
2. Create content optimized for the search engines.
If you want to get found on Google, you’ve got to create content that’s optimized for the search engines. Now, that you have a list of keywords, you can develop relevant and useful content that emphasizes the keywords and phrases that consumers are using to find brands like yours. Your content is what the search engine crawls, or searches through, to find these keywords and deliver the right results to search engine users.
Content is known as an on-page SEO factor, meaning that it is something you do on your site to boost your search engine optimization. Google considers great content one of its top 3 ranking factors, so it’s vital that businesses invest in producing and publishing great content on a regular basis.
Content marketing and SEO are a match made in digital marketing heaven.
Content marketing is not only an important part of your SEO strategy, but it also plays a vital role in helping fuel your digital marketing campaigns. When you produce great content for your audience to read, you are engaging and educating them. Which goes a long way toward guiding them to the next step in the purchasing process.
For this reason, your content should be optimized for search engines but also relevant and useful for the people reading it.
Now that you know why great content is important, let’s talk about what makes content great from an SEO perspective. Content that’s optimized for search engines has the following characteristics in common:
- Long-Form – Though it’s okay to write a shorter blog post here and there, many of the top search engine results are over 2,000 words. Not only are comprehensive posts more helpful, but they tend to hold the reader’s attention for a longer period of time, thus boosting the time spent on page and your SEO results.
- Easy-to-Read – Even if your business is in a difficult or complex industry, it’s important to ensure that your content is easy for visitors to read. Content that’s written in digestible chunks, using headings and bullet points, is easier to read and will boost your SEO value.
- Recent – Google favors content that has been updated. And so do search engine users. The sites that rank at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) offer timely and relevant content. So be sure to consistently update your top performing older posts in order to help them continue to rank.
- Organically Keyword Rich – Gone are the days of keyword stuffing. Today, if you want to get found on Google, you need to use keywords and keyword variants organically throughout your content. It shouldn’t feel forced but rather use keywords naturally throughout the content.
In addition to writing quality content that is recent and naturally uses keywords, you should also pay attention to how you format your content on the page. This will play an important role in how easy it is for search engines to find and understand what your content is about.
As a start, you should use the keywords in the first 100 words of text in your blog post or site page. You should also include the keyword toward the beginning of your title.
In addition, you need to use keywords in a few other strategic areas to ensure that your content will get found on Google. Use keywords in at least one of your H2 headings as well as in the description, meta-tags, and URL. You should also use keywords in the image titles, alt text, and captions, when appropriate.
3. Focus on off-page elements of SEO.
Publishing lots of great content is just the start. All of your keyword research and optimized content will go to waste if you don’t have the off-page SEO to support it.
If you want to get found on Google, you’ll need to do some work off your website to work to drive more traffic to your pages and show Google they are relevant and useful.
This visual gives a great breakdown of the different tasks involved with on- and off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO helps increase the traffic back to your site while also helping you establish quality backlinks. Backlinks are links from other sites back to your content. Backlinks are Google’s #1 ranking factor as they are one of the best testaments to the quality of your content.
If other reputable and relevant sites are linking back to your content, it’s a clear sign that the content is useful and of high quality.
Here are just a few activities that you can do “off-page” to encourage more quality backlinks and boost your SERP ranking:
- Share content on social media. One of the easiest ways to get your content out into the world is to share it on your social media channels. The more your posts are read, the more opportunities you have to expose new consumers to your brand as well as get backlinks to your content.
- Write guest blog posts. Taking the opportunity to guest blog on other sites is a great way to expand your reach and drive backlinks to your content. Find relevant publications and blogs that will allow you to write guest posts on topics that your audience will find useful. Don’t forget to link back to your own site in the guest post.
- Reach out to influencers. Influencers in your industry have the attention of your target audience. If you want to expand your reach, it would benefit your business to build relationships with influencers and engage with their content. This increases the chances of them sharing your articles with their audience or even backlinking to your content.
- Comment on other blogs. Another great way to get your name out there and drive traffic back to your content is to engage with other relevant blog content. This helps you build relationships with other bloggers while also taking advantage of the opportunity to drop your links in the comments when appropriate.
- Join online communities. Joining online communities such as relevant online industry chat forums, private slack channels, and LinkedIn groups is a great way to meet others in your industry and those who may benefit from what your business has to offer. Join and participate in these communities to share links to your content while building authority.
- Repurpose content into videos. Want to draw more attention to the content on your page? Why not repurpose your blog into a video? By putting videos on YouTube, you are able to reach 3 billion daily active users who are using the video sharing platform much like a search engine. Just be sure to include a CTA in your video that links back to your site.
4. Monitor and test.
SEO is always changing. It seems like just when you’ve got your groove going with your SEO strategy, Google throws another curve ball by changing their algorithm. That’s why it’s vital for businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest in SEO and adjust their strategy and tactics to account for these shifts in best practices and strategies.
Not only are SEO best practices always changing, but so are the keywords that customers are using to find brands like yours. It’s important for brands to consistently analyze their web traffic and look at the performance of different keywords.
You should also stay on top of your search engine rankings and investigate potential reasons why your position might have slipped.
The rules of SEO are always changing. Start with a checklist of best practices but stay up-to-date with the latest SEO trends.
When you first get started, use this as a baseline for how well your SEO strategy is working. As you continue to monitor your results and make changes to your tactics and content, keep track of what you are doing differently and how it impacts your performance.
A great way to test out new strategies or see what types of content resonate best with your audience is a little testing.
The A/B test is one of the best ways to see which elements of your content may be impacting your SEO and web traffic. With an A/B test, you start with a control piece of content and create a variation that is much like the control but with one or two elements changed.
Then, you test the pieces of content to see what resonates best with your audience.
If you want to find out what works best for your content, you’re going to have to A/B test it.
A/B testing is a great way to try out different SEO tactics or learn more about what elements of your content perform best. However, it’s not enough just to run some tests.
You then need to take a look at the data you gather from these tests and see what this data says about your current practices.
Once you’ve gotten some insight from testing, you can then apply what you’ve learned to future campaigns to improve performance and boost return on investment.
Get Help Getting Found on Google
Though search engine optimization is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, it also takes time and resources to do it right. If you don’t have the team in-house to get the job done, you may want to consider hiring an experienced SEO company who can help you develop and implement a strategy that will help you get found on Google.
At LYFE Marketing, we offer both on-page SEO services and ongoing SEO management services. Our goal is to help you develop a solid plan and take the steps necessary to get found on Google. Our team can help you boost online traffic, grow your search engine ranking, and improve conversions through strategic monthly SEO services.
Not sure if managed SEO services are right for you? Let’s chat.