Time and again we get the same question from clients: how do I get on the first page of Google? Oh, it's easy -- we just wave our magic wands and say abracadabra! Just kidding; if it were only that simple.

The cold hard truth is there isn't a secret formula. If you've heard otherwise don't listen; you can’t just sprinkle some fairy dust and instantly rank higher overnight. It’s an investment that takes hard work, know-how, and commitment if you want to see tangible results. It's difficult, but not impossible; let us help or read on for some tactics to get you started.

Create quality content

Content is king, or in the case of Google search rankings, high-quality content is king.
 
First, define your products, services, and differentiators - what clearly separates you from your competitors? Also, figure out what your website visitors really want and what problems they're trying to solve. Once you have this matrix create tailored content that addresses the specific needs of your clients and prospects. 
 
The more relevant the better; users will engage and share authentic content, which increases the chances of a Google rankings' boost. Blog posts and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) are great ways to give the people what they want, while also supplying Google the information it needs. Search engines have a big appetite, so to rank higher you have to feed the beast.
 
Related: 6 Must-Use Tools to Master Google Analytics

THE KEYS TO keywordS

There's a big difference between a keyword and a long-tail keyword. Essentially, a keyword is a short and generalized search term; a long-tail keyword expands on that base and turns it into a much more specific search term. For example: 'coffee' is a very broad keyword with millions of daily searches -- with such a generic term there's little chance someone will find your product or service. However, a long-tail keyword term, such as '16oz. insulated traveler's coffee mug' is far less competitive and easier to rank for on Google.

Amazon uses long-tail keywords to make 57% of their sales. Amazon is a huge company with deep pockets for SEO, but we can still learn from their overall strategy. Instead of fighting over the same general keywords as your biggest industry competitor target specific long-tail keywords. These are more relevant, less competitive and have a higher rate of success. Long-tail keywords are usually more affordable, too, which is especially helpful when planning your next PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign.

DO SOME ON-PAGE SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

Making sure website visitors understand exactly who you are and what you're selling is absolutely essential. Relevancy is everything. The Google ranking formula functions in a very similar way.

While their exact algorithm is proprietary information, Google has shared quite a bit about the fundamentals of search. Their crawlers, or spiders, analyze your website structure and content (among many other factors) to determine how it ranks. Your website should be easy for Google to scan and index, without sacrificing its overall aesthetic or usability.
 
Google's spiders are smarter than you think, so your content needs to be legitimate and authentic. Avoid "keyword stuffing" -- intentional keyword saturation to try and manipulate search ranking -- at all costs. Be warned: this black-hat practice can work in reverse and actually lower your ranking!
 
Instead, use keywords appropriately and within context. Keep it real with content that's relevant and relatable, not stilted and robotic. Make sure all on-page content -- titles, headlines, descriptions of your products, services, etc. -- are in-line with your information and message architecture. When you strike the right balance between UX (User Experience) and on-page SEO Google will take notice and reward your site accordingly.

Rank First Page of Google | Ironmark - Annapolis Junction, MD

mobilIZE!

More than 60% of all online searches comes from handheld devices. Because of this seismic shift in user behavior, Google changed it’s ranking criteria and now gives preference to mobile-friendly websites. If you want to boost your position in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you need to think mobile-first, too.

There are two 'techie' terms to remember for a mobile-first website: Progressive Enhancement and Responsive Development. With Progressive Enhancement the website strategy and design starts with mobile platforms and works its way up to larger (desktop) screens. Responsive websites scale information proportionately, ensuring a seamless user experience regardless of device.
 
The speed of your website is also a critical factor. In today's frenetic world users just won't wait around for information, so fast load-times are essential. Google offers free tools to check your site’s performance, and even provides suggestions on how to improve. These recommendations are often highly technical, and beyond a do-it-yourself scope, so you’ll likely want to talk to an expert. Our Web Development team can review your current site, make the necessary improvements, or help plan a redevelopment strategy.

Build relationships for referral traffic

Traffic volume is key to your Google ranking, but trying to get organic traffic is not easy. Why not leverage another's audience to grow your own? One way to do this is by networking and building meaningful relationships with influencers in your niche.

So, what’s an 'influencer'? Basically, they're respected industry experts, who can help sway an audience’s purchasing behavior. Bloggers and YouTubers are two good examples. Share their articles on your company’s social media accounts, comment on their posts, and mention them in your content - they may return the favor. If you’re at the head of the class you might even dip your toes into an influencer campaign.

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Final thoughts

These tips are just the beginning; you really need a dedicated digital marketing team that knows this stuff inside and out. You're busy running your business - let us work to improve your Google rankings. Get in touch today to get started! 

Written by Katina Charles

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