How to rank #1 on Google: The 2021 guide
SEO or search engine optimization is a process of accumulating strategies and techniques to gain more visitors to your website by ranking it higher. Over the past few years, it has become a vital part of digital marketing strategy. But many people still struggle to rank their website on search engine result pages. Ranking high on google search engine results can be an easy task if you understand what it takes to rank in 2021.
In this blog, we will be discussing the importance of SEO and understand the key concepts of SEO required to rank your website higher. So let’s begin.
During this global pandemic, the number of people searching for products and services online has increased drastically. This has created a great urgency for businesses to improve their online visibility and appearance. Recent analytical data shows that almost 90% of people search for products and services online. Amongst these only 15% of people will be eager or visit the second search engine page the rest 75% of people never go beyond the first page. Moreover, maximum people will land upon only the first three results visible on the page. Hence, the higher and earlier your website ranks on the SERP (search engine result page) the more traffic it is likely to get. Search engine optimization provides the following benefits to your business.
1. Generates web traffic
Search engines are the virtual highways through which the majority of traffic flows and finds its destination. According to the stats, the first five results on the search engines get 75% of the total online traffic. Out of which 33% of the clicks go to the first page.
As increased web traffic is one of your major goals when you design your website, SEO helps you achieve it eventually by ranking your website higher and improving its visibility on the search engines. The more efforts you put into your SEO, the higher your website ranks and thus improves your site visibility. This in turn results in a greater number of organic traffic visiting your website.
2. It creates a better user experience
Another reason that makes SEO critical for your website is that it provides a great user experience. The time you invest in optimizing your site makes it responsive which means it is accessible even on devices like mobile and laptop which eventually increases its reach, increases your page loading speed, and provides high-quality content.
These all factor improves the usability of your site and creates a seamless and positive user experience that in return reduces your bounce rate.
3. SEO provides long term benefits
SEO is all about gaining trust from the search engines and this goal is achieved by consistent output over time. As your website is visible you eventually keep getting organic traffic without further efforts.
These points prove that why a good SEO is important for your digital presence.
For websites and businesses to gain these benefits a properly done SEO is a must. Rather there is a risk of your site being lost in other search engine pages. So let us understand the important optimization factors to be an SEO expert.
1. Website architecture for SEO
Being an SEO expert, you should be aware of the fact that website design can impact your business. So, site architecture is one of the first things you need to work on to make it perfect for search engine crawlers. Before we talk about the optimization of website design, it is important to remember that the websites don't look the same to us as they look to the search engines. So while designing your website skeleton you need to think according to the search engine’s perspective. You need to consider the following points while planning and designing your website.
2. Website structure
Website structure refers to how you set up or organize your website and how the pages on your site relate to one another. As the website structure is the framework of your website, it is important to sort it out from the start.
A badly constructed website structure is confusing for the user as well as not good for SEO. Moreover, Google cares about the website structure so keep it simple and easy for Google crawler to understand. There are three site structures:
- Flat site structure
- Pyramidal structure
- Fluid site architecture
A pyramidal structure is considered to be the most efficient for SEO than the other structures. This structure consists of three tiers; the homepage is at the top which the most important pages of your website. It is then followed by the next important pages that you see in your website’s menu, mainly the About us page, services page, and few more main categories. The last tier includes any relevant subcategories that you have defined under your main categories.
Moreover, make your website SEO-friendly by building a website hierarchy. A site hierarchy looks similar to a pyramid. Make sure to keep your site hierarchy as simple and straightforward as possible. Start your website hierarchy with your main home page then the next step is to define your primary categories. Then you can define your relevant subcategories under your main categories.
Creating a site hierarchy will help you clarify what you want your website to like and how should it be organized. This practice is crucial for on-site SEO as this will help you to organize your website and prioritize the most important pages considering their visibility on the site and make your website easily navigable for your users.
The most important thing you need to remember is that the ‘SEO juice’ flows from the main page to other pages eventually becoming thinner towards the pages farther away. So it is important to establish your cornerstone pages that are most important and you are willing to rank them on the search engine. Because the prominent links on your homepage are seen as most important by search engine algorithms.
3. Keyword incorporation
Another important point you should consider while building your site is the incorporation of proper keywords. After you are done with your basic structure, research for keywords according to your niche to incorporate them in the overall website.
Keywords play an important role while ranking your website and channeling a huge amount of website traffic. Targeting the right keywords will help you reach the right audience and increase your conversion rate. So, proper keyword research and strategic placement are important for SEO. Some of the keyword placing strategies are:
- Place your target keywords in the title tags
- Use keywords in the first 100 words
- Design a keyword-rich URL
4. SEO-friendly URL
After you are ready with your website skeleton begin with your URL structure that follows your website hierarchy. To make your URL SEO-friendly follow the following points.
- Make the use of relevant keyword that you want your page to rank for in your URL
- Use hyphens in the words as word separators in your URL
- Keep your URL short and sweet
- Stick with lowercase
Creating a sitemap helps the crawler to navigate all your pages easily. Make sure to create an XML sitemap and place it on your website. The other reason to provide a sitemap is that Google indexes a website with a sitemap faster than those websites without a site-map.
Optimizing site architecture is necessary for SEO as it makes your website attractive, easy and efficient for bots to crawl. Moreover, optimizing your website architecture helps the crawler to find and index, all the pages on the website.
6. Making the website secure
While searching on google you all must have encountered the terms, HTTP, and HTTPS. Well if many of you don’t know the difference between them. Then, let me tell you that the only difference between the two is that Google labels HTTPS as ‘secure’ while HTTP as ‘not secure’. As now Google uses HTTPS as a ranking signal, securing your website becomes essential. To secure your website, you need to obtain an SSL certificate from a trusted third party. When your website is recognized by the browser as secure, it will use this data to verify that your website is the same as it claims. This helps in building trust with the search engine browser. As getting this certificate is quite an involved process, it allows the ranking benefits.
Google always favours the trusted and secured sites while ranking. So it won’t be a surprise if I say that the websites with HTTPS in their URL will rank higher than those websites with HTTP. So you must secure your site as it contributes to the aspects considered while deciding the rank of your website. Moreover, HTTPS websites load faster than HTTP ones, this will be an added benefit for SEO as the website speed is one of the factors considered while ranking your website.
7. Mobile-friendly website
Developing a mobile-friendly website has become significant today as the number of mobile users has been increasing over the past few years. A recent study shows that the maximum searches are carried out on a mobile device rather than any other device. So if your website is not mobile-friendly, it won’t rank on mobile devices. As the main goal of SEO is to generate more organic traffic, you will end up losing many potential customers if your website is not mobile-friendly. Moreover, a mobile-friendly website matters for SEO as it one of the ranking signals in Google’s algorithm. A mobile-friendly website should prioritize mobile user experience. Consider the following points while developing your website.
- Avoid the use of plugins such as Flash, Java, or Silverlight as it won’t load for mobile users. Because most of the browsers don’t support these technologies. You can rather use HTML5 to add effect to your content.
- Your font size should be readable without zooming in.
- Make tap targets big enough with good padding and space to avoid accidental clicks. Considering touchscreens in mind, it should be considerably sizeable to be easily clickable by the thumb.
- Keep your navigation simple and easy for mobile users.
- Optimize your website speed to a maximum of three seconds. Because most of the mobile users will abandon a website taking longer than three seconds. So your website should be really fast.
8. Keyword research
Keyword research impacts every SEO task though it may be content writing, choosing content topics, website architecture, or on-page SEO. Hence you can say that keyword is the foundation of SEO. It is the first most important aspect of on-page SEO. If your data or content that you may be writing is not searched by anyone, then you won’t get any traffic on your website. Keyword research plays an important role here. Keywords are actually the language of the targeted audience mostly searched on Google. So choosing the right keywords for ranking your website becomes the most important task.
Before starting your keyword research you need to explore what your target audience is looking for. When you get the idea of what you need to provide or which queries you need to address that are relevant to your niche you can proceed with your keyword research. Begin with your competitor’s analysis and check for which keywords are they ranking for. You will probably get an idea of which keywords to choose for your niche. Or you can also use keyword research tool like Google keyword planner and pick the most searched keywords. In addition to search volume, choose the keywords that have low competition as it will increase the chances of your website ranking higher.
9. Creating a valuable and high-quality content
As the slang says ‘content is the king’, no website can prosper without good content. According to the latest Google algorithms, SEO now revolves around the user, so it is important to create good user-friendly content. Creating readable and outstanding content will attract users which will eventually assure your website’s value to the search engines. Hence a good content plays a major role while ranking your websites and it is an essential element of on-page SEO.
For creating SEO-friendly content or to write a blog you need to first understand what your audience wants? Accordingly, you can select the topic of your content that is appealing to your target audience and of their interest. Create a good and impactful headline with your main keywords as you only have a few words to create a big impression. A good headline is always captivating for the users and can result in viewers visiting your page. Make sure to use relevant key phrases in your headline as well as throughout your content. But be sensible while doing so as spamming too many keywords without any relevancy would reduce your content’s quality. Be sure that your content must be unique and relevant to the topic. Make your it attractive and efficient to the users by incorporating appropriate images or infographics in your post.
After you are done with writing your content, still there is a high risk of your content getting lost, even if it is of high quality. Hence, you need to optimize your content structure. Break it into smaller paragraphs with headlines to make it easily readable for the users. This will help to keep your viewers engaged with your post. Make the use of proper tags for your headlines such as H1 for your main headline and H2 or H3 for sub-headlines. A well-structured article provides a great user experience as well as user engagement. This will eventually help in ranking your site higher.
10. Image optimization
Image optimization is one of the building blocks of on-page SEO. Images are a strong visual component of a web page as well as a great way to make your content appealing. But they will be only useful if optimized properly. For optimizing an image, you should remember the following points.
- Choose images that are relevant to your content. If you are writing content about the best shoe brands in the world, an image of a tie won’t do any good. You better upload a shoe image there.
- Make sure that your image resolution is high as search engines prefer high-resolution images. Moreover, high-resolution images don’t get distorted while loading on web pages.
- Add an alt tag to your image. As search engines are unable to read the images and videos adding an Alt tag will help them to understand that there is an image placed there as well as information about the topic of the image.
- Compress the size of the image before uploading it because image size contributes to the loading time of the page. Reducing the image size will improve the speed of your page and help it load fast.
- Add a good and SEO-friendly caption to the image.
11. Creating high-quality backlinks
Creating or building quality backlinks is still the most effective way of ranking your website. It is an important aspect of off-page SEO. Backlinks are considered as votes by the search engine and they serve as proof that you have good quality content. There are many strategies to create backlinks some of them are listed below.
- Reach out and start offering positive testimonials in your niche. You can publish this testimonial with a link back to your site.
- Crowdfunding is another link-building strategy. A business that is raising funds through crowdfunding will provide the link of all its contributors.
- Reach out to other bloggers of your niche for link opportunities through email. This is the most efficient strategy as links created through this strategy are high-quality links.
- Directory submission is another good strategy you can use. Submit your website URL and details to directory submission sites. It will help in enhancing the process of link building.
A website is very crucial for your business recognition, conversion rate, great ROI, and overall success of your business. But it will provide the desired results only if it is able to reach a broader audience. So, optimizing your site for SEO becomes important to be able to reach those millions of people searching for relevant services like yours.
We hope that this guide has helped you a lot in understanding why it is essential to rank on Google and what steps you need to take for ranking your website higher on Google. With all the factors listed above optimizing your website for SEO can prove to be a laborious task. So, you can always hire a good SEO Company that provides great SEO services with proper planning and execution to yield long-term benefits.