Today I'm going to show you exactly how to get better Google rankings for your website, but before I do…
So if you haven't got Google Analytics set up, head on over to Google Analytics here. (opens in new tab)
Because here's the deal:
You can only improve your Google rankings once you know your starting point.
So do that first, come back and we'll get into some powerful ways you can improve not just your website rankings in Google, but in Bing and Yahoo search engines too.
What we'll cover in this post:
- How to use a sitemap to tell Google your site exists
- How slow site speed effects rankings and how to speed up your site
- The key to better rankings – keywords
- Go after keywords with awesome content
- How to get people to share and comment and why it's important
1. Add a sitemap to tell Google your site exists
Sitemaps are important because they make it easier for search engines to find and crawl your site.
The best way to create a sitemap for your site is with the free All in One SEO plugin. They do all the behind the scenes work for you.
Once that's done (it only takes a few minutes) you need to add your new site map's URL to your Google Search Console so Google can start to sort and index your website. This is a foundational step to getting better Google rankings.
Don't worry if this all sounds a bit too techy, Wealthy Affiliate have created an easy to follow training video to walk you through this step by step. Click here to access the Getting Your Site Ready for SEO tutorial.
2. Test your website speed
Your website not ranking as highly as it should? It could be down to slow website loading speeds…
When someone lands on your website it should load immediately. We value our time more than anything else and so there's nothing more infuriating than a slow loading site.
According to a recent survey by Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Google is in the business of giving searches the best set of results as possible so if your website is too slow, most people will jump right off your page and onto another site that's quicker. This will leave you with a high bounce rate and a low average time spent on site – especially true with mobile.
[alert-note]“Your website speed is definitely one of the ranking factors in Google because it impacts the user experience. If you have a slow loading site, you're going to move down the SERPs in Google and other search engines.“
– Kyle @ Wealthy Affiliate [/alert-note]
And here's what Matt Cutts, former head of the Web Spam Team at Google has to say about website loading speed's effects on Google ranking:
How to test your website speed
Testing your website speed is simple – head on over to Google PageSpeed Insights and enter your website domain name. Here you'll see results for both desktop and mobile versions of your website.
Scored from 1 to 100, a score of 70+ is pretty good and a SiteSpeed of 80 or more is excellent.
A quick and easy way to increase your website speed
Large image files can have a huge effect on your website's loading time. Compressing these images without compromising your image quality is the best way to do this.
Quicker loading times = better user experience = better Google rankings.
The good news is, instead of manually compressing each and every image on your website, you can install the Ewww Image Optimizer plugin. It might take an hour or so to compress all your existing images first time round, but it will automatically compress images you upload automatically in the future.
Try testing your website before and after and see the difference it makes 😉
3. Target keywords with every post
Keyword research plays a vital part in getting your website ranked. But don't make the mistake of trying to squash your keyword into a post as many timesas you can into your post, this will not improve your Google ranking, actually the opposite.
Think about what people are typing into Google and match your titles and content with that. And not just any old keywords either, I'm talking about high traffic, low-competition keywords.
How do you find the best keywords for your website? By using keyword research tools like Jaxxy you can find out exactly how many searches a month a particular word phrase is searched for and how many competing pages show up in the search results.
Personally I always go for keyword with less than 300 competing pages and at least 50 monthly searches.
Only 50 searches a month??
Yes but when you think about it, 100 blog posts each targeting a specific keyword is a whole lot of rankings. At a minimum that's 5,000 visitors – free, organic and super-targeted traffic to your site each and every month.
How to use keywords in your blog posts
Lots of bloggers and website owners way overthink keywords and end up causing their website rankings to to go down instead of up. Some people think you have to squueze your chosen keywords into your post as many times as possible – they end up writing for search engines instead of writing with their readers in mind.
Let me give you an extreme example. My target keyword phrase for this blog post is ‘how to get better Google rankings‘. Here's the right way to use keywords in your blog posts, followed by the wrong way.
The right way to use keywords
The wrong way (Yes people actually still do this!)
Bottom line on keywords – use them in your blog post title, first paragraph then just write naturally with your readers in mind. This leads us very nicely into step 4…
4. Go after your keywords with awesome content
Awesome content focuses on answering your reader's questions in the most helpful way possible.
I never write a post less than 1,000 words. In fact I often write up to 5,000 words for one blog post. For example:
How To Start A Travel Blog And Get Paid – 4,766 words
(This post is 2,100 words.)
And I'm not writing to fill up space either – long content does not necessarily mean good content.
Google likes to rank websites that are full of unique and in-depth content that people find useful and interesting; content that really goes out of it's way to answer the questions searchers are asking.
But don't take my word for it, here's Alexi from the Google Search Quality Team talking about the factors Google looks at when ranking websites:
[alert-note]”As you build out your site, keep in mind that Google's goal is to serve high quality, relevant search results to users. So as long as you're trying to create the most value for your users, our goals are right in-line.”
– Alexi Douvas[/alert-note]
The best way to think about this is to ask yourself “Does this help my users?” because the truth is, the more helpful (high value) your content is, the higher it will rank in the search engines.
I've said it already but let me say it again: always write with your readers in mind. Share your top tips, the best of your expertise, be as generous as you can and you'll get better Google rankings as a result.
5. Encourage engagement on every post
Google loves to look at engagement stats when deciding how to rank your website because it helps them sort the high value websites from the nasty scammy ones.
They look at stats like:
- The length of time someone stays on your site
- The number of pages they visit
- How many social shares a particular post has
- How many comments a post has
- How many inbound links that page has (internally and externally)
Why? Because the best indicator of good content i.e. the type of content Google wants to rank, is how much people are engaging with it. You can view these websites at Google Analytics.
Let's say Website A and Website B are both competing for Google's top spot for the same keyword. Website A is a 500 word ‘cut and paste' job with little engagement and Website B is a 2,000 word insightful article with 20+ comments – which one would you rank higher?
So how do you increase engagement? Here's a few quick but effective changes you can make today and start seeing a difference:
1. Make it easy for your readers to share your content
See the beautful looking social sharing buttons at the bottom of this post? When readers like your content and think it may be useful to their social following, they click on those and send more traffic to my site. I use free social sharing buttons from MashShare.
Turn your readers into your biggest promoters by making it as easy as possible for them to share your content. If you haven't yet got social sharing buttons on your website, you could be missing out on a boatload of extra traffic and more importantly, higher Google rankings.
2. Ask for comments at the end of each post
It sounds stupid-simple because it is. But you'd be amazed at how many bloggers don't ask readers to comment and then wonder why they're not getting any comments. Asking a question at the end of a post is asking readers to interact with you and get involved in the discussion.
Here's a typical way I might end a blog post:
Receiving and replying to comments is a great way to increase engagement and your rankings as a result. Comments also count as content which Google can rank. (A friend of mine even ranked for an ‘accidental keyword' found in a reader's comment!)
Answering your reader's questions in the comments section also gives you opportunities to add relevant links to other posts within your website, increasing the number of internal links on your website (Google will like you for that for sure).
And as people often like to browse through comments after reading an article, it increases the average time on page – all strong signals to Google your post is worth rank highly.
Over to you
Google rankings are important, especially if your website is your online business. Higher Google rankings send more traffic to your site which means more money in your pocket at the end of the day.
Was this helpful? My hope is that you can take at least one thing from this post, apply it to your website today and start to see an immediate improvement in your website's rankings.
If you have any questions about anything we've just talked about or you have some insights to share, please do so in the comments below.
Is there something I missed that should be in this list? What do you think the single most important factor for getting better Google rankings?
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Simon Crowe is the founder of The Make Money Online Blog and is on a mission to help as many people as possible kiss their bosses goodbye.
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