Did you ever notice when you go to the grocery store to buy cereal, they put the most expensive and popular cereals right at eye level? Why do you think they do that? It’s because they know the brands you look at first are likely the ones you are going to buy.
Each and every person that is trying to sell a product or a service online is just like that box of cereal. It is up to you if your website is going to be at eye level, and easily found, or pushed in the back where individuals need to dig to find it.
So, how do you rank higher on Google and get your website in front of the most people?
Nearly everyone has a computer, tablet, smartphone, or laptop. Most of us use them every day, and we use an internet search as the first step to answer almost any questions we may have.
However, getting to the top spots on Google is no simple task. It is an incredibly competitive search engine, making up of 85% of all searches online and looking at more 200 signals for each website. In this post, we’ll share how to rank higher on Google by addressing the most important ranking factors.
Critical 2019 ranking factors and why they matter
Imagine a city that had no city planner to help design the roads. How easy would it be to get lost? Sometimes cities grow so fast, or do so much construction, that even when you are using a map on your phone you can still get lost.
It is very similar on Google. New pages and new content can easily cause visitors to your website to get lost.
Google wants your site architecture to make sense. It doesn’t want users like you and me to get lost. Having an organized, well thought-out plan on what pages you have and what your website will look like as it grows is critical to ranking well on Google.
Have you ever noticed in a URL that it no longer starts with “www”? Instead, it’s going to start with http or https. That final letter, the “s,” makes a big difference. This stands for secure.
A secure URL tells Google that what is included on your site is safe for the user and safe for indexing by Google.
Let’s say you were going online to buy some running shoes. You find a shoe brand you like, in a style that is perfect for you, but it only has a 1 out of 5 star review. Suddenly, you find yourself looking at another brand, all because of those reviews.
Google feels the same way you do. In fact, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend! Don’t worry, whether you have no reviews, or some bad reviews, Roadside can help you get all those 5-star reviews you have been missing.
What else can you do to rank higher on Google? Let’s continue exploring.
We mentioned earlier that Google has more than 200 signals that help it determine how sites will show up on its search engine. A huge signal for a site is how many links are pointing to it.
Each time someone links to your site, your blog, or something new you have posted, they are telling Google they like the content they are linking to. After all, would you ever link to a page you didn’t want others to read or look at? Of course not!
Now imagine you have two websites that are very similar, but one has 500 different people linking to it, and the other has only 3 people linking to it. Which one do you think Google will choose to rank higher? There are a variety of creative and often fun ways to generate links to your site.
You want to show Google you are an authority in your particular field. You will hear nearly all online marketers tell you that focused new content is how to rank higher on Google. Each time you create something new online, you are letting Google know you are an authority on the issue you are writing about.
Let’s take a closer look.
Imagine you have a dentist who has had his own practice for 25 years. Each month he writes a new article on dental health, treatment options, success cases, good habits, healthy diet, and so on.
How do you think Google would view his website? Most likely, he would be viewed as an authority in dental health for the area.
Now compare that to a dentist who has also been open for 25 years, but has never once updated his blog, and never once posted something new online, or shared a dental success story.
That site would be ranked lower on Google, and would be incredibly difficult to find. From this example, it’s easy to see why Google values new content over static websites.
Let’s dive deeper.
Proper use of keywords
In the past, Google would crawl your site for specific keywords. The more your site had those exact keywords on it, the higher you would rank for them. This led to ugly-looking sites that spammed the keyword they wanted to rank for.
Google’s desire is to return reliable search results, not spammy results. Today, Google isn’t looking for an exact match over and over. Now, Google’s algorithm is looking at the intent of the user searching the keywords.
Your keywords should be included properly on a page, followed by synonyms and real life examples of the keyword’s intent.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you are a dentist with a website. On that website, you have a page that talks about veneers, which is one of your top money-making services.
To best optimize that page for its topic, you could tell about the different options for veneers patients, how long they last, why someone should consider them, a rough cost, how long they have been in use by dentists, or recent breakthroughs in veneer technology.
By covering real concerns that a person searching for “veneers” might want addressed, you’re not spamming a single term, but instead providing quality content on a focused term.
But wait! There’s more!
Much of what we’ve discussed so far is easily seen as soon as you view a website. This is known as “on-page SEO.”
But there is much on a site that isn’t readily visible or apparent to the end user. These factors are known as “off-page SEO.”
Why does this matter?
Think of off-page SEO like the electrical wires in a house. You don’t see the wires, because they are carefully concealed in the walls, but you definitely know when one is not working. Google wants to make sure your website is one that is built with excellent inner workings of quality and organization.
Lets dig a little deeper.
Each page on your site needs a title tag. A title tag is what users see when your website shows up in a search result.
When you search for a topic, you receive a large list of possible sites in return. Each search result (the list of sites that is returned) contains a blue link for you to click on. These blue links are the title tag of your website or particular web page.
Think of your title tag as a headline on an old school newspaper classified ad. It should grab your potential visitors’ attention.
When it comes to off-page SEO, we’re just getting started.
A meta tag is needed as well. A meta tag is a brief description of what the page is about. Your meta tag or description will appear in Google search results underneath your clickable title tag as mentioned above.
The meta tag is the first bit of content most people will see before they ever click on your site. It should support and expand upon your title tag giving your readers an idea of what type of information they will find on your page. The goal of these two tags, both title and meta together, is to entice the reader to click on your site out of all the others in the list.
Image alt tags
Image alt text is another important tag. Google is getting better at deciphering what an image is, but it is better to simply tell Google exactly what the image is. A brief description telling Google about your photo can do a lot to help your page rank better.
Image alt text tags also address ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements for non-seeing web users. In addition to helping Google understand what your images are about, image alt tags are also read out loud via voice readers that are used by non-seeing web users.
Paying attention to your image alt tags will improve and enrich the user experience on your site for these individuals as well and provide greater value to Google.
Website load times
Do you ever get frustrated when you are behind a really slow car on the road? You look for ways to get past them so you can get on your way. We are much the same online. When we are on a site and it takes seemingly forever to load, many times we simply leave and go to another site.
Google can track how long your site takes to load. And, much like people, Google will rank a website higher if it has quicker loading speeds.
Large photos, uncompressed data, pop-ups, videos that automatically play, and many more issues can all cause a site to slow down and be penalized by Google.
How to rank higher on Google in 2019: Chat with Roadside!
Each year, search engines change how they rank sites (Google alone makes hundreds of changes to its algorithm yearly). But a site that is fast, informative, and easy-to-use will always be what they focus on.
So what’s the secret to ranking higher on Google?
Here at Roadside, we build high-performing dental websites paired with straightforward and successful marketing strategies.
No matter what changes show up online in the next few years, you can be confident Roadside is dedicated to staying ahead of the trends!
- Unsure if marketing is right for your practice? You’ll love this helpful guide.
- Want to see examples of how Roadside delivers on the stuff mentioned in this blog post? Check out our portfolio.
- Not sure where to start? Schedule time to chat with Angela and get our straightforward recommendations.