Step-by-Step SEO Guide to Improving Your Google Rankings
I used to think that Google rewarded sites that publish lots and lots of unique content. But I was wrong. Today, I know the truth. The truth is that Google doesn’t want you to publish content just for the sake of publishing content. In fact, a Google employee recently stated that they prefer websites that publish fewer high-quality pages. This quality over quantity approach is one of the secrets behind my blog’s success.
How can you find these technical SEO issues on your site? I recommend using the Raven tool Site Auditor or SEMrush’s Site Audit tool. They’ll crawl your site and let you know about technical problems that might be hurting your site’s SEO. Fortunately, Proven didn’t have too many technical SEO issues. That’s mostly due to the fact that we deleted so many zombie pages. Fewer pages equal to fewer problems. The only problems I could find were some missing ALT text on images and a handful of duplicate titles. Not a big deal but worth fixing. As expected Sean quickly took care of all these technical SEO problems. Now that we’ve fixed Proven.com’s technical problems, it was time to optimize their content. I probably don’t need to tell you that on-page SEO can make or break your site’s rankings. That’s why I dedicate an entire step of my SEO checklist to on-page SEO.
Google puts more weight on words that appear at the beginning of your content. So, it’s important that your keyword shows up there. I also sprinkled in a few LSI keywords like business tips. LSI keywords are terms that are closely related to your target keyword. When you include these LSI keywords in your content, you’ll get rankings to boost. In fact, my recent analysis of one million Google search results found that LSI keyword-rich content tended to outrank content that didn’t contain LSI keywords. So, how can you use LSI keywords to get higher rankings? Well, let’s say you just wrote an article about coffee. LSI keywords for coffee would be things like a mug, caffeine, and Starbucks. So, you want to make sure that you include those terms in your content. Our fourth step is to optimize your title and description tag for click-through rate. You probably already know that CTR is a huge ranking factor right now. Think about it, if people searching for a keyword click on your result more than others, it tells Google that you’re the best result for that keyword and you’ll rank higher in Google.
Proven Ways to Increase Your Google Rankings
In fact, a recently published Google research paper states that “Click-through read data has proven “to be a critical resource for improving “search ranking quality.” So, it’s clear that CTR is an important ranking signal. The question is, how can you optimize for it? Let me walk you through a real-life example. One of Sean’s best blog posts was a huge list of job boards. Considering how epic this content was, it should’ve been ranking in the top three. But, Sean’s page was stuck in the fifth spot. And I had a feeling that the page’s title and description were hurting it’s CTR and rankings. Here’s what I did to turn things around. First, I looked at the ad words ad that showed up when I searched for the best job boards and other related keywords. I noticed that almost every ad used a specific number. And none of the ads used the term niche talent. So, I changed the title tag of the post and description tag too. These changes boosted that page’s organic click-through rate by 64.1%. And Sean currently ranks in the top three for his target keyword. Now that I improved Sean’s click-through rate, it was time to optimize his site around another important ranking factor, dwell time. That’s what step number five is all about. So, what is dwell time? And how can you optimize for it? When someone searches for a keyword and clicks as a result, two things can happen. They can stay on your site for a long time or they quickly click away. The amount of time someone spends on your site is known as dwell time. As you might expect, the longer your dwell time, in general, the higher your page will rank in Google. Here’s what I did to quickly improve Sean’s dwell time. First, I moved Sean’s content up so it appeared at the top of the page.
You see, Proven used to have huge gaps that pushed their content below the fold like this. So, I cut this gap down by about 50%. Sean’s post also had giant images that pushed their content down even more. I made these images smaller so they took up less room. Next, I made Sean’s introductions more sticky. Here’s the deal. When someone comes to your site from Google, your intro makes them stick around or click away. In fact, intros are so important that I spend more time on my intros than my headlines. In Sean’s case, I noticed that his introductions weren’t formatted in a reader-friendly way. See how all that text is squished together? That’s really hard to read. So I formatted his intro so there was only one sentence per paragraph. I also cut out a few lines of text that weren’t compelling or interesting. Overall, these tweaks boosted that page’s dwell time by 12.23%. Not too shabby. Okay, so our second to the last step is to improve your site’s loading speed.
Can make your site faster really improve your Google rankings? Definitely. In fact, our search engine ranking factor study found that faster loading pages tended to outrank slow pages. Here’s how to quickly evaluate and improve your site’s loading speed. First, head over to Google PageSpeed Insights. Just enter your site into the tool and fix the problems that it tells you about. Next, check out GTMetrix. Just like Google’s tool, GTMetrix will show you potential issues with your page’s code. But, it also lets you know about server hosting problems that can slow down your site. For example, in Sean’s case, his images weren’t compressed. So, they took forever to load. And this single fix made a huge impact on his loading speed. Now that Sean’s site was optimized, error-free, and fast, it was time for the last step. Which is to publish a piece of content using the skyscraper technique. You probably already heard about the skyscraper technique. If you haven’t, here’s the deal. The skyscraper technique is where you find the best content in your industry and then create something way better.