If you have a website, then chances are you are aching to be on Google’s first search results page but given the number of websites and content around, that is a tough nut to crack! From established businesses to small business owners – everyone wants to show up on the first page because anything less than that is as good as non-existential.
Before we go on to HOW you can appear on the first page, let’s understand WHY you should aim to do so in the first place.
Did you know that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results? So, if you thought appearing on the second page would be good enough, well it clearly isn’t. Securing a spot on the first page increases your business’ visibility online, thereby leading to a rise in traffic and engagement. Another reason why you should make it to the first page is that it adds to your credibility. Google is like that boss everyone wants to impress – make it to the first page you have earned Google’s trust.
We bring you 7 ways you can appear on the first page of Google without spending a penny –
Your website URL needs to be clear and simple. If you are directing users to the ‘electronics’ page on your website, all your URL needs to have is your domain name followed by the target keyword which is ‘electronics’ in this case. Simple URLs give the message loud and clear and are more likely to get clicks.
Try to keep URLs devoid of any parameters. What are parameters you ask? Parameters refer to URLs that contain characters such as %, ?, timestamps, etc. and tend to impact the SEO performance of your website. Keep your URLs direct, short and ensure you maintain a unique URL for every page to avoid duplication.
Effective Meta Content
Meta content comprises a meta title and description and is meant to give the search engine more information about your website. The most effective meta titles are 30 – 65 characters long and meta descriptions are around 150 – 200 characters.
Make sure you strategically place the keyword in your meta title and description. While meta titles need to be concise and communicate the essence of the website, descriptions are slightly longer and need to summarize the page’s content and end with a call-to-action.
Don’t get lazy and ensure you allot unique meta titles and descriptions to every page on your website.
Keywords refer to the words or phrases customers use to search for information. The most crucial aspect of having a highly ranked website is the optimal use of the right keywords. No, it is not as easy as using keywords randomly for the sake of it. Google is smart – you need to strategically place the keywords on your title tags and website content to be effective.
You can use keyword research tools such as SEMRush or Google’s Keyword Planner to search for the perfect keywords for your website. Always maintain a list of keywords and update it regularly. Keywords are also of two types – short tail and a long tail. As the name suggests, short tail keywords are of 3 words or less while long tail is more than 3 words.
As long tail keywords are more specific, they don’t bring in the volume of traffic that short tail keywords bring in. That said, short tail keywords are very competitive as everyone ranks for them. Hence, it’s a better idea to use a good mix of both to optimize your website content.
At the end of the day, make sure you put together an interesting content piece because no number of keywords or lengthy articles will do the trick if your content is not informative and engaging enough.
Quality Link Building
Quality link building helps improve the domain authority of your website because links indicate to Google that your website is a trusted source.
Getting external websites to link to your pages is referred to as external link building. Being linked on credible external sites enhances your ranking and gets organic traffic to your page. At the same time, even you can link to other credible external sources, that add value to your page.
While one half of the story is getting external websites to link back to you, the other half is building internal links. As the name suggests, internal links refer to inserting links to other relevant pages on your own website. Even though external links have a greater impact on the ranking, having internal links is also essential as it helps boost the links juice of the pages and aids navigation.
A slow website can get very, very frustrating. Not only does it affect your user experience, but it also impacts your website’s SEO ranking which leads to lesser traffic. Choose a robust, SEO-friendly website host that does not slow your website. It is always recommended to opt for a dedicated server because the shared ones are likely to be busy and end up reducing your website speed.
Reducing the number of HTTP requests by cutting down on the number of images and unnecessary content also helps in increases your page speed. Remember to use the correct format and size of images on your website – JPEG is the best format to go for as it can be compressed to a small size.
Mobile Optimized Site
As per a report in 2017, 51.12% of web traffic came from mobiles – that’s right, mobiles have taken over the digital world. Moreover, with Google announcing a mobile-first indexing which means that rankings will be determined basis the quality of the mobile version of the site instead of the desktop version, it gives site owners enough and more reason to work towards a mobile-friendly website. If your website is not mobile-friendly, users won’t be able to view your site clearly which will lead to dropouts and a fall in page ranking.
The mobile-friendly design is one that makes the content on your page easily readable and delivers a seamless user experience. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check if your website is indeed optimized for mobiles.
SEO Optimized Images
We often tend to overlook the importance of optimizing images for SEO while focusing on the content of the website. Firstly, use images on your website – they are appealing and manage to grab the attention of readers. If you do not have original images, you can pick the best suited one from Flickr’s Creative Commons.
Remember to include the target keyword when you rename the file and reduce the image size while maintaining the image quality. Another important aspect is entering the alt text for your image which will appear if your image fails to load for any reason.
By keeping the above factors in mind, you can race up to Google’s first search results page. Google constantly updates its ranking algorithms so ensure you remain updated and relevant. Apart from these FREE ways to appear on Google’s first page, for a quicker turnaround, you can also run a pay-per-click campaign which requires you to bid on the target keywords and pay for every click you get.