In this article, we'll teach you how to get your website to show up on the first page of Google for people searching for goods or services that you offer.
Often, people use Google as a way of finding the exact address of a website. This is not so helpful if people don't know the name of your website. Ideally, your website should show up when people are searching for goods or services you offer.
Why you need to aim for the first page of Google search results.
The advantages fo being on the first page of Google search are numerous, we'll name a few important ones in this section.
Most Traffic is on the first page
The first page of Google receives 42.13% of the traffic while the second page 11.9% and the 3rd 6%! Websites on the first page of Google, therefore, receive more business leads than any other page. Results after the 3rd page hardly get any traffic!
All the action is on the first page!
Drive brand awareness goals
For those who have some knowledge of the sales funnel, you know that nobody is going to buy from you if they don't know you. It sounds like a no brainer but surprisingly many people ignore this.
If you build your website and no one knows you, no one is going to visit your website. The cheapest way of building awareness for your goods and services is by showing up on the first page of search results when people are searching for goods or services you deal with.
Take for example a business dealing in farming products. Whenever it shows up in farming products related searches, people begin to notice. When the time comes to make a farming product purchase, this business will be among the options to inquire from.
Get a shot at your competitors' clients.
Statistically, One in 3 people buys from brands they never intend to buy from!
Being found on the first page of Google search puts you in a position to meet the needs of potential clients with real-time relevance, what we call micro-moments.
Micro-moments are critical touchpoints within today's consumer journey and when added together they determine how the journey ends.
Wining the micro-moment starts with being there. When you meet the needs of searchers at certain critical touchpoints, you put yourself in a position to win the client even if you weren't their first choice. This is part of the modern digital marketing strategy.
The challenge is that there are thousands of others creating this content yet Google only shows about 10 listings per page! I will show you how to overcome this challenge shortly.
How much does it cost to get on the first page of Google?
The answer to this question depends on the approach you intend to take.
- If you go the route of implementing the recommendations I am bout to layout yourself, it will cost you nothing but time.
- It will cost you money if you go the route of paid listings. I discuss this in the later sections.
- It may cost you a bit of money if you hire an SEO company such as ours to implement these recommendations for you.
How to show up on the first page of Google without paying a dime!
In the preceding sections, I am going to layout what goes into creating pages that make it to the first page of Google organically. You don't need to be a techie nerd to do this. the trick is 99% content! Yes, content is king!
How to create content that shows up on the first page of Google
Whether you are writing content for your home page, service page, or blog pages, these rules apply.
Focus on a single Keywords per article
You want to concentrate your efforts on searches that are relevant to your businesses. To do this, you need to select the keywords used by searchers in search phrases you want to rank for.
That will require you to know what your clients are searching for and how they are searching for it. If you are a business, then your keywords should be centered around the types of searches we discussed earlier.
Determine the keywords in these searches. Take for example a business that deals in selling sofa-sets. Examples of Relevant keywords for their content would be "sofa set ideas", "cleaning sofa sets", "sofa set repair" e.t.c.
Once you have keywords, then write articles focusing on a single keyword at a time. This means having your keyword present in your title, first paragraph, subtitles e.tc.
The keyword should be used in a natural manner, don't write un-natural sentences or grammatically incorrect statements just because you want to place a keyword. A good keyword density is 3%.
Pro tip: Write for humans and not search bots.
Being spammy with your keyword could get your article red-flagged for keyword spamming.
If your website is built on WordPress, using Yoast SEO plugin will help you determine if your keyword density is fine. You can also use the keyword density online tool to make sure you are within the optimum range.
Write articles that are relevant to your niche
It's not the number of articles, its the quality that matters. The articles you write should be concerning your business niche.
If you are in the shoe business, a great article about how to live with coronavirus won't help you at all and you are likely not going to rank for it based on Google's EAT updates.Y our articles should, therefore, all be in relation to your business niche.
Write Fresh and Original articles
Articles that are fresh and original always rank much more easily than similar articles that already exist in Google's database.
Being fresh and original often requires taking the time to do research. Many of the celebrated content writers who have entered competitive content spaces and dominated the first page of Google on low budgets did so with the power of new knowledge through research.
This doesn't have to be complex lab science research, but simple things such as human behavior revealed through surveys about your niche.
Add value to articles.
Research existing articles before you add yours to the pool of articles covering the same topic. Then fill the content gaps in yours. This could be done by breaking down complex ideas, using infographics, video e.t.c.
Google is intelligent enough to know a well-written article. Signals such as how long people stay on the web page in relation to the article length are one of the indicators on whether people are finding value in your article or not.
Other indicators of value that Google looks out for are positive social signals like engagement on social media. Articles with higher engagement are perceived to be of more value and these tend to make it to Google's first page.
Write exhaustive articles
Its no coincidence most articles on the first page of Google is 2000 words and over. Keep in mind, the length of the article won't matter if the content has no value.
Don't write for the sake of writing long pieces but write lengthy pieces rich in value.
Ultimately its humans who decide if your article ranks or not. If you write a long piece and people are jumping off on the first paragraph, you are going to have a high bounce rate and this will be a negative signal to Google that your content has no value thus down-ranking it.
Writing long pieces doesn't mean using lengthy words! Explain each point as briefly as possible but be exhaustive.
How to get the topics for your articles that Google loves
A trick that works for writing exhaustive articles that cover all relevant topics is to type your article keywords in Google search.
Google will provide search recommendations that you should consider for your subtitle lists.
This list is generated from the most popular user searches on Google and they are usually location-based. In effect, this is a cheat sheet for the type of topics users are searching for.
The recommendations being location biased is great for local businesses.
How to get topics for your articles targeting another country other than yours.
If you are writing an article to target users or traffic in a different country, then switch your Google location to that country. This can be done by telling Google your country differs from the one automatically detected in your Google search settings.
and get search recommendations from that area as we did in the previous section.
Alternatively, you can use a VPN or proxy and set yourself as being from another region. If Google.com shows you the home page of another country, you will know its working.
This way you will have topics that address the most searched for content for your keywords in that area.
External links are hyperlinks that reference data on any other website domain other than the one on which they live.
Linking to other websites is one way of providing value to your users. Links provide proof and reference to the user and thus increase the authenticity and credibility of your information.
You should be cautious of the links you link out to though. Linking to questionable websites or having links that have nothing to do with your content could be looked at as link spamming by Google's algorithms.
Guidelines good external links are:
- Link to reputable resources,
- They should be relevant to the article's subject.
- Provide value to your users.
When websites writing about content related to your niche link back to your content, Google views this as a positive signal that your content is valuable. In other words, this is a form of endorsement from other websites. The more endorsements you have, the better for ranking.
When Moz asked 150 marketers to rate several rank influencing factors, Linksbacks held the number two position! Here is a tutorial on how to go about attracting linkbacks for your content.
Avoid black hat search engine optimization practices like buying link-backs as this could get your site penalized and pushed out of the search results.
Google not only wants to deliver relevant information, but it also cares about the accuracy of the information being put out there. This is especially so for YMYL ( Your Money Your Life ) type of information.
YMYL type content has the potential to directly affect the quality of life of the reader. The impact could be health, happiness, or wealth. This was part of the EAT ( Expert Authority and Trustworthiness ) algorithm changes that were made in 2018.
To appear on the first page of Google for website content dealing in YMYL type of information, you ought to use authors that are experts in the field. The authors should appear on the articles with link backs to the full author bio pages.
Mind your spelling and grammar
He did point out that even though spelling and grammar are not official ranking signals, there is a direct correlation between websites on Google's first page and good spelling and grammar.
The reason for articles with good spelling and grammar ranking well could be due to user quality signals that Google does officially listen to. These provide for good user experience and users show appreciation by bookmarking these posts and sharing them.
Users lose trust if an article has incorrect spelling and grammar. Few will want to be associated with these articles and they are not likely to recommend them.
Most of us are imperfect, fortunately, there are tools like Grammarly that can help fix your spelling and grammar. Its also always a good idea to get someone to proofread your work.
Keep spam comments out
Spam comments can be an indication that a website has been abandoned and no-longer cared for.
Google considers a post or forum spammed if it has a high number of comments that are not related to the topic. This could get your page rated as a low-quality page and ultimately affect ranking.
Granted, social likes and shares are not a direct ranking factor for Google but the more your content is shared on social, the more linkbacks it gets. Link-backs are a direct ranking factor.
If you are want to show up on the first page of Google, not only should you share your content, but you should create content that entices its viewers to share it.
Research by OptinMonster about social media and SEO revealed that there is a high correlation between social signals and SEO.
The direct impact of social signals and SEO comes from positive actions taken by social platform users concerning your content e.g. number of likes, number of shares, number of retweets e.tc.
Avoid deceitful information or information that promotes crime.
Google is deliberately suppressing deceitful and harmful information. To show up on the first page of Google, you have to avoid this kind of content.
Its become a common practice for politicians to taint their opponents with false propaganda information. Google engineers are refining their algorithms to keep this kind of content out of reach from the public. It may rank for a while, but it definitely won't rank for long.
How to show up on the first page of Google for e-commerce websites
After the 2018 Google algorithm updates that focused on promoting content with good page quality ratings, Google released a dossier outlining page quality requirements for e-commerce websites that have a direct effect on ranking.
Have clear and satisfying website information
Display information about who is responsible for the content of the website. Required information includes displaying your physical location, contact address, phone number, about us page, customer service information e.t.c.
Use a secure website domain
A secure website domain would be one that uses HTTPS instead of HTTP. HTTPS ensures that data transferred over your website is encrypted using Transport Layer Security keeping user information like credit card data private.
e-commerce websites using HTTP may find it harder making it to Google's first page because of the insecure site experience.
Avoid distracting Ads
Pages with ads that destruct from or interrupt the use of the main content provider for poor user experience.
In Google's search quality Dosier, they mention that if you are using a pop-up ad, it should have a clear easy to use close or cancel button.
Avoid ads that require an app download to proceed or force users to accept notifications as they distract from the main content.
Ads with shocking, exaggerated, and disturbing titles also attract a low page quality signal which results in poor search rankings. Find an example here.
Add pages that demonstrate trustworthiness
Trustworthiness is a signal Google uses for ranking, especially for YAML websites. Therefore to show up on the first page of Google in the e-commerce category, you need to demonstrate trustworthiness by having the following pages.
- Terms and conditions page
- safety advice page if applicable
The pages should easily be accessible.
How long does it take to show up on the first page of Google
This is one question that we get asked a lot. The answer is it depends on what you are trying to rank for.
It also depends on the type of website, the keyword you are trying to rank for, the competitiveness of the keyword, the current site ranking for that keyword e.t.c
On average, for new sites, it takes 9-19 to show up on the first page of Google for competitive keywords and 1-4 months for non-competitive key works.
How to show up on the first page of Google search immediately
There are methods of showing up on the first page of Google much faster if all the above seems like its too much. In this section, we'll discuss two of them. Google My Business Listings and Paid Ads.
Google My Business Listings
Google My Business is a directory of local businesses run by Google. Google gives listings in this directory a special place when it comes to local business searches.
Because results from GMB consist of only local businesses nearest the searcher, the competition is much less and it's much easier to rank here.
Google my business always shows a local pack of 3 results whenever it registers local intent.
Granted, there could be some competition in your area, here is how to beat your competition and make it to the first 3 results in the local Google My Business listings pack.
- Claim and verify your Google My Business Profile
- Fill out all the fields of your listings.
- Provide images for your location, offices, and staff if possible.
- Get reviews and manage the negative ones professionally.
- Make Posts regularly
Using paid ads is the fastest way to show up on the first page of Google. This doesn't mean you should have sloppy content just because you are paying for ads.
As a matter of fact, you pay less if your content meets many of Google's quality standards we've mentioned above. Also, you stand to have higher conversions if you provide helpful content to your prospects.
Paid ads in search are native and are differentiated by an "ad" label.
Website structure that will get you to the first page of Google search
Now that you know how to write content that Google loves, the HTML structure of your website also plays a role in showing up on the first page of Google.
Use semantic HTML
Just like English has semantics, the programming language that is used to build web pages introduced semantics in HTML 5.
HTML5 semantic code is more structured and descriptive. Using Semantic HTML allows the web developer to point out to search engines which parts of the website are most important.
Search Engines are also able to tell the context of the content by reading semantic HTML
If you are using a more recent professional theme, you don't have to worry much about this as its already taken care of in the code.
The markup used to build your website should be valid as well. Non-developers can use this tool to check the validity of their website's HTML.
Good HTML structure will go a long way in helping you show up on the first page of Google. To learn more about HTML 5 Semantics, take a look at this tutorial.
Ensure your web pages load quickly
Google is big on page load speed. They understand that their users are in a hurry!
You may be using speedy broadband internet and unaware of how slow your website is. One of the tools that can help you understand the true load speed of your website is page speed insights.
Since July 2018, Google has been using page load speed as a ranking factor on both mobile and desktop. Therefore to show up on the first page of Google, you need to make sure your website pages load fast. If they don't, let us know, our developers will be able to help you fix this.
Page speed issues could also be caused by hosting. You may want to take a look at your hosting specifications as part of the debugging process.
That's it. Implementing the above recommendations will put you on the journey of not only showing up on the first page of Google but also making it to the number one spot of Google's search results.
Ayebare is the Chief Digital Strategists and co-founder Campaign.
He has more than 10 years of experience in the digital field.
He has worked with several fortune 500 companies worldwide in various Engineering and Website strategy disciplines.