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How To Rank Higher On Google – The Ultimate Guide

How To Rank Higher On Google – The Ultimate Guide

Let’s face it: if you’re not found on Google’s first page, you’re as good as invisible online. That is because about 92% of all traffic goes to websites appearing in the first SERP. So, if you are not there, nobody is seeing your site.

Now, think about yourself briefly; how often do you click to see other pages on search results? Someone can only do this when researching or trying to cover every possible angle. But for the most part, no one has that kind of attention span.

So what should be done? The bottom line is this: You need top rankings on page one — ideally within three positions from the very top — otherwise, you won’t receive meaningful amounts of organic traffic from Google. That’s it. The difference between numbers one and five in CTR percentages will shock you.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that ranking high in Google search results should be among your top priorities when running an online business. Just so we’re clear, this isn’t something nice to have but rather need-to-have. Get ready to take many notes and step up your game with SEO!

Understand Google's Perspective 

Google Helpful Content Update

You must understand how Google sees the world to beat your competition. Consider yourself in their shoes (or algorithms) for a moment.

Google’s top priority is showing the best possible results for any search query. They want to connect people with the most relevant and highest-quality content or services. This is how they remain the number one search engine that everybody uses.

We would all go somewhere else if Google’s results sucked. Therefore, they’re obsessed with relevance, quality and user experience. Their sophisticated algorithms evaluate hundreds of factors to decide which pages should rank higher than others.

Some key points include:

  1. Quality of content and relevance of keywords used
  2. Website authority and reputation
  3. User experiences such as loading speed or mobile-friendliness, etc;
  4. Natural link profile

In essence, Google wants your page to be among the best resources for that particular keyword phrase. They need authoritative, trustworthy, high-quality pages deserving more comprehensive attention.

Google Cares About User Signals

However, it’s not just about what is inputted onto a website but also accurate user data and signals like:

  1. Bounce rate (do people quickly leave your page?)
  2. Time spent on page
  3. Number of pages visited during session duration/length, etc;
  4. Repeat visits/traffic over a time frame, e.g. monthly quarter, annually ;
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If every time someone lands on one of your pages from a search result, they immediately click back to Google, that tells them a lot about whether or not this was helpful information or if there might be something wrong with either our algorithmic approach towards ranking such material highly within SERPs alongside other similar type pieces where appropriate – Onsite elements matter too!

Optimise Content For Target Keywords (With Examples) 

What Is The Optimal Keyword Density For Web Content

Okay, let's dive into the nitty-gritty tactics to help you rank higher. First, identify your most valuable target keywords and optimise pages around them.

For instance, let’s consider a fictional house painting company in Seattle.

Here are some excellent target keywords:

  • “House Painting Services Seattle”
  • “interior house painters near me”
  • “exterior house painting company”

For each of these keywords, you’ll want to create a dedicated page that is hyper-relevant and uses that exact keyword phrase a few times in strategic locations such as:

Title Tag

H1 Heading: Best House Painting Services in Seattle

Body Content

“Looking for reliable house painting services in Seattle? ABC Painters has been the city's top-rated painting company since 2010…”

It would be best to use related keywords a few times, such as “interior house painting,” “exterior house painters,” etc. But be careful not to overdo it – keyword stuffing looks highly unnatural.

Image Optimisation

Optimising images is another quick win:

Utilise H2 and H3 Subheadings

Breaking up your content into sections with properly optimised H2 and H3 subheadings makes it much easier for Google to understand your page structure and the relative importance of critical topics.

Here is an example outline:

  • H2: Our Seattle House Painting Services 
  • H3: Interior House Painting 
  • H3: Exterior House Painting 
  • H3: Cabinet Refinishing
  • H2: About ABC Painters 
  • H3: Our Mission 
  • H3: Meet The Team
  • H2: Service Areas…

And so on. Structure your content logically and use your target keyword in a few headers.

Craft Unique, Value-Driven Content

And now, for the most crucial part – the actual quality and uniqueness of your page content. You can’t just slap together some generic descriptions and expect to rank.

Google wants long-form, unique content that provides real value to readers. That could mean in-depth tutorials, guides, comparisons – whatever format you choose – as long as it’s high-quality and not just fluff or rehashed from other sites.

For our house painting example, you would want content covering things like:

  • Interior and exterior painting process and best practices
  • How to choose colours and paint types
  • Examples of your best work with images
  • Unique services or specialities you offer
  • Customer testimonials and why clients love you
  • Answers to frequently asked questions

The more comprehensive you can be on your topic while adding a unique perspective or angle, the better. Thin, generic pages just won’t cut it for competitive keywords.

Optimise For User Experience 

Why User Experience Matters In Marketing

Even though it is essential to have good content, you should also ensure that the user experience provided by your website is excellent and meets Google’s requirements. Here are some areas to concentrate on:

Website Loading Speed 

Quick-loading websites are ranked highly by Google. You can use PageSpeed Insights to discover what slows down your site and fix it. This includes things such as:

  1. Compressing images
  2. Minifying code
  3. Using a content delivery network (CDN)
  4. Caching resources
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You should aim for under 2 seconds of load time, especially for mobiles.

Mobile-Friendly Design 

Since over half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, Google wants sites to be built with mobile optimisation and responsiveness in mind. Run a Mobile-Friendly Test and make necessary design changes.

Fix Broken Links & Other Issues 

A messy experience irritates Google. Use a crawler like Screaming Frog to find broken links, missing images, redirect problems and any other user experience issues – then fix them.

Secure Your Site With HTTPS 

SSL certificates don’t only apply to e-commerce websites. All things being equal, Google will favour secure sites over non-secure ones when ranking them. Install an SSL certificate so that users see the green lock in their browsers.

Enable AMP For Better Mobile Experience 

Depending on your content type (e.g., blog posts or news articles), Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) might improve its performance on mobile devices. With AMP, pages load almost instantly.

While none of these UX factors alone will shoot you up to #1 ranking status, they help enhance overall quality assessment by Google towards a user-friendly website for better SEO results. Don’t underestimate the power of tiny changes!

Boost Your Website Authority 

Here's another huge Google ranking factor: authority. Generally speaking, websites and pages that are highly authoritative get prioritised over less established or trusted sources.

Accumulate More High-Quality Backlinks

One of the most significant signals of authority is your overall link profile, meaning the quantity and quality of websites linking to yours.

Sites that attract many editorial links from other respected, relevant websites get a significant authority boost in Google's algorithm. These links are seen as real endorsements for your content.

Some ways to earn more high-quality backlinks:

  • Guest posting on other industry sites
  • Creating exceptional content others want to link to
  • Reaching out for mentions from relevant bloggers
  • Listing your business on authoritative local citations
  • Building relationships with influencers in your niche

As you accumulate more links from authoritative sources over time, you'll find it easier to outrank lower-authority competitors.

Optimise Your On-Page Authority 

There are also on-page authority signals you can leverage, like:

  • Having a robust, multi-level navigation structure
  • Publishing a detailed “About” page
  • Having an active company blog with lots of content
  • Displaying author bios with credibility indicators

The more authoritative and trustworthy your website appears, the greater your chance of ranking well. This strategy will increase a positive signal to Google and make your website an authority that will eventually help you outrank your direct competitors.

Leverage Local Signals For Local SEO 

Local Seo Vs National Seo Campaign

You must optimise your website for local search results if you’re a business with physical locations or service areas. Almost half (46%) of all Google searches seek local information.

Claim & Verify Your Google Business Profile

Your Google Business Profile is among the most significant factors for ranking in Local Pack results (Google Maps). To optimise your listing:

  1. Add your business name, address, phone number
  2. Select relevant categories
  3. Upload high-quality images and virtual tour if applicable
  4. Pin accurate location on the map
  5. Get lots of positive reviews from customers
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Build Local Citations

Create and update listings on sites like Yelp, Facebook, YellowPages, etc., as well as niche directories related to your industry. This signals to Google that your online information is consistent and up-to-date.

Localise Your Content Strategy

Use this guide to create city-specific pages on your site if you serve multiple locations/regions. For each location:

  • Write about area-specific topics: “Top 10 House Paint Colors in Seattle for 2024”
  • Use localised keywords naturally throughout your copy — include the name of the city where appropriate (“plumber in Boise”)
  • Feature neighbourhood/suburb names when applicable (use Google’s autocomplete dropdowns or keyword research tools like Moz Keyword Explorer)
  • Include maps, landmark photos, and other relevant multimedia

Focus On Hyper-Local Link Building

Instead of general SEO tips for link building, I’m going to show you five specific link strategies that work best for local search:

  • Sponsor a local sports team or charity event and earn a backlink from their website (if they don’t already link out to businesses who sponsor them)
  • Host a community event or class that naturally attracts links from attendees’ blogs/social media profiles/etc.
  • Contribute guest posts to neighbourhood/city blogs — offer topic ideas like “Things out-of-town guests should do in [your city].”
  • Partner with other local businesses and ask if you can contribute a guest post to their blog or vice versa
  • Contact local news/journalism organisations and offer expert tips/interviews on your industry’s latest news — they’re always looking for local experts to feature!

Develop A Keyword Content Strategy

Another key tactic is developing a comprehensive keyword content strategy. This involves:

  • Thorough keyword research to identify valuable targets
  • Mapping out an organised content plan and priorities
  • Creating detailed briefs and guidelines per page
  • Producing the specified content assets
  • Promoting each new page for initial traction

Consistency is vital – you'll want to publish fresh, SEO-optimised content on an ongoing basis continuously. This could include:

  • Service or product pages
  • Blog posts
  • Guides and e-books
  • Videos and multimedia
  • Guest posts and more

A robust library of topically organised, highly relevant content helps cast a wider SEO net. It allows you to rank for many valuable keywords, driving sustainable organic traffic over time.

Video & Multimedia Content 

Remember to consider video, images, and other multimedia content formats. They are a significant opportunity to rank on Google's media-specific sections:

  • Google Images
  • Google Videos
  • Featured Snippets
  • Knowledge Panels

Ranking here puts your brand front and centre for visibility and traffic. Video content is compelling; over 80% of internet traffic will be video by Q4 2024.

Utilise On-Page Optimisation Best Practices 

On-Page Seo Checklist

Beyond targeting specific keywords on each page, there are some broader on-page optimisation best practices to follow:

Internal Linking Structure 

Linking relevant, keyword-rich anchor text between your pages helps Google better understand your content hierarchy and relationships.

An organised internal linking structure is a built-in roadmap for Google's crawlers.

Image Optimisation 

As mentioned, optimise all images with your target keyword in the file name, alt text and surrounding context.

You can also utilise descriptive captions and consider uploading an XML image sitemap to help Google discover all of your pictures.

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Schema Markup 

Applying schema-structured data markup to your HTML can help you achieve rich snippet listings and enhanced visibility.

All content has schema types, from recipes to events, product data, reviews, and more.

Optimise For Search Intent 

It's not just about keywords; you must map your content to the user intent behind searches.

For example, searches with words like:

  • “How” = Informational/Educational intent
  • “Best” = Commercial investigation/Comparison intent
  • “Where to buy” = Transactional intent

Customise your content approach and calls-to-action based on the primary search intent you're targeting.

Monitor & Improve With Analytics 

Optimising for higher rankings is an ongoing process, not a one-time thing. You'll need to consistently:

  • Monitor your positions in the Google Search Console
  • Analyse engagement metrics in Google Analytics
  • Identify areas for improvement based on user signals

Maybe your pages have a high bounce rate or low average time on the page. Or specific keywords aren't getting any impressions or clicks at all.

Use this data to spot potential issues, test new optimisations, and iterate over time. The sites that put in continual work and evolve with searcher behaviour are the ones that maintain their rankings long-term.

Consider Paid Search Support. 

While SEO should be the primary focus, remember to complement your organic efforts with paid search campaigns. PPC ads instantly put you at the top of results, driving an influx of targeted traffic.

For highly competitive terms where it's difficult to rank organically right away, running paid search ads creates visibility and leads while your SEO ramps up.

Mobile-First Indexing & Page Experience 

Mobile App Design User Needs

Google has moved to “mobile-first indexing” as mobile usage increases yearly. In this case, they crawl and index the mobile version of your site first.

Core Web Vitals

The new Page Experience algorithm update that Google released focuses on Core Web Vitals during the mobile-first transition, and these include:

  • Loading performance (Largest Contentful Paint)
  • Interactivity (First Input Delay)
  • Visual stability (Cumulative Layout Shift)

Pages with low mobile usability deliver a poor user experience because they are slow and clunky to navigate.

However, optimising these page experience metrics directly is necessary beyond just being mobile-friendly.

Mobile Usability Guidelines

Here are some other guidelines for ensuring good mobile usability:

  • Have enough space between tap targets so users don't accidentally tap the wrong one.
  • Use responsive design; avoid using pinch-zoom
  • Optimise font sizes for legibility on mobile screens
  • Avoid intrusive interstitials/popups, which can cover the main content or be hard to dismiss on smaller devices

More searches are happening on smartphones and tablets now than desktop computers, so if you want your website ranked higher in Google search results, ensure it offers a seamless browsing experience across all platforms.

Conclusion 

As you can see, many interconnected tactics are involved in ranking higher on Google's search results pages. It requires a multi-pronged, holistic approach with no natural shortcuts.

From building high-quality content optimised for target keywords to accumulating authority through high-quality backlinks to prioritising a flawless user experience – the top-ranking sites earn it.

Consistent effort over time is the key. It would help if you remembered your SEO. Top-ranking sites consistently publish fresh content, iterate on performance optimisations, and amplify their authority signals.

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If you put in the hard work, over-deliver on quality and relevance at every opportunity, and diligently track and improve based on data – higher rankings and increased organic traffic will follow.

Stay committed to the process and keep searchers your #1 priority. Google will recognise and reward your efforts.

How to Rank Higher on Google (FAQs)

How long does it take for a website to rank at the top of Google?

There is no correct answer. However, most search engine optimisations agree that you need at least six months of consistent work before seeing any real improvements on very competitive terms. However, SEO is not a short-term process.

Which ranking signal matters the most?

Although many factors can influence rankings across different search engines, industry insiders widely believe that authority created through backlinks and brand signals jointly with good quality content optimised around keywords stands out as the most significant.

Should I concentrate on desktop or mobile optimisation?

It’s essential to focus more on giving users great experiences when they visit your site via mobile phones since this is also what Google uses for indexing and ranking sites. You should also measure performance based on mobile devices, too, now that there has been such an update from Google.

What keyword difficulty should I aim for?

In general terms, lower values (below 30) indicate less competitiveness and higher chances of success when starting, while anything above 60 requires having strong authority unless the content is exceptional.

How do I check where my website ranks right now?

The easiest way to do this is using a rank-tracking tool like SEM Rush, Pro Rank Tracker, or Rank Ranger. Alternatively, you could manually spot-check rankings in an incognito browser window.

Are SEO tools worth paying for?

They aren't necessary, but having an SEO tool suite can significantly speed up your work and provide invaluable information about your pages, rankings, and competitor analysis, among other things. Examples of some popular ones include Ahrefs, Moz, SEMrush, etc…

Should I hire an agency or consultant for my business needs?

This will largely depend on how much money you can afford to spend within what timeframe as well as whether or not there exists willingness within your organisation’s workforce towards taking such tasks up themselves. Agencies deliver quicker results but cost more, while consulting offers expert guidance at lower rates.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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