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How to Get a Higher Rank on Google: a Simplified 5-Step Guide

SEO is something all marketing agencies strive to excel at, whether you’re located in Raleigh, like us here at Tortuga, or anywhere else in the world. Successful businesses can attribute a high rank on Google to more brand recognition and sales. In fact, results on the first page of a Google search get around 30% of all the clicks. The effort to climb up the ranks in SEO can be confusing and feel like a game of luck. It can also cause brands to make some mistakes with the intention of ranking higher, only to be knocked down even further in rank on Google.

1. Stay updated on how things rank on Google

You don’t need tons of luck to show up earlier in search results. A higher rank can be achieved with consistent and inventive strategies. The algorithm on Google is constantly evolving, so if you stay updated and evolve with it, the odds will sway in your favor. A great idea is to build a strategy for all your content that remains timeless through Google’s everyday changes, so that when the algorithm updates, your older content doesn’t get completely knocked down. It’s good to make sure you’re not cheating or using SEO strategies in poor taste – as the algorithm updates, pages that have higher rank for those reasons will definitely be pushed further and further down.

Of course, there’s no way to really know exactly how Google’s algorithm works at any given moment. The best we have is the guesses of professionals in the industry. However, when a major milestone happens, Google makes sure we know about it. Google has put out updates that prioritize mobile-friendly search results, take user location into account, guess intent behind searches, and eliminate spam. There are plenty of resources that keep track of all these milestones in rank on Google, and if you keep them in mind, you’ll be able to make better-informed SEO decisions.

2. Check for common SEO mistakes

There are plenty of mistakes that may apply to your existing content. Those mistakes could be harming your rank on Google. The first step to improving your ranking is by assessing it. Tools like Ubersuggest help you see where you stand when it comes to specific strings of keywords.

There are plenty of ways to help your existing content and its rank on Google. Make sure you know how to best optimize SEO on your individual pages. There are plenty of SEO plugins that can be applied to your web pages, helping you easily up your score.

Update your existing content often to keep good ranks. Google’s algorithm prioritizes content that is recent and relevant. If you keep your older content fresh while consistently posting new pages, you’ll be golden.

Make sure your site speed is in check. Slow load times have pushed even the biggest web pages down in rank on Google. People will leave pages that are simply not working!

If you’ve tried all the classic SEO tools to increase your rank, and nothing is working, check if you’ve been blacklisted, deindexed, or if you are having server problems. There’s a tool for that. If none are the case, that’s great! There’s still more work you can do to push your rank higher.

3. Get your clicks

On top of checking for mistakes, it’s important to organize your SEO analytics and keep track of the metrics that really matter.

The metric that matters most for Google rank is your click-through rate (CTR). Google’s algorithm loves content with a high CTR, since it means more people are flocking to that specific page. There are plenty of ways to improve your CTR, some being:

  • Using a cluster of keywords. The keyword cluster covers the many different queries users may be making. It’s a good idea to try and rank for a few relevant keywords.
How to increase your rank on Google by using keyword clusters
A keyword cluster is better than optimizing for one keyword.
  • Making your meta description count. While you’re optimizing your meta description, make sure it includes your primary keyword and is enticing for users.
Make your meta description appealing enough to earn a click.
  • Get the schema that puts you in Google’s “infoboxes”. Often, when you search for a particular topic, pages that utilize schema will appear as a carousel of pictures or a box with a little blurb of text. These are very likely to get clicks. Optimizing your structured data can earn you a spot in one of these infoboxes.

4. Keyword hunting 101

Keyword hunting is more than just picking strings of words that fit the content and are relatively popular. There are plenty of keyword tricks that can help you increase your rank on Google.

When setting up your SEO, think about transactional keywords. For example, you may be primarily using informational keywords, like “how to wash your dog at home”. Instead, focus on the transactional keywords that may attract people who are looking for an answer they can purchase, like “best at-home dog washing products”. 

Never optimize for something irrelevant to your content or use a keyword that feels clunky and unnatural in the text. Google is only getting smarter, and it can pinpoint keywords that stand alone and don’t have a variety of natural contexts within a piece of content.

While you may be using very relevant keywords, make sure they aren’t too vague, aren’t overused, and aren’t unpopular. Brainstorm the best keywords that are often searched and pertain to what you offer: what people can purchase or learn from you.

See what keywords your competitors are using. Keyword Explorer tools can help you find out what keywords your competitors are ranking in. If you take a look at their URLs for your target keyword, see what other keywords of the same theme that URL ranks lower in. Those low-competition keywords are going to be great to target as well.

5. What’s in the content?

Besides keywords, the content itself has a great influence over a page’s rank on Google. Your content should have quality and value, and never be made just for SEO’s sake. SEO is what you optimize for content that is already great! There are many ways to create content that is valuable and shareable:

  • Get inspired by an article that’s already doing great on Google, then do it better. Go deeper in research, use a more powerful headline, and/or make it more of an interactive multimedia experience. You will drive more traffic by one-upping the best of the best!
  • Make sure you’re mobile-friendly. Optimize your web design to look great on a mobile device!
  • Appeal to your local community. For example, we here at Tortuga are Raleigh-based. When it feels natural, we focus on Raleigh SEO and Raleigh-specific marketing. It’s important to get local!
  • Don’t aim for content that is too long. Of course, over the years, longer content has outperformed shorter content when it comes to SEO and rank on Google. However, the longer content only performs well when it’s highly informational, uses credible sources, and is not full of fluff. That content happens to be longer a lot of the time!
  • Link to your own content, as well as the relevant content of others. Make sure any related pages on your site are linked to each other. Links are more likely to be clicked when they are integrated with your content, like on text or photos as a hyperlink. Make sure the links you’re adding in your content do not lead to spam or inactive pages. There are plenty of tools to check your backlinks with.
  • Master the art of the category or hub page. This is broad content that can link back to many of your other pages. Don’t just list your posts – make sure every link serves a purpose and adds value to the content.
  • Create content that is a citable source for other content. Run your own studies and create your own data. This content is just naturally linkable!

Getting a higher rank on Google is a great way to build brand recognition and bring more success your way. With determination and information, that’s a goal that we can achieve! At Tortuga, we help you build your online presence, whether you’re looking for local Raleigh SEO, or broadening your horizons. Your brand is special – it’s about time that Google (and the rest of the world) knows it! 🐢

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