How to rank for Google? You’ve probably noticed through your own Google searches that Google has gotten a lot more intelligent in the results it comes back with. And that has an impact on how your business is showing up online.
To get search engine optimisation to work for you now, you need to understand what Google is trying to achieve, and then play within those goal posts.
Do you remember the early days of the internet when conducting a search online meant trying your luck on multiple search engines (with Alta Vista (Wow! That’s a blast from the past!) usually being the safest option). And then having to wade through pages and pages of irrelevant content before you found (if you were lucky) what you were looking for?
Research was painful! As a writer, for me in the early days, researching an article involved reading through so much garbage before finding anything I could use. OK, it wasn’t as painful as getting out and going to the library – but it was close!
Then along came Google and changed the game completely. Suddenly searches didn’t take as long to conduct. A lot more of the search results were relevant and Google earned the right to become the go-to search engine for everything you wanted to know.
Knowing that the user experience was the number one KPI Google had to get right – that if it became unreliable in throwing back search results, the world would desert Google and the search engine would go the way of other search engines before it – Google is constantly adjusting the way it delivers its search results to give you, as the searcher, a GREAT experience
But what does that mean for you as a business wanting to be found?
How to rank for Google? Feed RankBrain. You need to start changing your thinking from optimising for Google to optimising for RankBrain – Google’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) implementation. Google has adopted machine learning to drive ever more accurate and highly personalised search results based on how you have used and continue to use the search engine.
That’s fantastic for the searcher. It’s not so fantastic for you as a business wanting to show up on searches!
There are three clear actions you need to take to make sure you come up in your customers’ search results:
Why are your customers looking for you? Are the keywords you are currently trying to rank for really going to serve you (and them). For example, if you sell accounting software, trying to rank for the keyword “best accounting software” is not going to get a flood of traffic to your site. Why? Well, think about it. If you are the customer and you type in “best accounting software”, you are going to want to find a page that offers a quick and easy comparison between all the good accounting software products on the market today. So your site, if listed as a search result, would just get by-passed by the searcher. You’re just another vendor claiming to be the best. It’s not what they are searching for. So that’s not what Google is going to deliver.
Google’s RankBrain now recognises a lot of the intent behind a search, so you may not be coming up in searches any longer when you used to. So how to rank for Google well? It’s just not that easy anymore.
But satisfy the “intent” of the search, and you’ll likely be found.
Here’s what comes up for me when I search the term “best accounting software”. I’ve just included a few here but in the actual list they were ALL review sites, giving me EXACTLY the information I’m looking for.
Food for thought, right?
In short, it’s no longer effective to find the most popular keyword and try to rank for it. So go take a look at your keyword strategy and take some time to research how you’re showing up. Then you’ll know how to rank for Google.
Now that you’ve got some better keywords to work on, it’s time to craft relevant content for them. If your content doesn’t solve the searcher’s problem, you aren’t going to rank for their search. Think about it. Why would Google send searchers to a page that doesn’t help them?
Quite simply, it won’t.
Ouch! Hurts, doesn’t it? But these are the cards we have to work with and complaining about it isn’t going to get you found either!
Here are some questions to consider:
Put up a blog – no it’s not optional! I can’t tell you how many companies have said to me, no we don’t want a blog. It’s not professional.
No? Well, make it so! You don’t have to call it a “blog”. It’s valuable educational content for your customers that positions you as a thought leader in your industry.
Who doesn’t want that?
Call it “Resources” or “Knowledge bank”, whatever you like. Just get new pages up on your site regularly.
The more frequently you post (of the right kind of content as mentioned above of course), the more you’ll be ranked. And that means more leads are being directed to your site. If you can do it daily, great! Just make sure the content is valuable to the searcher once they get to you. A boring block text blog of 700 words with no images or chunkable data does NOT make for a great reading experience and is not how to rank for Google. Give them what they want!
You need to writing long content. The longer the better. It’s a myth that 50 words is the ideal length for an article and longer won’t hold attention. If the content is RELEVANT they’ll read till they’ve got what they came looking to know. And that’s important when understanding how to rank for Google.
But let’s be clear here. Long for the sake of long, hoping to be ranked, also doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to be solving a problem. That’s how to rank for Google as well.
The content needs to be:
relevant, educational and actionable.
Walkthrough steps, tutorials and step-by-step instructions get Google’s attention.
As I mentioned, no one really knows how Google’s machinations work, but it’s a safe bet that as well as valuable long-form content, links are still key. Link between relevant articles in your blog site to enrich the reader experience, and send them out to external sites that also delivers great content relevant to the topic. Send traffic into your blog from your social media platforms too.
You need to know how to rank for Google by satisfying RankBrain.
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