The Business Owner’s Guide: 5 Steps for Better Rankings

If you read Part 1 of this article series, then you know Google is the most important search engine since they control the vast majority of the search market. You also know that Google’s algorithm uses at least 200 factors to determine where your web pages will appear in the search engine results. Two hundred factors – that’s a bit mindboggling and overwhelming, dontcha think? The good news is these 200 factors aren’t given equal weight. And that means that if you focus on a core set of important factors, you can get some pretty good rankings for your small business – including some of the coveted Page 1 spots. Here are five steps you can take to boost your rankings based on some of the more important factors…

Step 1: Do Your Keyword Research

The first thing you need to do is find out the exact keywords your market is typing into the search engines. You see, a lot of small business owners just guess what their market is searching for, and then they’re happy when they rank of the keywords that they just made up. Take this as an example: I can guarantee you #1 rankings for the search term, “purple polka dotted bumblebees on parade.” Big whoop. No one is searching for that term, so it makes no sense to try to rank for it. What’s more, it’s not even relevant to your site. So that’s why you want to find out exactly what search terms your market is using today to find products, services and information in your niche. To do that, you can use a keyword tool like WordTracker.com, or even the free keyword tool that you’ll find inside the Google AdWords dashboard. Next, type in a broad search term related to your business (such as “golf” or “Phoenix doctor”), and the tool will give you a list of the top keywords people are using right now in the search engines. HINT: It’s extremely hard to rank for an ultra competitive word like “golf.” You’ll get better rankings and much more targeted traffic if you focus on the longtail keywords like “best golf courses in Mesa.” I bet your search for a broad term will return a lot of results.There are just a ton of possibilities, right? That’s why so many small business owners hire SEO experts to perform the keyword research, as these experts know which keywords to choose. Next step…

Step 2: Optimize Your Site for These Keywords

Now either you or your search engine optimization experts need to figure out which keywords best match the various pages of your website. You can also create custom-content around these specific keywords. But heads up – don’t stuff your page full of keywords, because nothing will get you penalized or banned faster from Google than acting like a spammer. So just sprinkle in your keywords at a rate of about 1% of the overall content. For example, if you have 100 words in a section, then work your keyword into the content once. Next step…

Step 3: Insert Page Title Tags

Every page of your site should have a page title tag. If you use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, then these tags are inserted automatically based on the title of your blog post. If you don’t use a CMS with automatic insertion, then you or your SEO expert will need to add titles manually. Whatever you type into the page title tag not only shows up at the top of your web page, it’s also displayed in the Google search results. This is important for two reasons: Next step…

Step 4: Link Internally

If you’ve been reading up on SEO, then you know people talk a lot about links. Usually they’re talking about external incoming links from high-quality, relevant websites. But linking internally is also a good practice that helps with your search engine optimization practices. Obviously, your navigation menus include internal links. However, it’s a good idea to include internal links whenever you have the opportunity, such as when you make a blog post and you refer to your “About” page, a product page, or even another blog post. HINT: Be smart with your anchor text, which are the words that create your link. Let Google know what the linked page is about by using relevant keywords as your anchor text. Whatever you do, don’t use the bland and irrelevant “click here” to create the link.

Step 5: Create a Sitemap

A sitemap lists every single page on your website and presents these links in an organized way. The SEO benefit for creating a sitemap is that you’re basically giving Google a document of all your pages so that the bots can follow the links and index every single one. It’s also a great feature for your visitors who want to get an overview of your site, or for those who’d rather click directly to a page (versus using a search box or clicking multiple links).

Conclusion

While Google uses 200 factors to determine how any specific page will rank in its search engine, some factors are given a heavier weight than others. If you follow the five steps above, you’ll be well on your way to getting better rankings. Once you see the traffic start coming in, you’ll want to further increase your rankings to get even more traffic. Plus you’ll want to get your site ranked for other relevant keywords. All of this can be time-consuming and even complex, as you need to keep ahead of Google’s fast-changing algorithms. That’s where the Phoenix SEO team at Hire a Wiz comes in. It’s our job to keep track of algorithm changes so that we can keep your site at the top of the search engines. Find out more about working with our Phoenix SEO team so you can get your SEO strategy on track today!