Maybe you’re frustrated that your website’s not performing well in Google for searches you think it should take top spot for.
But your website isn’t even on the first page, never mind featuring in the top spot.
Here’s how you can beat the life out of your competitors and stand over them like a schoolyard bully towering over a little girl.
That’s a terrible analogy. Moving on.
Here are eight steps you can take to outclass your opponents in Google.
Check your top opponents’ websites
This is a great first step.
It’s easy to determine who outranks you in Google. Just do a Google search for something you’d like to rank for.
Finding out why you’re outranked isn’t rocket science either.
There are a number of ways to get this info. One is to simply visit the web page of your competition that’s kicking your behind. (Later on in this article I share info about a tool you can use for more in-depth info.)
Once there, take note of how the page is structured and which keywords they use.
Also take note of how long the page is. What’s the word count? How many images does it contain?
It should be easy to see where they’re wrong about something or fall short of being useful.
Capitalize on their errors by simply making your content better and telling the truth. Or take an opposite stance on an issue and explain, in detail, why your view is superior.
If you’re like me, you’re interested in a million things.
Problem is, it’s not good for ranking well in search engines; not if you don’t know how to tame the curiosity carnivore inside.
The way to rank really well is to be uber focused.
Here’s why: Google figures it’s the one who most looks most like an expert on the subject that’s probably the expert on the subject.
What do experts do? They obsess over their favorite topic.
They love their chosen field of expertise so much they can’t stop talking about it.
If you read up a little about Stephen King, you’ll see he also plays in a band called The Rock Bottom Remainders. Or he used to, in any case. Not sure if they’re still making noise.
Is the band a focal point of his career?
His playing in a band is as far from important as the coronavirus was from a pandemic.
Stephen King is focused on writing. And not only is he focused on writing, he’s especially focused on creating top quality horror. You might not be a fan, but his horror is some of the best in the business, if not the best.
By focusing on what he’s a master at, he consistently hits the number one spot in literary lists.
How does that apply to you?
If you’re an architect and you’re trying to get your website to perform better for the term, house plans, you need to add content to your website that oozes information about house plans.
You need to think of all the ways you can prove your value to someone who’s searching Google for the best house plans.
Create a content calendar
On a practical level, write down your ideas and create a content calendar.
If you have 20 reasons people should use your product or service, brainstorm 20 articles and post one every week, or every two weeks. (Once a day isn’t a bad idea either.)
Chances are you can come up with 200 ideas, perhaps even 2,000.
The more ideas you come up with, the more content you’ll be able to create and the more you’ll look like a pro, which is exactly what search engines want.
Every now and then I hear the complaint: “my website doesn’t work.” (It’s a recurring theme in my line of work.)
And when I check the complainer’s website, it’s a scroungy street mutt of a website with less substance than an SJW video.
It contains scant, badly written text and a photo or two, but nothing to convert website visitors into fans.
And the news section is as fresh as a cadaver that had been lying in a desert for ten years.
If you want your website to perform well, it’s imperative to consistently add content.
There’s no point in having a news section on your site but you never add news.
You must add as much content as you can. Move some of the focus off social media and place it on your own website. Or move ALL of your focus off social media and onto your website. You’ll be amazed at the real growth your site will experience.
Long articles are GREAT for better search engine rankings.
I’ve outranked some top brand names (Blackview, to name one) by writing seriously long pieces. I’ve also outperformed major publications with single articles on Google.
So when people tell me, “people don’t read,” I simply ignore it for a few reasons:
- Longer articles (if written well) easily outperform shorter articles in Google.
- Longer articles have longer shelf life.
- (A study showed that a Facebook post has a five hour shelf life on average, while a good blog post has a two year shelf life, on average.)
- You don’t need all people to read your articles.
- You don’t need all people to read every piece of an article on your website.
- Structuring your articles correctly makes it easy for people to scan them, which allows them to get to what’s important to them, easily.
- Structuring your page correctly makes it easy for you to sell your product or service.
- Long articles come with built-in authority. In other words, your long articles make you look like a pro.
Make your articles as long as possible. I guarantee it’ll work better than short articles. The proof of the pudding is in the taste, and oh, how delicious it tastes to perform well in Google.
If you write long articles and they don’t seem to work, it doesn’t mean they’re too long, it means they should be edited to be easier to absorb.
Make it more interesting
Although trying to be funny will probably cost you clients, being boring also won’t do much to inspire confidence in your product or service.
So you must find a balance and make your message as interesting as possible.
Here’s a conundrum: what’s interesting to one might bore another into a coma.
But you know your market.
Perhaps your target audience loves stats. Or maybe they enjoy gawking at a nice picture. Or perhaps they fall over themselves to get to your interesting coffee recipes or knitting patterns.
Your target audience will determine how you make your content interesting. You speak their language, so you know how to tickle their taste buds.
Make it easier to read
Break up your text using headers, bajillions of paragraphs and lists.
This ensures that your content is easily scanned, easily absorbed and more enjoyable.
If you add walls of text to your articles you might rank well in Google, but you’ll frustrate users.
So this is what’ll happen.
You’ll get plenty of traffic from Google, but the moment someone lands on your website and they’re overwhelmed by walls of text—when they expected helpful information—they’ll leave, possibly by clicking the back button.
You want Google to see that people who visit your website from a search you performed in their search engine, stay on the page they landed on.
It’s an indication that your website is useful. And if your website is useful Google knows they can present your website as a search result with confidence.
One mistake I see many website owners make is that they make their content too wide.
There’s an optimal width for reading content. If your sentences run over too long a distance you’re forcing the reader to put more effort into scanning your stuff.
Rather make it narrower and easier to consume.
When you use images in your articles, make sure those images are properly named. This helps your website perform better in Google image search too, in addition to creating other benefits.
Make sure your article headlines are clear and contain hooks, but steer clear of clickbait headlines. They’ll ruin your reputation.
Add meta descriptions.
These are just the basics you must take care of to ensure your articles are search engine optimized.
There’s always room for improvement.
But if you don’t analyze your website traffic you’ll never know where you can improve.
That’s why analysis is an absolute must.
Your site can be dead ugly, it won’t be nearly as much of a problem as not knowing what people do when they reach your website.
YOU MUST KNOW.
There are a number of ways to understand what people do when they land on your website.
This is one of the best ways to know what people expect of your website.
Add a search box that records what people search for when they use it.
Do you understand how powerful that is?
I’ll let you in on a secret…
I use WordPress exclusively for building websites for my clients.
WordPress comes with a search function, but that search function is notoriously useless. It just doesn’t work great out of the box.
You know what?
It doesn’t matter!
I add a huge, visible search box to ALL websites (unless the client flatly refuses it).
Once my new client starts receiving some traffic, I show him how he can see what people are searching for and it invariably leads to an “Aha!” moment.
If my clients can see what their website visitors search for, they can decide, based on hard facts, not feelings, what type of content they want to add to their websites.
This ability turns WordPress’ “useless” search function into marketing gold.
Google Analytics is one of the most ubiquitous elements in the online world, yet one has to wonder how often it’s actually employed by business owners to help them make informed choices about their marketing.
It’s a great tool but it can be too much to handle for the average business owner.
That’s why I create an easy-to-understand report that sends an email to my clients every week, revealing important metrics that can potentially change the way they approach their online marketing efforts.
For one thing, it shows which pages are most popular on a website. This can help you determine which topic you should write more about.
If you’ve been writing content about topic A, yet your Google Analytics reveal that people seem to frequent a page you wrote about topic Z, consider writing more about topic Z.
As mentioned earlier in this article, checking your competitor’s website is a great place to start your attack on them.
But there’s info they have access to they’ll obviously not share with you. (Would you share your metrics with them? I hope not.)
That’s where competitor analysis software comes in handy. (It’s like having a third arm in a boxing match.)
Good competitor analysis software reveals secrets like how many visitors your competition receives on average and how many backlinks their website has.
Armed with this info you can decide whether you want to take on your opponent with straight punches to the face or try and sneak past him for an attack from behind.
How do you perform competitor analysis?
Get SEMrush to do the heavy lifting for you.
It’s sometimes just not possible to see certain of your rival’s metrics without the help of complex software.
Unless you’re in the game of creating complex software, it’s best to get someone else to help you get the analysis done.
SEMrush creates world class competitor analysis tools that’ll help you gain insights into your competition’s websites.
From here you can formulate an attack to make your online presence more valuable to Google than your rival’s.
For instance, you see from the report created by SEMrush’s competitor analysis software that your rival is receiving plenty of backlinks to a specific topic on their website.
But your writing about the topic is far better than your rival’s and you think people should rather be linking to you.
Now that you know where your competitor’s backlinks are coming from, you can contact the owners of the sources containing the backlinks and ask them to rather link to your content, because it’s better and will make them look better.
This won’t work with everyone providing a backlink to your competitor. In fact, you might convince no one to change their backlinks, but you’ll make people aware of your presence. You’ll show the crowd there’s another competitor in the ring; one that’s ready for battle.
I won’t lie to you: it takes hard work to get to the top of Google.
But it’s entirely possible. And if you take it step by step you should see an incredible increase in rankings and traffic.
First off, start by taking a sneak peek at your competition’s website.
Then create a content calendar which outlines what content you can consistently add to your website to make Google pay attention.
Once the traffic starts flowing, analyze it by using analytics tools, which takes the guesswork out of what happens on your website and turns it into actionable data.
Using Google Analytics you can check valuable metrics about your own website and make changes based on website visitor behavior.
A tool like SEMrush will let you in on the secrets of your competitor’s website analytics, which is like having a (legal) double agent working for you.
Combining all these factors will help you perform better in search engines and help you take down your competition.