Search ranking is the main driver of website visitor traffic. Visitor traffic produces leads. Without leads, you don’t get customers. That’s why ranking is so important.
The absolute coveted goal of any growing company (or SEO consultant for that matter) is how to always get #1 ranking in Google searches.
While many will say to get top ranking in Google is a mythical, magical, or impossible, thing to achieve, I’ve been achieving it for both my own agencies and for clients for years.
What's more, I’ve achieved top ranking in Google on many search terms in as little as 30 days. The screen shot below shows the search results for a blog article I published on April 22, 2016. We started using that keyword earlier that month—less than 30 days from achieving #2 ranking.
What’s even more remarkable, is that this search result ranks directly under one of Hubspot’s blogs. Hubspot publishes tens of thousands of articles and has enormous domain authority. Do you want to outrank the "big" competition? It can be done.
Tip: In order to view the most accurate ranking metrics from your web browser, opening a private window won't cut it. That's because Google still will track you. You'd need to search using a proxy server or use specific software for keyword analysis to check your keyword rankings.
How to Rank First in Internet Searches
Each of the following six steps are interrelated. If you omit just one of them, your chances to get top search results in Google will be diminished.
SEO is extremely important for your marketing. If you have questions, please contact me and one of my staff will give you a quick (and free) SEO assessment of your website.
Step 1) Carve Out Your Niche
Your digital marking tactics can’t perform at their best unless your branding is performing at its best. What is it that makes you just a little better than your competition? Focus on that and everything else will fall into place.
For example, at Cohort Marketing, we’re really good at persona research and segmented marketing. We make a big deal of it not only because we’re good at it but because it’s foundational to all marketing.
Everything you do in your marketing needs to touch upon your niche. Don’t omit this step.
Step 2) Target a Persona
Who is your best customer? What can you do to help them better than someone else? Assuming they find your website, how can what you publish help them in their buying process?
Your biggest areas of growth will occur around persona targeting—not only growth in sales volume, but also growth in profit margins. This step is so important we created a free template for you:
Step 3) Host on Hubspot
The foundation of your website and how it's hosted is the single most weighty factor to get top ranking in Google.
Migrating your website to the feature-rich Hubspot platform is not hard, not costly, and the return on SEO results are almost always amazing.
- You get 25+ SEO and marketing tools all in one package and all talking to one another. If you mess something up, the software will tell you. Even if you don’t mess something up, the built-in analytics will tell you how you’re doing.
- Hubspot hosts on a very fast CDN, meaning page load speed will be fast from any location on the planet.
- Hubspot is not bloat-ware. Pages load fast and nothing loads that’s not needed.
- It's a 12 column fluid grid platform, fully responsive, with WYSIWYG and drag and drop functionality.
But what about my WordPress website?
Can you have a WordPress website or some other popular CMS platform and get good ranking? Sure you can, but here’s what you'll need to do:
- Ditch the $99 template. Most are bloated, have features that don’t work, and will badly slow your website down. Site load speed is an SEO killer. In fact, a slow loading site can so kill your SEO that no matter what else you do, it won't recover a de-ranked, slow loading site.
- Instead of the $99 template, get a custom template written in PHP and created on the Twitter Bootstrap foundation. This task will cost you way more than $99, but you want to get top ranking in Google, right? Also, stay away from all theme generation software as none of it builds on Bootstrap and none are extensible.
- Use only one plugin, an SEO plugin. Plugins tend to load extra stuff, further slowing down page load speed.
- Make sure your custom template allows insertion of scripts (so you can add Google tracking to your site or whatever else you’ll need).
- Don’t host on some cheap hosting plan for $10 per month. Instead, plan on paying 5 to 10 times that much for decent cloud hosting with more than one IP address.
Wait, there’s more: Even with all the above, the SEO plugin won’t save you. You’ll still need to follow all SEO best practices to even begin to get your site to the place where it will be Google-friendly.
Step 4) Site Pages Strategy and Branding
Website content can get out of focus. Over the years, people add more and more content, often forgetting why.
Every page, every paragraph, word, and thought needs to relate to your branding and how your branding solves for your key persona or personas.
a) Do a content analysis:
Start with your Home page. Get some fresh eyes to help. Do the blink test: Have someone look at your Home page for 5 seconds then close their eyes. If that person can’t give you an accurate synopsis about what your company is about and who you’re trying to help, then it’s time for a major content redo.
b) Do an SEO inventory:
Start with your Home page and then look at every other page on your website:
- List the purpose of each page. That purpose clearly should be reflected in each page's H1 title.
- Revise content, per page, as needed, to convey the purpose of that page.
- Ditch overly company-centric wording. Instead, share why your company can help or how your products can solve for your persona(s).
- Edit for brevity.
- Make sure the focal content of the page is above the fold—easily readable without having to scroll.
Step 5) Create Keywords and Variants
You first need to know that all keywords (the words and phrases people search for) are not created equal. Wouldn’t it be nice if your company sold shoes and every time someone Googled for “shoes,” your company came up on top in search engine results pages (SERPS)?
Let’s get real. When was the last time you did that? Never. Your prospects are entering long-tail keywords such as what are the most comfortable woman’s dress shoes for work? It's those long-tail searches you need to rank for.
Why Create Keywords?
Keywords embedded in your content enable visitors to find your pages via search. Let's see how this works.
Here is a list of the keywords used in this article:
You'll notice I created variants of that main keyword. The variants boost keyword count while not risking getting penalized for keyword stuffing. Secondly, we like to track rankings on these associated keywords to see how each is ranking. We track their ranking using Hubspot's keyword software.
How to Do It:
- Create one specific, main keyword to convey the focal purpose for each page and post on your website. Each page and blog post needs to have at least one specific keyword associated with it.
- Enter the main keyword and any variants into your keyword software such as Hubspot or Moz, so you can analyze and track results. If you can't track, you're shooting in the dark. Here's what the keyword tool looks like in Hubspot:
Use the keyword and its variations naturally in your pages and posts and avoid keyword stuffing.
Use the main keyword in all these places:
- In the title of each page or post.
- In the body of your pages and posts.
- In the META tag.
- In ALT tags.
- In the page URL.
- In the body of your pages and posts in addition to the main keyword as you are able.
If you're using Hubspot, you'll get prompted to do every SEO step above so you won't omit anything.
Step 6) Publish
The more you use any given keyword or variations of it, the faster you’ll rank for it.
Ideally, we like to create a blogging campaign using a series of keywords, and run the campaign for one quarter or longer. Following all the steps above, at the end of the quarter we like to see many of those keywords at top search results in Google.
If you follow the steps above, you’ll revolutionize your marketing.
If you adopt every step quickly, meaning you ditch your current website platform, get on Hubspot, and optimize as I’ve outlined, you can expect very quick and spectacular results.
It’s important to understand these steps are strategic. You must first know your niche and then nail down your persona(s). A persona should drive all your marketing—inbound, outbound, everything. Want to get started? Download our free template!