How to get on the front page of Google (no, really!) » SMEInsider

How to get on the front page of Google (no, really!)

If you’re anything like the SME Insider team, you probably get dozens of emails a day from dubious-sounding SEO “experts” promising to put you at the top of Google’s rankings. But, with some careful tweaks, you may be able to do it yourself.

Google is famously secretive about the algorithms it uses to rank sites, and recent changes to the system had many an IT department tearing their hair out. Here, we’ve collected some of the best SEO advice, specific to 2015, to help you get your brand noticed online

1. Design for mobile

Those in the know are all saying that Google’s robots are focussing on mobile-friendly pages this year. If your site isn’t mobile-ready, it’s going to slip down the rankings pretty fast. Make sure you’re using responsive design that looks great on smartphones and tablets.

2. Prioritise shareable content 

Called “social signals” by SEO geeks, when links back to pages on your site are shared on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, search engines assume they’re authoritative and relevant. This not only gets more eyeballs on your site, it actually helps your rankings. List-based advice/best-of blog posts (“listicles”), infographics and video all lend themselves to social sharing – just make sure you’re creating genuinely interesting or helpful content. If it looks too salesy, no one will post it on their personal feeds.

3. Make sure your site loads fast

Slow-loading sites don’t just put off visitors, they also make you look bad in front of Google. The internet is not a patient place, and this applies to mobile and desktop versions of your site. To ensure your site is super-speedy your links should be easy to tap, you should include “click-to-call” buttons, and you’ll need to get rid of any friction points that stop pages from loading fast.

4. Do traditional keyword analysis

Google still focusses, primarily, on featuring sites that look like they’re giving customers what they want. That means that you need to use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to figure out which words and terms your customers actually type in to the search box when they want to find out about whatever it is you provide. Then use these words and phrases, in as natural and flowing a way as you can, throughout your site copy. Also, make sure that people see quickly and easily how to get to the information that they need (including contact details) from wherever they land on the site. If you try to suck people in with popular search terms that inaccurately describe what you do, or they can’t immediately see what they need when they get there, they will leave very quickly – and that makes Google think that your site has low value.

5. Never, ever spam

Do. Not. Buy. Links. Yes, high-quality links to your page from an already-trusted site will give your site a rankings boost, but spammy ones will actually push it down the ladder. So, if you’re savvy enough to get the New York Times to link back to you in an article, Google will presume your site must be worthwhile. If, on the other hand, you are carpet-bombing the comments section of the New York Times (or, indeed, this website… we’re looking at you, payday loan spammers) with badly concealed plugs and links back to your site, Google will rightly conclude that you are a terrible nuisance and will rank you as such. In fact, there have even been cases of companies deliberately posting spammy links to their competitors, just to sabotage their search engine reputation. When it comes to backlinks, there are no shortcuts – you just have to make great stuff and form relationships with people who may want to promote it for you, and that takes time, effort and patience. You have been warned!

 

 

 

  • Likewise I’m inundated with offers to get me on Page One of Google but I also know someone has to be on page one and it can be me.

    Some of my clients also want to get on page one and have asked for my help. I don’t offer this type of help via my business, but thought it might be fun to demonstrate how to get on Page One of Google. Not only did I achieve this but my page also managed to get the coveted number one spot on Google .. and did so within minutes of launching the new page. To see the evidence and how I did it see http://www.stefandrew.com/stefan-drew/2015/01/how-quickly-can-a-new-page-appear-in-the-google-search-results.html

    For the techies here .. this isn’t about Google recognising my search preferences as I used a proxy server when I searched .. AND other people have replicated my search with the same result.

    Of course no page will stay at the top of the results for long but I hope this encourages people to avoid the emailed offers of expensive SEO and to try to improve their own efforts.

  • Vani Aul

    @Stefan Drew: Sorry for the insight which might not sound as good but here are my two cents: The prime reason for that top ranking-achievement in such a short span and getting on the top was because it was a rare key-phrase and there are only 706 results (checked at 9:51 on 23 Jan) in Google’s index for that term. It is important to note that since that key-phrase (as reported by Google Keyword Planner) does not have any search ability, so you can not expect any search traffic from that ranking.

  • You might be right Vani .. but you need to explain it to the people that have used this search term and found my test page … they obviously don’t understand what you are saying.

    Of course there aren’t many results for this search term, but that is exactly what I was trying to point out. To get ranked you sometimes need to use long tail terms, why would you go for terms where massive competition exists?
    In this case the term is actually searched for quite often in my locality and if a business ranks for it it will bring them business which is the only reason to want to rank. the mistake many of the competitors make ios to try to rank fro access platforms .. this may be the technical term for a cherry picker but no one actually uses it outside of the hire industry. Real people say .. and search fro .. cherry pickers.

    In terms of numbers of pages Google.co.uk are actually showing 15700 so even with this number it is surely preferable to get on the first page.

    The other purpose of my experiment was to prove that it doesn’t take weeks or months to get on Page One of Google .. it took minutes.

    QED