What’s the deal with ranking on Google these days? Well, it can take anywhere from six months to a year before your new content even shows up!
Nowadays, ranking on Google is a lot more complicated. You have to know how many links point to your site and what the PageRank of those sites are for you to rank higher than other companies who are using shady SEO tactics or paying bloggers for backlinks.
If I were still running my old business from 10 years ago, then it would’ve been easy as pie getting this website at least into some of the first page results that show up when someone types “wedding venue web design” into Google’s search bar. But I’m a little too busy building wedding venue websites & working on SEO for wedding venues – thank god for referrals because my website is buried somewhere on the 1,000th page of Google – such a paradox, I know.
Well, in the old days, AKA early 2000s, the competition was less intense, and search engine algorithms relied on keyword quantity with links having a 50-50 chance of ranking your webpage. If you added TONS of relevant keywords to your page and built some hyperlinks, then there’s no doubt that it would rank pretty quickly. We could go into great detail about how life used to be MUCH easier back then, but it would bore your socks off ;)
But if it were still that easy, wedding venues wouldn’t be paying me money every month to improve their SEO! And maybe my website would rank higher cause I’d have so much time without all the work – another paradox…
In the not-so-distant past, link farms and keyword stuffing were all you needed to rank well in search engines. But this doesn’t work today. I suppose there are some ways that things could be worse – at least I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck every time Google changes their algorithm (on average 8.9x per day in 2018, for instance) – but SEO was much easier back when it used to take links from high PR pages!
Unfortunately, there is no easy button. It takes a year and some change if you want it done right. Maybe even two years.
Before 2 1/2 years ago, your results could start showing up in six months! But nowadays, because of Google’s algorithm changes, it does take more than that, unless you have brand queries with lots of people typing in your domain name, great click-through rates, and outstanding user metrics for landing pages. This takes a lot of work and patience.
Most marketers know there are over 200 ranking factors in place for determining a website’s success online. Let us explain what you need to be aware of if you want your site moving higher up on Google faster than anything else!
“It’s all about the user metrics!” – a quote by me. If you have high brand queries (people searching directly for your company name) or impressive user metrics, then in most cases, your site will rank within a few months! But if not, be prepared for an extended wait time of 12+ months depending on how much competition there is in your market. It comes down to how much people enjoy your website. Let’s dive deeper.
Page Views: It’s when someone visits your website and lands on one of the pages. If any visitor goes from Page A to B, that would be one view for both pages. A Google Analytics Report will show all this information in detail, which is helpful if you want more info about how people are using your site – excellent stuff, right!?
The higher the number of page views, the more important a webpage becomes. It means that people are visiting it because they find what’s on there to be quite helpful! For your website to rank higher, you want its total pages visited (probably by way of comparison) to be way higher than other competing websites. This is why when clients come to me seeking help on SEO and ranking their website higher, I always diagnose the root of the issue: the website.
Total Traffic: This is the best way of measuring your website’s success. It can come from any channel including organic search engine optimization, paid Ads (SEM), social media marketing, direct or referral conversions. It’s an excellent indicator to see how well you are doing with SEO. For example, suppose one company has 2k monthly visits while another has 25k monthly visits. In that case, the site with 25k visits will rank higher than their competitor for keywords with high volume searches…meaning less work for these….meaning more profits!
Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate means you’re not providing your audience with what they want. If people don’t find value in it, then it’s no good for them. Alternatively, a lower bounce rate signifies that audiences are happy and satisfied with their visit to your site. Search engines consider this when ranking websites on Google. They want to show the most relevant content, so of course, they want to show you popular sites with other visitors.
Pages per Session: This is the average number of pages viewed by a visitor during one session. A single session is equal to 30 minutes of activity, and higher engagement/more page visits within site lead to better ranking faster.
Scroll Depth: This is an essential factor for a webpage that wants to rank well with Google and other popular search engine providers such as Bing or Yahoo. The higher people scroll through your site content means that they’re engaged enough by what was there up until now to keep going further into the depths of your pages.
Time on Page/Site: The amount of time a visitor spends on your website can tell you how interested they are in what’s going on. If someone stays for a while, it means that the page is worth reading!
Unique Site Visitors: This measures the number of unique IP addresses visitors are coming from when visiting your website. In other words, it totals the number of individuals who visit your site and have never been there before! A higher amount indicates a popular website and therefore deserves a better ranking.
Backlinks: These are a great way to rank high on the search engine. The number of votes you get for your site can help increase or decrease how well it ranks in Google’s algorithm, and different kinds of links have various effects: High-quality linking is done naturally over time; they’re earned from being relevant with other sites which take more work than just buying them outright.
On the flip side, low quality, spammy paid outbound links don’t necessarily go anywhere else and can damage your website’s ranking. Not going to name any names here, but I’ve had to spend a lot of time undoing bad backlinks (think foreign languages, Rated R content, etc.) for clients who wanted to try to get more backlinks faster.
Web Design: Your website design has the power to make or break your online presence. Google considers factors such as mobile responsiveness and page loading speed when ranking a site and pop-ups and Ads. If there are too many clunky ads above the fold, you risk having your site’s rankings go down in rank. This is because users are forced to search for content on an already cluttered page, wasting their time with difficult navigation instead of being able to find what they’re looking for right away!
Page Age: Your web pages need to be older to rank well, especially if you are targeting popular keywords. Head terms have high competition, and Google trusts content that has been around long enough around two years or more on average—to provide information relevant to searchers.
Domain Authority: This is a crucial ranking factor, but it’s also an indirect one. You can’t just increase domain authority and expect to rank number one for competitive keywords because other factors come into play like UX, links, and content. However, any progress on your DA will have a positive and direct impact on the position you’re able to achieve in search results, which means if your site has low or no domain authority at all, then this guide might not apply!
Your Competition: Trying to rank for a keyword that has high competition? Well, before you start building your SEO strategy, it is best to know who your competitors are and how they might be doing something better than you. Analyzing their weaknesses can help you turn those into your strengths! Therefore, it is crucial to focus on creating the best content you can. It will help build trust with your target audience, which in turn will increase your click-through rate and decrease your bounce rate.
Google rankings are affected by high click-through rates and low bounce rates, so make sure that before publishing something new or updating an old post – keep this information in mind when deciding what works best for you!
Budget: You know what they say, you have to spend money to make money. And the budget is a significant factor in where your site ranks on Google! If you have the cash for it, then:
- You can add lots of new pages and improve quality online content.
- You’ll also get better UX by improving things like navigation menus or website design features that facilitate user flow through your page’s various sections
- Plus, there are all sorts of ways to acquire high authority links from PR websites and influencers – and those will help boost rankings too!
Content Marketing: Is it something that you should invest in? What will the payoff be like two years from now if I do decide to take this route? Content marketing is all over social media these days. People are raving about how lucrative it can be, but what does content marketing entail for someone who wants to get into it full-time versus somebody who occasionally publishes an article on LinkedIn or Facebook when they have time off work?
I started writing content for Mountain House Estate just under a year ago to give you an idea. Within that time, they’ve gone from having <1,000 site visitors per month to having over 9,000 site visitors per month. They pay me about $1,000-$1,500 a month to optimize their site, add content, add pages and do other SEO-related work. I also run all of their digital Ads.
So yes, it can pay off. It just takes a little TLC. In the interim, while you’re waiting for your organic search results to pay off, you can invest heavily in Google Ads.
Why #1 Ranking Is Life or Death for Your Business
I don’t have to explain this, do I? Okay, maybe I do :) In short, 55% of people go to the first three results, whether it’s local listings or website listings. Only 8% make it past the first page. So if you’re not on the first page, you practically don’t even exist.
So how do you speed up your Google rankings?
- Look at your website. Is it performing as well as it should? You might have hired someone to design it in the last year or two years, and it’s a pain point. But if it’s not working for you, you’re losing money every day because of it. Redesign your website immediately with a trusted web designer to see immediate improvements.
- Make sure you have a great hosting plan to keep your site speed up and optimized. This is not something you want to skimp on. You can pay around $24 a month for great hosting. I use https://overhaulics.com/web-hosting/pricing/ because they’re friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and I REFUSE ever to open up another support ticket or speak to a robot when my website is down.
- Figure out what pages you are ranking higher for and keep improving them.
- Install a Hotjar pixel so you can see where your website visitors are clicking. This will let you know what is essential to your website visitors and what content you should embellish on or remove.
- Use internal links. I use a WordPress plugin called Internal Links Manager.
- Manage redirects, 404s, and other page errors. To err is human nature, but Google isn’t human, so they don’t care :(. Luckily, a WordPress plugin called Redirection will automatically fix any broken links and redirect them.
It’s a lot of work, but your website is one of your best-selling tools, so invest in it and make sure it’s outperforming your competitors!