3 Tips to Rank Higher on the SERPs
The online platform gives numerous opportunities to businesses for growth. It’s one of the channels where audiences from different fields seek for the information they want. A website then has become a staple element in any businesses’ marketing mix.
Not only does a website provide you with an extra outlet for communicating with prospects, it also gives you another way to secure or even close transactions. This then widens your reach, since it breaks down the physical barrier with its global availability.
The challenge here, however, is getting people to your site!
Your website is useless if it doesn’t serve its purpose, whether it’s for brand awareness, customer service, or conversions. Search engines are one of the best sources of traffic since they provide end users the road map for navigating the web.
The competition for high search rankings, though, is extremely tough. But these efforts will always be worth it because ranking high on organic search results is definitely a free and passive source of traffic. Just remember to use white hat techniques to avoid penalization.
Let’s look at a few simple tips to rank higher on the SERPs.
1. Make content for people rather than crawlers
Quality content is king. This may be a giveaway already, but there are still so many sites that have low quality content and are over-optimized. People used to manipulate crawlers before in order to get high SERP rankings and traffic. Luckily, there are now a couple of reasons why low quality content doesn’t fly around anymore on the search results.
Search market leader Google aims to bring people the most useful and relevant information available on its index. This then prompted its developers to find ways of filter out the bad sites that gave poor user experience. For example, Google Panda and Penguin, penalize content forms and those which use black hat tactics like keyword stuffing and cloaking. This lessened irrelevant and underserving sites that rank high in the SERPs.
Another major update that you should know about is Google Hummingbird. This major algorithm rework judged the relevancy of an article in a human-like manner. It does so by asking questions and digging deeper to the article’s concept by substituting nouns from the query with other relevant words (found in its database). It is programmed to look for content that provides answers to people’s questions. Among the kinds of content that are Humming-bird friendly (provided they are written well) are: evergreen posts, how to’s FAQs, case studies, viral materials, top tips (expert opinions), and in-depth analysis. These kind of content are favored by Google since they provide value by being educational (or entertaining) in nature rather than pushing for too much hard sell.
Analytics Expert Neil Patel conducted a case study to determine any correlation between in-depth content and rankings and conversions. He has found out that the length of content really has some correlation to SERP rankings and conversions. Here are the major takeaways:
• Webpages that rank on Google’s first page have an average of 2,000 words in its content
• Posts with more than 1,500 words receive 68.1% more Tweets and 22.6% more Facebook Likes than posts with less than 1,500 words
• Long copy converts better by 45.45%
He adds that you shouldn’t write an article with 2,000 words just for the sake of it. Getting straight to the point is important here since readers and search engines have ways of knowing if you’re just playing with the keyboard.
If you’re thinking about writing a piece about your niche but aren’t sure what to write about, there are tools online that could give you some inspiration. Google’s search bar is one of the easiest tools to use, since the suggestion it gives is based from the most popular queries on its database.
In my search query “the value of mobile apps”, among the suggestions are “the business value of mobile apps in meetings”. What’s amazing here is that Google got the context of my query, and it immediately applied it for a specific function, which is to use mobile applications for meetings. It appeared there because it’s one of the queries many people are entering at Google search (for this specific set of keywords).
Unfortunately, there have already been some few people who have written about the subject. You could either try to write it in a different way such as: a) “the benefits of using mobile apps in business meetings” or; b) apply “the value of mobile apps” in another area like “managing startups” or; c) “doing better at school”. This gives you the chance to look for content that fewer people have written about, potentially allowing you better search results in that area.
After writing your big content, consider putting it on your company blog. It’s one of Google’s recommended ways since it gives you the opportunity to provide fresh material (for their end users). Aside from that, your entry may serve as link bait for natural links.
2. Manual link building
Search engines work by following the links on a site continuously, in order to bring the most relevant content to the end user. One of the biggest factors for search rankings is the quantity of high-quality links that directs back to a site.
If your natural links aren’t enough in boosting your SERP rankings, then you should definitely try manual link building. This involves emailing bloggers and webmasters, and then asking them if you could publish an article in their site as a guest blogger. The article you’re pitching should link back to your site (preferably to one of your blog posts as one of your sources) since you’d want some of their domain authority to rub onto yours. Always remember your value proposition, since no webmaster or blogger would accept an article that won’t be of any value to them or their audience.
3. Build up your social network engagement
Not only does social media directs traffic to your site, but it’s also among the factors for better rankings, proven by this test by SEO wizard Rand Fishkin. Google and Bing look at the social authority of a publisher and consider the volume of RTs and shares of a certain piece as evidence that it is, in fact, useful.
This requires authors to build an active profile on social networking sites. You can do this simply by sharing your live articles there and engaging in conversations when people comment on it. Answering their questions and commenting on their opinions leaves the impression that you really know what you’re writing about.
You can also encourage readers to share your content by adding strong calls-to-action if they’ve found the article useful. Chances are, people from their social circles will also be interested since some of them are working in the same field.
Lastly, if you’re using WordPress, install the Sharebar plug-in to make social sharing easier for your readers. This application lets people see how many social shares a piece of content has, which gives them the validation that what they’re reading is content of legitimate quality.
Building authority and ranking high on the SERPs is tough, but the rewards are always great. With all the standards search engines have set to filter out less quality sites, there’s simply no shortcut to getting to the top of the SERPs. You’re going to have to invest a lot of time writing linkable assets to your company’s blog, doing email outreach, and ultimately a lot of sharing and conversations via your social networks. These little things stack up.
In the end, it’s always feels nicer to rank high legitimately through hard work than to always be anxious of any upcoming Google update that could make your site sink to the bottom of the search results.