What’s the best way to rank well on Google? Win SEO. You probably knew that. Just like you probably know the basic, must-do things to optimize your homepage and the authority-driven-and-expertise-packed content that fills your site, all that takes time.
If you’ve done all the things you should be doing and are getting frustrated with the lack of results, here are some hacks (mostly doable with HubSpot) that require a little more brain power but will help you move up on the results pages if done right.
1. Make Sure Your Content is Authority-Driven-and-Expertise-Packed
If you haven’t noticed there’s a lot of crap on the internet. Google sifts through the crap and tries to bring us the best answer to any question imaginable. From ‘What are the most important specs on a speaker?’ to ‘How do I deduct business meals on my taxes?’ Google only works if its results answer your question effectively.
Google makes money selling your attention to companies via AdWords. That’s one way to secure the top spots on the SERP (search engine results page). The other is to be “the best” at delivering content that matches what a person is searching for.
Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms to find “the best,” but the latest news we have from Google reminds us just how important it is for your company to be an authority on the topic. This means you must deliver information in compelling ways that make people want to click, read, and dig deeper. This isn’t easy. It requires technical expertise and storytelling skills.
f you’re not already, start creating regular content in at least one of these areas: a blog, vlog, or podcast. HubSpot built its business on blogging–you can too. Additionally, your top sites should have a quality video on them. This is a surefire way to make them stronger. Google rewards sites that post new (or updated) content regularly.
2. Improve What’s Already Working
After your homepage, do you know which of your pages gets the most traffic? When was the last time you updated them? Use Google Analytics or HubSpot’s traffic tracking tools to see what is working well already.
HubSpot says it spends more than a third of its content time devoted to updating existing pages and blogs that are already performing decently. Again, Google rewards fresh content and page updates.
Each company is unique, but refresh your top-performing pages as often as you can.
3. Act like Your Target Persona (Customer)
Google is constantly evolving what the SERP page looks like. Pay attention. Make it a regular practice to put yourself in the shoes of your customer, open an incognito tab, and Google a few of the phrases you want to show up for (generally the longer the search term, the better).
Look at what does show up on the SERP. Are there pictures of products? Lists? A comparison blog? An info box with a map? Or a blurb with a couple of bolded sentences from a webpage (this is called a snippet)?
This is a good guide to what people want in their results when they’re looking for something in your industry. You want to have something similar to what’s on the results page somewhere on your site.
This isn’t a one-time thing. Google changes the results pages based on what people engage with and you need to check regularly to make sure you’re keeping up.
4. Go for the Snippet on Google
This is a good writing exercise and forces you to really think about what makes you and your business unique.
Write out some long-tail search items you want to rank for. Then give the best, non-bias responses you can think of in under 300 characters (not words). Make sure this text appears in pages titled, URLed, and H1ed with some of your important keywords and phrases. You don’t get SEO juice officially by having Google pick something from your site and displaying it near the top of a SERP as the snippet. But it certainly doesn’t hurt. Think of it as the ultimate hack for landing in position #1 if you can pull it off. Even if you can’t, it’ll make your writing stronger.
5.Have a Backlinking Strategy
This last one isn’t a secret and isn’t new. But the way you go about it can be. Since its beginning, Google has put a lot of stock in sites that had other reputable sites pointing at it (backlinks). Early on in SEO, there were effective ways to game this one. There are still workarounds (which often equate to either buying links or paying exorbitant prices to have people try to get you links). There is a reason this market still exists. Backlinks are valuable.
An effective backlink strategy for one company may not work at all for another company. You need to be smart.
Some options to consider:
- Go the earned media route. Legitimate news sites with real living reporters that post lots of original content every day have strong authority with Google. A link from one of them can help a lot. Pitching stories to reporters is old-school PR but can pay off with good search mojo if you get a hit.
- Work with your partners. Are you a B2B? Talk to your customers about joint linking pages. It might make a lot of strategic sense for both of you. If you have a distributor network make sure all your distributors are pointing at the page on your site that you want them to.
- Join trade sites and listicles. Reach out to sites in your industry that offer reviews or rank your competitors. Find out why you’re not there if you’re not. It’s extremely valuable to have sites like the Better Business Bureau pointing at your page.