How to Rank Your Business Higher on Google
Learn how to use keywords, content, backlinks, and listings to rank your business higher on Google search results pages.
How to Use Keywords to Rank Higher on Google
Ranking higher on Google helps you get found online, obtain more local customers, and increase your sales. There are steps a business owner can take to make sure their business is showing up high in search results.
The key to ranking higher on Google is weaving particular keywords into all of the content you create: for your website, social media feeds, online listings, and Google My Business profile. Let’s get into what keywords are and which ones you should be using to rank your business higher on Google.
What Are Keywords?
Anytime you Google something, the words and phrases you type into the search box are called keywords. Once you hit “enter”, Google scans its index and comes up with a list of website pages that contain those keywords. It ranks those pages based on their relevance to the keywords, the reliability of their content, and their structure. In order to rank your business higher on Google, you need to include the right keywords for your business in the right places in your content. This is the building block of SEO, or search engine optimization.
For Which Keywords Should I Rank?
Ranking higher on Google requires you to know exactly what you’re ranking for. So what exactly should you be ranking for? You want to target words and phrases your potential customers are searching for related to your industry, product, or service.
Watch the language your target audience is using on social media, in emails, or in conversations, and take note. If you use words on your website that people are searching for, you’ll be more likely to rank higher on Google. In addition, writing in a language that your audience uses will help you to build trust, which is also a factor in Google ranking (which we’ll get into later).
Aim to Rank Higher for Multiple Keywords
One important concept to grasp here is that every page on your website should target a different keyword cluster. This includes blog posts. If you try to get every page of your site to rank for one keyword, the pages will compete with one another and decrease their authenticity and chances of ranking.
When you focus each page on a specific topic, your content is more likely to show as a top result for that query. The key to ranking higher on Google is to get various pages to collectively rank higher on Google. The more pages that rank higher on Google, the easier it will be for future pages to rank.
How to Find Keywords to Rank for
This means you should form an extensive map of keywords and focus on creating quality, well-formated content around them. Here is a basic set of steps for determining which keywords are going to be the most helpful to rank for, and which ones you have the greatest shot at ranking for.
1. Know your audience
There are many tools out there, but your first step is to make sure you have a full understanding of your target audience and how they behave on Google. This means knowing their pain points, desires, lifestyle, device preferences.
2. Brainstorm keywords
With the knowledge of your offerings and ideal customer, brainstorm the keywords that you can easily create content around. This will create a foundation for more extensive keyword research, which is next.
3. Use tools
You are now ready to use tools to find new keywords and qualify the ones you’ve already come up with. Keyword tools tell you how many searches are performed for that keyword per month, as well as how difficult it is to rank for that keyword.
Group your keywords into clusters, organize them according to how difficult it will be to rank for them, as well as what the impact will be of ranking for them.
When you actually search those keywords in Google, which pages are already ranking? This will help you verify that the content you plan to write to target that keyword is in line with what Google is currently serving up for that keyword. It will also help you to identify any keywords that are already dominated by a particular brand or industry–in which case you may want to adjust your strategy for that keyword or focus on a different cluster.
Where to Put Your Keywords
Google likes website pages that it can easily crawl and therefore quickly categorize in its index. This means you need to place your keywords in specific places on the pages you’re trying to get to rank. These places include:
• Page title
• Headings and subheadings
• Image titles and tags
• URL of the page
• Meta description
• Body of the content
In the next section, we’ll talk about exactly how you should be incorporating the keywords into the body of the page content to increase its chances of ranking.
How to Use Content to Rank Higher on Google
Weaving keywords into your content will help it to rank higher on Google, but as mentioned above, the existence of keywords is not the only factor Google considers when ranking its search results. Google ranks website pages based on their relevance to that keyword, the quality of their content, the reliability of that content, and the way the page is structured. Read on to learn how to align the body of your content with these ranking factors to get noticed on Google.
Get Google to Trust You
Google wants to maintain its position as the world’s most trusted search engine, so it is only going to rank pages it can trust. That being said, stuffing keywords into your pages just to get them to rank higher will not work. Google can recognize this and will penalize you. Visitors to your page will also recognize this and lose trust in your brand. A page that ranks high on Google only stays high on Google if it proves itself worthy of that keyword over time.
In addition to adding keywords to your content in a natural way, you must also focus on the quality of the content about those keywords. Google might initially rank a page high in results for a particular query, but if it finds that users are exiting that page quickly, it can gather that the page does not contain the answers they are seeking when they perform that query.
If you are trying to get one of your website’s pages to rank higher on Google for a particular keyword, make sure that it doesn’t just contain those keywords, and not just accurate, up-to-date information about those keywords, but also the information people are actually seeking when they search Google using those keywords. (Which is why step 5 is so important in the above section). The higher the quality of your content, the longer visitors will stay on your page, and the higher you will rank on Google.
Concentrate on Niche Topics
It can be hard for small and local businesses to compete with big brands and large sites when it comes to broad keywords. By concentrating on niche topics (location, specialty, etc.), you can reduce your competition and increase your visibility for highly targeted searches.
For example, there are thousands of articles on Google about types of massages. However, if you published a blog post on something hyper-targeted for your ideal customer, such as the benefits of Swedish massages for pregnant women, you improve your business’s chances of ranking on Google—for the right search.
How to Use Backlinks to Rank Your Business Higher on Google
Populating your website with quality content around specific keywords will help Google to recognize you as a trusted resource. You can further that level of trust by getting other trusted resources to link to that content in their websites.
What is Backlinking?
A backlink is when another website links to your article from theirs. Not only does this put your content in front of a new audience, but it also increases traffic to your website which can help you in ranking higher on Google. As a small business, you actually have a competitive advantage in this area over larger companies.
How to Build Backlinks
To build backlinks for your business, focus on building mutually beneficial relationships with other local businesses. You might add their restaurant to the “local recommendations” section of your website in exchange for their featuring your product in their virtual gift guide.
Local newspapers, blogs, or other local avenues are other worthwhile strategies to explore. These publishers love to work with local businesses and will often help to promote you, simply because you are a small business and that is the audience they serve. Such publications can also be a huge boost not just for some quality backlinking, but also for good press for your business and eyes on your website.
How to Use Google My Business to Rank Higher on Google
While your website pages are still a crucial ingredient to getting found online, Google is striving more and more for users to get what they’re looking for directly in search result pages, before having to click or tap on any one result. This is especially true when it comes to searches for nearby businesses.
This means that in addition to optimizing your website to rank higher in search results, you also need to optimize your Google business listing to rank. The higher it shows in local results and the more that potential customers can accomplish from your listing alone, the more customers you can get from Google.
How Google My Business Impacts Ranking
The more complete and accurate your Google My Business listing is, the higher it will rank in Google Search and Maps. In fact, complete and accurate Google My Business listings get 7x more clicks than those missing information and are 70% more likely to attract location visits. This is evidence that Google My Business can help to improve not only your search ranking, but also your traffic and sales.
How to Get Your Google Business Listing to Rank Higher
Here’s what you need to do to your Google My Business listing to get your business to rank higher for relevant searches.
Fill Out Every Section of Your Profile
Google My Business acts in the same fashion as Yelp in that it provides the vital information consumers need in order to make a decision about your business. A complete Google My Business Listing includes:
• Business name
• Phone number
• Hours of operation
For certain specific industries, there may be additional fields to fill out.
Collect and Monitor Google Reviews
If you are lacking in Google reviews, don’t be afraid to ask loyal customers to put in a good word for you. Many customers will be happy to spread the word about the excellent services you offer if they are pleased with their experiences. If you have negative reviews, make sure you are responding promptly and professionally.
Strengthen Your Google Description
If your Google My Business description is too short, such as “electronic repairs”, you will leave customers wondering about the specific services you offer. If it is too long or wordy, it will get overlooked. Try to make it a sentence or two that sums up the majority of your offerings but highlights your greatest feature or benefits.
Be Selective with Your Photos
When you upload photos to your GMB profile, make sure they are both relevant and high-quality. Google My Business strives to give consumers a sense of what it’s like to be at your location, so include pictures from different angles within the space, pictures during peak times, photos of products and services, and events. Do not upload graphics or promotional images with text on them. Make sure to update these photos regularly to get the best local results.
Use the Google Q&A Section
Google’s new Q&A section offers you the ability to answer customer questions directly in your business listing. The benefit of this is that you can preemptively answer questions that customers might otherwise not know the answer to which can impact their decision to use your business. For example, “Do you have parking? Yes, there is a parking lot for customers.” may be enough to turn a passive onlooker into your next customer. Use this section wisely and always respond to questions quickly. As a business owner, you can also publish frequently asked questions and answer them yourself.
Google My Business is an incredibly powerful—and free—tool for improving your local visibility and generating new customers. By keeping your listing up to date, accurate, and active, you can get your business to rank higher in local results and get a leg up on your competition.