In the current search climate, there are numerous issues that affect the health of your website. In order to create long-lasting, sustainable streams of traffic to your website, it’s important to understand the factors that make the largest impact on your rankings.

In the past, Google employees have revealed that content, back links and Rankbrain are the primary factors that influencing Google’s search results. This has served as a basic guide to small business SEO consulting services because it provides a clear mandate for what needs to be done to rank highly.

Content and back links have always been a large part of the ranking system. That hasn’t changed, however, the ability of search engines to assess and extract the meaning of content has improved exponentially. There is much more contextual awareness infused in a website’s ranking today than there ever has been.

This has resulted in Google rewarding quality content and link strategies in which the relationship between sites is clearly identifiable. This process begins from the earliest stages of your campaign and if executed well, will make your website appear on the first page of Google.

Map Out Your Content Strategy

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for building your website. However, forming a topic cluster is an easy way to prioritize your keywords and plan your content.

You can perform this exercise before or after you’ve published content on your website. The model you build will structure your site to identify the  major themes and keywords you want your website to be known and found in the searches for.

Pick one of the major ideas, keywords, services or products that are vital to your business. List every possible topic that you would need to explain for a visitor to get a full understanding of what your company offers. This is the basic blueprint for your content creation process.

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Topic clusters are invaluable for nailing your content strategy. Here are some useful articles to get you started with your own:

Rank Your Pages For Target Search Terms

Google doesn’t rank websites - it ranks web pages. This means that every page on your site should be created with a specific keyword in mind.

To accurately assess the best option for a target keyword,  you’ll need to find the right keyword research tool for your needs. Using software will help you determine the difficulty of ranking for particular keywords, as well as understand the type of search volume it receives on a monthly basis.

Punch in your target keyword topic and explore the list of results your keyword tool generates. Here are some excellent keyword research tools to consider:

  • Ubersuggest (Free)
  • Moz
  • AhRefs
  • SEMRush

Assess The First Page Of Results

When you have found a keyword that fits your criteria, enter it in a Google search to analyze the search engine results page. Confirm what types of SERP features are present in order to include the necessary type of optimization your content will need to compete for those positions.

Featured snippets may require list formats or a summary answer to make your page eligible for position zero once it finds its way to the first page of results.

The ‘People also ask’ box will also have relevant questions that you can include on your web page to make your content relevant to the query.

Click on the top 5 ranking pages to assess the depth of their content. Although the word count will not impact your ranking, you can use it as a benchmark to gauge the level of detail on the ranking page.

Take note of how the ranking pages answers search intent. Are they how-to guides? Are they structured as a series of questions and answers? Do they cover a broad range of topics? These are all clues as to what Google will see as the “best” solutions to the search query.

Create Content That Meets The Needs Of The User

When you write content, it should be with the user in mind. Include topics and media that will best serve your target audiences’ interests. Connect with your readers on a deeper level by addressing their personal needs, as well as trending issues within their community.

You can find a few pearls of wisdom by researching the sites that your readers would be likely to visit. Scan through forums and niche websites that have user-generated content to see what people are talking about the most.

Threads that begin with questions or the word “help” are usually indicative of an issue that can be used within your content. When you can provide a solution to a problem that people can relate to you increase the value of your content.

Using videos on your landing pages can also be an easy way to improve visitor engagement and consequently, improve your search rankings.

Make Your Page Credible

Back links are the equivalent of referrals in the sense that another website is vouching for the validity of your content. A strong back link profile indicates to search engines that your page has authority.

Link building is somewhat of an art that should not be taken lightly. The wrong anchor text or a low quality link can have adverse effects on the rank of your page.

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One high authority domain linking to your site is worth more than links from a number of lower quality domains. If your keyword is fairly competitive, you can get an idea of how many links you will need based on the page authority of the ranking pages and the number of backlinks they have acquired. This data can easily be sourced using a tool like AhRefs or SEMRush.

Start with an exact match anchor text link from a quality website to see how far up your site moves. As you add links, cycle through the different types of links you’re pointing to your page. For example, make the second link to your page a naked URL link, followed by a branded anchor text followed by a keyword related long-tail anchor text link.

Crucial tools for link building:

  • AhRefs: Ideal for sourcing target domains to acquire back links from.
  • Hunter.io: Ideal for sourcing email addresses for back link outreach.
  • Monitor Backlinks: A monitoring tool ideal for beginners.

Jumpstart Your Traffic

A social media network is the ideal platform to source traffic for newly published content. If you haven’t built a respectable network, it’s never too late to start.

You can start by creating a single profile and focus on building and post content to it regularly. Your content should include every article you publish on your site and optimized articles specifically made for your social profile. Keep in mind that videos are shared 12 times more than text and images combined.

Share other people’s content to encourage them to share yours. Be active by commenting and responding to comments. Showing personality will go a long way.

Wrapping Up

Despite the many intricacies of search engine optimization, the major areas that reign supreme are content and backlinks.

Focusing on your visitors and what motivates them to perform searches is the key to producing great content. It’s much easier to acquire quality backlinks when you have content that is worth sharing. With the major areas of SEO covered, you can make your site appear on the first page of Google to drive traffic, generate leads and new clients.