Feeling down in the dumps? If your site is slipping down the rankings, it could leave your business at rock bottom.
Google tweaks its ranking algorithm over 500 times a year, and it's rare that anyone knows exactly what's going on behind the scenes. And as Google's algorithms grow more complicated, it becomes more difficult to nail down what it's looking for.
So ranking high on Google isn't straightforward — but it's not impossible, either.
Here's how to get higher on Google's rankings in 2019 in 7 steps.
1. An Ear to the Ground
We'll lay this one out up front, as it's one of the "softer" points in this list — though no less useful for it.
Basically: things change. What's important to today's rankings may not be important tomorrow. To stay on point, you need to pay close attention to how things change.
Deploy things from this list, but also refresh your knowledge often to keep your site up to date. Even if you stick close to things that have worked for you before, you could find yourself slipping down the rankings. Your old methods may become outdated, and you can bet your competitors will use all the latest knowledge out there to get ahead.
2. Delicious, Delicious Content
Look, there's no getting around it: content is king. It doesn't matter how many little SEO tricks you know if your site's content can't support its place in the rankings.
Google crawls your site to index its content, so content forms the purely mechanical function of giving Google something to find. But it goes deeper than that.
Google will also take a serious look at how much time people spend on your site. If you're not producing quality, useful content, then no one's going to stay for long. That drags down your time on site and, with it, your place in the rankings.
Quality content will also help you attract backlinks. And backlinks are a way to build your site's credibility in the eyes of the big G.
3. Get Your Site Together
One of the biggest ranking killers in 2019 is a lack of optimization. The clue is right there in the year. We're not on dial-up these days.
You've been there yourself: the site that loads so slowly or doesn't work on mobile devices at all. Within a few seconds, you've closed it down and moved on to a competitor.
Your site's visitors are no different. They expect a site that works and works quickly.
Test your site on mobile devices to ensure it's compatible across multiple devices. Once you know it works, you also need to ensure it loads quickly. That may mean paying for faster hosting or optimizing your site's media content, if necessary.
4. The Last Word on Keywords
Once upon a time, keywords and Google shared roughly the same connection as Scooby Snacks and Scooby Doo.
Not so much anymore. Google's algorithms are so sophisticated at this point that they're practically self-aware. They aren't going to fall for early 00s tricks like stuffing your page with keywords to climb to the top. Stuffed keywords are one of the major things Google's algorithms have evolved to destroy.
But keywords are still relevant in 2019. The algorithms aren't quite intelligent yet, so they still need robot-friendly pointers. Keywords are like signposts that Google can follow to find your content. And Google is still, at its most basic level, driven by the keywords that people search.
Today's keywords should be organic. Natural phrasing that blends with the content you're offering is the order of the day. The impact of keywords is now much more subtle, and your use of them should respect that.
5. The Great Chain of Linking
You wouldn't trust a doctor or a pilot if they didn't have the right qualifications. Google places the same emphasis on credentials. It needs to know that it can trust a site before it'll recommend it.
Building backlinks is still one of the best ways to help Google accept your site's credibility. A backlink says to Google that your site is offering valuable enough content that somebody else is prepared to link to it.
You can build backlinks organically by offering quality content that people will want to link to. But you can also build them through partnerships with other sites.
6. Lost and Found
When you head to the supermarket, you find what you're looking for because there's an organized, logical structure to the store's layout. Your site should function the same way.
Think of your site's content as the fresh veg, fruit juices, and candy you have on sale. Each visitor will look for something different, but you need to make all of it easy to find.
Your site's hierarchy stands in for a store's physical layout. Organized, simple navigation will get visitors where they're going faster. A search engine can see that information and rank your site accordingly.
So keep your layout organized. And make sure your URLs are logical and relevant to the page content — just like the signage in a store.
7. A Peek Under the Hood
Your site is like an employee. You pay money and it works for you. So why not give it a performance evaluation every now and then?
If you don't check out your site's analytics, you're flying blind. You can't know what's working (or not) in what you're doing. When you make changes, you need to consult your analytics to find out how they paid off.
Analytics can also act as an early warning system when something's really not working. If your visitor numbers or retention drop off a cliff, then it's clear something has gone wrong.
How to Get Higher Rankings the Right Way
If you've been stuck wondering how to get higher rankings on Google, this list should get you out of your rut. Applying even one or two of these could make a big difference in how Google sees and ranks your site.
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