Still not ranking at the top of the search results for your most sought after keywords and search phrases? Don’t worry… you aren’t alone. In fact, hundred of millions of sites will never even rank on the first for some of their best keywords… and at the end of the day, it really all comes down to a numbers game and where you are focusing your efforts.
I love creating websites. I love creating content, and I also love SEO and ranking in the search results. Once you know how to create excellent content that not only provides value and ranks in Google, you are golden. The problem is, most people already know the basics of how to rank a website… they just aren’t willing to put in the time, work and effort.
To help with this process, I’ve laid out three simple and completely actionable SEO tips that you can implement today. If you actually take the time to implement these methods and best practices into your site, there is no reason why you shouldn’t see much better SEO rankings in 2017.
1 – Secure Your Personal Name as a Domain
If you don’t already have a website or blog in place, your domain name is going to play a huge importance for the overall success and branding for your site. Granted, you can start a site with the most random domain name ever and still find success, but when you have a great one, there is a lot more value and branding that will come out of it.
When talking about domain names, it’s also important to talk about how they can effect the over SEO success of your site as well. One of the easiest and most immediate things you can do to give you a slight edge in the search results is to have a great domain name. A great example of this would be if you had a keyword in your domain name and continually linked back to your site with its URL as the anchor text. Continual mentions of your domain name (as the keyword and anchor) would help you rank for that term as well, while also look natural to Google at the same time.
This, of course, is easier said than done, as nearly all generic domain names will be taken already. This means the only way for you to get around this is to get extremely niche, be creative or go with your personal name — which I highly recommend you grab before someone else does as well.
Google and other SEO experts will say an exact match domain name has little-to-no effect on the actual rankings of your site in Google, but I still feel there is some SEO value, and definitely an added value when you factor in branding. When registering a domain name, try to stick with a .com, .net or .org… but also know there are other options around if all of the previous options are already taken.
In the screenshot below you can see how some domain name registration services will actually provide you with a list of domain names available, then other alternatives based on the niche or category of your domain.
Don’t forget… if you don’t currently have your personal name registered as a domain, I would check right now to see if it’s available. Even if the .com or .net variation is taken, grab whatever else you can! It’s only a matter of time before someone else who shares your name does.
It’s also important to note that you should stay away from any registered trademarks, company or celebrity names when registering a domain. Sure, they can be a great help for branding and SEO, but they could also get you in trouble in the process. The last thing you want is to register a domain, start a new site and then have someone come after you legally to regain control over a copyright/trademark issue and leave you with nothing.
2 – Write Longer and More Detailed Content
At its core, blogging and SEO are all about content creation. If you want to rank higher in the search results, you are going to need to provide the best content and value possible. After all, Google always wanted to rank the best content at the top of their search results, otherwise, no one would use their search engine.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Mike Salvaggio about the what it takes to rank in Google today. Being the CEO and founder of SEOBrand, his digital marketing agency works with numerous brands and websites and knows what it takes to rank in Google today.
Here are a few takeaways from our interview.
- Longer content is going to outperform shorter content. This is just the way Google now works these days. 500-word articles used to be the standard, but now it’s more like 1,000-2,000. If you take a look at the top ranking sites across Google, you will commonly find they are extremely in-depth in words, content, and images.
- In addition to longer and more detailed content, it’s also important to have the right mix of images, video, and resource (outbound links) within your content. Again, this all goes back to the concept of providing as much value as possible.
- Backlinks are quickly becoming the most important SEO asset to nearly every website and brand online. While this is true, it’s important to still make sure the links that are coming back to your site actually serve a purpose. When you have high-quality content and resources that are worth referencing, it will be that much easier to gain new and unexpected backlinks from different sources.
- Lastly, don’t forget to use the proper site formatting (H1, H2) and image tags within your content. Yes, content is important but also make sure the content is laid out properly for both Google and your audience is also key to ranking in 2017.
In addition to the key takeaways mentioned above, SearchEngineLand also came out with their own reference guide full of articles, case studies and reports to further prove longer content simply ranks better.
3 – Use Mobile Optimization and Site Speed Tests
In the early days of the internet, if your site ranked at the top of Google, it was great! At the same time, it was still kind of hard to understand why your site is ranking where it was, how to improve it and also other key elements of your site that can be improved upon that could also affect your rankings. This is mainly because back in the mid-90s and early 2000s, ranking in Google was purely about anchor text and how many links were pointing back to your site. Now it’s all about content, user experience, value and the actual structure of your site.
Two excellent ways to improve the core of your site and make sure it has what it takes to rank against the competition is a website speed test and mobile optimization test. Should you fail or receive a low grade in either of these tests, it can dramatically affect where your site is ranking in Google.
After running each of these site performance tests, I also recommend you run a full site audit, as this will help with the actual structure and content of your site. Be sure to continue to run new performance tests after you make changes to your site, as it will update with a new score and let you know which improvements can still be made.
Actionable Tips to Rank Your Site Higher in 2017
I’ve highlighted three simple and actionable SEO tips to start helping your site rank higher in Google today. The most important thing for you to remember is that you and your website are against a world of competition when it coming to ranking in Google. The more niche specific you get with your content and search keywords, the more likely you are to find success.
Follow the steps I laid out for you above, then also run each of the site performance reports I mentioned as well. Most websites and brands will get lazy with their content creation, SEO efforts and also make sure their sites are fully optimized and good in the eyes of Google. The more often you make these updates and changes, the better off your SEO will be.