How to get your website to the top of Google
7 ways of winning on Google
It’s possibly the most common question posed to a company such as ours - can you get me to the top of Google’s rankings - or at least on the first page?
Well, it’s a goal we set ourselves when we opened our new office in Wilmslow at the start of the year. How could we ‘own’ that all-important real estate that is the top few listings on Google’s Search Results page and build awareness to local prospective clients?
Firstly, we undertook keyword research to identify a few keywords that were the ones most likely to bring in the desired traffic to our site. We are a web design firm now based in Wilmslow (as well as Edinburgh) and so we wanted to rank for local search; for terms that combined what we do, with where we are.
One of the most important keywords was “web design Wilmslow”. So how did we set about getting ranked at the very top of Google’s organic search for this highly valuable keyword?
Getting to the top in Google
Our strategy involved:
- Creating an optimised landing page
- Brand awareness through paid advertising
- Online PR
- Content marketing
- Social media
- Google Places
- Designing mobile friendly web pages
Let’s take a look at each of these aspects individually, and see how together the sum of these parts combined to deliver fast, sustainable results.
1. Optimised Landing Page
Once the keywords had been decided upon, we created a Google friendly page for Web Design Wilmslow. You can see it here.
The page uses relevant and human-readable content that contains the keywords, attractive imagery and important meta data that tells the Google bot what the page is about. It includes a keyword-rich browser title, a well written meta description, important H1 and H2 tags and the right balance of content and imagery.
The page also contains a call to action, Google map and easy to use form. It is the destination page for some of our Google Adwords campaigns - more about the relevancy of that next.
2. Brand awareness through paid advertising
Running alongside our search optimisation efforts was a well structured paid advertising campaign using Google Adwords.
Although Google claims this has no direct effect on how you rank organically, it does build brand awareness through the volume of advertising impressions, and when your brand name and web address is shown tens of thousands of times over a period of weeks and months, it does start to gain recognition and the more people clicking on your website, the more value Google places on the site in terms of relevancy and popularity.
3. Online PR
In the run up to our move we engaged in a programme of online PR - local interest stories about our move to The Colony in Wilmslow. We achieved online press coverage in more than a dozen media websites, including the Manchester Evening News, Cheshire Independent and Prolific North.
You can see the full extent of our press coverage here and below is a graph that shows the impact that our PR had on traffic volumes on the site during the peaks of exposure.
4. Content Marketing
It’s often quoted that ‘content is king’ and it’s certainly true that Google loves relevant, well constructed content. Web Foundry has a content plan that sees us continually updating and adding to the content of our website, including blogs, free tools, news about recent wins, social media posts, videos, reviews and more.
Content covers a wide spectrum of activity and any business seeking to outgun its competitors will need to plan and implement a great content plan.
5. Social Media
Web Foundry has fully engaged in all the main social channels to provide the necessary signals for Google and this gives another little push towards your SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position).
Platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube all give you the opportunity to have your voice and message frequently heard and shared across the people you are trying to reach out to. Have an opinion, mix up the messages from trivial to thought leading and join in with the conversations of others.
In only a few short months we have become a recognised name in the geographic area we serve - people have heard about us and leads follow. On social media it pays to choose your friends well and to play a full and active roll.
6. Google Places (Google My Business)
This is perhaps one of the first, and most fundamental steps you need to take in order to rank for local search. If you’re selling primarily to people in your local area then you need to be registered on Google My Business.
This could be an entire blog post in its own right, but in a nutshell, it gives you the opportunity to show where your business is on Google Maps, post pictures about your business, your open times and contact details. It even allows others to review you and these in turn further help your ranking and build social proof.
7. Designing mobile-friendly web pages
It’s now imperative that your website is mobile-friendly and optimised for different screen sizes and resolutions. If it’s not, Google will penalise you and you will suffer a penalty for this that pushes you back down the ranking. Your site should also load quickly and be well coded.
When we re-launched our own website in January of this year we made sure every page was mobile friendly and you can test your own free of charge, just pop over to our free tools page and use the mobile-friendly page checker there. Below is a screen shot of how our own site fared.
So what’s next?
Getting to the top is one thing, staying there is quite another! Google continually changes its algorithms and your competitors are usually hard at work to improve their own rankings. Nothing stands still and neither should you.
For our own part, we now plan to add customer reviews to our Google Places page, add case studies for local businesses that we’ve now worked successfully with and we will continue to check on search trends to make sure that the keywords we optimise for are still the keywords that our target audience uses.
If you found this post helpful and would like Web Foundry to help you climb the Google rankings, then get in touch today.