Seasoned SEO experts and beginners all have one thing in common – they all want to get their websites (or those of their clients) to the top of search engine results. Or, if they’ve already gotten there, they want to make sure they stay there. With so much competition and ever-evolving algorithms, it can be extremely challenging to get your website to the top of Google.

A solid SEO strategy is essential to improve your website's ranking on Google's SERP (search engine results page). It helps to capture valuable search traffic and direct them to the right resources on your website.

But that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible feat. With careful planning and the right strategies, you should be able to get your website to rank higher or even get to the top page within a few months.

The first step in putting together an effective SEO strategy is to create valuable and high-quality content that engages readers and encourages them to link back to your site. However, it's important to note that content alone won't guarantee success.

To ensure your SEO efforts are focused and effective, you'll need to perform keyword research and narrow down a list of focus keywords that are both relevant to your business and have the potential to drive traffic to your site. By using analytics and other tools to determine which keywords have the highest search volume and the least competition, you'll be able to optimize your content and increase its visibility in search results. In short, a successful SEO strategy requires a balance of high-quality content and targeted keyword research.

Also, every page on your website needs to include the critical optimization elements that help Google understand what each page is about. These elements include the title tag, meta description, headings, images, and internal links. We'll cover those here.

To further support your website content strategy, it is important to build a blog on your website if you don't already have one. A blog allows you to create fresh, relevant, and valuable content for your audience regularly. It also helps to increase your website's visibility and attract inbound links.

Lifting your ranks across relevant keywords will take a two-pronged approach. Both Content Strategy and Technical Optimization are key to getting your website to the top of Google.

Content Development

This involves creating and managing the actual content that users will see. It spans more than just blog posts: think infographics, videos, guides and product pages. Good content strategy makes your website more attractive to both users and search engines by providing valuable, relevant, and engaging content.

One of the most critical steps to ranking your site higher is by creating valuable, high-quality content that people will want to read and link to.

This starts with thorough keyword research and competitor research.

Keyword Research

Your keyword research should begin with the core idea of your topic, wrapped in a short phrase. "Vegetarian meals" is a good example. From there, here's where you dig deeper to create solid content:

  • Research the keyword's stats: search volume, ranking difficulty, estimated clicks, etc. This helps you set a pattern for gauging which keywords to prioritize.
  • Research the keyword's competition: all of the other websites that rank for it and even those that buy ads on it
  • Discover related, long-tail keywords that you can target. "Vegetarian meals" would spring toward "vegetarian meals without cheese" or "vegetarian meal planning."
  • Keep a list of questions that people ask about your keyword topic. You can find these through SpyFu's keyword search, through Answer the Public, or through Google's SERP where it shows "questions people ask." You should answer these in your content.

Building content on similar keywords helps you support your overall authority on the topic. Or, you can take some of the lower search volume terms as inspiration as you build an outline of what to cover in your article on the main topic. They might be subtopics that you elaborate on.

We also like the idea of using questions as section headers. Even if you don't use the question verbatim as the title of your section, your answer to that question will become a welcome addition to help round out your content.

Understand that keyword research could be the reason you move away from a keyword. That's perfectly okay. If it looks difficult to rank for your target keyword, it’s probably best to pursue a different keyword (for now). You can use keyword research tools to identify related keywords with lower competition and higher search volume to focus on instead.

All of this is tough to roll up into just one section. You can find more details about how to get the most out of keyword research so that you build your content on a good foundation.

Competitor Research

Competitor research uncovers other websites that rank for the same keywords you're competing on. You will recognize many of those websites as direct business competitors, but some aren't as top-of-mind. That doesn't make them any less of a threat. We talk about this more in a few sections ahead.

Valuable Content that Fosters Engagement

When your content offers value to your audience, it will make them stay on your site for longer. This can positively affect your rankings, according to experts like Larry Kim, who conducted studies identifying a correlation between longer dwell time and higher search engine rankings.

You can energize your SEO strategy by attracting a steady flow of inbound links. Of course you do this by creating high-quality content that other websites will want to link to, building relationships with other website owners, and guest posting on relevant websites.

A Stone Temple study also proved that links from highly-relevant sites with high authority could help you rank your website higher on Google.

Image Source: Stone Temple (page no longer available)

This makes it crucial to develop valuable content if you want to get your website to the top of Google. You can use content research tools like BuzzSumo to identify the most shared and trending pieces of content. This will help you brainstorm ideas for content that your target audience will love. You can also conduct polls and surveys to directly ask your audience what they want to see from you.

2: Create More Long-Form Content

You can also rank your website higher on Google by creating more long-form content. Long-form content lets you go in-depth into whatever topic you’re discussing, making it more informative and of higher value. So it tends to get more engagement, increasing your dwell time and helping you rank your site higher.

Besides, people love sharing long-form content. A BuzzSumo analysis of 100 million articles found that long-form content gets more social shares. Articles between 3,000 and 10,000 words got the most shares, followed by articles between 2,000 and 3,000 words. More social shares will result in higher visibility and increased traffic, which is crucial to get your website to the top of Google.

Image Source: OkDork

In short, this is structuring your content in a way that it can be easily picked up by Google as a featured snippet or passage, thus improving visibility.

Not every SERP is the same. Searches like "things to do in Miami" or "how to paint furniture" don't have one specific answer. Google offers their best suggestions for you to follow, but all of the tips will be different. Facts like "what time is it in London right now" or "when is Labor Day this year" can be answered clearly. You might get London's time at the top of the page without needing to click. Or, the first Monday in September appears in the search bar as you type.

Google serves up short answers in various formats: featured snippets, ranked passages, and answer boxes. They tend to stand out from the rest of the results page, so these are hot formats to target.

Variations in your content help your chances

  • A short and clear paragraph can answer a direct question
  • Numbered steps are better for "how to" questions
  • Images and videos stand out visually on the SERP

Results in Google’s Answer Boxes are even more prominent than the number one position in Google search results as you can see in the screenshot below.

Image Source: Google search results

If your content appears in this section, it gains a lot more visibility and is likely to drive a lot of clicks and traffic. This fuels your effort to get your website to the top of Google search results.

You can optimize your site for Google’s Answer Box by using question phrases to optimize your content. According to an analysis by seoClarity, question phrases like “how” and “what” were the top two keywords that trigger featured snippets.

Image Source: seoClarity

You can use tools like Answer the Public to identify what top questions people are asking about a specific topic. Optimizing your content with these question phrases can also help you cater to voice searchers who tend to ask conversational questions.

In addition to this, you should also use H2 tags properly in your subheadings to help Google understand that you’re answering a question. When you manage to get the featured snippet, these tags will show up in the Google Answer Box to give searchers an idea of what your page contains.

Besides making sure that your page provides the information that Google wants to show in the snippet, you should also make sure that the information is in the format Google prefers. Additionally, you should consider using structured data markup to help Google understand the content on your page and increase the chances of it being selected for the featured snippet.

These efforts will improve your chances of getting the featured snippet for relevant keywords and help you rank your site higher.

4: Target New Developments to Rank for Google News

Ranking your content on Google News is a great way to gain authority links from sites that would want to cite you as a source. This can eventually build up and improve your domain authority, which further helps you get a higher ranking.

So if your goal is to get your website to the top of Google, you should also consider getting ranked among Google News results.

Since major news outlets will consistently get the top news results, you should adjust your targets to aim for specific developments within your industry. This could be breaking news, fresh updates on a hot topic, or in-depth interviews with people at the center of the happenings.

5. Deliver the Right Information for the Search Intent

This practice emphasizes the importance of understanding what users are looking for and making sure your content addresses those needs effectively.

Search intent is the reason for a particular search query. It's what the searcher is trying to accomplish. The primary aim of search engines like Google is to provide the most relevant search results to users. The challenge is to put out detailed, rich content that answers a reader's question as closely as possible.

The best way to align yourself with a user's search intent is to get ahead of the questions they're going to ask. Usually, the clue is in the search itself. If a user searches for "new car," you are flying blind. If the search is "new car negotiating tips" or "new car paint protection," then you have two very different but much clearer directions about what the user is trying to achieve. Those searches point to someone at very different points in the buying cycle.

This is easier to accommodate through paid search ads. You can direct the user to a specific landing page depending on which long tail term they searched. In SEO, your best approach is to create similar, supporting pieces about a topic that answer different angles. Or, you can create one in-depth long form piece.

I mentioned "getting ahead of the questions." This starts in your keyword research. While you select your primary and secondary keywords to target, make note of the common questions that people ask about the core topic. Turn each question into its own section of your content and answer it thoroughly. Your content should match many more searches.

Over time, continue to find more questions, and expand your content as you answer them to build a more robust piece.

On-Page SEO and Technical Optimization

Google favors pages that deliver a good experience to the user. The Content Strategy that we just covered does its part by delivering compelling ideas that answer your searcher's intent. To do service to your well-crafted content, you have to make the page's technical performance shine, too. This includes the behind-the-scenes aspects that help search engines better crawl, index, and understand your site. It also involves strategies to enhance your site’s credibility and navigability.

6. Nail The Critical Elements on Every Page

This tip focuses on optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and images to improve your site's SEO on a page-by-page basis.

To ensure that a website page is optimized for search engines like Google, there are five critical optimization elements that need to be addressed on every page. These optimization elements include:

1. Page Title: The page title should be under 60 characters and should accurately describe the content on the page using a focus keyword.

2. Meta Description: The meta description should be under 155 characters and should provide a brief and compelling summary of what the page is about while using the focus keyword.

3. H1 & H2 Title Text: The H1 and H2 title text should break up the main content of the page by describing it using relevant keywords. The text in the H1 heading carries more weight in terms of signaling the main topic or theme of the page to search engines. On a user-focused front, clear H tags help readers navigate the page more effectively, enhancing the user experience.

4. Alt Text: Every image on the page must have a title, and this title should be descriptive and include the focus keyword.

5. Keyword in Content: The focus keyword should appear at least once in the content of the page. Try highlighting the keywords through bold text to help search engines recognize its importance.

While it is important to optimize these elements for search engines, it is equally important to ensure that the content remains user-friendly and relevant to human readers. Google always reminds us: write for humans, not search engines. Be sure to work the keywords in naturally without overloading the page with them.

7: Optimize Your URLs

As minor as it may seem, your URL structure is an important consideration to improve your ranking. On its own, it may not have a massive impact on your search engine ranking.

But if you want to get your website to the top of Google search results, you can’t afford to ignore even the minutest factors that can influence your ranking.

Here are some of the best practices to create SEO-friendly URLs:

  1. Keep them short and to the point. A Quick Sprout study found that the top 10 results on Google had an average of 37 characters in their URL. URLs containing 35 to 40 characters seem to perform much better, according to their study.
  2. Use hyphens instead of underscores to separate your words. This makes it easier for Google to understand what your page is all about. Google’s Matt Cutts has also explained that Google ignores underscores while considering hyphens as separators.
  3. Add keywords naturally to improve relevance signals and help Google understand where to rank your site. Although this is a small factor, it still plays a crucial role if your end goal is to get your website to the top of Google.

Shaun Anderson of Hobo even conducted an experiment in which he found that the ranking of a page gradually declined when the keyword was removed from the URL slug. And a Cognitive SEO study found that the top-ranking page is three times more likely than the second-ranking page to have a keyword in its URL.

Image Source: Cognitive SEO

Avoid using extraneous characters like @, &, $, or % in your URL, as they can confuse search engine crawlers. Only 0.194% of the top 100 results for 1,000 results across multiple industries contained extraneous characters in their URL, according to the Quick Sprout study cited earlier.

8: Optimize Your Meta Tags (Title and Description)

Like your page URL, your meta tags are minute but important factors that can influence your page ranking. You’ll need to optimize both your title tag and your meta description to help both search engines and users in understanding your page content.

The meta description tag itself is not a direct ranking factor in SEO. However, it still plays a significant role in SEO, because that's the text that searchers are most likely to read when they're skimming results on the SERP. It tells them about your content and piques their interest. With a relevant and compelling description, you can help increase your click-through rate. Ultimately, more clicks is what SEO is about. (And a higher click-through rate could eventually pay off in higher ranks.)

Here are a few best practices to help you optimize your meta tag and get your website to rank higher:

  1. The previously-cited Cognitive SEO study found that having the keyword in your title can make all the difference between ranking 1st and 2nd. This makes it crucial to optimize your title tag with relevant keywords.
  2. Similarly, you’ll need to optimize your meta descriptions with relevant keywords as well. But make sure not to overstuff it with keywords just for the sake of it. Use them naturally so that the description flows well and is understandable for both search engines and humans.
  3. Keep your titles short, catchy, and to the point. The average title length in organic search results is 55.04. But you can go over 60-65 if need be, without exceeding the 70-character limit.
  4. Summarize the content of your page using meta descriptions. Avoid making them too lengthy, as anything over 160 characters might not display fully in Google search results. While the RankRanger analysis found that the average length of meta descriptions in organic search results is 164.07, it’s best to avoid going over the 160-character limit.

9: Optimize Your Anchor Text

This step means carefully choosing the visible text part of links to ensure they are informative and keyword-relevant, aiding in better indexing and understanding of your site content by search engines.

Anchor text optimization is another crucial step to get your website to the top of Google search results. The anchor text you use to link to other pages can help Google understand what the page is about, helping it list the pages accurately.

So using relevant keywords as anchor text is an excellent way to guide search engines and help them understand your page content and rank your site higher.

There are five different types of anchor texts that you should know about:

  • Exact Match Anchor Text – An exact match anchor text uses a keyword mirroring the page you’re linking to. For example, “SEO strategies” linking to a page that covers SEO strategies would be an exact match anchor text. These are ideal for helping Google understand what the linked-to page contains.
  • Partial Match Anchor Text – This type of anchor text includes a variation of the main keyword on the page you’re linking to. For example, “content optimization strategies” linking to a page that talks about content optimization. These are also an excellent alternative to exact match anchor texts as they’re still relevant to the linked-to page topic.  

Here’s an example in which we’ve used the anchor text “SEO strategies” to link to a post that explains SEO for beginners.

  • Branded Anchor Text – As the name suggests, this type of anchor text uses a brand name. For example, “SpyFu” linking to a SpyFu blog post. Overusing this type of anchor text may be considered suspicious and manipulative. Avoid using it more than once in your blog posts. Here’s an example from one of our blog posts.
  • Naked Link – When a URL acts as an anchor, it is considered a naked link anchor. These anchors may not be the best option if you’re trying to link to content within blog posts, as they could hamper reader experience.
  • Generic Anchor Text – Generic anchor text is a generic word of phrase that links to other pages. “Learn more” or “click here” are some examples of generic anchor text. They’re not very ideal for SEO because Google has no way of understanding the content of the linked-to page and its relevance to the linking page.

Google’s Gary Illyes has said explicitly that there are no penalties for over-optimizing your internal linking anchor texts. This means that you can use exact match anchor text however much you want to for your internal links.

Anchor texts of backlinks are less in your control but possibly more important. You can request particular phrasing when another site agrees to link to you, but more often you get what they want to use. Google values anchor texts because they provide neutral, accurate descriptions of web pages. Much like with meta descriptions, it helps the reader understand why they might want to click through.

That said, it’s still a good idea to use synonyms and variations to maintain a natural flow in your articles instead of trying to force exact match anchor text.

Displaying rich snippets in your search engine results is one of the best ways to get more clicks to your site. This, in turn, helps improve your ranking and can eventually help you get your website to the top of Google search results.

The Structured Data on your page HTML helps Google in displaying accurate rich snippets for searchers to see. It could include information such as price, rating, stock availability, and more.

So searchers get an accurate picture of whether or not the product or content is relevant to them. This is a great way to minimize bounces as well, since most of the clicks will be from relevant searchers.

Image Source: Google search results

Google’s John Mueller has also clarified that the use of Structured Data makes it easier for Google to understand in which searches it should display your page. In other words, it improves your targeting and makes it easier to rank your page for relevant search results even if it doesn’t directly affect ranking.

The more you rank for relevant keywords, the more relevant traffic you’ll get. All of this helps rank your site higher over time.

11: Improve Page Load Speed and Mobile Friendliness

By now, Google has made it clear that user experience is critical. A website should be mobile-friendly, fast loading, easy to use (clear navigation, few pop-ups, etc.), secure (i.e., HTTPS not HTTP), well-structured, and free of other technical SEO issues.

Further, a fast-loading page enhances the user experience, which is likely to reduce the number of bounces. This could eventually contribute to a higher ranking on Google search engine results.

You can use the Google PageSpeed Insights to see just how fast your website loads. In addition to analyzing your page load speed on mobile and desktop, this tool also shows you some opportunities to speed up your page load time.

Image Source: PageSpeed Insights

A mobile-friendly website should have a responsive design. Being responsive means that the site adjusts its layout when a user pulls it up on a mobile device. The type is larger and in a tighter format (fewer words per line), includes easy-to-click buttons, and images fit the screen appropriately. Whatever the user needs to do on the site to have a successful interaction (read, click, fill out a form, select dates) should be done easily with finger taps and little else.

To make a site fast loading, images should be compressed, and the site should use a content delivery network (CDN) and caching. A site should have clear navigation, an intuitive user interface, and easy-to-find content.

Google's emphasis on user experience and Core Web Vitals has been building for some time. Even the page layout update in 2012 put a higher value on pages that delivered user-focused content as soon as they landed on the page. It de-valued ad-intensive pages that cluttered the reader's experience.

A user-friendly layout contributes to a good user experience. When visitors can easily navigate through a website, find relevant content, and are not hindered by excessive ads, it enhances their overall satisfaction. Therefore, a user-friendly layout is an important factor in providing a good user experience.

Off-Page SEO and Local Optimization

Strategies in this group extend beyond your website, focusing on building your site's reputation and visibility. This weaves together outreach, multi-channel presence, and optimizing your site's connection with specific geographical areas.

Your next step involves building a network of external sites that link back to yours and effectively using internal links to help search engines and users navigate your site.

Backlinks are a crucial aspect of search engine optimization (SEO), as they serve as a signal of trust and authority to search engines like Google. The more high-quality backlinks a webpage has, the higher it is likely to rank on the search engine results page.

Backlinks are links to your page from other websites. If they come consistently from topically relevant websites or pages, Google sees them as strong ranking signals. They can provide more value than links from less relevant sources.

However, the quantity of backlinks is not the only determining factor for ranking. You should be equally dedicating to building quality backlinks that come from reputable sites with competitive, ranked pages.

Older advice said that links from .edu and .gov domains carried more weight, but that's no longer the case. Google looks for quality content and authority. Sites with those top level domains (URL endings) might prove more authoritative by nature of their organizations behind them, but the ending alone isn't what Google measures.

A backlink's age or "freshness" can be interpreted two ways. Newer links suggest that a page has been recently vetted and comes across as valuable. Older links, on the other hand, speak to stability. SEO authority Ann Smarty lays out ways in which backlink age might play into a page's SEO power.

Internal links help you establish proper site architecture. That in turn helps Google smoothly crawl through every page on your site and list them in relevant search results. So if you want to get your website to the top of Google search results, you need to have a proper internal linking structure.

Internal links are links that you give to your own content. These are usually related topics, or a section of your page ties into the topic of another.

According to Moz, the optimal website structure is in the shape of a pyramid with minimal links between the homepage and other pages. Instead, you’ll have the homepage linking to main category pages, which will in turn link to product pages.

Image Source: Moz

Even when linking blog posts, you can try having a detailed and comprehensive pillar post on a specific topic. And then interlink it with other relevant posts that discuss specific tactics or subtopics in detail.

For instance, if you have one pillar post on SEO as a whole, you can link to several other posts that discuss specific SEO tactics like anchor text optimization and backlink strategies.

Further, the anchor text of internal links serves as a strong relevance signal for Google. The text used for the link provides an indication of the content and topic of the linked page, helping Google understand its context and relevance.

13: Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Ranking higher on local search results is another crucial step to get ranked on top of Google’s organic search results.

And the best way to improve your local ranking is by optimizing your Google Business Profile. Moz found that Google Business signals played the most important role in ranking your business in the local pack.

As you already know, results in the local pack tend to be much more prominent than any other search result.

Image Source: Google search results

Your Google Business Profile signals also affect your local organic ranking as a whole, according to the Moz analysis. This makes it crucial to optimize your listing if you want to rank higher on Google search results.

Here are a few tips that can help you do that:

  1. Make sure you fill out all the details of your business correctly. This would include your business name, address, contact information, website URL, category, business hours, and description. Your business name should be exactly as it is in real life, and every other information you provide should be correct.
  2. Google now allows you to include a business description in your GBP listing. However, the description should not exceed 750 words. You can also optimize this description with relevant keywords in a natural flow.
  3. Include pictures to accurately represent your business and make your listing more prominent and compelling.
  4. Create GBP posts to announce upcoming events, sales, or products to keep people updated about your business.
    Encourage your customers to leave reviews about your business, products, and services to make sure that your listing stands out.

You can also check out some of the more detailed guidelines from Google on how to accurately represent your business through GBP listings.

14. Be Mindful of Location

If you are creating content about visiting national parks in Australia, it helps to have a .au domain. More specific, this is a country-code top level domain (ccTLD). For the most part, they are just like general top-level domains, but you might get a small bump for location-specific content.

It serves as a clear indicator to Google (and other search engines) that your content is relevant and specifically tailored to users in a particular country. Having a ccTLD helps to establish credibility in that region, increasing your chances of ranking higher in local search results. Users can see your website as being more relevant and valuable in the specific country you are targeting. If your goal is to perform well in a particular region, having a ccTLD could help in more ways than just ranking.

15: Improve Your Social Signals

Google doesn’t consider social signals as a direct ranking factor. However, several studies have identified the correlation between good social media presence and higher search engine ranking.

Cognitive SEO, for instance, found that pages with higher search engine rankings tend to have a larger social media presence.

Image Source: Cognitive SEO

The study found a close correlation between higher rankings and higher social media activity.

This means that the number of likes, comments, and shares you get on social media has some impact on your ranking. This is likely because increased social media activity improves visibility, which can further increase your traffic.

This means that if you want to get your website to the top of Google search results, you need to make sure that you boost your social media presence. Engaging with your audience and sharing valuable content with them can help you rank your site higher.

You’ll need to share relevant and timely posts to catch your followers at the right times. You should also engage with their comments by responding to their queries or generally thanking them for their feedback.

In addition to this, you can conduct polls, ask them questions, etc. to make it more interactive and garner higher engagements.

16: Have a Great Guest Posting Strategy

No matter what you’ve heard, guest posting is still one of the best ways to get your website to the top of Google search results. It’s not just because of the backlinks, but also because of the increasing amount of visibility you get with relevant audiences.

By getting published on a reputable site, you build your credibility in the industry and attract more people to your site. All of this contributes to a higher Domain Authority, and eventually, this helps you get ranked on top of Google’s organic search results.

For instance, Adam Enfroy published eight guest posts in 15 days. He earned 247 new backlinks, 32 new referring domains, and 268 new organic keywords that ranked in the top 100. His Alexa Rank improved by 600,000, organic traffic increased by 372%, and domain rating improved by +12.

But that doesn’t mean you should be sending out pitches to just any website that accepts guest posts. For this to work, you need to take a strategic approach and come up with a proper plan.

Here are a few tips to follow:

  1. Aim to get published on relevant websites with high Domain Authority (preferably over 60). This is the most crucial step because you don’t want to get backlinks from just any website.
  2. Choose topics that will appeal to the target site’s audience.
  3. Make sure you create detailed, high-quality content that would be useful for the target site’s readership.
  4. Support your claims with relevant, high-authority sources to gain more credibility.
  5. Link to other influential websites, and bloggers wherever relevant.
  6. Avoid being too pushy in your outreach emails if you want your pitch to be accepted. Be friendly and polite, and don’t hesitate to follow up at least once.

Performance Metrics and Strategic Advertising

Outside work can contribute to getting you to the top of Google search results. This encompasses regular analysis and updates to your SEO strategy and leveraging paid advertising to complement organic efforts.

17: Keep a Close Eye on the Competition

This step involves analyzing what content your competitors are creating, how it's performing, and finding ways to improve upon it in your own content strategy.

If you want to rank your website higher on Google, you need to stay one step ahead of your competitors at all times. This means you need to keep a close eye on them, where they’re currently ranking, which keywords they’re ranking for, etc.

We mentioned earlier that high-ranking content is built on good keyword research and good competitor research. Both of those are ongoing practices.

Your competitor research includes understanding the other websites that rank for your target keyword and show up as authorities on the topic. Having a good understanding of the sites you're up against can help you decide which angles to take in your content. Competitors can be excellent inspiration for industry keywords you never thought to target. Their ranking content can help you objectively see areas where you could improve. This is true not just for your gaps in content, but also for existing content to see where you they delivered more value to the reader. Use that as a guide of what to add to your articles or how to expand your videos to get to the top of Google.

To evaluate the competition, you can review the quality of their content, the number of backlinks they have, their domain authority, and their overall reputation in the industry. It's a time-consuming effort, which explains why 3rd party tools are so popular in delivering that kind of insight.

The SpyFu Competitors tool, for example, works two-fold: it helps you gauge your top organic competitors' performances over time. (Trends and history to this point show more than just a standing snapshot.) It also identifies emerging websites in your niche or those that you might have overlooked as a true competitor.

Because even if you can't recognize them, they are still in a position to be siphoning clicks away from your content. These small-to-medium businesses are important in your competitive research for other reasons. Very large, national competitors are helpful to learn from, but they are too large to be your only target. Few sites outrank them, so it's more effective to roll your efforts into outranking similar-sized competitors.

Image Source: SpyFu

18. Have an Effective PPC Strategy

An effective paid advertising strategy (like with Google Ads) may not necessarily affect your ranking directly. However, its speed and narrow targeting ability lets you raise brand awareness quickly. This works in search and social media feeds alike.

That increased visibility leads to traffic boosts, and those can build up over time to lift your website ranking.

Since Google Ads is a PPC (pay per click) system, advertisers pay only when users click on their ads. Your ad will include a "Sponsored" tag next to the listing to separate it from organic results, but the impression puts you in front of the same eyes that would see a ranked result.

With Google Ads, you can specify your target locations and demographics to ensure you're reaching the right audience. However, keep in mind that bidding on a keyword doesn't guarantee you'll rank at the top of the ads block. Other advertisers may also be bidding on the keyword, so the ranking (ad position) is ultimately determined by the bid amount, ad relevance, and Quality Score.

Indirectly, a Google Ads campaign can help you rank higher, but you will need an integrated SEO and PPC strategy to get there. The two strategies working together can significantly leverage your website and lift up your rankings twofold.

KoMarketing ran a highly effective SEO campaign and then integrated it with an optimized PPC campaign. This dramatically improved the results that were already achieved through SEO and also helped improve individual keyword performance.

19. Embrace Every Step of the Improvement Cycle

Having a continual review strategy for your entire campaign is important because nothing you do will be perfect. You need to monitor and review the entire campaign regularly to track the hits and misses. You can then adjust your SEO strategy accordingly to achieve better results.

What kind of steps go into adjusting your strategy?

You should focus extra time on keywords that aren't moving enough and repeat the steps you took that brought results in the past. You should also keep up with the latest algorithm updates and make necessary adjustments based on recommendations that experts and SEO specialists are more than happy to share.

Keeping up with the latest updates is important because Google's algorithm is constantly changing. Follow blogs like Search Engine Journal, Subscribe to SEO newsletters (I personally love Rebel Mouse and the SEO insights they offer) and follow knowledgeable voices on social media. That gives you more insight into what Google updates mean for your site than just the straight forward description of the updates themselves. When you have an idea of how those algorithm changes might affect your business, you can adjust your SEO strategy and avoid any negative effects on your website's ranking.

A good improvement cycle allows you to constantly evaluate the performance of your campaign and make constructive adjustments to improve overall outcomes.

By analyzing statistical data and identifying areas of weakness, you can optimize your campaign to ensure maximum reach and achieve better returns on investment.

Refining a campaign also ensures that you can maintain a competitive edge in the market. With the ever-changing landscape of online advertising, refining your campaign enables you to stay current and adapt to new trends and technologies. This, in turn, empowers you to outperform your competition and stay ahead of the game.

Ultimately, your focus should be on providing the best possible user experience for your target audience.

Final Thoughts

Many of the tips we mentioned touch on marketing strategy. Getting your page to the top of Google's search results relies on technical aspects as well. You can run an SEO audit to also cover bases on many overlooked points.

It's important to have a continual review strategy for your entire campaign, monitoring and reviewing your progress regularly through analytics to track the hits and misses.

These are some of the best ways to help you improve your rankings and get ranked on the first page of Google. While some of them may directly affect your rankings, others have a more indirect impact.

But if you want to master how to get your website to the top of Google, you’ll need to prioritize these tactics equally. You can’t afford to ignore something just because it’s a smaller ranking factor.

Building a solid SEO strategy is crucial to making your business show up at the top of Google search results. It involves putting together the right SEO strategy and implementing it effectively. Critical optimization elements need to be included in every page of your website to help Google understand what each page is about.

Now, get to work using the tips above to boost your website rankings and get your website to the top page.