5 Steps to Ranking Higher in the Search Engines

ranking higherSearch engines deliver most websites anywhere from 50% up to 90% of their overall traffic, and for many companies search engines deliver 75-90% of their online revenues. But if you want to get this kind of traffic and revenues from search engines, you need to rank on the first page, and probably in the top 3 positions.

But search engines in 2012 are getting more competitive than ever. Niches that once had next to no competition are now dominated by companies spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars on SEO packages each month.

There are, however, some easy things you can do to your website and blog to help improve your chances of ranking on the first page of search results. These tips could bring you to the first page if you’re in a lower competition niche, and they will certainly help in medium to high competition but in some cases there’s no substitute for SEO work.

1: Build A Natural Link Profile

Whenever you post a link to your website, take a mental note or keep track of the anchor text and where it links to. So many people get caught up in online linking to one page or online linking with one anchor text, and search engines are catching on to this. A natural link profile is critical to ranking on the first page of results for any keyword.

2: Have Natural Content

Never, ever, ever write content for search engines. Yes it might improve your rankings, but your visitors will immediately know that the page was written for search purposes and not for them. This will deliver a lot of traffic which a high bounce rate and virtually 0 minutes on the site, which doesn’t translate into any revenue for you. Always write for your visitors first and the search engines second.

3: Be Social!

It’s important to have a strong presence on social media sites. Social media is likely going to play a larger role in the future in SEO, but in the mean time it can deliver some great referral traffic and help you grow your customer base. There’s millions of users on sites like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Digg, and others, so don’t be afraid to spend a little time everyday posting updates and interacting.

4: Optimize Your Site

When we start an SEO campaign there’s over 100 things we look for in a client’s website to help them rank better. Some things you can do on your own are have relevant URL’s, relevant title tags, and strategic keyword placement throughout the page and in important places such as headers. On site SEO is actually getting more important than ever, but it’s also important not to overly optimize your site as that just looks unnatural and won’t convert well.

5: Rinse and Repeat

You should always be improving and tweaking your website and SEO campaign. Post fresh content, make changes to pages, improve your internal linking structure. SEO is a never ending job, and so is managing and running your website. As soon as you think you’re done, one of your competitors will come out of nowhere and rank higher than you. Always stay on top of your content, links, and overall campaign.

While these tips won’t bring you to the first page in a competitive niche quickly, they certainly will help and could bring you to page one in a low competition niche right away. SEO is becoming more and more difficult and expensive as search engines get smarter and low quality companies drop out of the market. No matter what, make sure you stay white-hat in your SEO practices and only do things that won’t harm your website.

About The Author: Brendan Egan is the founder & owner of Simple SEO Group, an online marketing, small business web design, and SEO firm that helps small businesses improve their web presence.

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  • March 9th, 2012 at 8:49 am Tom Parker said:

    “…in some cases there’s no substitute for SEO work.”

    I would say in ALL cases there’s no substitute for SEO work. Lately you hear some people touting the ‘New’ SEO being all about content, and saying just forget the technical aspects of SEO, crank out tons of good content, and you will be fine. That’s simply not true.

    The search engines have always had the goal of returning good content, they’re just getting better at it all the time, and are now including more signals, like social media, and are giving more weight to ‘fresh’ content.

    The technical aspects of SEO are still an absolute necessity to presenting your site and pages to the search engines in a way that best represents your content.

  • March 9th, 2012 at 11:57 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hey Tom!

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Well-written hearty content is a great starting point, but without some technical SEO work to complement it, you’ll never get any real search traffic.

  • March 13th, 2012 at 2:44 am Tina Vargas said:

    I would like to agree with you that SEO is a never ending process. I was not around for few days and I found my ranking getting lower! |

  • March 15th, 2012 at 10:03 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hi Tina,
    Yeah, that can happen. I’ve noticed that when I blog, many of my sites will jump up in the rankings quickly (not just the post), then slowly slide down until my next post. It’s very noticeable when I only post once every two weeks less.

  • May 16th, 2012 at 4:08 pm jd said:

    If there were a way to rank quickly and reasonably easy for a keyword (semi relevant to your niche) that only receives a few hundred searches per month and you could rank in the top 5 results on pg one…would you consider it worthwhile to pursue?

  • May 16th, 2012 at 6:07 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    If the keyword doesn’t have a significant monetary value, then probably not.

  • June 1st, 2012 at 4:20 am Allen MacCannell said:

    I think the time for social being part of SEO is already here. We’re doing much better on Bing and Yahoo these days (#1 for online SEO tools) and I’ll bet that this is because of Twitter and Facebook strength and activity.

    Being #8 on Google for the same keyword has given us an incentive to get more active on Google+ where we’ve greatly improved in the past two weeks.

    For us it’s all about 1) Keeping our top 10 position in the SEO software related SERPs by proactively establishing popular social media presences with proper SEO optimization on the social media platforms themselves, 2) Maintaining a brand image, which often entails proactively going out and liking, following or retweeting and +ing people in the SEO industry, 3) Schmoozing with strategic current and potential business partners and 4)Running sales campaigns that ask new customers to do some liking, retweeting or sharing to get a discount. <– These campaigns can be surprisingly effective

  • July 11th, 2012 at 9:56 pm Short code said:

    Is there any Free Tools or Website which allow to check On-Page Optimization?

  • July 12th, 2012 at 2:46 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Here’s a couple of decent ones: marketing.grader.com and woorank.com.

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