How To Get To The Top of Google Search Results in 2022
Remember that great website you found on the second page of your search results on Google? Well, of course you do not. Hardly anyone ever makes it to the second page. In fact, studies show less than 3% of total searchers around the globe view past the first results page, which is why you need to work on getting your business there.
In this article we will teach you tried and tested ways on how to get your business listed higher on Google both through paid advertising and for free, how to get to the top of Google local search listings, and how to improve your overall Google business ranking in all 4 main areas of the results page.
Which part of Google search results can you rank in?
Before anything else, let us discuss the fundamentals: What are the 4 main areas within the results page that you can improve your Google business ranking?
- PPC Ads – This stands for Pay Per Click Ads. These look like regular search results, except they show up at the top of the page and have a small “Ad” label under.
- Local Map Listings – These show up right below the PPC ads and are only featured if the search is close to your real time location.
- Organic Listings – These fall below the local map listings and are reserved for websites that do amazing work with their Search Engine Optimization efforts, utilization of keywords, and overall website quality. This is the part you can rank on the page for free.
- Rich Snippets – Also known as featured snippets or rich results, these are a form of organic listings with an additional set of data displayed that conveniently give searchers summarized information. There are dozens of types but the most common ones include the following:
- Product markup and availability
- Top stories
- Organizations / company information
What are the ranking factors that Google takes into consideration?
Now that you know where you can rank, let us next discuss what criteria are in place for how to get your listing higher on Google search. Because a search engine sorts through billions of websites in order to extract the most relevant ones per entry, they have devised a well structured algorithm to analyze all that data and get searchers high quality content in less than a second.
In reality, there are over 200 ranking factors that Google looks into, but everyone needs to start somewhere, so start with the top 12 most important factors:
- Make sure your site is secured by acquiring an SSL certificate and enabling HTTPS on your website.
- Design your site to be mobile friendly by adjusting the content accordingly. Make sure there is a lot of white space, buttons big enough to click, images light enough to load, and content concise enough to read.
- Ensure that your site loads fast by doing the following:
- Enabling compression,
- Reducing redirects,
- Leveraging on browser caching,
- Using content distribution networks,
- Optimizing images
- Make use of schema markup in order for search engines to accurately and efficiently analyze your content.
- Publish only quality content on your web pages in order to keep your readers interested and satisfied with the information they receive from you, making you top of mind as their source of information and products and/ or services.
- Publish lengthy content, especially on informational pages, in order to keep your visitors on your site for longer periods of time and to be able to provide more value to your website.
- Optimize your social presence since this affects your site’s SEO in four ways:
- Increase your brand recognition and authority in the industry
- Increase your visibility, thus redirecting traffic towards your website
- Your content will have a longer lifespan on social media platforms, and these platforms provide a broader range of content distribution especially when interlinked with one another
- Boost your local SEO and helps you target nearby customers
- Utilize quality backlinks, also known as inbound links, because Google recognizes your content as more relevant this way.
- Always optimize your images, we realize this was briefly mentioned under the page load time factor but it is a crucial element that stands on its own as it heavily contributes to overall user experience. Not only will it make your page load faster, but it helps your readers understand your content more through visual aspects, and will keep their interest to read on.
- Keep your domain registration long-term since older domains set a strong foundation for stronger SEO compared to if you keep switching and starting from scratch.
- User experience is crucial because it is important that your website visitors know how to properly navigate your site and get the information they are searching for in a timely manner. If your design is smooth and easy to go through, your visitors will also be inclined to stay longer and take in your content. If your pages are messy and difficult to process, your bounce rate will skyrocket..
- Satisfying the search intent of your audience is a surefire way to rank your business higher on Google. Be sure to always provide your readers with relevant, factual information.
Now that you know the 12 important factors, let us discuss how to apply these to the four main parts you can rank in:
#1: How to get your business on top of Google search using pay per click advertising
The goal of optimizing your SEO is to rank your business higher on Google for free. So paying Google to achieve that (in the form of ads) may seem contradictory. However, SEO and PPC actually go hand in hand and work best when paired together.
PPC ads give your website the boost it needs to be visible enough to your customers and to outrank your competition, while SEO provides a steady foundation that you can build up on over the years. The better you are at this balance, the easier it will be for your brand to drive in sales. You will also learn from experience the most cost-effective ways to run ads, and will soon be paying smaller rates for bigger sales.
Oftentimes, people expect to invest a lot of money on ads and have them magically work in their favor without so much as a strategy. However, just like how Google sifts through billions of websites for organic ranking, they ensure only the most relevant and high quality ads show up per search. But how exactly can you make ads like that?
Paid search revolves around a great keyword strategy. As the advertiser, you must bid on keywords and keyword phrases that you think your customers would be searching for online, the closer your bids match the query, the easier it will be for your ad to rank high. So think like your customer, consider their needs, and work from here.
- Quality Score
This basically means how relevant and informative your ad is for the user. This is Google’s ranking system from 1 through 10, with the exact formula still undisclosed. What we do know, however, is that there are 3 main factors that go into calculating your quality score, namely:
- Landing Page – If a user clicks on your ad, be sure to redirect them to the most relevant landing page, not a page totally unrelated that ends up throwing them off guard and out of your site. Also be certain that your landing pages are mobile friendly and have fast load times so your readers can enjoy a smooth experience.
- Ad Relevance – Ensure that the connection between your ad and the search query it appears for is strong and relevant enough to satisfy the user’s search intent.
- Presumed CTR (Click–Through Rate) – Google takes into consideration your performance record, the record of your competitors, and the features you are using to estimate how likely your ad will be clicked by your target audience.
#2: How to get to the top of Google local search
If someone searches for services such as “plumber”, “barber”, “ gas station”, and the like, Google will automatically use their location data to display the nearest relevant businesses. These are known as local listings, and are quite easy to set up! Here is a handy guide on how to rank on Google local search:
- Optimize your NAP
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. Be sure that these three details are consistent and present across all your platforms and listings online.
- Google My Business
If you have an actual brick and mortar shop, you are eligible for a Google My Business page; businesses that are operating only online do not get this feature. Be sure your address and list of service areas are accurate, and also keep your branding exactly the same as how it is in the real world.
Pro tip: Choose the least number of categories to describe your page so as to show up more accurately in listings.
- Local custom names
While it is important to keep your brand name consistent on your Google my Business page as it is on your signage, you may opt to add in your location (either city or neighborhood) after your business name. Especially if your company has more than one branch, this can be very helpful for customers looking for the nearest one and being able to tell them apart.
- Accurate and direct contact information
As much as possible, provide a phone number that connects to the specific branch being advertised on the listing. Local phone numbers are more convenient for callers compared to a call center hotline, and direct lines result in more sales.
#3: How to get your business listed higher on Google with SEO
How to get your listing higher on Google for free? Optimize for SEO. To get the best results, aim for the top three positions since studies show these get about 55% of the total clicks. After the 3rd position, each listing only gets 10% or less of total clicks.
If you are only starting out, this may take some time and a lot of determination to achieve. However, to help you speed things along, check our handy guide on optimizing for SEO:
- Add quality content on your website.
This is a crucial factor for increasing your rankings. The better the content on your site, the more relevant your brand will be. Users will often turn to you for information and build brand authority throughout your industry.
- Keep the content coming
It is one thing to offer quality content; it is another to regularly publish them. The best way to establish your authority in the industry is by regularly churning out information (both fundamental and new updates) in relation to it.
In order to achieve this, most websites have a blog page where they can publish the latest do’s and don’ts, helpful data, and industry updates. The better the quality of your blog articles, the more likely people will reference it and backlink to your site. The more often you are referenced back to, the more likely search engines will automatically interpret this information and display you higher on the results page. It is a domino effect that just keeps on giving.
- Improve your website’s speed
Optimizing for SEO heavily relies on the overall user experience – and your website’s speed is definitely one of the most crucial factors. Studies show that the faster your page loads, the better your conversion rate will turn out since your user tends to be more satisfied with their encounter.
You can hasten your site’s speed by referencing our list of suggestions above.
- Optimize for mobile
At least half of your audience will be accessing and reading your content on mobile – be it phones or tablets. This is why Google considers mobile friendliness a major factor into your page rank. By making sure your site is responsive if and when your reader switches to a smaller screen, you ensure that their experience navigating through your pages, finding the right information, and completing the transaction goes smoothly.
- Investing in your social presence
Earlier, we mentioned how strengthening and investing in your social presence can positively affect your search engine optimization. From establishing authority, increasing visibility, and helping in redirecting traffic to relevant web pages, this is a surefire way to boost your ranking. Furthermore, your content will each have a longer lifespan and increased shareability.
You need not be on all platforms, but ensure your brand is present and active on those that your target audience is actually on. Some of the platforms you may explore are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Each has an edge over the other depending on the kind of content you want to churn out. A few samples below:
- Facebook – Best for sharing infographics, links to articles, industry updates, behind the scene photos, event details, and much more.
- Instagram – Best for sharing curated photos and live updates via stories.
- Twitter – Best for live updates and short messages.
- Pinterest – Best for curated photos that serve as references or inspiration for your audience.
- TikTok – Best for short, lively videos that are packed with information
- YouTube – Best for lengthy, educational videos.
- LinkedIn – Best for industry updates, brand milestones, and company announcements.
- Other ranking factors
While the above 5 factors are what we heavily suggest you work on, and will already have a positive impact on your SEO, be sure to compliment them with the rest of the ranking factors mentioned earlier, such as:
- Acquiring an SSL certificate and securing your site
- Creating an organized XML sitemap and making use of a schema markup
- Utilize quality backlinks
- Optimize all your images
- Keep your domain registration long-term
#4: How to get your business ranked in rich snippets
Did you know that about 48% of Google search results are left unclicked? This is because a lot of the users are getting all the information they need in a quick and summarized manner known as rich or featured snippets.
This type of result is used when the search is in the form of a question – which most if not all Google searches usually are. If you want to optimize your content for rich snippets, here are a few things to check off:
- Categorize and organize by making use of headers
- Keep things concise by using bullet points
- Answer all questions thoroughly
- While still keeping information complete, summarize it in the simplest form
- Fact check and be as accurate as possible
- Utilize schema markup
- Always use images, and make sure they are optimized
- Invest in videos. These are 60% more likely to rank higher compared to landing pages, since they are known to improve overall user experience.