If you’ve ever attempted to optimize your website for page 1 rankings on Google, you’ll know that the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is indeed a difficult art to master with a landscape that is changing so rapidly that what works today may seem to become obsolete in a month from now.
Google’s Search Engine algorithms are being updated all the time and unless you’re keeping your armor of SEO tools and technique up-to-date via a regime of constant learning and research, a spot on page 1 may remain an elusive dream, especially if you’re competing within highly competitive industries such as the healthcare or insurance sectors.
We asked Flow20, an SEO company based in London what webmasters and small business owners can do to guarantee a place on the first page of Google.
This is what they had to say.
First of all, there are no guarantees.
You can have the most well-optimized website with perfect on-page SEO and a backlink profile that’s completely within Google’s guidelines and still not see the kind of rankings you’d hoped for.
This is because, chances are that you’re competing with other businesses who are just working as hard as you to generate organic traffic but are perhaps doing it just that little bit better. Many of our clients are in fairly competitive industries with budgets that may not be quite as large as some of the more established brands/competitors. If this is the case, we usually like to deploy more advanced SEO strategies that isn’t all that common and often delivers the highest Return on Investment.
So, here are some SEO tips, likely not being used by many of your competitors:
A common misconception amongst businesses new to SEO is that they want to start competing for the most competitive search terms right off the bat. if you’re selling iPads, then an example of a competitive search term would be “ipad” or “buy ipad”. A more effective keyphrase option may be “buy 64gb ipad retina white”.
We define the competitiveness of a search term by looking at it’s search volume. i.e how many times that search term was looked up on Google.
Lets take a closer look at why less competitive search terms are a more sensible choice if you’re just starting out:
Firstly, if your domain is new, it’s going to take some time to build up authority on your domain and for Google to start “trusting” it. It’s easier to rank for less competitive search queries and for new domains, it’s going to take an awful amount of time and resources to build up the authority on your domain for it to have any chance of a page 1 ranking
Next, as you build up domain authority, it becomes easier to optimize for search terms with higher competition. As you start to generate organic traffic, you can add these terms to your SEO campaign in a later phase.
Every search query you’d like to optimize for has a conversion rate. More often than not, long tail search terms (“iPad” is short tail, “iPad 64gb black price” is long-tail) have a higher conversion rate. When you take into account the resource cost of optimizing for short tail searches plus the conversion rate, the Cost Per Acquisition of a lead or sale from long tail search terms is going to be far more effective.
Finally, there’s something else you need to know and that is about the knock-on effect that a SEO campaign will have.
When you’re optimizing a certain landing page for the chosen terms, it’s important to note that all ‘ancillary’ search terms for that page will also see an uplift in rankings. Going back to the example given before, lets say you decide to optimize for “buy 64gb ipad retina white”, there’s a very good chance that variations of this long tail search term, namely “buy 64gb iPad”, “buy 64gb retina iPad” and even “buy 64gb iPad” will see some improvement in rankings.
Note, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t go for competitive search terms at all or that it’s impossible to get page 1 rankings for one of them if you’re domain is new. What we are saying is that your campaign should mostly contain long tail searches with no more than 20% allocation for short tail, competitive search terms to start with.
This approach is the single most effective way we’ve found to help businesses with limited budgets compete with the big brands.