Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the contributors are theirs.
Are you completely new to the world of search engine optimization (SEO)? Or are you a former pro launching a new campaign? If so, you’ll be excited about the prospects ranking first in Google for a given keyword or phrase. This is an important foundational achievement that sets the stage for the rest of your strategic development. And, it has the potential to send significant organic traffic to you.
Unfortunately, getting to number one is not easy. And if you don’t have much experience, it will be even more difficult. In this guide, I’ll help you understand the background of getting a number one rank position and the best way to get there.
Related: How to Properly Use Your Business’ SEO Analytics to Increase Your Traffic
Why rank number one?
Coming to number one for a particular keyword is a great first goal to set in your SEO strategy. Just having your business listed in search engine results pages (SERPs) can be exciting, but it won’t get you any traffic.
You probably know from your own experience that most people don’t look beyond the first page for any query. In fact, most people don’t look beyond the first results. Entries at the highest position tend to drive the most traffic, by a wide margin. Although the exact numbers vary by industry and search query, you can expect nearly 40% of all traffic go to the first result. The second result generates only 18.4%. Click-through rates get even lower from there.
For this reason, it’s often better to have a single top job rather than mediocre ones for a wide variety of tenures.
So how do you get there?
Choosing the best target keyword or phrase
It all starts with choosing the best possible target keyword or phrase. Search queries have a huge impact on how difficult it is to get a ranking and on the value of that ranking. When researching potential targets, you will need to consider the following:
- Relevance: One of the most important factors is relevance. So this is the one you should always consider first. You should only accept a keyword or phrase that applies to your business and your customers. Otherwise, you risk driving traffic with a low probability of conversion.
- Search volume: Next, you will need to consider search volume. This will tell you how many people are actively searching for that phrase on a monthly basis. The higher the search volume, the more traffic you are likely to generate. But, the harder it will be to get a high ranking.
- Competition: Popular keywords tend to be more competitive, which can make it downright impossible for a new business to break into the upper echelons. This is why, during your research, you will also have to look into the competition in question. If you’re just trying to get one down for any query as quickly as possible, choose a keyword with almost no competition.
Related: Why Is Your Backlink Profile So Important for SEO?
Your website: the basis
Once you have your target, you can start practicing search engine optimization on your website itself.
- Clean backend coding: To begin with, you will need to ensure that your website coding is completely clean and up to modern standards. If you’re using a traditional website builder, you probably don’t need to worry about this. everything is taken care of for you.
- Discovery and Indexing: Next, you’ll need to perform some tests to make sure Google can see and index your website. You can upload a sitemap directly to Google and run tests to make sure you appear in search engines.
- Site speed and performance: After this, you’ll want to optimize your website’s speed and performance. Make sure it is mobile optimized and loads as fast as possible. The better your user experience, the more authority it will have.
- On-Site Content: Start optimizing your initial content with a dense, meaningful description and including your most relevant keyword phrases.
- Ongoing Content Development: With this in mind, you’ll want to spend time creating new content on a regular basis. Especially content with titles that include your target keyword phrase.
Strengthen your authority
Even with a great website and lots of optimized content, you will need to put some effort into building your authority using external links.
- Promote your best content: Promote your best work on social media.
- Focus on link opportunities: Build and exchange links organically.
- Write off-site content: Use guest posting opportunities to create new links to your main site.
Monitoring and maintenance
These strategies should be enough to help you build some initial momentum. Depending on your industry and the keyword terms you’ve chosen, you might even be able to hit #1 ranking within weeks. More likely, however, you will need to carefully monitor and measure your performance. Watch ranking changes as they happen and gradually modify your strategy until you get the results you want.
Related: Why Do Most SEO Campaigns Fail?