How To Rank High On Google in 2023: 10 Things You Need To Know
By: Dileep Thekkethil
November 18, 2022
Table of Contents
If you have an online business or a website, that means you are on the run up to rank high on Google. But one question that still bothers you is, “How To Rank High On Google?”
Rightly so because Google is a search behemoth and if you look at the metrics of other search engines, they may seem like tiny stars gazing at a giant galaxy.
However, ranking on Google is like those new-age games played by millions despite knowing that there will be just one or two winners.
Do you know that the top Google result receives 31.7% of all hits, while the second page receives only 0.78% of clicks?
Yeah, that’s a pretty drastic difference but let me ask you this, how many times have you gone down till the footer of Google and clicked on page two?
So, that means if you are not there, your target audience is being hijacked by other sites and these could well be your competitors.
You need to act quickly, and this is the best time because every minute you skip implementing SEO for your site, a ton of your users are lured by your competitors.
Here in this blog post, we’ll show you exactly what you need to do to improve and shoot up your current ranking on Google.
However, this is not going to be an instructional blog telling you how to do specific things within SEO because we have in-depth articles written about each and we will be linking them contextually within this content.
Here are 10 Things You Need To Know About About How to Rank High on Google Search
Do Some Heavy Keyword Research
Think about it this way – you know people are interested in the product, service, or content you are publishing.
That’s why you started the website in the first place.
So, what is it that they are doing to access the information they are looking for? The answer is simple: they Google it.
Now, we have come to the most important question.
What is it they are keying in that search bar to access the information?
That’s what makes the money flow into your pockets. Those strings of words that they use to express what’s in the mind are the building blocks of your SEO strategy.
We call them the keywords.
The essence of every internet marketing strategy should be keyword research because that’s how you understand the audience and their interests.
The objective of keyword research is to find out what the target group is looking for and how you as a website owner can use these keyword ideas and create content that makes the users happy.
Learn more about keyword research here.
Create Content Based On Search Intent
Now that you know keywords are the most indispensable SEO factor, let me tell you a bit about the search intent.
Let’s take a look at one scenario.
My new house is in the completion stage and I now want the interior design to be done. The problem is it’s my first house and I’m a complete dud when it comes to interior designs.
However, I’m the least bothered because I have a go-to source. Google.
So, why worry? Here is my thought process to help you understand the term search intent.
Thought 1: Benefits of doing interior design
Thought 2: What are the latest trends in interior designing?
Thought 3: How much will interior designing cost?
Thought 4: Which are the interior design firms in Manhattan that I can trust
Thought 5: Contact a design company
Now, assume that you are the interior designer I’m hunting for. How can you get my attention to your firm instead of your competitors?
The answer is simple. You have to follow my thought process and help me with relevant information at each stage until I become your client.
To achieve this, you need to make sure there is relevant content that satisfies my intent.
For example, if I see your service page when looking for benefits, I’m going to hit the back button because I’m yet to decide.
That’s why you need to orient your content for each of these stages to get the maximum benefit out of doing SEO.
When writing content for each of these pages you must optimize it using keywords that match my intent.
Now, let’s give a definition to the term Search Intent.
The phrase “search intent” (also known as “user intent” or “audience intent”) refers to the goal behind every search query your users enter. Generally speaking, everyone who searches for terms on the internet expects to discover something.
Types of Search Intent
The first is informational intent. A large number of searches online are done by folks looking for information. That may be information about stocks, the weather, SEO, or anything under the sun. People with an informative intent have a specific query or wish to learn more about a certain issue.
The second type of search intent is known as navigational intent. People with this purpose want to go to a specific website. If you provide useful and relevant information to those who click on your site, the website will rank higher.
Transactional intent is the third form of search intent. Many people buy things on the internet and search the web for the greatest deal. People search with transactional intent when they want to buy something.
Commercial Investigating Intent
Sometimes, people plan to buy something in the (near) future and use the internet to do their research. These folks have transactional intent as well, but they require more time and persuasion. This search intent is commonly referred to as commercial investigating intent.
Learn More About Search Intent Of Users.
Examine And Fix Current Google Penalties
There are many stumbling blocks before you rank #1 on Google. Most of these can be easily tackled with the help of a reputed SEO agency.
However, there are times when the ghost from the past may haunt websites. And we call that Ghost – Google Penalty.
It’s the worst nightmare of most SEOs and website owners alike because once a website enters the bad book of Google, ranking it is a mammoth task.
You don’t have to worry. If you have purchased a new domain and not an expired one, then you are generally safe.
Also, one thing to note is the SEO agency you are right now collaborating with has to be the best and shouldn’t use any blackhat SEO practices that can land you in deep trouble.
Checking Google Penalty history is easy if you are already using any of the SEO tools.
Look for a steep decrease in organic traffic; this is the first indication of Google not liking the site for some reason.
The most common culprit for this is unnatural backlinks that flout Google’s guidelines.
Here is how you can check for unnatural backlinks.
Analyze All Your Backlinks :
Check the number of links pointing to your site and see if they are genuine links coming from contextually relevant sites. If the answer is no, that means your agency is building links that are harming your site, eating it from the inside using your money.
The quick fix is immediate divorce with that agency and finds another trustable SEO agency that can help you get rid of the spammy ones by doing a disavow and then build quality backlinks.
Anchor Text Analysis
Anchor text is the text that becomes your link and points to your page. If you find a majority of your anchor text the same, then you need to make a course correction right away.
Exact match anchor text is a sign of low-quality link building and Google hates it to the core. It’s one thing that can result in Google penalizing your site.
Check if the Site is Hacked
Another reason why Google may have stopped sending users to your site is that it was hacked. If Google finds malicious codes on a site, it temporarily removes them from the search.
You can check if your site is hacked by analyzing it using the Google Safe Browsing test.
Once you remove the malicious codes and resubmit the sitemap to Google, the pages will reappear as and when the search engine’s spiders visit your site.
Learn More About Google Penalties.
Try To Reduce Bounce Rate
What Exactly Is a Bounce Rate?
The percentage of visitors that leave a webpage without performing a certain action, such as clicking on a link, filling out a form, or making a purchase, is referred to as the bounce rate.
Google won’t look too highly upon your site if it has people visiting your site and quickly exiting.
However, bounce rate numbers shouldn’t bother you if your website has a heavy focus on content. When users get all the information on a single page, they literally don’t have to visit other pages.
But that said, keep a close watch on the time spent on a page, if the time spent is below not match the length of your content, it’s something to worry about.
Learn how to reduce the bounce rate of your website.
Only Publish High-Quality Content
Sometimes, I think the Internet is like our orbit. But why?
Because there is a lot of good content out there just like our satellites but it’s also home to stale and low-quality content like the tons of debris out there floating aimlessly in our orbit.
By high-quality content, we mean not just content that is free from grammatical errors and is relevant and informative, but also content that’s shareable and that other sites will want to link to.
Since Google places a lot of importance on backlinks, this is a point to definitely keep in mind. Also, most prominent websites are now using Pillar Cluster Content Strategy to rank higher on Google.
Learn more about pillar cluster content strategy.
While there is no “ideal” word limit for blog articles, content that’s 3k+ words seems to perform well in terms of link development.
Also, consider adding visual content like maps, videos, flowcharts, and infographics.
Try to be original when creating content.
Easy to Read; No Grammatical Errors
Make sure your content is simple to understand and free from grammatical mistakes.
Check out our podcast episode with Brandon Doyle, Founder – Wallaroo Media, about creating evergreen content that drives consistent traffic.
Improve On-Site and Technical SEO
On-page SEO (sometimes referred to as “on-site SEO”) and technical SEO are two important factors that lie under the hood of your website.
When you have great content supplemented with on-page and technical SEO perfection, you have the perfect recipe to rank on Google.
Some of the most common On-page SEO techniques include improving title tags, content, internal links, and URLs, etc.
Crawlable by search engines:
Robots are used by search engines to crawl or spider your website. The robots use links to find information on your site. A well-designed internal linking structure will ensure that they realize what the most significant material on your site is.
However, there are more methods for guiding robots. You may, for example, prevent them from crawling specific material if you don’t want them to go there. You may also allow them to crawl a page but instruct them not to display it in search results or follow the links on that page.
Cut Out Dead Links
A lot of websites have (at least) some dead links because a website is a work in progress: people create and break stuff. Luckily, there are tools available to assist you in recovering dead links on your website.
Delete Duplicate Content
Search engines may become confused if you have the same material on various pages of your site – or even on other sites. This may end up with all pages with the same content be ranked lower.
You might be dealing with duplicate information without even realizing it. Due to technical issues, different URLs may display the same information. This makes no difference to a visitor, but it does to a search engine, which will view the identical information on a different URL.
Learn more about On-Page SEO Techniques
Technical SEO on the other hand is often discussed along with the speed of your website and its accessibility. However, unlike the other SEO techniques we discussed till now, technical SEO isn’t that easy to implement, provided you have the right resources or expertise.
Here is a complete checklist of technical SEO techniques.
If you are interested in knowing how to optimize your website for speed or making it accessible to the users and search engines without them fumbling on an error page, click the links below.
Podcast: Technical SEO Tips For Startups
Familiarize Yourself With The Google Algorithm
Google is constantly updating its algorithm, which means your website should constantly adopt new techniques and strategies that Google suggests to make the search experience better for its users.
In the days prior to 2012, Google’s algorithm was highly vulnerable to ranking deceit websites that used shortcuts such as spammy links and content.
To thwart both these vulnerabilities of its algorithm, search engine giant launched two updates in back-to-back years – Penguin and Panda updates.
Here are a few important Google Updates you should know about
Page Experience Update (June 2021): This update has an impact on Core Web Vitals, organic results, and News notifications.
Core Update (December 2020): The focus of this update was on content quality and relevancy.
Mobile-first update (July 2019): Googlebot now examines all websites as if they were smartphones, giving preference to sites that function well on mobile devices.
Mobile-friendly update (April 2015): Favoring websites that have mobile-friendly versions and laying the groundwork for future penalties if sites do not comply.
(July 2014) Pigeon: This update worked on integrating local search results, such as Google Maps.
(April 2012) Penguin Update: Google decided enough is enough with link spammers by launching the Penguin update in 2012 April. This is considered as one of the most infamous updates in the history of Google, which at that time put shutters on many internet marketing companies that sold links. Penguin update is now part of Google’s core learning algorithm, which means it’s able to learn and decide based on datasets.
(February 2011) Panda Update: Call it the first major algorithm overhaul made by Google, Panda was aimed at striking down any chances of low-quality content to rank on the first positions of search results. It reduced the rankings of low-quality sites that published thin content which was deemed content farms.
Learn more about the recent Google Algorithms.
Tracking And Monitoring Metrics
Now, it’s time to monitor certain key metrics for your website to see what else needs to be tweaked. These are the most important metrics to consider.
It is critical to understand how people reach your site via Google. Previously, organic search generated the majority of page traffic, beating out non-organic sources such as sponsored search and social media.
These days, social media, email, and paid advertisements frequently trump other ways with regards to attracting organic traffic – though this varies greatly by industry.
Log in to your Google Analytics account and look at the acquisition channels report to find out how many people come to your site.
Keywords Used to Visit Your Site
It’s important to pay attention to the keywords that drive visitors to your site in addition to analyzing search traffic. While this is more difficult to evaluate than it previously was, it’s still definitely possible.
This can be done using Google Search Console (formerly called Google Webmaster Tools). It may inform you how many clicks you get in organic search results for specific keywords.
In addition to this, there are tons of other tools out there that can help you with identifying which keywords are driving more users to your pages.
Check out top SEO Tools for 2023.
Consider Setting Up A SEO Dashboard
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly SEO dashboard, we recommend Google Analytics, but if you have money to spare, we recommend something like SEMRush or Ahrefs.
These tools will help you understand how well your website is performing month over month and help you decide the action plan for the coming months. Also, tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs can also warn you about drop in keyword rankings if you have your site added as a project.
These tools offer free and seamless integration with Google Analytics, thus providing you with near accurate data.
Check out this interesting Podcast we had with Cody Jenson of SearchBloom, where he discusses about the tips to rank on Google Smartly.
How Long Does SEO Take?
Businesses are often curious to know the impact of their investment in SEO.
This is precisely why “how long does SEO take to show results?” has become the most commonly asked question in the digital marketing space.
Truth is, SEO isn’t as fast as its paid media counterparts.
While it takes time, channelized SEO efforts can produce long-lasting results.
So, let’s break down the factors that drive SEO success to figure out the ‘how long’ part of it.
What is SEO Success?
As you know, SEO success is your main objective.
But, how do you know you have achieved success?
How do you measure it?
Your SEO success depends on your goals and KPIs. While your goal is to boost the ROI within a specific time frame, your KPIs in SEO can be increasing organic traffic to your website, boosting your online visibility, achieving top search engine rankings, and more.
So, if you reach these milestones with your SEO efforts, you can consider the mission accomplished. This is how it works.
Why SEO Success is Not Immediate
Search engine optimization is, of course, a dynamic space. SEO did take time to refine itself and transform into what it is today.
In fact, there was a time when all that mattered was simply finding out and using keywords that could drive more website traffic. Plus, you could build as many backlinks as you want and get away with it just like that.
As the process was simple, people started trickling search engines by stuffing keywords and building bulk backlinks with no botheration about the link quality. In other words, they tricked search engines with cheap tactics to pull up their websites to the top of SERPs.
This, in turn, prompted search engine giants like Google to rollout advanced algorithm updates advocating enhanced user experience from time to time.
Given the scenario, SEO today is being driven by natural language search that involves user queries consisting of one or two keywords.
Plus, web pages with high-quality, relevant links are pulled to the top while their spammy counterparts are penalized by search engines. After all, a search engine penalty can lower the rankings of corresponding websites in no time.
So, SEO isn’t mechanical anymore as it now heavily relies on changing user searches with a major focus on satisfying the user intent.
You have to come up with innovative strategies and execute them gradually to meet the altering parameters to achieve your goals and KPI.
This is precisely why you cannot achieve SEO success overnight.
Factors Determining the Time Frame for SEO Results
The time frame to show SEO results usually depends on the following factors.
Your website history certainly influences the time taken to see SEO results.
For instance, it should take more time for a new website than an already established one. This is because an existing website might have built a domain authority and at least, a few backlinks.
On the other hand, for a new website, you have to do everything from scratch and that makes a big difference in SEO.
However, it also doesn’t always mean that an established website can lead the way in SEO because it depends on various factors such as search engine penalty, algorithm updates, and much more.
The competition in your industry or business is something you cannot ignore when optimizing your website for search engines.
Yes, the more the competition, the longer you need to take your website to the top of SERPs.
So, you have to identify the intensity of competition to rank web pages, channelize your SEO efforts and find more innovative ways to perform better than the other industry players.
Keywords are your trump to rank for relevant user searches online. So, you need to rightly identify keywords based on keyword search volume, length, popularity and user intent.
Poor keyword targeting may cost you all your dedicated efforts while producing a negative SEO impact.
When you insert relevant keywords in your content, make sure they aren’t stuffed but fit the natural flow of the content.
Website Structure & Design
Your website design and URL structure also play a crucial role when optimizing the website for search engines like Google.
For instance, if a user finds it complicated to navigate between different landing pages of your website or meets a dead-end displaying a 404 error because of a broken link, your website is certainly not user-friendly.
And, Google isn’t fond of web pages that don’t advocate a smooth user experience.
So, it is mandatory to optimize these components of your website, especially if you want to boost your SEO progress.
Also, run a mobile-friendly test to make sure you don’t miss out on the visitors who access your website from a mobile browser.
The budget you have in mind is another factor that decides how long SEO takes to show results for you.
So, when you build an SEO strategy for your website, you have to ask yourself if you have a predefined budget to stick to in order to execute your plan accordingly.
From this standpoint, a convenient budget can be one of the driving forces behind your SEO growth.
The Timeframe for SEO
Now, let us answer the real question, “How Long Does SEO Take?”.
From what we have seen so far, the timeframe for SEO depends on various factors. After all, no two websites start from the same place even if they belong to one niche and face the same competition.
Generally, with the right SEO strategy in place, 6 to 12 months should do to see your efforts working. This subsequently catalyzes your business growth.
However, here is a bigger picture of what your SEO pathway looks like and the results you can get out of it.
The first month shall cover research and discovery, technical audit of the website, keyword planning, and strategy.
The research and discovery phase may sometimes take an entire month. But, if that is done soon, website audit and keyword planning shall follow.
Once the technical audit is done, you can pass on to making changes according to the audit results.
While the modifications are happening, you are still doing SEO but cannot see results. This is because the impact will start to take place once the overhaul is completed.
Meanwhile, you can work on building link profiles and high-quality content for your website.
Start placing a major focus on content production including, blogging, whitepapers, FAQs and other business-related content.
By the end of the third month, you will start seeing improvements in your website’s search engine ranking.
This is because the technical overhaul should have ended by now. Pairing this scenario with content production, you will begin seeing your SEO efforts work.
Besides improving your search engine rankings, if your leads start translating into sales, that’s an extra perk.
With more content creation and technical optimization of your website, you will be able to build a robust link profile.
In this month, you can expect an increase in website traffic, lead generation and search engine rankings.
While the improvements won’t be anywhere near the progress you should make in 12 months, It’s certainly significant enough to know that your SEO efforts are working.
In fact, as per Google, in most cases, SEOs need 4 months to implement improvements and see potential benefits.
So, it’s a win as of now.
It’s a wise move to start including social media management into your SEO plan by this month or even earlier.
With social media incorporation, you can promote your content better and boost direct traffic to your website.
You can also initiate PR and outreach activities to drive more traffic and gain qualified leads.
You should be witnessing more incoming visitors to your website.
From now on, you can concentrate on producing more engaging content and promoting the same across platforms.
You can personalize the process based on the unique needs of your business. Make sure you follow a consistent schedule.