how to rank in the top of Google

How to Rank in the Top of Google, Win Traffic, Prospects & Buyers (Bonus: Free Checklist)

Ranking in the top of Google is the dream of every brand with a blog and every SEO expert.

Why do we care so much?

Because reaching the top of Google is like winning a gold medal in the Content Olympics. 🥇

With a few perks thrown in. More traffic? Yours. More clicks in the SERP? Yours. More qualified leads coming in? Yep, that too.

How do we know this will happen? Well, 70.6% of all traffic on the web originates from a Google search (Backlinko and Sparktoro). What’s more, 71% of B2B buyers are reading blogs during their buying journeys — at least 3-5.

Positions #1, 2, or 3 on a given search engine results page (SERP), on average, get over 54% of the clicks from that page’s overall traffic.

Considering the average click-through rate for paid search is 1.91% across all industries… well…

(Tell me again why you’re bothering with paid search?)

Knowing how to get to the top of Google (for free, without paying a cent for ads) doesn’t qualify as information that’s simply “nice to have.”

Instead, in this dog-eat-dog world of content shock and bro marketing and dying ads

In an internet era where more than 70% of all human traffic online now originates from a search engine…

It’s essential.

Ready to learn how to improve your Google search results, AND repeat that success over and over?

This is what it takes. ⬇️ Bonus: Download your free ebook checklist we created on today’s topic.

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How to Increase Your Google Rankings: Table of Contents

How to Rank in the Top of Google: Content is Key

1. Quality Over Quantity in Content Really Matters

2. Content Consistency Wins the Day

3. Content Doesn’t Rank in the Top of Google Without Relevancy and Usefulness

How to Rank in the Top of Google: 3 More Important Factors

1. Quick Site Speed and Page Load Times (Under 3 Seconds)

2. Good Internal Linking Practices

3. Excellent Usability

Wrapping Up: How to Rank in the Top of Google Every Time

We dream of ranking top 1 in Google -- but how is that possible? @JuliaEMcCoy shares how you can get your content to the top of Google with real case studies + a bonus FREEBIE checklist 🔥 Click To Tweet

How to Rank in the Top of Google: Content is Key

Content is one of the key factors that drive search rankings. In a nutshell, it’s about quality, consistency, and relevancy.

1. Quality Over Quantity Really Matters

Want to know how to rank higher on Google? Prioritize content of the highest caliber.

From the direction Google itself has given about what quality content looks like, we know:

  • Quality content is relevant to what the target reader is searching. It’s the answer they’re looking for when they type in a question or keyword phrase.
  • Quality content is easy to read and easy to understand for the target audience. (That doesn’t mean the content is simple. It means it’s well-written, well-formatted, and well-researched. It means the content is written to the level of whatever audience it’s meant for.)
  • Quality content serves a purpose. It teaches, informs, entertains, or guides the reader.

So, if you have a ton of blogs that don’t quite hit the mark for this level of quality, you’re not going to rank as well as a competitor with fewer blogs who absolutely NAILS this definition of quality with every single post.

Need great content? We can help. See our pricing.

To further demonstrate how & why quality matters, let’s dive into a case study.

Case Study: Content Hacker

Content Hacker is my new site, launched on June 28, 2019 – less than two months from writing this ebook/blog post.

The site is basically a newborn baby, but… we already have a top 10 spot in the rankings.

content hacker case study rankings

Three months later, right before I published this piece of content, I checked again. As of early September, we’re ranking for a total of 2,500 keywords, bringing in 345+ organic visitors. This amount goes up weekly. Just four weeks ago, we were at 85 keywords present!

content hacker rankings

How did we do it?

By focusing on content quality > quantity.

We only have 11 blogs and 14 pages total published on the site. However, the average word count for all of our blogs is 4,500. Our longest blog clocks in at 5,000 words.

[email protected] grew @content_hackers from nothing to more than 2,500+ keyword rankings in Google in less than three months. 🔥 How? She focused on content quality, not quantity, with just 11 5,000w mega-blog guides. Click To Tweet

Before creation, I spent days on ideation. I picked out focus keywords like ergonomic home office, remote freelance writing jobs, and wrote mega-blog outline complete with synonymous keywords.

Guess what we’re starting to rank for in Google, with this brand new site?

Each one of our mega-blogs are starting to rank for their focus keywords in Google.

Content works, guys.

But you have to do it right.

Each of our mega, 5,000-word blog guides are deeply researched, thoroughly outlined, takes days (or even weeks!) to write, and includes plenty of supporting images, facts, graphs, GIFs – you name it.

It’s no coincidence that the keywords we’re winning are within those ultra-long-form guides. Our steady growth on Content Hacker is mainly thanks to quality content.

Just look at that solid, upward-trending line from our SEMrush trackings for proof:

content hacker semrush

2. Consistency Wins the Day

Here’s the thing:

You can’t just depend on one factor to buoy your content to the top of Google because the search engine doesn’t look at one factor – it looks at many.

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That’s why consistency, along with quality, is so important when it comes to content.

You can’t publish an exceptional blog once and let the rest slide. Let me say it louder, for the people in the back: Every. Single. Content. Piece. Must. Be. Exceptional.

Think of it this way: Each content piece is like a building block. They stack on top of each other, one by one, to create a wall. That wall represents your reputation and authority.

Do you want a strong, towering, solid wall that will stand up to storms? Then you can’t add even ONE weak brick to the structure because it will undermine the strength of the whole.

Every single brick needs to be strong on its own. Every single content piece needs to be consistently good for better results in the rankings. Let’s look at another case study to demonstrate what I mean.

Case Study: Express Writers

At Express Writers, our growth over time is due to the one-two punch of quality + consistency.

Check out how our growth shot up and kept a steady pace after I implemented a commitment to those two factors as part of our content strategy:

Currently:

  • 99% of our prospects come to our agency through Google search.
  • We rank for over 23,000
  • We get 90K organic visitors coming in per month.
  • We have earned over $4.5 million in sales from over 5,000

It’s all thanks in part to one fact:

We have NEVER missed our goal of publishing one blog post per week for eight years.

That’s right. For eight years, we have managed to publish at least once every week. That’s 416 straight weeks where we had a post researched, outlined, written, designed, edited, and ready to go.

The consistency part of the equation has always been there for us. When I finally added a commitment to quality around 2016-2017, we took off. More than that, we keep growing. Take a look at our keyword positions from December 2018:

  • 504 keywords ranking in the top 3 positions in the SERPs.
  • 1,024 keywords ranking in spots #4-10.

Now look at the data from August 2019:

  • In just eight months, 30 keywords climbed into the top 3 of Google.
  • Another 193 keywords made their way into positions 4-10 (which is nothing to sneeze at – ALL of these are on the first page!)
  • Another 355 are still gradually climbing and have moved into the second-page territory in positions 11-20.
  • Last but not least, an astonishing 2,749 keywords started ranking. They’re not in the top of Google yet, but given time, we’ll probably see plenty of them move upward, too.

We see a similar trend when we examine our backlink data and referring domains using Ahrefs. The middle graph, in particular, shows that slow-yet-steady incline I’ve been talking about this whole time:

Steady, constant, upward-trending growth.

That’s what consistency helps you achieve. It’s a major part of how to rank in the top of Google.

Don’t get me wrong, though – it requires a major, CRAZY amount of investment of not necessarily dollars, but time and effort. For the Write Blog content alone, I lead a team of < 5 content creators and a designer to produce what you see here every week. Each blog has a lead time of about two weeks.

But – the investment pays off in dividends. It amounts to daily, qualified leads coming in on autopilot.

It’s worth every penny, every drop of sweat, and every tear shed.

3. Content Doesn’t Rank in the Top of Google Without Relevancy and Usefulness

The final major content factors you need to rank higher on Google?

Content that’s topically relevant to your target audience and useful for their needs.

Even if you post amazing, wow-worthy blogs consistently, they won’t rank well unless they relate to the target reader and are topically on-point.

What do I mean by that?

Your blog topics should cover information that’s important to your target audience.

Depending on the length you want the end result to be, you need to either drill-down into your subject or provide a broader overview.

For an example of a blog that’s topically off the mark, look at this post from CNET:

It’s about 700-800 words, but it’s all over the place. Within a few paragraphs, the author covers composting, lawn care, smart technology for gardeners, and gardening for the apartment-bound.

Huh? Who is the author actually writing to, here? Each of these topics could make a great 800-word post taken by themselves. Plus, they could all be targeted to different people: apartment-dwellers, the eco-conscious, tech junkies, and busy homeowners.

Instead, they’re all included in a post that seems disjointed and, ultimately, unhelpful for a specific user coming to this blog with a specific gardening question.

Pop quiz:

Where do you think this blog is currently ranking in Google? (Hint: It’s a well-written, optimized post on a well-known website. It’s accurate and well-formatted. The only issues: It’s scattered, provides a broad array of information vs. diving deep into one topic, and doesn’t quite jive with the user intent of a person searching for “gardening tips.”)

I’ll give you a few seconds to come up with a guess.

Give up? 🤔

It’s on page 3.

The takeaway: Relevancy and usefulness matter if you want to rank in the top of Google.

To show you a successful example, let’s look at FreshCap Mushrooms, an EW client. *cue case study*

Case Study: FreshCap Mushrooms (EW Client)

FreshCap Mushrooms is a brand on a mission to change people’s lives with the power of mushrooms. They specialize in educating people on how mushrooms are grown, and how functional mushrooms can be used to improve health and wellness, and sell an array of mushroom extracts and powders in their shop.

Positioning themselves through fact-based educational content serves as a great way for FreshCap to differentiate from the other mushroom extract producers, and helps them build authority in the niche.

Needless to say, their blog is a huge part of their online presence. This is where they do the brunt of their teaching on the subject of mushrooms plus related health + wellness topics.

Once this brand committed to consistency and quality in their blog posts on topics relevant to their target audience, they have seen a lot of success that continues to grow. They now have 14K organic keyword positions on Google.

See that noticeable upward curve at the end of the graph? That’s when their content strategy really started making an impact.

That’s the power of relevant, useful, high-quality content. Remember, this is content with the following attributes:

  • It addresses the user’s needs. When they’re typing the target keyword into a Google search, the user most likely has a question or problem to solve, or a pain point they want to alleviate. The content helps them do it.
  • It’s in-depth. Each piece of content focuses on ONE topic (or topic facet) and explores that subject fully.
  • It serves a purpose. The purpose can be to entertain, inform, or teach your readers – it’s up to you to determine the goal. Whatever you do, make sure it serves a purpose for the audience.
[email protected] says it's worth remembering that CONTENT is the key to rank in the top of Google. Prioritize your content's quality over quantity, consistency, and relevancy and usefulness. 🎩 Click To Tweet

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How to Rank in the Top of Google: 3 More Important Factors

The “how to rank in the top of Google” question isn’t solely answered with content. Along with exceptional blogs, articles, and the like, you also need some supporting website factors in place.

Don’t neglect any of these – they’re all equally important to build the reputation of your site (and thus your content).

1. Quick Site Speed and Page Load Times

Want to rank? A laggy site may kill your chances.

If your pages take eons to load, well, nobody has time for that. ⏳

As you know, waiting for a slow page to load is like watching paint dry. We’re nearing 2020 – we expect speed!

According to Think with Google, as page load time slows down, bounce rate increases.

If your page takes over 5 seconds to load, the likelihood your visitor will immediately bounce increases by over 100%.

Yikes. That person will never become a lead. And, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Google isn’t into that, either.

Faster website = better user experience = better rankings.

To speed up your website, check out this guide from Moz with best-practices.

2. Good Internal Linking Practices

Along with consistently good content and a speedy site, the structure of your pages matters for getting your website to the top of Google.

Think of this factor as the overall organization of your site pages. Are they cluttered, haphazard, and difficult to navigate? Or do they seamlessly link to each other?

When your site structure is on-point, Google search bots can:

  • Crawl and index your domain and content more easily
  • Understand the relationships between pages, including:
    • Which pages are more important/less important in the grand scheme of things
    • Which pages are topically related

Here’s a good example of a clean, organized site structure (also called site architecture) from Single Grain:

The concept of good site structure applies to internal links in your blog content, too. When you link to your other, relevant content pieces inside a blog post, you:

  • Help Google make connections between them
  • Help your readers get additional, related information on whatever topic they’re perusing

Helpful is good. Aim to be helpful as you structure your site links between pages, and your rankings will improve, too. Think of this as a foundational aspect of how to rank in the top of Google.

3. Excellent Usability

If you’ve been reading the Write Blog for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me mention the concept of usability before.

It means your website shouldn’t be merely beautiful to look at – it should ALSO be beautiful to use for better Google rankings.

What do I mean by that?

Think of some tool or object in your life you love using. Maybe it’s your fancy coffee maker, or your iPad, or the new tech gadget you just bought. It can be as simple as your favorite pen or a specific website.

If you love using something, that object is probably extremely usable. The same goes for websites. The ones you love using will more than likely check the boxes for the principles of good usability, which contribute to a beautiful user experience.

The Daily Egg sums them up like this:

  • Availability and accessibility – This just means the website works and you can access it. (For people with disabilities like hearing or vision impairment, not every site is usable on this basic level unless the brand, company, or designer addresses their needs.)
  • Clarity – The “how” and “why” of the website are clear – you know what it’s “for” just by looking at it. It’s not confusing to use.
  • Learnability – You don’t need instructions to use the website. It uses familiar concepts like different colors for links, larger text for headings, and a highly visible area containing the main navigation, for instance.
  • Credibility – The website is trustworthy. It includes markers of authenticity like an about page, correct spelling and grammar, a logo, contact information, reviews, testimonials, or credentials.
  • Relevancy – The site owners know their target users and cater their content so it’s relevant to this group. The website addresses the needs and problems of those users.

A great example of an exceptionally usable website is Airbnb.

It’s fast, responsive, and effortless to use because Airbnb knows exactly why you visit them: You want to find a rental for your next trip to a specific city.

Once you enter some broad details, you’re taken to pages that narrow down your search successively:

It’s all easy and intuitive. You don’t have to think too hard about how to find the rental that suits your needs – you just do.

THAT is the essence of a usable website: When its expected function performs as expected, and you’re able to complete your desired task without any effort.

To learn more about usability and how to make your site as user-friendly as possible, check out this overview from the Interaction Design Foundation and this usability testing guide from Hotjar.

Don't forget these 3 other important factors to rank at the top of Google: quick site speed and page load times, good internal links, and excellent usability. @JuliaEMcCoy explains how to achieve all three (+ free checklist!). 📈 Click To Tweet

Wrapping Up: How to Rank in the Top of Google Every Time

If you want to know how to improve your Google search ranking, go back to basics.

Look hard and deep at three things:

  • Your content
  • Your reader
  • Your website

Learn what your ideal reader wants, needs, or craves from your content. In your content, provide those answers exceptionally and consistently. On your website, help your reader do what they came to do with as few roadblocks as possible.

Finally, make the process you implemented to rank in the top of Google repeatable. Build a workflow. Build a team. Make it happen.

You can do this. I believe in you. 🌈

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