Being first makes a difference: SEO tips to help you rise to the top of Google

Ricky BobbyRicky Bobby would tell you, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

Well, that’s not exactly true, but close, when it comes to search engine optimization. The link listed first in Google search results does get 33 percent of the search traffic versus 18 percent for the second link, based on research reported by Marketing Profs. As you might imagine, the referrals drop significantly for each subsequent link on the page.

So how do you get your link to first place? Much of it is common sense:

  • Create good content.
  • Use images.
  • Link to other relevant content.
  • Use bullet points, italics and bold text to make your post easier to read.

You know, create something that you would enjoy reading. And if you get that right, you’re well on your way to good-SEO-land. But there’s more to it:

  • Choose good keywords, using Google Analytics to research before you publish. I always tell people it’s a good starting point to think about what you would search for if you were trying to find something like your story.
  • The number of times a keyword appears divided by total number of words should equal about 3 percent. You want Google to know what you’re writing about, but you don’t want to come across as spammy.
  • Create hyperlinks from keywords in-text to content that those words describe. This helps Google understand what you’re linking to.
  • Watch your website’s analytics to determine what worked well — and what didn’t. Learn from everything!

Google Analytics is a free tool that allows its users to track things like page views, where users come from and what keywords are most effective. Using an analytics tool like this also allows you to go beyond how many people visited a particular page to determine what kind of community you’re building.

Razor Social suggests measuring how many people return to your site, how long people stay on your site and how many pages people visit while on your site. Analyzing your readers’ behavior helps you figure out what’s resonating with them — whether it’s a particular topic or maybe even the styling of your post that your audience prefers.

What analytics tools do you or your company use?

What other SEO practices would you add to this (albeit, basic) list?

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8 thoughts on “Being first makes a difference: SEO tips to help you rise to the top of Google”

  1. My current company uses Google Analytics and several social media analytic services to gauge our visits and search results. From my experience, the company has excellent SEO especially if you are searching in the immediate area around the university.

    I would recommend doing research into how your consumer searches for products. Once you know those, you should use those phrases as part of your SEO. You should also take into account that people might misspell information in their search. If you factor that into our SEO plans that could help you rise to the top of search results.

  2. I signed up for Hootesuite last week but am finding that since I don’t have a company page it’s limited my ability to see how much engagement I am getting on every platform but Twitter. I’ve also tried Google Analytics…no success. The best one has been bit.ly for me!

  3. My company is big into SEO– it was a company goal for all of our Operations, and they’ve done a great job ensuring that they take a look at where they are across the board. Playing into Casey’s comment, my company has also invented into SEO for misspelled phrases just to make sure that we’ll still popup in the top results– we’re that dedicated!

    I think SEO is one of the most important things in business that many people to not realize happens, so I’m excited that we’re learning about it. Analytics + SEO is the bees knees of what is driving engagement for your business/you, so many sure you listen to the information being provided for you is going to be the biggest thing.

  4. My organization definitely utilizes SEO! And like the others above me said, misspelled words are important too! Such a silly thing to consider, but it’s so true. We use SproutSocial as well as Google Analytics for reporting and analyzing data. Both are amazing!

    1. Yeah, even with a computer in front of them, people still can’t spell. 🙂 I’ve never used Sprout before, but I’ve heard good things! We use a combination of Hootsuite, Omniture, Parsely and Theorum.

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