Five ways to rank your website on the first page of Google without paying a penny
Love to see your website on the first page of Google but don’t have a budget for SEO? Here’s how to get it to rank without paying a penny.
According to a study by Siteefy, there were 1,295,973,827 websites in the world as of January 2020. That’s a pretty impressive number – and a LOT of sites (and content) for Google’s spiders to crawl and rank. All to ensure that people searching find the best answers to their questions.
It’s also means that there’s a LOT of competition for those precious places at the top of page one of Google’s SERP (search engine results page). And if you want to be found by the billions of people searching on Google every day – or even just he dozen or so looking for what you offer or do – you need to ensure that your SEO game is strong.
So it makes sense that, if you want a site with great SEO, you need to understand exactly what it is that Google is looking for and using to rank.
Five ways to rank your website on the first page of Google without paying a penny
Of course the quickest and easiest way to get your site to rank on the first page of Google is to hire an SEO agency or expert to do it for you. But if you’re a small business or freelancer you may not have the budget for that. Nor can you afford ads to do the job for you.
So what can you do boost the SEO of your site if you can’t afford to hire expert help (AND ensure you don’t get hit with any penalties)? To give you a head start in getting found (and loved) by Google, here are five of the best ways to rank first on Google without paying a penny.
1) Use better targeting with long-tail keywords
Every SEO journey, be it through paid marketing or organic, begins with keyword research and analysis. And the big question is: why would you choose more obscure long-tail terms when you can target with common keywords?
The logic is simple. The higher the competition of a keyword, the lesser the probability of you actually getting conversions from it, and vice versa.
Now, to answer the question. Long-tail keywords are more easy to target and rank. So much so, that the eCommerce giant Amazon makes 57% of their sales using long-tail keywords.
So how do long-tail keywords work? The principle is simple. Instead of just focusing on the top 15 to 20 keywords for your website’s rankings, which are all going to be highly competitive, instead track and focus on the queries you fired while looking out for specific information.
Unlike short-tail keywords, long-tail keywords target the user’s specific intent, leading to a higher probability of conversions.
So as an example, someone searching for ‘the best sneaker brands for basketball’ would have a higher probability of getting converted than those just searching for ‘the best sneaker brands’.
So rather than going for a more popular (and therefore competitive) short-tail keyword, you’re more likely to rank AND convert on a specific long-tail term.
Ultimately the point of SEO is not just to drive traffic to your site, but to actually generate business out of it. And it’s far better, and more profitable, to have 5,000 visitors a month to your site with 10 conversion, than 20,000 visitors and zero conversions.
So if you want to attract the RIGHT traffic to your site using SEO, be more Amazon and compete for long-tail keywords. (We teach you how to build a long tail keyword strategy here.)
2) Write blogs consistently
Marketers and SEO enthusiasts often fall for the myth of “Let’s stuff more keywords and win the game.” But that’s not how SEO works. Using long-tail keywords means creating a lot more content – various content types to feed your keywords.
The equation is simple: if you want to index more, you need to write more. You might be writing between four and five blogs a month, and wondering why you’re not ranking.
But when you compare it to industry leaders and experts who tend to push out more than 15 blogs a month, you can see that’s just not enough if you’re serious about competing for the same keywords.
It’s not just the quantity of your blogs that matter; the length of your blogs is important too. Google LOVES long content. So let’s say you are publishing guides of around 3000 words. If so, between five and 10 more than enough.
A pro tip is to try to make your blogs engaging too, by using GIFs, videos, podcasts, quotes, images, or even infographics.
3) Create content for humans
Anything that is out there on the internet has different purposes, goals, and business objectives. But ultimately at some point, everything you create needs to be found by, shared by, talked about, and bought by humans.
It doesn’t matter how precise your keyword analysis turns out to be, or other technical aspects you may have in place, all your efforts will be in vain if your content doesn’t appeal to your end consumer or target audience. Yes, you might end up on the first page of Google, but you won’t win any hearts – or business.
That’s probably one of the main reasons why Google’s algorithm updates emphasize producing quality content that can educate or motivate people to take action. An easy-to-read, value-oriented and insightful piece of content is worth a thousand times more in SEO terms (and business value) than poorly drafted and meant-for-bots content.
So create content for PEOPLE, not SEO bots. Create high value content that educates and informs. Be conversational, classy, and witty with your content – readers love storytellers. If your content sings and your readers love it, then Google will reward you with higher rankings.
4) Use geo-location based targeting
This might sound a little offbeat, but it’s a strategy that works wonders when used smartly. Let’s say you’re the owner of an ecommerce store that sells winter essentials. You want to make sure that you place your city/geographical location in your contact information and other pages.
This means that when someone fires a query which reads your “keyword (Industry)” + “industry” + “geographical location,” Google’s spiders are going to crawl your page, pull it out of the pool of millions of websites, and show your website in the form of “near me” results to your users. Like this:
It’s quick and easy enough to do, and can help bring you valuable search traffic – of people looking to buy exactly what you sell.
5) Make it easy for Google to rank your site
Google has a MASSIVE job crawling and ranking millions of web pages daily. And it doesn’t just crawl websites; it also stores them in the form of indexes.
So, when a user fires a search query in Google, it scans its already-created index instead of surfing the whole web to serve relevant results. This means that it’s essential that your site gets indexed properly.
You need to make sure that you help Google’s bots to scan, index, and retrieve your data in the most accessible manner possible. And this can be achieved by implementing three things.
1) Your meta titles
As you know, the meta title is what appears as a header of your web page and page title. Make sure you choose an appropriate meta title for your page.
2) Your meta descriptions
In simple terms, meta descriptions are data about data. This means your meta descriptions must include the main keyword(s) of your content to tell Google what the page is about.
Meta descriptions will also appear under the search result, helping visitors know what to expect from that page. So creating relevant meta descriptions increases the relevant clicks for a page.
3) Your permalinks or URLs
If you can, always try to add the relevant keyword to your web page URL. This will help to appeal to visitors and increase your web page’s trustworthiness.
In fact, when you hire PPC Experts for managing the SEO of your website, these are the primary measures they’ll audit first. You also want to make sure your site’s web core vitals deep dive is in top condition, as these core web vitals are indeed vital in getting your site ranking on google’s first page.
Want to know more about SEO?
If you have a website today, you can’t afford to be ignorant about SEO. And yet it’s such an enormous (and often confusing) subject that many freelancers and business owners don’t know where to start in learning about it – let alone applying it to their own websites and using it to increase their SEO rankings.
That’s why we’ve created two online courses that make it REALLY easy for you to understand and use SEO.
- Our SEO Masterclass gives you an overview of how to use SEO, and shows you how to use it to win over Google and build your web traffic with the right people. Find out more here
- Our SEO Kit is the complete guide for any small business owner who wants to understand and confidently use SEO to rank. We guide you through keywords, writing content Google loves, how to get backlinks and much more. Find out more here