ranking content

The key to ranking content on page one on Google

Let’s talk about ranking content on Google. You’ll learn what you need to do to break through the crowds of direct and indirect competitors and get the laurels of a winner on the first page of a Google search.

Test your title tags. The higher the click-through, the higher your ranking.

Why are title tags important?
Title tags are major factors in helping search engines understand what your page is about, and they are the first impressions many people get when they discover your page via organic search. Title tags are used in three key places: (1) search engine results pages (SERPs), (2) web browsers, and (3) social networks.

Title tags in SERPs
Your title tag determines your display title in SERPs (with a few exceptions) and is a search visitor’s first experience with your site. Even if your page ranks well, a good title can be the make-or-break factor in determining whether or not someone clicks on your link.

Title tags in web browsers
When someone visits your page, the title tag is also displayed at the top of their web browser window and acts as a placeholder, especially when there are several browser tabs open. Unique and easily recognizable titles with important keywords near the front help ensure that people don’t lose track of your content.

Title tags on social networks
Some external websites — especially social networks — will use your title tag to determine what to display when the page is shared. Here’s a screenshot from Facebook, for example:

Keep in mind that some social networks (including Facebook and Twitter) have their own meta tags, allowing you to specify titles that differ from the HTML title tag that’s marked up in your page’s code. This can allow you to optimize for each network and provide longer titles when/where they might be beneficial.

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Keep your content updated if you want to keep your rankings up.

Update posts that generate a lot of traffic
Updating can be a very time-consuming job. And if your site gets very large, it can be a full day’s work! If you have to choose which articles to update first, look at which pages generate a lot of traffic. Start with them. These are the pages that your audience really sees. These pages have the highest priority when it comes to showing fresh content.

Remove really outdated posts
As your blog grows and you write tons of posts, some of them gradually become outdated. Some posts are evergreen and some are not. If no one reads those articles either, you may decide to delete them altogether. This will clean up your site considerably! If you decide to delete a post, be sure to read Joost’s article on how to properly delete posts.

Combine posts that look a lot like each other
If you publish a lot of posts, as we do, you’ll end up with several similar posts. When you’re updating old content, check to see if you have posts that are very similar to the one you’re updating. These posts can lower the chances of ranking for the post you are working on! This phenomenon is called keyword cannibalization. You can solve this problem by checking which of these posts on the same topic perform best in the search engines. Update the one that ranks first and combine the other posts into one, high-quality and complete, blog post.

Don’t forget the “other” pages
Not only should your blog posts have up-to-date content, but other pages are important as well. Don’t forget to update your FAQ. Your audience may have new questions. Be sure to add them. As you update your site, don’t forget the “about page,” “contact page” and other static pages on your site. I realize that this content doesn’t change that often, but make sure that changes do happen!

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Prune and crop your duplicate and underperforming content.

There are a lot of reasons why people opt for deleting old, poorly performing content, such as:

  • Helping Google rank the best pages: If you have several pieces of content on the same topic, you want the most up-to-date, freshest links to come up in search. Eliminating the ones that don’t provide the best value will help Google prioritize the right ones.
  • Optimizing your internal website search: If someone comes to your website and searches for a particular topic, what comes up? Is it the content you want? Your internal search might be delivering the wrong content to your website visitors – and turning off potential clients and customers.
  • Improving your domain authority: If only your best content is indexed by Google, then you have a better chance of ranking high for your keywords than if you have a lot of low-quality content on the same topics.
  • Shifting content strategy: If your content strategy has shifted considerably, you might not want people to find old content that is now off-brand. For example, if you used to write short, newsy pieces but now your focus is on in-depth, long-form content, you might not want people to see those earlier articles.

These are all good reasons for wanting to embark on a content audit and clean out your database.

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Link to your top content pieces in your blog sidebar.

In all the confusion and complexity of linking, it’s easy to forget one powerful linking technique: internal linking.

What is internal linking? Simply put, internal linking is creating a link from one page of your website to another, like this:

In the above illustration, each “post” is linked to another “post” and to another “post.” These posts are most likely evergreen pages or blog articles.

Internal links are different from menu links. Menu links are part of the structure of the site as a whole and usually take users to the main pages. Internal links in this discussion refer to the actual text links within the content.

Whenever you create an article for your site, you should link it to other articles on your site.

Internal linking will not convey authority to your site like an incoming link from The New York Times, for example, can. It will, however, strengthen the structure and integrity of your site. That’s what happens when you create internal links:

  • Helps users access additional content
  • Increases time spent on the site
  • Reduces the bounce rate
  • Distributes page authority throughout the site
  • Improves the fillability of the site
  • Increases indexing of all pages, including deep internal pages
  • Increases the total number of page views on the site

If these terms seem Greek to you, don’t worry. Here’s the basic idea: internal linking is cool.

As an example, at the beginning of this article, I provided a link to the article “7 SEO secrets every successful online business employs.” Why? First, it was relevant to my discussion. Second, I did it because it is a strategic internal linking technique. This single link with anchor text created a reinforcing element for the site as a whole.

As long as I have relevant content in another post on the site, I can insert the link so users can get more information.

Enjoy the new information and don’t be afraid to put it into practice, because this is the only way you will benefit from it.

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