How to rank in Google

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Ranking at #1 spot in Google is seriously a real deal. Knowing the fact that when you rank your website for your main keyword, you’ll be on top of your competitors and the attention of your target audience can be concentrated to your position. This certainly will drive huge organic traffic to your website that can bring real money to your business in the long run or even for a short period of time.

Obviously, while the benefits you can get from being at the top can be overwhelming, one can’t just rank #1 and rule the SERPs for specific keyword phrases. Yes, it is not just easy to rank at the top but it does not necessarily mean that you can’t. Since you everyone wants to be at the top of their industry for their target key phrases in organic search, the competition will never stop.

Of course, this is not a race of whoever fastest in building links or publishing content wins. It does not go that way as there are complex ways on Google decide whether to rank a website at the top. While Google Ranking Factors are purposely kept secret to non-Googler, there are still some ways how you can rank your website at the top.

Conduct a site check-up

Everything starts with the website itself. You can’t make your website rank for specific or various keywords if there are critical issues that are not addressed properly. This includes technical factors of your website, content, keyword targeting, website structure and many more. Having all these sections checked and making sure that they are within the guidelines of Google, you can have a chance to rank in Google naturally.

But how do you conduct a site check-up to ensure that everything is on the green light? I’ll show you how but this won’t be very detailed process as there are a lot of site and content audit published out there. Just Google them.

Crawl your website

To start with, you need to crawl your website to get the data you need what doing a site checkup. You can use ScreamingFrog to make sure that all indexable html pages of your website will be collected for your checkup purposes. Crawling a website can be short or long but it depends on how large your website is or how many pages does it have overall. SreamingFrog is very handy and nothing is complicated in terms of using the tool.

Check your meta title and description tags

Title and description tags are important for Google. They use this information to show as snippet of your we pages when they appear on SERPs. So when conducting an audit on your title and description tags, make sure that your keywords are naturally placed on both tags.

The best practices when creating page title and page description tags is to properly describing what your pages are about and hopefully with some usage of your target keyword on each pages of your website. So if you want your pages to rank for your target keywords in Google search results, utilizing them on your page tag elements is highly important.

Check your images tag

Images tag may have always overlooked by most SEOs when optimizing a website but having alt tags on images helps Google crawlers to understand what the image is about which is highly essential when optimizing for image search. Also, this can give your content an opportunity to appear in universal search of Google where images, videos etc appear in organic search results for a certain keyword phrase.

Check your H1tag

As part of on-site optimization, making sure that your pages have header tag in place preferably with your main keyword included in the header of the page gives weight and important to them. Also, Google still uses the H1 tag as part of their over 200 ranking factors showing a page to rank in SERPs.

However, this does not mean that you can add multiple H1 tags on every page of your website as only one H1 tag is allowed on every page and you may use other heading tags such as H2 or H3 to avoid over using of H1 tag.

Check your 404 issues

Checking your 404 pages to ensure that no pages in your website are found dead is highly critical. Not found pages in a website give poor user experience to visitors from organic results which can affect the performance of a website in SERPs. This can also affect the trust of Google to a website especially if large amount of crawl errors have been discovered by Google on a specific website.

You can check 404 pages of your website through Google Webmaster Tools, go to crawl errors section of your website and deal with them.

Check your footer links

Footer links used to look natural way back in 2011 when over optimized anchor text was not introduced yet. However, when Google launched their Penguin algorithm to target low quality websites and websites with manipulative anchor text profile, having footer links with questionable anchor text is no longer advisable.

After all, footer links don’t get decent amount of clicks from users and therefore, there is no use in using footer section with optimized anchor text especially if the links are pointing to external websites.

Check your page speed

One of the goals of Google is to deliver high quality experience to search users from search results up to the website they display in search results. If the page speed of a website loads longer than usual, search users may come back to search results and find another website that loads faster. That behavior gives negative experience to Google and can affect your ranking in the future.

If you don't want this to happen on your website, make sure that your website loads within the suggested time of Google which is 3.0sec. You can check your site page load speed via Ping Domain Tool and if you find out how much time it take before the page loads and you can check on Google Page Speed insights to know what sections need to be addressed.

Publish Relevant Content

Content will always be the king. Content can give you quality links. Content can make your website authority and quality. Content can help you drive traffic to your site. Content is the key to convert visitors into leads or sales. Content is an all in one package that websites should benefit from. More over, content can help you increase your website indexed pages in Google and can give you an opportunity to rank better.

By practicing to publish relevant content in a regular basis, you can have a chance to attract more target audience to your website from organic search results, increase the update frequency of your website and more importantly, this can give your website a long user engagement and low bounce rate issue which are all strong positive signal indication to Google.

There are different ways how a website can provide relevant content, this could be a video format, contextual format, image format or even info-graphic format. With that in mind, websites can have better ways to reach and talk to their audience and can appear in various search results in Google, whether images, videos or just plain web search.

Build Relevant Links

As part of optimizing a website for better search performance, acquiring relevant links is highly recommended to link developers out there. Since having relevant links also help websites increase their chances to rank at the top of SERPs, there is no point in building irrelevant links back to your site. While links may obviously used by Google

Finding relevant links require efforts and dedication to make things possible. However, an strategy in place to guide you find relevancy links can probably be better than you can imagine.

If you dont't have a strategy in place yet, you may want to try your luck on the following link acquisition techniques below applicable for most industries out there.

Free tips to find relevant links:

  • Look for interview opportunities
  • Look for resource pages related to your industry
  • Participate in active forum sections in your industry
  • Look for page voting sites
  • Find regular content contributor opportunities

Another thing to keep in mind when building links is to focus also on quality and not only relevancy. Although relevancy is highly crucial, having relevanct quality links will probably be better. This will benefit your website in the long run if you really want to rank at the top of SERPs of Google for your target search terms.

Go Mobile

Unsurprisingly, Google has been giving a lot of attention to mobile browsing in the past few years and making sure that your website is mobile friendly is already an advantage. Since most people nowadays are switching to mobile browsing from desktop browsing, the opportunity that you might also get potential targeted traffic from mobile sources is definitely high and I believe for a businesses minded person, it is important to chase and reach your target audience ensure that you won’t miss a thing.

Also, Google just announced that they recently launched a tool to help websites check if a website is mobile friendly or not. This just means that Google is serious in giving best user experience to mobile search users that websites should cooperate as well. Apart from this, Google recently published a blog post on Google Webmaster Tool blog about tracking mobile usability.

After all, Google is using a mark up to highlight mobile friendly websites that are mobile friendly and is available only for mobile search users, so if a website is not mobile friendly, the markup won’t be applied on a website in SERPs which can affect the CTR from organic search. So do you want that? Go Mobile now?


Making sure that your website is properly optimized for desktop search users and mobile search users can increase your chances to rank for your target key phrases. However, while there is no accurate process on how a website is ranked when displayed in organic search and there is no one can guarantee to claim the top spot in Google search results, making sure that the best practices are applied when optimizing your website is really important.

Joseph Gojo Cruz is the author of RankingElite, a Philippine-based Online Marketing blog. Joseph has been working in SEO industry for over 3 years from website audit, link and content development, social media and search engine optimization. Connect with Joseph on Google+Twitter, and Facebook. Joseph is also a contributor on SEJ and Ahrefs.