How DO you get to the top of page 1?
Many SEO and digital agencies online preach one thing only; create awesome content.
They tell you that the best way to rank on Google is to create the best copy ever, and presto, Google will notice, and you’ll be on the top of page 1 of Google and lots of traf c and sales will come your way.
Really? That’s it??
I hate to break the bad news to you, but it doesn’t work this way. If your whole SEO strategy is about creating copy, you might pack up shop now and retire because it doesn’t work that way.
If all it took to get to the top of Google were creating the best content, everyone would be doing it. I’ve seen pages rank with relatively no copy on their main landing pages.
Great content IS super-vital! Please make no mistake about this; I’m not saying it isn’t. I always encourage my clients to write articles, blogs and news posts. But content marketing is only one piece of your SEO strategy.
If you think you know how to market your website and SEO, think again.
You must be more innovative and better than them to beat your competition. You have to create content that wows your clients and works for the search engines. It’s a fine line; you must know how to play both sides. Get it right, and you’ll get heaps of customers and more leads than you know what to do with them.
I want to tell you my SEO secrets and show you ways to get loads of high-quality links and a massive amount of free website traffic. In the meantime, you can relax as the phone starts ringing or watch new customers walk through the door.
First, let’s audit the site and ensure it’s set up for success.
Let’s look at your website and see what customers think of it. Do they run a mile, or is the site full of mistakes, technical glitches, slow load times and poor graphics? The most important thing you can do with your marketing is to ensure your website is fully operational, works well and has the WOW factor.
Without this, prospective new clients will leave the site and never return.
What you need to do now with your website before anything else:
- Do a complete website audit and x any technical errors.
- Make sure your website loads super fast.
- Create informative content on your blogs to keep readers wanting more .
Let’s look at these in more detail.
Do a site audit and x any technical errors.
If your website is littered with mistakes, errors and technical glitches, FIX these now.
Technical issues will KILL any chance of decent Google rankings, no matter how fabulous the site looks or how great the content is. Why? Because any problems will cause your readers to make the quickest exit in history, leaving you without any customers.
Following are just a few technical problems most small businesses face and a quick how-to-fix.
1. You’ve got many different versions of your homepage.
Your homepage is probably the most important page on your website, so you only want one unique version.
If you have too many different versions of your homepage, you are duplicating your homepage many times, which is a huge NO NO with Google.
Check out the possible versions circulating the internet as we write this.
How to fix
Set up 301 redirects for all the duplicate pages to the home page. If you have a WordPress CMS, this is super easy to do in the dashboard. But, if you are non-tech-savvy, get an SEO agency like us to do this for you.
2. Your 404 error page count is too high
A conversion and SEO killer are 404 pages. Google hates these, and they can harm your SEO rankings. A 404 error is when a page on your website doesn’t exist but has still been indexed, most likely caused by a dead internal link or an old web page that’s been taken down.
How to fix
Set up a 301 redirect from all 404 error pages to the home page. To check all your pages that have been indexed, type this into Google search:
This will show you a complete list of pages that have been indexed. Go through all these and see which comes up with a 4040 error. It may take some time, but it’s a must-do exercise.
SearchEngine Journal has a great article titled: Are 404 & Soft 404 Errors Google Ranking Factors?
3. Your images are missing alt tags
Take a look at all images on your website and add alt tags. Ignore this at your peril, as pictures must be labelled, which is what alt tags do.
How to fix
You can do this manually, but if your site is too large ( like some eCommerce sites), there are nifty tools to help you with this.
Using an Image alt text checker tool, or
Using a W3C validation tool.
These two tools will quickly tell you what images are without alt tags. All you need to do is go in there and label them. But make sure they are descriptive and relevant to the image.
4. Your titles & descriptions need to be corrected!
Titles and descriptions are what Google displays on their results about your website. These are HUGE sales tools and will drive traffic to your website. Stuff these up, and you can kiss goodbye to many web traffic and customers.
Most people stuff this up by making titles too long (they should be a maximum of 70 characters ), and your descriptions should be only 150.
How to fix
Use the Yoast SEO plug-in on your WordPress CMS, and look at the titles and descriptions on every website page. Then, check out what your competitors are doing and write better ones.
5. Page Load Times
When it comes to your website’s load time, think FAST!!!
It has to load within less than 2 seconds. For every second delay, you will lose lots of customers. Don’t you hate when you have to wait for a website to load? It’s the same for your site. The key here is speed!
Also, a slow website will HURT your Google rankings BIG TIME!! Why? Because Google only wants to display websites that load quickly. Slow-loading sites are a pain in the ass, and Google knows this.
How to fix
There’s a great tool by Google called PageSpeed. Put your website’s URL in here and hit the button analyse. It will let you know if it’s slow and give you ways to x page speed load times. Keep improving till your score is close to 100 out of 100.
6. Site Content
Getting people to land on your website is one thing and the job of your SEO agency, but they need to stay on the site and be engaged. They need to move around pages, check the content and love what they read. For readers to buy or inquire from you, your copy has to be better than the rest. Plus, Google will rank your site higher if your pages have better quality and more compelling copy.
Tips for creating excellent content.
Create content specifically for your audience and write what they want to read. If you sell Nike shoes, write about running or exercise. If you sell tables and chairs, write about homewares and interior decorating.
People want information quickly. They want to scan a page for information and go to the areas that interest them. Make sure headings are bold and break large chunks of text up into digestible paragraphs. Make the titles interesting (clickbait-like) so they’ll immediately be drawn to this. The rule here is to make killer headings that are your reader’s and irresistible.
Add exciting graphics, a video or two and an infographic for a killer-looking web page.
So your website is ready for success and looks excellent; let’s look at the thing you’ve been waiting for:
5 Bulletproof SEO Strategies to Open the Sales Floodgates
1. Know Where You Stand With Google
Before you start getting loads of new customers and web traf c, you need to look at your current traf c numbers and what they’re doing on your site. You must have had Google Analytics (GA) installed on your site to do this. GA will give you all the information and data required to analyse your site’s performance.
You’ll also be able to check a critical metric called Bounce Rates. These rates refer to consumer engagement on your site. Without getting too technical, the higher the bounce rates, the worse it is. It means that people are arriving on your site and exiting without drilling in further. Instead, they bounce off that entry page and leave the site.
You need to see how many pages have been indexed by Google. You may be surprised how many pages have yet to be indexed. Remember, the higher amount of indexed pages, the more potential traf c you’ll get.
If you can see that only a few of your pages have been indexed, this is a huge technical problem that will need to be addressed ASAP!
I would get your web developer to add a site map quickly and then do the test again in a couple of days.
If you have been using a dodgy SEO agency in the past and you can’t see your site on Google, you may have suffered a Google penalty. This is a whole new ball game, and you need to know if this is the case. All you need to do is log in to your webmaster tools Google account and see any Google penalty or manual action messages. If this is the case, you MUST get in touch with an SEO agency with experience in Google penalty removals, like us at SEO Sydney Experts.
There are many reasons for a Google penalty, like duplicate pages, plagiarised or spun content, spammy keyword pages and over-optimised keywords.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip
If you have a Google penalty, don’t overstress, as these can be reversed in many cases. But the trick is to act quickly before any more damage is done. Again, knowing your position with Google is the best place to begin as you can quickly x any penalty or technical issues.
2. Why is your competition killing it online, and you’re going nowhere?
Now’s the best time to stop being jealous about the competition and start taking action to see why they are smashing it online. Before you have any moral dilemmas about spying on your competition, you have to know this; they are doing it, and it’s super-common practice. Everyone, and I mean everyone, does this, including us!
What can you find out? By auditing your competitor’s site, you can see what keywords they are targeting and go after them by creating specific landing pages or adding them to your content.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip
Look at your top 3 main competitors, do everything they are, including landing pages and blogs, and write better copy than them on all your main pages. It’s good to focus on the online winners, see what they’re doing and go about doing it better. Make sure you know the top 5 keywords your competitors are ranking for, and go after these. If you don’t know these keywords, then it’s not good. Get an SEO agency to nd these out for you and let them target these.
If this is you, don’t worry, as it’s common for businesses not to understand the power of keywords on Google fully. You can quickly list their keywords from Google’s Keyword Planner tool.
Once you have these keywords that bring them insane amounts of traffic, it’s your time to shine and do it bigger and better! Create awesome content and tell the world about it. Post it everywhere; social media ( Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn), blogs; even reach out to other organisations in your industry and see if they’ll publish it.
On social media platforms, try connecting with people or businesses your competition connects with so they can read the content. The key here is to follow their online digital footprint and shadow them where ever they go. This sneaky trick will massively improve FREE web traf c and people coming to your site.
Soon, you’ll see all those free inbound links and traffic numbers soar, and so will your Google rankings. It’s not rocket science; it’s just a bit of creative thinking and work.
Remember, you want a slice of their pie – so go on and take it!!
3. Get excellent backlinks from other sites
An inbound link from a random mate’s website will do you something other than favours. You need to get links from credible, hard-to-get websites like Sydney Morning Herald, Traveller, Fin Review, Mashable, Forbes etc. These sites will not link to any old website and are, therefore, super valuable. One link from sites like these is x 100 times, even x 1000 times more valuable than old Uncle Joe’s website.
Getting a link from a reliable, trusted source is a huge challenge but sooooo worth it if you manage to get just one! Just one referral link will boost your site’s authority, trust, and Google rankings. Remember, a link to your site from one of these well-known brand sites signifies your site is to be trusted. You’ll soon see the value of how wonderful a referral link is from a popular site.
Now, the big question is; how do you get a link from one of those sites to your site?
It’s called Outreach.
If you want to get your website, be interviewed, or get any blog articles published on one of those big sites, you must be prepared to do some work. But note in advance and take it from me that the editors of these online publications get emails daily from people like you wanting to be on their site. So a random email from you ( no matter how nice you word it ) will go unnoticed.
The trick is to do it gradually and get on the editor’s radar.
Here are the steps you MUST take:
i) Find the publication and the name of the editor.
You’ll need their email address and contact details. Never off a random email pitch, as this will go straight to their spam folder. The trick here is to find another way in. The good news is that most editors will have social media accounts you can follow, which is a great segway into point # 2.
ii) Become their friends online
I’m not saying that you must be besties and go out for lunch, but you need to engage with them online to become familiar with your name, brand, or business. The more you engage with them, the more likely they’ll recognise an email from you. It’s a fantastic way to get into their good books. The trick here is to be as genuine as possible. Never fake, as these people are trained to spot fakes trying to get their attention.
iii) Understand what they want
To know what editors are looking for, it’s good to know what they ARE
NOT looking for.
You pitch a concept that’s already been covered, showing that you still need to research.
You pitch an irrelevant article to their site or have no added value for their audience.
The golden rule is that you need to know what they’re looking for before pitching to an editor. You need to go to their website and look at their contributor guidelines, which you must follow to the letter. Check their recent posts or articles and see what they like to publish, giving you some ideas of the subject matter of your pitch.
When you have a clearer understanding of the type of content they want to publish and engage with the editor on social media, then it’s now time to make that pitch.
If you follow these steps, you’ll soon see that this is the best pathway to getting a FREE inbound link from the most trustworthy online publications.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip
Make sure the content you want to publish has some added bene ts. Editors don’t care about your business except for the value of the content so make sure it’s going to add a level of value to their readership. Brie y outline the article’s intent in a short sharp, snappy introduction. Please don’t go overboard with too many explanations, as they won’t have time to read this. If they like this synopsis, they might read further. Remember, editors are busy people, so if they wait to reply, don’t stress. Give it a week, and then follow up with a quick email.
4. Use SEO copywriters
Words on your website are super-powerful. So having the right content in the right place can significantly affect how much traffic you get from search engines, especially Google.
You might have the best-looking website and the most amazing content, but if you need the correct titles and descriptions, no one, and I mean no one, will click on your website.
Your titles and descriptions have to stand out and draw people in. You have to be creative and innovative and have some copywriting skills to attract customers.
For higher click-through rates and lots more traf c from Google’s search results, you should employ an SEO copywriter to help you write your web copy and your titles and descriptions.
Your title is, without a doubt, the most critical aspect of your web page. It’s what Google reads first, and it’s what will drive your potential customers to click on your site.
So how do you write AMAZING titles?
Use numbers, ‘how to’ or questions in the title for best click-through rates to get your titles noticed.
So, for example, instead of titling a post “Ways To Design An Website” (which is weak), title it “5 Clever Strategies To Build a Website that Brings in Sales” (you can see that this is much more appealing).
SEO Sydney Experts Tip for writing killer titles
1) If you use a number, make it an odd number. Even
ones seem to have less appeal.
2) Use your main keywords in the title, as this shows Google and your readers the page’s intent.
3) Make sure your main keyword is at the beginning of the title. We have SEO Sydney at the beginning of our home page title, as this is our core keyword.
4) Don’t be passive. Be assertive and direct. Instead of your title being:
Blocked Drains Repairs | Bondi Plumbers make it
Blocked Drains Fixed Quickly | Open 7 Days | Bondi Plumbers
Can you see how much more powerful this title is? It stands out and screams, click me!!
If you get stuck, there are two websites you can use to generate titles:
Again, this is such a crucial marketing part of your website that it should be left to professionals unless you want to give it a crack.
Your meta description is as crucial as your title. With the meta description, you have up to 150 characters to further sell your product or service, and if people are a bit reluctant to click on your site, the description is the catalyst that will make them hit that mouse on your website.
You can say goodbye to extra clicks if you have a poor description.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip for writing killer descriptions
1) Use your primary keyword for that particular page in the description. If you’re a plumber in Bondi, then use plumbers Bondi somewhere in the description. But only use it once, as it will sound too spammy if repetitive.
2) Use power words like buy now, click here, free delivery, try now, ‘open 7 days, 50% off. You get the drift.
3) Add words that will add benefit for the customers. Again, the more the advantage, the more they’ll click on the website.
Poor description example:
Blocked Drains. Bondi Plumbers can x your blocked drain. We have been established for ten years. Call 12345678
Amazing description example:
Got a Blocked Drain? Bondi Plumbers can x it ASAP. Fast, friendly with pensioner discount 20% off. Call 12345678
You can see how the second description has so much more sales appeal.
4. Have Strong Call-to-Actions
You can drive massive amounts of free web traf c to your site, but that’s only used if you can convert them once they land on your site. It’s a complete waste of time, energy, and money if they will not call or buy from you.
Make sure you have super-strong call-to-action buttons on your web page. Without these, you could pack up and go home!
All pages and all pages of your website must have call-to-action solid buttons such as buy now, call for 20% discount, free delivery click here, more information, click here, and end of season sale buy now. These high-conversion landing pages are the final piece of the sales puzzle.
You get people to your site and get them to buy from you; it’s as simple as that. The key takeaway here is you want to keep all that free fantastic web traffic from slipping through your fingers.
As you can see on the bottom of all SEO Sydney Experts pages, we have a solid call to action button, giving customers one more opportunity to contact us.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip
Stay moderate with the call-to-action buttons, as this will look like 1 massive sales pitch document where you seem desperate, turning people off.
5. Using dodgy SEO agencies; 3 Deadly Traps
If you’ve made it this far, why not use an SEO agency to do this for me?
Most people will go down this road, but here is where problems can happen; in Australia, there are lots, and I mean lots of dodgy SEO agencies that are happy to take your money and do nothing.
Deadly Trap # 1: PBN’s
They’ll take your hard-earned money and use PBNs as backlinks, which is a ticking time bomb and a Google penalty waiting to happen. PBNs or private blog networks are agencies’ most common SEO strategies, and these guys will never tell you about it.
A PBN is a group of websites that have been repurposed for SEO.
What happens is that people put their old websites up for sale (like car sales), and some of these websites have value or have been around a long time, so they have quite a bit of trust in Google. These dodgy SEO agencies will buy a whole bunch of these sites online and use them to add your link. So this means they will use these websites as backlink factories where all their clients are on all these sites, each receiving a backlink. It’s so dodgy and bad that when Google discovers your backlink profile from a PBN, you’ll cop a penalty.
The idea behind the PBN is that your SEO agency can prove they are backlinking, but here’s the rub; these backlinks are worthless and will damage your site.
The SEO agency benefits because they can create these backlinks for your site for next to no money, and they pocket all the pro ts. It’s a scam, a Ponzi scheme where they use your monthly SEO revenue to pay for their AdWords to get more suckers.
Deadly Trap # 2: Can’t rank themselves
If an SEO agency can rank their website on Google for at least the keyword SEO Sydney, don’t use them.
They’ll spend a fortune on Adwords to be in the top 4 positions on Google, and you, as the unsuspecting business, will automatically click on these ads. Unfortunately, most of the SEO agencies that are paying to be up there on Google are the ones that can’t rank their website, and these agencies must be AVOIDED at all costs.
They are spending up to $40 per click on Adwords, so they will say and do anything to get you to sign a 12-month SEO contract with them. So watch out – repeat, watch out!!
They will be using PBNs for sure!!!
Deadly Trap # 3: Ranking Guarantees
I bet if you Google SEO Sydney right now and look at the first page, you’ll see the words like:
90-day ranking guarantee Pay on performance Page 1 in 90 days
Page 1 or pay $0
Free SEO Audit
All these buzzwords aim to get you to click on their Ads on Google.
You must steer clear of these ads, called ‘clickbait’, designed to lure you in and use their services. These agencies are sales factories and nothing more than a complete scams.
Firstly, no one, and I mean no one, can offer any Google guarantee. Even Google tells us to avoid such agencies. Plus, when they say Page 1 rankings, they’ll be able to rank you for super-easy keywords that are probably already ranking, such as your brand name.
They’ll show you reports that they have been able to rank you for keywords with absolutely no traffic or value for your business.
For example, if you’re a plumber in Bondi, they’ll say they have ranked you for words like:
Happy Plumbers who work in Bondi or
Plumbers in Bondi that drive red utes
Useless, but they’ll claim to have ranked you.
Getting customers from Google is becoming harder every year., It’s a crowded, competitive landscape where businesses are trying to compete for the same customers. The trick is to do it better than the competition. Finding an SEO agency to help you with this task is more complex; there are many pitfalls, rip-off merchants and traps. Do your homework, be careful and talk to a few agencies before deciding on anything. Making the wrong moves will cost you lots of money and wasted opportunities and harm your business.
If you want to learn more about SEO and how it can help your business grow, please call me, Steve, at SEO Sydney Experts on 02 9360 8514.