Want The Top Google Spot? Read This!

how to get the top google spot

You’ve built a great website – but it doesn’t occupy the top Google spot. As a result, it isn’t bringing in new leads for your business… YET! To get those leads, people need to be able to find your website when they search Google for your services.

In this article, I’m going to tell you how to get your website to climb to that coveted top Google spot.

Why Compete For The Top Google Spot?

websites with the top Google spot get the lions share of visitors

With so many other businesses fighting for that top Google spot, why should you join the fray?

The answer is: the top website gets the lion’s share of visitors.

New findings from online ad network Chitika confirm it’s anything but lonely at the top. According to the study, the top listing in Google’s organic search results receives 33 percent of the traffic, compared to 18 percent for the second position, and the traffic only degrades from there.

top google spot gets lions share of traffic
Wait a minute, the second spot in Google gets only HALF the traffic of the number 1 spot? And it rapidly drops to below 5% after that??

If getting twice the online traffic of your closest competitor sounds like good thing for your business, read on!

What IS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Anyway?

SEO optimization for your website to get the top Google spot
Getting the top spot in Google search starts with performing Search Engine Optimization on your website.

You’ve heard of SEO by now, and you probably have a vague sense that it’s helpful when it comes to getting your website to rank higher in Google.

Simply put, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques web designers use to make your website more “attractive” to search engines for specific search phrases.

By performing these optimizations, web designers provide search engines (like Google) hints about what types of searches relate to your website.

A thoroughly optimized website gets crawled and ranked favourably by Google. On the other hand, a website with poor SEO may not show up in search results at all!

How To Optimize A Website For The Top Google Spot

Here are the 10 steps to follow in order to optimize your website for Google search:

1. Make Your Website Secure and Accessible

Visit your website in a browser and look at the letters that come before your domain name.

Does your URL start with “http” or “https“? If you have the “s” it means your website is more secure, and will be favoured by Google over less-secure sites.

“Accessibility” means users with disabilities (usually referring to visual impairment) can use your website without any trouble. Text is large enough and has good contrast, images have descriptive alt tags, and navigation menus are easy to use.

2. Optimize Page Speed (including mobile speed!) To Get To The Top Of Google

This one’s pretty straight-forward. If your website is slow to load, people will get frustrated and leave, especially on phones. Images need to be optimized (downsized) for websites so they don’t slow down page load times.

page speed helps determine what website gets the top google spot
Visit https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ to do your own speed tests.

One of the biggest hurdles to increasing page speed is having images on your website that are too big. Large images take a long time to load, and become a setback on your quest for that top Google spot.

Adobe Photoshop’s “Save for Web and Devices” feature is the most powerful and effective way to downsize images for use on your website. However, optimizing images in Photoshop requires an expert touch. It also takes a great deal of time.

If your website is based in WordPress, try out the Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin. It automatically downsizes your images during upload, and can go back and resize old images too.

The Smush WordPress Plugin is an awesome way to automatically downsize images for faster page loading.

Also make sure you’re using the latest and greatest image formats! Each format has its own best use case, but Google does provide general suggestions to follow:

Image formats like JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP often provide better compression than PNG or JPEG, which means faster downloads and less data consumption.

Google Tools For Web Developers

3. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly For That Top Google Spot

mobile friendly websites are more likely to climb to the top Google spot

Speaking of phones, we’ve all visited websites that required “pinching and zooming” in order to navigate on a phone. Nobody likes doing this, and so Google devalues websites that aren’t mobile-friendly in search results.

These days, most website builders get you pretty close to perfect mobile-friendliness. Depending on how much customization you do, it may require some additional code to make your website look perfect on phones.

This is where Media Queries come in. Media Queries allow you to specify different CSS (how your website is styled) for varying screen widths or “breakpoints”.

Don’t worry about learning how to perform media queries yourself – but it’s handy to know they exist when working with a web designer. Just know you can assign different styling to how your website looks at different screen widths.

A common use for media queries would be to make your heading text a little smaller for phones.

Be sure your images are responsive. This means you can view them on all types of screens and the images resize nicely without being “cut off” visually.

Not sure whether your website is mobile-friendly? Google has a test for that: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

4. Become An Authority In Your Industry To Reach A Top Google Position

industry leaders get the top google spot
Industry leaders get the top Google Spot!

If your website hasn’t been around for very long, it’s important to establish “authority” for your industry by getting other important websites to link to it. Become a credible source of information in your industry by regularly publishing highly informative articles and projects to your website!

Another way to really drive up your authority online is to start publishing videos. YouTube is a perfect platform for this. With the phone in your pocket and a $30 tripod on Amazon, you’ll have all the gear you need to start producing “good enough” videos on YouTube.

But, Video is Scary!

Staring down a rolling camera can be intimidating, but the payoff is worth it!

More than any other media format, video can be intimidating to produce. Trust me, I’ve been publishing videos for almost a decade, and have over 400 videos online to date! Yet, I still get nervous before recording a new one.

But the exposure is worth it. My videos are far from perfect (most are average at best) and yet they’ve been viewed over 3 million times in total. I have thousands of subscribers, and higher engagement than any other media format I’ve explored.

My approach to video is simple. I publish a video if I think it’s going to be helpful to someone else. Chances are if it’s helpful to one person, it’s actually helpful to thousands of people.

It Doesn’t Need to be Perfect, It Just Needs To BE

I often get hung up trying to make my video “perfect”. But it’s better to produce several imperfect videos than it is to invest a lot of time in trying to make one perfect video. This is because there’s a natural learning curve to creating videos, and your videos will improve the more you publish them.

Getting better at making videos is just like shooting hoops. The more attempts you make, the more success you'll have.
Getting better at making videos is just like shooting hoops. The more attempts you make, the more success you’ll have.

Quantity leads to quality.

The content of the video matters more than the production quality.

As long as you focus on helping people and your videos will do well.

Also consider that YouTube videos themselves get ranked in Google search! So if one of your videos makes its way to the top spot in video search results, that will be a great source of traffic for your website. Just make sure to link to your site in the video description to capitalize on that potential traffic source!

5. Optimize Your Website Text For A Top Google Spot

Optimize your website text to get the top spot in Google

The text on your website matters because Google crawls it to figure out what your website is about. Aim to strike a balance between text that is engaging for people to read, while also containing the search phrase you want to be at the top of Google for.

When deciding what keywords to pursue, limit yourself to a few. Going with too many terms dilutes the potency of any one of them. Instead, try to figure out exactly what your prospects are searching for and then reverse-engineer your text to include the most important search term.

Tip: Do your own keyword research by entering your industry’s keywords into AnswerThePublic.com and seeing what people are searching for! Then write content on your website and blog to match those search phrases.

6. Optimize Your Code

Optimizing your website’s code is fundamental to getting your website to rank at the top of Google.

Of course, you’ve likely heard of HTML as it forms the majority of the code websites are built with.

Google crawls the code of your website and can tell what version of HTML you’re using. There have been several versions of HTML in use over the years. Today, you want your website to be updated to the most recent release of HTML, which is HTML5.

You can tell what kind of HTML your website is built on by right-clicking your website and selecting “view page source”. This will show the website code. At the very top, there will be a “doctype” tag where the type of HTML is declared.

You know your website is built in HTML5 if the very first line of your website looks like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>

If you see that, you’re golden! If you see a longer doctype tag with lots of other words, there’s a good chance your HTML is an older version and needs an update.

By including descriptive <alt> tags on all of your website images, you help Google understand what the images are. This helps your rank, and it helps users with visual impairments interact with your website (making it more accessible).

You can also control what text appears with your Google listing in search results with the <title> and <description> tags. Here’s how Butter Web Design shows up in Google search results:

The <title> tag on your website is what actually gets listed in Google search as the first line of text. So it’s essential to have optimized title tags, as well as headings, meta descriptions, and other bits of code that go into your website.

The <description> tag is what shows up underneath your website title, and gives users a quick summary of what your website is about. Make sure to include the search term you want to rank at the top of Google for in your website title and description tags!

Don’t worry about the <keywords> tag, Google doesn’t use it anymore to determine website rankings.

Google doesn’t use the keywords tag when determining website positioning in search results.

7. Improve Your Website’s User Experience

When people spend more time on your website, that’s a good thing. When they arrive and then leave immediately, that’s bad. This is called a “bounce rate”. Google tracks these metrics and rewards sites that provide users with a good experience.

Simply put, improvements to user experience can be made by solving things that frustrate your visitors. Have you ever visited a website and found it frustrating? Why was that exactly?

Do your visitors spend time on your website, or do they get up and leave because you haven’t taken their experience into consideration. Treat them well, and they’ll spend time and money with you!

While it’s often difficult to view our own websites from the lens of a total stranger, that’s the best way to see the flaws that make for a bad user experience. From there, it’s possible to address the issues and improve how people feel when they’re on your website.

Google Analytics will give you a clear idea of how your website is performing. Look at your bounce rate and how much time people are spending on each of your pages.

Often, improving user experience is intuitive once you’ve identified where the problem is using analytics software. By knowing that a page has a high bounce rate, you can perform tests yourself, or get a friend to visit the page. As them what they would change if they could, and use the input as a basis for experimenting with changes to your site.

You can even conduct A/B split tests using Google Optimize to test multiple variations of your web pages at the same time. Based on the statistics of each variation, you will be able to see which version your visitors prefer. Consequently, you will be able to choose the best one to boost your user experience!

8. Earn Those Links

links help your website climb to the top spot in Google

Google likes it when you both link out to valuable information online, and when high-authority websites link back to your site.

The best way to get other websites to link to your site is simple, make your website worth linking to. Do this by publishing the very best information blog articles you can write, and people will naturally link to them.

Another strategy is to request to post your blog articles as guest posts on other websites in the same industry, linking back to your website each time.

9. Fill Out Your Business Information

One of the most important things you can do for your business is to complete a Google My Business profile. By having a verified business listing, Yelp listing, and Facebook Business listing, your website becomes more credible. Thus, Google will rank you more favourably!

Hint: the more positive reviews you have on your various listings, the better. Get our Early Wins Checklist for more information on how to drive traffic to your business for free!

10. Engage Your Audience

An engaged audience helps earn a top spot in Google
If your sole intent is to deliver awesome value to your readers, they will reward you.

The more people share your content online, the more Google takes notice and rewards you with a higher position.

Make it easy for people to share your content by writing great content. These days, writing great blog articles has become one of the best ways to continually drive traffic to your website.

By publishing excellent information, you’re giving your audience something to enjoy and to share with their friends. Here’s how to check to see if your blog articles are going to resonate with your audience: if someone sent it to you, would you read it? Does the headline grab your attention and make you want to read more? As you read, are you sucked deeper and deeper into the article until you just have to finish it?

These are the types of questions to ask yourself while writing blog articles. Of course, mention your company and what you can offer your readers. But avoid the mistake of talking too much about your business. You are interested in your business, but your prospects aren’t. They’re interested in their problems which your business solves! Write about those problems, and how to solve them!

Content Marketing is the Best Way to Get the Top Google Spot

Writing and publishing blog articles is a big undertaking, but it pays off by sending a steady stream of free traffic to your website forever. For this reason, investing in a content marketing permanently boosts your organic traffic (traffic that comes to your website without clicking paid ads).

Content marketing is one of the most powerful methods of generating high quality leads over the long term. Not only does it increase your website’s likelihood of ranking at the top of Google, but the individual articles themselves can rank in search results!

Ready To Get More Leads Online?

There are a handful of simple yet surprisingly powerful techniques you can use today to instantly increase the number of quality leads your business gets online.

To learn more, get a copy of The Early Wins Checklist right now and start bringing in those leads!

7 On-Site UX Changes that Boost Conversions

This is a guest post by super gunius Matt Oxley of Dotlabel. For more information about Matt, check out his bio at the end of this post!

Enter Matt:

The goal for most websites is to boost conversion rates, whether that is to drive an enquiry, an online or offline sale, an ebook download or a newsletter sign-up.

However, the goals for your website visitors might be to learn more about your product or service, find out more information about your company or to compare prices.

The discipline of User Experience seeks to understand what your visitors are trying to achieve and to create an experience which is easy and pleasurable, allowing them to achieve their goals effortlessly, without confusion or frustration.

When embracing user experience as part of your web design and development strategy it is important to understand that to optimise your online conversion, the most effective methods aren’t achieved by simply applying surface level User Interface (UI) changes such as changing the colour or size of a button.

User Experience is a concept which delves much deeper into the whole process a user goes through to get their tasks done, it considers the sequence of actions they take, their emotional and sensory responses during their journey, and the final and lasting impressions of the interaction.

That said, with the right knowledge and understanding you can apply these insights and make changes to your website that can have a significant impact on conversion rates.

1. Know your users

Sound obvious?

But is your knowledge based on what you and your colleagues ‘think’ about your customers or based on actual research and insight gathered directly from your audience?  How can you begin to fulfil their needs if you don’t really know them!

UX tools such as User personas are often used to represent the voice of the user throughout the design and development process, ensuring that you continue to meet the needs, wants and expectations of your different user types.

When you have this understanding of your consumers, you can begin to review the types of content that is relevant and appropriate for them.

Your Personas will identify the types of information they want, how knowledgeable they are about your product or service and what things influence their decisions. You can use this insight to decide the formats of your content.

For example, would an infographic be better than a detailed whitepaper, or would a video be best. Would you need to convey the more technical aspects of your offering or would a simplified version be preferred, or is both required to address the different needs of your audience.

UX change to boost conversion: Research your customers to ensure you provide the right format of content.

2. User Journeys and Goals

Having insight into your users is just a part of the puzzle, this element feeds into the

all-important User Journey. The User Journey considers the goals of your different users, the tasks they undertake and the context (or scenario) in which they interact with your website, app or portal.

Once you plot the different possible journeys, you can begin to identify what additional information is required to help someone convert. Would a sizing chart be helpful? Does the delivery information need to be accessible at a certain point in the journey? Could an FAQs or customer reviews section help avoid visitors going to another website?

UX change to boost conversion: Include the relevant supplementary information at the right point in the journey to keep users on track to conversion.

3. Be Relevant

When you understand your visitors and their goals you then have the opportunity to provide them with content that is relevant. Today, web technologies can enable you to personalise your content for your visitors based on their interests, their previous visit behaviour and where they have arrived from, making their online journey a more tailored experience.

UX change to boost conversion: Personalise your content so it is relevant to the individual visitor and what they want.

4. Design Mobile-First

Having the insights on when, how and why your audience interacts with you online will indicate the extent to which designing a great mobile experience really matters to your business.

When designing mobile-first, consider the experience within the limitations of a smaller screen size, and this will help to focus the design around enabling the user to achieve their goals most efficiently (usually with just their thumb!).

Also, when designing mobile-first you will need to consider the best ways to capture

information- for example, when the user needs to complete a form or undertakes a buying process. You can prioritise reducing the number of steps and using relevant input fields, such as displaying the numeric keyboard (rather than the fiddly alphanumeric keyboard) for credit card details or having an easy-to-use calendar date picker rather than annoying drop down fields.

When you design for desktop first which is responsive for mobile, it may adapt to fit on the screen, but that doesn’t mean that the experience is optimised for the mobile user.  If you are considering a website redesign, ensure that mobile is considered as your first priority.

UX change to boost conversion: Design mobile-first and optimise processes and input fields for the mobile user.

5. Design Intuitively

When you are designing your digital experience it is important not to be different just for the sake of it. Web visitors have an expectation of how things work, through their experience of other sites; they will expect menus and inputs to work in a certain way. A feature or functionality that is different can make an experience awkward or confusing if the visitor doesn’t know what to do.

Keep content in manageable sized chunks and if you are introducing features like gesture control (which are notoriously inconsistent across the web) it is important that you educate your users on how to use them.

UX change to boost conversion: Be consistent and clear on how things work.

6. Observe Your Users

Research and insights are an incredibly important part of UX.

Watching your users interacting with your website, app or portal can uncover a whole range of issues you hadn’t before realised were a problem.

There are so many ways you can gather this insight, either face to face, remotely and installing software like HotJar on your site, all of which can begin to reveal obstacles and hurdles which are hindering your conversion rate.

Combining this observation with your website insights means you can begin to build up a picture of what changes you need to make on site.

Is the need for an account registration becoming a barrier?

A rather dated but relevant example, is how UX Expert Jared Spool attributes a $300 million increase in revenue by giving customers the option of not having to register for an account in order to buy something. This valuable discovery was made as a result of user research.

Are your calls to action in the right place? Are there too many distracting messages confusing the user to what their next action should be? Are visitors missing vital information that can help them along their journey?

UX change to boost conversion: Watch how your customers interact with your site to find out what needs to change.

7. Test, Learn, and Iterate

Changes that work for one site won’t automatically work for another, as the best

conversion rates will be achieved by the sites that ‘listen’ and ‘respond’ to the needs of their own audience.

To create the optimal online experience you need to use insights and feedback to inform changes. A/B testing and Multi-variate testing are commonly used methods to live test different hypotheses on how to improve conversion. Making changes and comparing two live versions will determine which changes have the most impact on conversion.

Regular testing and improving a website should be an ongoing process. Users expectations will evolve as they interact with different websites, and the only way to ensure that your site keeps up, is to maintain a culture of continuous improvement. If you don’t, there is a real danger of needing a significant capital investment to do a complete ground-up redesign and build.

UX change to boost conversion: Invest in a continuous improvement programme to ensure your site remains relevant and up-to-date.

Matt Oxley – Author Bio

Matt Oxley is co-founder and Director of the award winning User Experience (UX) and digital agency DotLabel. Matt comes from a creative design background with a passion for user-centred digital experiences. In his career Matt has held the role of Creative Director at agencies Intercea and NetSitePro providing expert advice to household brand names such as GlaxoSmithKline and Scottish Courage.

Extended Information:

DotLabel delivers a range of UX-focused digital experiences including websites, apps, intranets and portals.  Dedicated to a UX design approach, the team at DotLabel know that when you combine a company’s objectives with an understanding of the users’ goals, attitudes and frustrations, you can create digital experiences that get better results and drive really conversion, whether that be increased enquiries and sales, improved engagement or reduced calls to customer support.

DotLabel was listed in the top 40 agencies in the South by Wirehive100 in 2018. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2017, the company works with a prestigious client list includes Hendricks Gin, The Balvenie, Barclays, SDL, ATPI and Anthony Nolan.

The agency is proud to have recently won two awards at the Digital Experience Awards 2018, as well as the winner of the Best User Experience award and finalist for Consumer site of the year at the 2018 Wirehive 100 awards.

In addition, they are awaiting results of becoming a finalist at the UXUK awards for the not-for-profit category for their work with Anthony Nolan – results revealed on 22 November 2018.  Plus, DotLabel have also been recognised as a 2018 Top UX agency and Top Digital Design agency by Clutch.