It's the Holy Grail for virtually any marketer these days -- being found on page one, position one on a Google search engine results page (SERP), for the top keyword used by your prospective customers when searching for your products or services.
Some marketers obsess over this goal more than others, but it's where you want to be so your found first! Sure, you can buy space in this top position by using Google AdWords, also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC), but a recent study found PPC ads only get 6% of the overall clicks versus 94% for organic search results. We're all getting smarter at searching and know the search results that appear organically are there for a reason and will most likely provide the answer or solution we're looking for.
So, the big question is, what should a company do in order to appear on page one of Google organically? There's no one simple answer since every industry is different and some companies are farther ahead than others with an established web presence, but here are some proven tactics you should implement for 2013 - if you haven't already - that will benefit your search engine optimization.
1. Start Thinking Like A Publisher
If you're not already blogging, then develop a plan to start. It's time that companies take on a publisher mindset, and with that mindset a blog is a must. We live in a content-rich world where Google and other search engines are rewarding the websites with the best fresh content, and your blog is the vehicle to publish that content on a consistent basis (at least once per week).
Taking on a publisher mindset also involves knowing who your ideal audience is, what their pain points are, and what makes them tick. These are considered your prospect personas and will help ensure you're spending your time writing about the right subjects and distributing that content in the right places.
2. Start Acting Like A Publisher
It's one thing to think like a publisher but you need to start acting like one, too. This means being dedicated to consistent content generation without gaps of inactivity. Not only does consistent content creation get you quicker results as far as increased search traffic and improved rank, but it increases the likelihood that you'll attract more followers who want to subscribe to your blog and share your content with their online connections via social media.
It's also important to seriously evaluate the quality of content you're publishing and always making time to check for typos and grammatical errors.
3. Seek Out The Right Keywords
You'll be a lot more successful with your content if you're using the right keywords. Take the time to do some keyword research to ensure you're targeting the keyword phrases that are actually being searched, and that you have the greatest chance of ranking for. This involves being realistic with your goals of ranking page one for a particular keyword.
For example, if your company offers accounting services to businesses in the Chicago area, don't try to rank for the head match keyword phrase "accounting services". Instead, do some keyword research for terms such as "accounting services in chicago" or "chicago accounting firms".
4. Monitor Your Inbound Links
The Google's algorithm updates introduced in 2012 have changed how inbound links are evaluated. Though the changes were designed to expose spammy link building tactics, links are still the fuel for improving your search rank. If you follow the steps outlined above and start creating awesome content, the links will follow. Just be sure to monitor these links as well as overall mentions online (using tools like Google Analytics) to ensure you're receiving proper credit for your content and that the links being provided are true "follow links".
5. Leverage The Power of Social Media
Don't underestimate the power social media has for boosting the rank of your content in search. Social signals play a key role in how search algorithms are evolving, especially with Google's own social media creation Google+. Make sure your content is also equipped for social sharing and that you're actively promoting your content from both your company's social media accounts as well as your personal account.
These steps are some of the core principles of Inbound Marketing, which has been said to be the new SEO and dominating strategy to attract your most ideal prospects online. To get a deeper view into what Inbound Marketing entails and how to get started, download a free copy of our Step-by-Step Guide to Inbound Marketing.