How To SEO: 9 Essential Steps To Rank On Google in 2020

If you are a business owner, I’m sure you’ve wondered how to get more visitors to your website. One of the most popular ways to get more traffic is by utilizing SEO or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the practice of helping the search engines find and rank your website for specific keywords.

While SEO can be a terrific source of “free” traffic, increasing your ranking on Google and other search engines can be very time-consuming. It’s important to concentrate your time on the right tactics. To save you time, I’ve come up with a list of 9 SEO steps that will help you rank your website and get your website in front of your customers.

We do Douglasville SEO for local businesses, as well as SEO for surrounding areas, such as Atlanta, Cobb, Carrollton, Villa Rica, Hiram, and Dallas. If you don’t have time to do all of this, or you would rather just have someone else take care of it, reach out to us.

1. On-Page Optimization

The first item on our checklist is On-Page Optimization. The first step is determining what keyword phrase you will be targeting on each page. Each page should be narrowed down to target only one topic and one main keyword phrase. Then you will make sure each page includes the following:

  • Unique Keyword laden content that states the purpose of the page. Do not keyword stuff here. Just try to write user-focused content that also includes your keywords throughout.
  • Make sure your keyword is in the page’s URL.
  • A Word Count of at least 500+ words of unique content.
  • Use your keywords in the page’s Image Name and Alt tags.
  • Also, use your keyword in the Headings throughout the page.

2. Internal Links

Internal links are hyperlinks that point from a page on your website to another page on your website. You will want to use descriptive keywords in the anchor text that describe the topic or keywords of the page you are linking to.

Internal links are helpful because they allow users the ability to navigate your website naturally as they read your content. They also help Google and other search engines establish an information hierarchy for your website. And finally the main reason is for SEO purposes: to spread your website’s link juice (ranking power) to other pages.

SEO Essential Steps

The optimal structure for a website would look similar to a pyramid (where the big dot on the top is homepage) Source: Moz.com

The more links you have on your site pointing to a specific page, the more importance you’re placing on that page, in the eyes of Google. Typically, the pages in your sites navigation will have the most ranking power, because most (if not all) of the pages on your site have links to these pages.

If you want to increase a specific page’s prevalence, you need to point more internal links at it.

3. Outbound Links

Outbound links are links that point from your website to an external site. (See what I did there?) Everyone knows about backlinks, but most people do not know that it is important to link out to authoritative sites from pages that you are trying to rank.

Most high ranking web pages tend to have outbound links to other websites (such as research sources). Many people believe that search ranking algorithms count outbound links to authoritative sites as a plus.

It can’t hurt. As long as providing a link to an outbound site is helpful to your visitors, Google will deem it as helpful also.

4. Backlinks

Backlinks are any hyperlink from a different website pointing to your website. Typically, the more backlinks you have, the better. However, the quality of the websites that you get backlinks from, along with the relevance of the website, also is a deciding factor.

Think of backlinks as “votes” from other websites. These “votes” let the search engines know that your website’s content is valuable and authoritative. Google and other search engines also look at the “reputation” of the “voting” website.

The more credible and relevant the website is to your content, the more authority the links give to your site. In the SEO world, this passed authority is called “Link Juice”. You want to collect as much Link Juice as you can and use internal linking to point it to your valuable content.

5. Anchor Text

Anchor text refers to the clickable text in a hyperlink. There are a lot of studies to try and determine what are the best strategies when it comes to what text to use in your anchor text. In this article from Ahrefs.com, they explain it best:

The question is: what kind of anchor text should you use? Should you limit the use of a specific type of anchor text if you want to rank in search engines? Should you even be manipulating anchor text at all?

In the Ahrefs.com link above,  you can see I used what they would call “Random” anchor text. Other examples of anchor text would be Exact Match and Partial Match to your keyword phrase. In my opinion, I think you should mix up your Anchor Text: Sometimes include the exact keyword you are after, and sometimes use random anchor text.

6. Google My Business

One of the most important first steps you can take for your website’s SEO strategy is to claim and verify your local business’ Google My Business listing. Years ago, Google started including it’s “Map Pack” in the search engine results. This map pack displays Google My Business listings that most closely match the search. To get a spot in here, you must first claim your GMB listing. Any local business can claim a Google My Business listing by simply going to https://business.google.com/.

Google Map Pack

Example of a Google Map Pack for New York Lawyers.

Once you claim your listing you can add your address, phone number, business hours, payment types accepted and much more. Optimizing your GMB listing will help improve your website’s visibility by putting it in front of visitors when they do a local search for your business.

7. NAP – Name, Address, Phone Number

NAP is simply an acronym that stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. A NAP, also known as a local citation, is useful for telling users how to contact you. However, it’s not just potential customers that are using your NAP.

Google and the other search engines can read these citations, and they actually count them as sort of a “backlink” to your business. The more of these citations that Google finds pointing to your business, the more authority they will give you. This means they may rank you higher in the Google Local Maps Pack.

While you may go out and attempt to define these citations on sites like Yelp, many of these citations will end up being created for you as you go about your normal marketing plans. When you create a Facebook page for your site, if you add your contact info, this will create a new NAP for you.

An important note: Search Engines require consistency across your citations to ensure they give you proper credit.

8. Google Reviews

It is well known that small businesses thrive off of online reviews. Not only is word of mouth a great thing, but a glowing online review can really help give a potential customer that extra push. Another plus of getting online reviews is that having a good number of positive reviews can improve your rankings in Google.

Now you will get some reviews naturally, from good-willed customers. However, most businesses will have to be proactive when it comes to getting customers to give them a review. A good option for getting reviews is sending a review link through a customized post-sale email.

Anytime you are giving good value to your customers, it may be a good time to ask for an honest review. For instance, if you like this article, click here to give Alexander Online Media a review!

9. Local Directories

The last step in our list of essential SEO tactics is adding your website to local directories. Web directories have been around forever and they are a local SEO mainstay. You’ll want to search for “your city directory” and find local business directories and larger industry directories that fit for your business.

Directories are a great place to get some of your first backlinks, and some directories can even give you actual click-through visitors. Either way, since adding your site to these is typically easy, I’d recommend doing it.

To get you started, here’s a list of 57 online local business directories for you to choose from.

Well, that’s all for this list of essential SEO steps to take when ranking your website. Again, we would be happy to look at your site and discuss an SEO action plan with you. Reach out to us using our contact form.

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