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Oh SEO… how we love to hate you. Not one website project goes by without some form of the question, “How do I get my website on the first page of Google?” If I had a simple answer to that question, I’d be retired in Tahiti right now. The truth is (contrary to what all your spam emails tell you) there’s no secret formula, no magic fairy Google dust… it’s following best practices, and continued analysis/maintenance of said practices to get your website ranked well and stay there.

For the record – if a company tells you they can rank you in a week, or overnight, or guarantee #1 positioning… run far, far away. If they are able to accomplish these things, they are NOT using best practices and likely utilizing black hat techniques that will get your website punished in the long run. Or they’re just full of poo and want your money.

Having said all that, there are simple things that you can do TODAY to help your website’s rankings. It can take weeks or even months for noticeable results, so don’t be mad if you do all these today and aren’t #1 tomorrow!

1. Add more content

Oh yeah. The holy grail of Google. The easiest and most effective way to move on up is to add more content to your website. Whether it’s additional pages, or more content to existing pages, you really can’t go wrong. Your homepage should probably have 1,000 words. Your other pages should have at least 500. And those words should include keywords – like the product/service you offer and the cities you offer them in. Don’t add the same keyword in every sentence, and don’t jam so many keywords in there that it’s hard for humans to read. Have a blog on your site? Blog more! And put your keywords in the titles and content. Don’t like to write – hire a copywriter. For $.05/word, it’s worth every penny. Er nickel.

2. Setup GMB

You know those maps that show up in search results? They are close to the top and show 3 businesses and their directions/websites? That’s what we call the ‘map pack’. You want to live there. You can’t be there without a Google My Business (GMB) account. Go ahead and type ‘Google my business’ into Google now and get started. Already have one? Don’t worry I still got tips for you… Make sure you fill out the information COMPLETELY. Add your hours, enter your website, and submit photos for every section they request. Google rewards companies who take advantage of Google’s services. Make Google happy! (Superstar tip: name your photos with your keywords in them. So instead of IMG_9040.jpg, rename it InteriorDesignBoulder.jpg, then InteriorDesignBoulderCO.jpg, then InteriorDesignCompanyBoulder.jpg… get the idea?)

3. Use Google+

Along the same lines as #2, actually use Google+! A lot of businesses don’t – and again, Google will reward you for using platforms they provide! Every time you post to facebook or linkedin or send client emails, or post a blog, hop over to Google+ and post it there as well.

4. Request Reviews

Send out a quick email to happy clients requesting a Google review and a link to that GMB page you just setup. Google will reward you for having reviews – especially helps for getting in that map pack.

5. Setup Social Media

I know, I know… ‘Ugh – like I need one more thing to manage everyday.’ But here’s the thing – even if you don’t manage the social media regularly, the backlink from them is worth Google points (that’s not a real ‘thing’ – just getting the point across). So if you don’t have a facebook page, take 5 minutes to set one up, make sure you add your website to your profile, and boom – you have a backlink from one of the most popular websites in the world. Granted – so do thousands of other businesses, but it’s still worth the 5 minutes.

6. Mobile-Friendly

If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google is punishing it and ranking you lower because of it. Here’s a quick test to find out: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. Now – if your site is not mobile-friendly, you should really invest in a professional, responsive website – but that’s not something you can accomplish today, so I’ll give you a quick fix. If you have a WordPress website already, there are several plugins available to make your website mobile-friendly. The mobile version isn’t always pretty… but it will keep Google from punishing you! If your website is not on WordPress, there are services available like Duda that can host a mobile version of your website for a low fee each month.

Are you happy with your Google ranking? If not, try these tips and track the results! If you need help, I’d love to analyze your website and tell you if and how we can help you get to the top of page 1.