Whenever I describe ranking to my customers, I use the analogy of a boat race where Google is the ocean and all of your competitors are other boats. Some boats are bigger and better, some old and barely staying afloat. Meanwhile, the ocean is moving as well… with storms (algorithm changes), waves (search popularity crests and troughs), and of course the continued popularity of your own content.
There are often times where I can identify gaps that allow us to walk right in and garner some organic search rank visibility, but more often it requires time to see what is happening in the client's industry, what kind of effort their competitors are putting forth, and how their search authority has been impacted by algorithm changes and site health issues.
- According to Ahrefs, only 5.7% of new pages ever get to rank in the Top 10 results on Google within a year.
- According to Ahrefs, only 0.3% of new pages ever get to rank in the Top 10 results on Google within a year for a highly competitive keyword.
- According to Ahrefs, only 22% of pages that rank in the Top 10 results on Google were published within a year.
While that sounds discouraging, it's a battle worth going after. We often start our clients out with identifying local and long-tail keywords where there's some search visibility and the keywords show some intent with regard to making a purchase. We can analyze the competition, identify where their page is being promoted (backlinked to), design a better page with up-to-date information and media (graphics and video), and then we do a great job promoting it. As long as our client's site is healthy with regard to Webmasters, we often see them rank in the top 10 within a few months.
And that's our organic wedge. Those long-tail keywords focused around a central topic then help the site rank on more competitive keyword combinations. We continue to invest in enhancing current pages that already rank as well as adding new pages that cover topics that will assist. Over time, we see our clients move up on highly competitive keywords, often overtaking the competition within a year or two. It's not easy and it's not inexpensive, but the return on investment is amazing.
How to Rank Faster In Google:
- Make sure your site is fast, utilizing content delivery networks, image compression, code compression, and caching.
- Make sure your site is designed well, easy to read, and responsive to different screen sizes.
- Research local and long-tail keywords that are less competitive and will be easier to rank on.
- Develop content that is unique, interesting, and complete on the topic you're trying to garner attention for.
- Add graphics, audio, and video content to make the page more compelling.
- Ensure your page is well-coded with proper headings, sidebars, and other HTML elements.
- Ensure your page has a great title that's relevant to the keywords you're pursuing.
- Ensure your meta description will garner curiosity and make your page stand out from others on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
- Promote your content on sites that have backlinked to other ranking pages for similar topics.
- Promote your content within industry forums and via email and social media. You may even wish to advertise.
- Continuously improve your content to keep ahead of competition.
Thankfully, Google's algorithms have evolved faster than blackhat organic search consultants have… so don't hire someone that sends you an email telling you they can get you on page one. First notice that they have no clue on what keywords you target, that you may already rank on page one for branded terms, who your competition might be, or how you're going to effectively show a return on investment. More often than not, these services are going to destroy your ability to rank long-term by violating Google's terms of service and getting your domain flagged. And fixing a penalized site is a lot more difficult than ranking a great one!
Great ranking requires optimization of a site, including the page speed, the responsiveness to different screen sizes, the richness of the content, and the ability for that page to be easily shared and referenced by other relevant sites. It's a combination of every characteristic onsite and offsite – not just working on any one strategy. Here's the full infographic, How Long Does It Take To Rank In Google?
Courtesy of: The Website Group