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How to Rank Higher in Google and Boost Your Online Presence


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One of the most common questions that new SEOs have is: How can I increase my Google ranking?

While the answer isn’t that straightforward we can look at this question through two important heuristics.

The first is a simple mental framework for increasing your rankings on Google, and the second is a proven set of best practices to achieve this.

So let’s jump into the million-dollar question and share our thorough – and somewhat lengthy – explanation of how to rank more effectively in Google.

The Basics: What Are Ranking Factors?

There are over 200 ranking factors used in Google’s algorithm. Some are proven but others are the result of speculation as Google doesn’t publicize every aspect of its search algorithm.

What’s more, some factors impact your Google ranking more than others.

A few of the more important ranking factors include:

  • HTTPS – HTTPS domains or SSL-enabled domains set up an encrypted channel between your browser and the web client.
  • Site Architecture – Having a website that is built to be Google-bot friendly is an important way to make sure all your content gets indexed.
  • Links/Mentions – Contextual links from a variety of websites – including respected websites in the same niche – can help your site rank better.
  • Page Speed – Google likes to show sites that are fast and have a great user experience (UX). Part of that user experience is having pages that load ultra-fast, as well as menus.
  • MetaData – Having the correct title tags, meta descriptions, and schema markup is an important way to get your content noticed and ranked.
  • Schema – Schema data, also known as “structured data”, helps Googlebot quickly assess what your site is about and if it’s relevant.
  • Internal Links – One page pointing to another on your website shows how important that webpage is in relation to another.
  • Mobile optimization – Google penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly.

While there is a lot to chew on there, don’t worry. It all comes down to two basic ideas: creating amazing content that helps your readers and having trustworthy sources link to that content.

Websites rank as number one on Google by taking advantage of these ranking factors. They do this by tracking all their data and constantly testing and retesting different approaches.

How Do You Get Your Website To #1?

One of the biggest factors involves your domain strength which is a cumulative metric of your inbound link profile, ratio of dofollow to nofollow links as well as the relevance of anchor text.

When combined these tell Google how authoritative your domain is, and whether it’s trustworthy.

These things take time and a snowball effect tends to occur.

If a website is already an authority on a topic, chances are there will be a high number of people linking to their posts and articles through social media and other forums.

Other people who are creating content will link to their posts as well.

1. On-Site SEO

With SEO there are certain things that can be done both on your website, and off your website to rank higher.

On-site SEO, which is also sometimes called on-page SEO, is everything you do on the website to rank higher and earn traffic. This has to do with optimizing content and HTML source code.

Site SEO

The best on-site SEO helps search engines understand your content and allows readers to understand what your page is all about, and if it’s relevant for what they searched.

The better your webpage is at doing that, the more the Google ranking algorithm will push that webpage up the rankings.

Below are some on-site SEO suggestions that you can follow to boost rankings.

2. Technical SEO Audit

A technical SEO audit is a process of identifying issues on a website that are technical in nature and negatively impact search engine optimization.

The different technical aspects that could negatively impact a website include:

  • Crawl errors
  • HTTPS status codes
  • XML sitemap status
  • Site load time
  • Server response time
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Keyword cannibalization
  • Disallow functions on robots.txt files
  • Poorly indexed pages or blocking Google from indexing
  • Duplicated metadata
  • Duplicated content
  • Broken links

With an SEO audit, all of these negative aspects are usually easily corrected. If they’re not, the issue can at the very least be exposed and the reason behind the issue identified.

Quick Takeaway

Finding all the issues that impact technical SEO is tough. Luckily, there are tools that make your life easier like Screaming Frog, DeepCrawl, and Sitebulb.

Keyword Silos

keyword silos examples for las vegas businesses

Keyword silos are an important concept that arranges a website for both visitors and search engines. Testing different silos and using your rank tracker as your thermometer will also help get this right.

Imagine a blog about fishing that includes a random floating page on the website all about bicycle repairs – right in the middle of all of the fishing posts.

That wouldn’t make much sense to a reader so it doesn’t make much sense to a search engine either.

The purpose of SEO Silos or Keyword Silos is to match the keywords used in content with an overall theme that backs it up.

The goal is to organize content into groups so visitors can find what they are looking for. Organizing this content structurally is just as important for search engines.

A great example has gone the way of the dinosaur but is relevant to us. Old video stores like Blockbuster organized all of their sections into different movie categories: comedy, drama, children’s, horror, etc.

There was an overarching theme of movies and entertainment, so each category was organized into relevant sections. Imagine if every movie was placed randomly – no one would find anything.

On a website, if you were reviewing movies or even streaming movies, like Netflix, you would organize everything by category in the same way.

For visitors, this would look like categories you could select and then find every movie you would like to read about or see under that category. For search engines, a further step should be taken.

URL structures are important for silos and search engines. Each category should follow the same structure so a search engine understands how everything is set up.

The examples below show how URL structures should be set up to ensure silos are placed within the website correctly.



Each movie name would be considered the child page and the section of either comedy or drama would be considered the parent page.

Structuring a website correctly is one of the key aspects of SEO that is easy to do. If ignored, it can wreak havoc on your content’s rankings.

Quick Takeaway

You should never repeat keywords in the URL and words like “to, a, and the” should be avoided. Another thing to keep in mind is to ensure URLs are as short as possible.

3. Keyword Cannibalization – When Your Pages Eat Each Other

When hearing the term Keyword Cannibalization you might picture one evil keyword eating another. This mental image isn’t far off from what actually happens.

If a keyword is targeted on one webpage, Google will use that webpage to rank for relevant searches.

On the flip side, if there is another webpage using that same keyword the same amount of times, Google will have to decide which page to choose from.

Having two review pages about the best fishing bait will confuse a search engine and force it to choose.

This also applies to words that are used interchangeably as the main keyword on two different pages.

Advertising an article as providing information on the costs of using specific web hosting services, but then going ahead to write an article about the pricing of specific web hosting services is not a good idea. Google knows that these words can be used interchangeably.

4. Proper Site Structure

Every website has a structure whether you know it or not. The more organized and clear the structure, the better your SEO rankings will be.

The first step is to think about the user. As touched on above in the Keyword Silo section, the user needs to be able to navigate your website in a way that makes sense. Organizing posts, products, or reviews into categories is the first step.

Internal links

Site links in the search results that make sense are a great sign that a website has a solid structure. This is automatically created by Google’s algorithm based on site structure.

This creates a sitemap that will show up on Google as site links like below:

google SERP sitemap links

If the site structure is bad, there is a good chance the website will have no site links or ones that are confusing.

The whole point of SEO is to make search engines’ automatic tools rank your website higher. One tool, a web crawler or Googlebot, indexes the content on a website.

The more organized your website structure the easier Googlebot will find it to crawl.

Quick Takeaway

It sometimes helps to physically write out a website structure to see if it makes sense.

5. Write Effective SEO Titles

Constantly testing SEO titles is the best way to make sure you have the best title for content.

An SEO title can also be referred to as a title tag and has the job of telling your website visitors and Google what is on the web page.

It’s important to notice that different niches will use different vocabularies, doing Fintech SEO will require you to write more technical SEO titles, than doing SEO for a car dealer.

The first thing to do is to clear up what the title tag is and what the H1 tag is. It can be confusing to differentiate between the two.

When referring to a tag, the reference is for the HTML code that’s on the web page.

The title tag will be whatever is written between <title> and </title> in the actual code whereas the H1 header will be between <h1> and </h1> in the code.

A lot of the time the copy for both tags is exactly the same and that is just fine.

Title Tag: The title that appears in search engine results. This is what you will see in Google results or on the preview of a webpage that is sent to you via social media. It will also appear at the top of your browser on the tab.

A lot of the time the goal here is to make an enticing title that will create a high click-through rate (CTR) when someone sees it. Click-bait titles are often in the title tag.

Sort of like this:

google search title and description with clickbait

H1 Tag: The actual title on a webpage. If you click on a webpage that was sent to you by a friend, this will be the displayed title at the beginning of the content.

A lot of the time, this will be the same or extremely similar to the title tag.

Imagine seeing a title tag on Google and then clicking through to the webpage only to be greeted by a completely different H1 tag as the title of the article. You would probably click off the page.

Here is the H1 tag displayed as the title of the article from our example. In this case, the title tag and the H1 tag are the same,

site example with the same title tag and H1

Quick Takeaway

If you are using WordPress or Magento as a Content Management System (CMS), use Yoast SEO to ensure you have your titles and meta tags set up properly.

Guidelines for writing a good title tag:

  1. Don’t write more than 50-60 characters. Otherwise, Google will cut off halfway through
  2. Write for humans first and foremost. Writing in all caps feels like you’re yelling and separating too many words with parentheses, slashes, and dashes can be extremely confusing
  3. Target one keyword to help give an overarching topic for your title and help rank overall
  4. Use the keyword at the beginning of the title, since users are skimming the search engine resultss pages looking for the word(s) they typed in the search field
  5. Include one or two long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are the words people are searching for that might not have a lot of search volume. But when all long-tail keywords are put together they have a much larger search volume. Placing one or two in a title is usually low-effort and flows naturally because the long-tail keywords will have a lot to do with the main keyword
  6. Make content unique to differentiate your title. Include whatever is new about your article so your title stands out in a sea of other titles
  7. Use click-bait lite tendencies after reaching the front page so people click on your webpage. Use emotion in your title, separate parts of the title with parentheses to improve the visuals, and make readers curious about what you’re talking about by leaving out key information
  8. Test different titles using Google Ads and use the one with the highest CTR as your page title

6. Value of Internal Linking

Internal linking is all about how the content on a website is related. The number of times a page is linked from one web page to another signals to Google how important that particular web page is.

The home page of a website usually has the most backlinks which tells Google that the home page is the most important page on the website.

External and internal links

You might be thinking. “That sounds great, the pages that are most important will just need to be linked to the most.”

But, there are a few more steps. Approaching internal linking this way means there is a glaring absence of an internal linking strategy.

The first step is to structure your website correctly as we’ve touched on earlier. Then, the goal is to figure out which content is most important.

Since every page on a website usually posts back to the home page – the pages that are most important should be included on the homepage – not just on a category page.

Once the most important pages are identified they should be used as a base for linking.

For example, if you write “An Ultimate Guide to Security SEO” you’ll want to link to sub-articles such as “The Best Cyber Security Practices” and “The Best Cybersecurity Software”.

On these pages, you’ll want to link back to “An Ultimate Guide to Security SEO” to signify its importance.

Internal linking needs to be considered alongside site structure to ensure a website owner can tell Google what is important on their own website.

This stops Google from getting confused and telling a website owner what is important on their own website.

Quick Takeaway

Always link to relevant content from other pages on your website. It makes your site more user-friendly and also makes it easier for Google to crawl the entire site.

7. Fix Search Console Errors

Google Search Console allows users to check out a few things on their website. Chief among those is errors.

An error will show up on Google Search Console if Googlebot encounters an issue as it attempts to crawl your website. If you have an error it means that Googlebot won’t index your webpage and searchers won’t be able to find it.

Indexing issues

Here are the most important errors:

Server Connectivity Error

These errors can sometimes be a good sign. Server errors are similar to DNS errors in that Google sees that your website is taking a long time to respond.

The difference with a DNS error is that Google can’t access your URL. Server issues happen because the server your website is hosted on is having errors.

This is usually because you have more traffic than your server can handle, which is generally a great thing because you’re getting a lot of website visitors.

The key here is to make sure that whoever hosts your website has the ability to set up your plan where they automatically upgrade to allow for higher traffic.

These errors will be displayed as a number in the 500s.

Redirect Error

This error tells you that something funky is happening with your redirects.

Sometimes, this means that the redirect is redirecting to a webpage that doesn’t exist.

Alternatively, Google is telling you that your redirect is redirecting to another redirect. This creates an endless loop. This can happen to the best of us and is a quick fix.

Robots.txt Fetch Errors

Your robots.txt file is included in your website to stop search engines from indexing certain content. If you don’t want to stop search engines from indexing your content then you don’t even need one.

These errors occur because the robots.txt file is confusing Google by saying not to index the page, despite it being submitted to be indexed.

To fix these errors you will have to go through this file and make sure it is configured the correct way.

Check your robots.txt file at You can even see what pages other websites have blocked search engines from indexing.

Noindex Error

In the source code on your website the word “noindex” may appear. If it’s there, that means that it is telling Google not to index your page. If the page has been submitted for indexing, Google will bring back this error.

Unauthorized Request Error

The most straightforward error on this list is access denied errors. All this means is that the Googlebot can’t crawl the web page.

The most common reason is that a website requires users to sign in on that specific URL on the website. This obviously will stop Googlebot from crawling it.

A similar reason is if your robots.txt file blocks Googlebot from the specific URL.

Another explanation might come from where you host your site. Some web hosting providers block Googlebot by requiring all visitors to authenticate via proxy.

404 Errors

These errors are common and you may have run across them yourself when accessing a website. When Google receives a 404 error it means that the webpage they tried to crawl does not exist anymore.

This can happen when web pages that no longer exist have backlinks from other sources.

If this page is not receiving a lot of traffic and doesn’t have other websites linking to it then a 404 error can be ignored. The problem arises when the page that is returning a 404 error still exists.

Create a custom 404 page. A lot of websites take this opportunity to have a clever message below the error and link to important pages on their site.

To remedy this issue there are a few things that can be done.

  • Make sure that the page is published and didn’t get deleted or stuck in draft mode
  • See if the error shows up in different variations of a URL. Test www, non-www, http, and https versions of the URL
  • If you want to redirect from the page, make sure you use a 301 redirect to redirect the visitor to a related page

Crawl Issue Error

Another relatively straightforward error is a ‘not followed’ error. This occurs when Googlebot can’t fully load the contents of your webpage, meaning it is unable to crawl the page.

These most commonly occur when there are issues with Flash and Javascript.

Most of these errors don’t happen that often. However, these fixes are good to keep in mind if they ever do.

8. How to Improve Page Speed

First things first – page speed and site speed are slightly different but closely related.

Page speed is the time it takes to display content on a page. Site speed is the time it takes for a group of pages to display content on a page. To have fast site speed you need fast page speed.

The best way to test page speed is through various tools. Google offers testing tools PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse for free, but a tool like Pingdom is also very useful.

PageSpeed Insights

It can test the uptime and page speeds of your website.

Google itself uses site speed as one of its ranking factors. There is a lot you can do to ensure fast page speed which will in turn improve site speed.

  1. Reduce redirects – Redirects slow your visitors down because they have to wait for each redirect. The browser has to load the original page with the redirect and then load the redirected page. If multiple redirects occur, visitors will have to wait a while.
  2. Remove JavaScript that slows down browser rendering. Browsers are fast at reading HTML to render a page. When a browser encounters JavaScript that it needs to follow it can take valuable time for the browser to stop and execute the script in question.
  3. Optimise code – By removing extraneous characters you can drastically increase page speed. Any unused code, comments, useless formatting, and extra characters that aren’t needed can massively save browser parsing time.
  4. Use browser caching – Browser caches are something that a lot of people delete without knowing what it does in their search history. Allowing browsers to cache information means that the browser is saving information on the visitor’s browser. This will allow a visitor to have objects like images pre-loaded so it doesn’t have to reload the whole page.
  5. Optimise images – Images should not be too big – especially GIFs. This will slow down your web page as the browser will have to load large images.
  6. Use a CDN – Content Distribution Networks are networks of servers that spread out the heavy lifting of delivering content. Your website will be stored at different data centers around the world so visitors will have faster access to your website.
  7. Enable Compression – Compressing the size of the code on your website is an easy way to speed up website load time.
  8. Server response time – This is the most important step to ensure a fast page speed. There is so much that can go wrong if you choose a bad website host. Chief among those are completely ruining page load times. If you use a fast host your server response times will be quick.

9. Mobile Friendly or Not?

If you know anything about web design you will know that every website should be optimized for mobile visitors. More people use the internet from their phones than anywhere else. Using themes that are mobile responsive saves a lot of time in configuring a completely separate mobile site.

Other aspects to keep in mind include: not using Flash and pop-ups, optimizing titles and meta descriptions, and structuring your data efficiently.

10. SSL Ready?

If a web page doesn’t have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) the little padlock icon in the corner of your screen will be missing and there will be a big red bar indicating that the website is not secure.

An SSL is a digital protocol that secures data transmissions between web browsers and web servers. If a website doesn’t have one, Google penalizes it based on its ranking factors.

To ensure a website is SSL-ready one of the biggest steps is to use a hosting service that includes an SSL with their hosting plans.

If a specific hosting service does not include an SSL certificate, a free one can be used on most hosting services such as Let’s Encrypt.

11. Off Site SEO – The Other ½ Of The Equation

Off-site SEO is everything that impacts a web page’s ranking outside of the website it is hosted on. It can also be referred to as ‘off-page’ SEO and is as important as on-site SEO but often overlooked.

The main purpose of off-site SEO is to give your website’s content credibility to search engines. If other people are linking to your content on their website then Google will assume your content is more relevant and credible.

off page seo

There are a few categories of off-site SEO and depending on what niche you are in, one category could be more beneficial than others.

The only way to do this is to set up variable-controlled tests to see how each category impacts SEO rankings.

Basics of Off-Site SEO

One of the ranking factors Google uses has a lot to do with the authority of the website, or the author who has posted content.

This means that if Tony Robbins links to one of your articles about self-improvement on his blog, it will count much more towards ranking than if your neighbor posted on his blog that only you and his mother read.

There are multiple ways to have someone else post about your website on their website. The first step is to have content worth posting about.

How Link Building Helps SEO

Link building, as mentioned above, is about getting your website linked to, from other websites. What this does is increase the authority of a website, and Google rewards this by ranking that website higher than other websites.

PR links

Google’s algorithms change regularly, but a large chunk of the thinking behind them will never change. Making a website more authoritative will always help rankings.

This is done by landing high authority backlinks. This means that it is important who is backlinking to a website, as well as how they’re backlinking a website.

Creating amazing content is a fantastic way to get a website linked to because people will want to share that content and link to it over social media, on their blogs, and send it to other people who have platforms to do the same.

It can take a long time to build links, but having high-quality links pointing toward your site is just as important as everything that helps with on-site SEO.

We specialize in link-building services here at Blue Tree and we have built a system that enables us to offer natural, high-quality, and relevant links to our clients.

Quick Takeaway

Always link to relevant quality content and to any sources that need to be cited. The sources you link to help Google understand what your page is about. It also increases your credibility as an expert on the topic.

12. Good Links vs. Bad Links

Good Links

  • Natural Links – Links that are naturally placed in articles are the holy grail of backlinking. If a website has a blog post and it is naturally mentioned in an article that has something to do with the topic, then it is a good and natural link. The more authoritative the blog or news publication that naturally links a website the more impact it will have on ranking. These are the types of links we offer at Blue Tree. We can help companies build a link-building strategy and then execute it for them. Acquiring natural links by utilizing blogger outreach services is a great way to improve the ranking of your website.
  • Outreach Links – A lot of natural links will be from direct outreach digital marketing. Asking a website to mention a blog post on their website is a great way to receive a natural link. A lot of the time this will be through a guest post where a blogger would be allowed to mention a blog post of theirs. To see how this works, check out our PR outreach marketing case study, where we increased a client’s traffic from 3,111 to 220,352 in just under 12 months.
  • Community Links – If a community is active behind a product or quality content it is easy to receive links. Whether on social media, forums, or blogs – a thriving target audience can provide a thriving number of backlinks.
  • Local listings and directories – Not all directories are bad. Something like Google My Business is a great way to get a high authority link. Other local directories such as your city’s business directory are another way to score a high authority link. Just make sure that your information is up to date. Other directories such as industry directories also are good places to post your information.

Bad Links

  • Bad Paid Links – There are a lot of low-quality directories out there that are basically just spam. Not only can these be a waste of money they can actually severely hurt a website’s ranking. Other paid links such as advertisements are legitimate and fine. Overall, bad-paid links can never be more useful than using legitimate guest posts to increase your ranking.
  • Hidden Links – Hidden links are exactly what they sound like. Some websites will hide your link on their website so users and Google searches won’t find it. The website doing this will be penalized according to ranking factors, and the website that it is linked to will be negatively impacted in the process.
  • Spam – In the old days, it used to be okay to spam forums and blog comments with your links. In a forum, people used to comment on any forum post with a link to a website to improve search ranking. With recent changes, this form of link building won’t actively hurt your site, but it won’t help it either.
  • Reciprocal links with no relation – Reciprocal links are when one website links to another website in exchange for their website to be linked to them. A lot of websites used to do this and each website would have nothing to do with the other one. This is to be avoided now unless the links are natural and each topic that is being linked has something to do with the other one.
Good Backlinks vs. Bad Backlinks

In Search Console, you can see which external links point to your site that Google counts as the most important ones.

13. Content Marketing for Link Building

There are a bunch of ways to provide excellent content that can offer a solid link-building resource.

The key to content marketing services is that publications and blogs will actually want to reference content that is on your website. This will enable a large number of natural links.

Create data-based content

There are a variety of ways to contribute valuable content to the internet. These can include:

  1. Surveys – If a blog or publication needs something to reference for a specific topic or demographic, provide that something.
  2. Become an expert – Becoming an expert on a topic isn’t the easiest thing to do but there are shortcuts that can be taken. Reaching out to experts in that same field for a quote about something and then combining all of those for an expert roundup is a great way to throw your name in the mix as one of these experts.
  3. Research papers – Writing an in-depth research paper on a topic you know a lot about goes a long way to building your personal brand and gives content for someone to link to.
  4. Press ReleasesPress releases work well if there is something worthwhile to announce. News publications love to post about interesting things happening.
  5. Infographics – The key here is to create a high-quality infographic. There are so many bad ones out there that a high-quality infographic can really stand out.
  6. Guides and how-tos – If a guide or how-to is good enough, many people will see you as an expert and want to quote and cite the guide.
  7. Interviews – If an interview is with someone interesting, or on a topic that people want to know more about the backlinking potential is high.
  8. Guest Blogging – Guest blogging as an expert is the best way to grow your expert status. You may be able to sneak in a link to your content if the publisher is okay with it.
  9. Analyze data and perform case studies – Most publications don’t want to analyze data themselves or perform case studies. Do the dirty work for them and receive a backlink.

When designing linkable content, it is crucial that you first uncover the various reasons why people might want to link to the content and make sure that these reasons are built into the content.

14. The 3 Keys to Ranking Better On Google

Tracking – Data Focused Decisions

It’s always good to go back to the thermometer analogy used above.

To track what is going on in SEO and to make data-focused decisions, we need to find a thermometer and have it tell us what the temperature is in the SEO atmosphere.

Testing and More Testing

It should come as no surprise that data-informed decisions are always adapting.

The key to optimizing SEO is to use the data garnered from tools like AccuRanker and combine this with the scientific method to change one variable at a time until the optimal configuration is found.

Once optimized, SEO becomes a lot easier and the steps taken to reach success on one page can be used for another.

An important thing to remember is that testing still needs to be done to make sure nothing has become stale or broken.

Always improving and testing is the best way to ensure that a website’s SEO ranking stays in the top three on search results pages.


The most reliable way to ensure your website ranks is to secure good links that point back to your website. You can buy backlinks, or they can organically occur.

Selling links

This means that the links should be natural, mainly in a blog post where it is naturally mentioned in an article that has something to do with the topic. We are one of the companies that do SEO remotely and have experts from all around the world.

In Summary… Start Ranking Higher Today

The main points of SEO are mostly common sense. At the end of the day if content answers a searcher’s query on Google then the content will rank highly.

There are some technical aspects that need to be paid attention to, but the whole point is to improve the authority of content and provide valuable and easy-to-navigate information to internet users.

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Dan Fries

Dive deep into the mind of BlueTree CEO Dan Fries and explore a wealth of knowledge on the nuances of link-building and digital marketing.

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