Have you ever wondered why everyone is always vying to show up on the first page of Google?
Simply put, where a page shows up in the search results determines the amount of traffic they’ll receive.
Most people won’t usually go past the first ten to fifteen results, with even fewer opting to click to go to that second page.
Which is why where your website shows up for specific search terms is critical to your overall organic traffic success.
So, how do you ensure you’re always getting the best possible placement for your target keywords?
With search engine positioning.
In this post, we’ll cover the basics of it, how it is different from Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and the reason your business needs to maximize this process.
Let’s get started.
What’s Search Engine Positioning?
Search engine positioning is the process of continuously working to optimize specific pages of your website in order to gain better search engine results for specific target keywords.
Essentially, it means working to ensure your website is always near the top of the results for individual search terms related to your niche.
The process is important, as when it is done right, you can end up on the first page for the particular keyword you’ve optimized for.
In turn, this means increased traffic and a much higher Click-Through Rate (CTR).
While some marketers think optimization is a one-time project, search engine positioning is a methodology that happens continuously over time and adjusts to the current ranking position.
Search Engine Positioning vs SEO: What’s the Difference?
While some digital marketers use both terms interchangeably, there’s actually a difference between search engine positioning and search engine optimization.
Positioning is more focused on optimizing the whole brand in such a way that it constantly has high-ranking positions for the most important keywords necessary for reaching its target market.
Basically, you could say that search engine positioning is an important aspect of SEO.
How Can Search Engine Positioning Benefit Your Business?
Now that you know what search engine positioning entails, let’s look at the benefits of using it as part of your overall digital marketing strategy.
Benefit #1: Increased organic traffic
The main benefit to your business when it comes to embracing search engine positioning is that it ensures you’re showing up on the first page of Google and other popular search engines.
When this happens for terms with a fairly high number of monthly searches, there’s a good chance you’ll experience a significant boost in organic traffic.
And, as you probably already know, this translates to increased sales, leads, and whatever else you’re striving for within your niche.
Benefit #2: Outrank the competition
In especially competitive niches, search engine positioning is critical as it means you are literally outranking the competition.
Instead of someone seeing their page first when looking for the types of goods and services you offer, they’ll view yours.
This means there’s a higher probability they’ll click on your link first.
Benefit #3: Better reputation as an expert
While most consumers are less likely to trust Google as an authoritative source, they do take notice when a certain website seems to always have the right information on the topics they’re looking up.
In other words, search engine positioning can help put your brand or business in a place where your target audience views you as a leader in your industry.
In turn, this can mean more sales and better credibility for the long haul.
How Can You Check the Position of a Page in a SERP?
When talking about search engine ranking position, you have to first understand that the process fluctuates.
While you could be on the first spot for a specific term at noon, you could be somewhere entirely different for someone on a different device an hour later.
Instead, it is better to look at the average ranking position to get an idea of where you’re ending up most often.
And that’s what you can find by checking out your Google Search Console page.
This will show you right away where specific terms are ranking and the average position.
It will also present to you the click-through rate, giving you a good idea if the position you’re holding is getting the response you’re looking for.
If not, it might be time to edit or jazz up your meta description to make it more enticing for users.
If you’re looking for a more robust analysis, there are plenty of great apps and tools on the market.
A few good ones to try out?
How to Maximize Your Search Engine Positioning on Google
When talking about search engine positioning, it is important that we stress the process is not something you do once or twice and see immediate results.
Rather, there are quite a few moving parts to the process and they require consistent work to keep your ranking positions high.
Furthermore, as you start to branch out from just a few dozen keywords to a few hundred, you’ll want to keep putting the same practices to work for you to keep increasing your organic traffic.
Algorithm changes happen every few months, so keeping tabs on the process and constantly working for improvement is really the only way to ensure you’re in the clear as the search engine giant decides to make adjustments to the way their product works.
Here are a few tips and tricks on how to maximize your search engine positioning on Google.
Create and post stellar content
It’s almost cliche at this point, as every digital marketer screams it from the rooftops.
But we’re going to say it again.
Content is king when it comes to success with search engine positioning.
After all, you have to have a page worth linking to in order for it to show up at the top of the search engine results.
But just having a lot of content on your website isn’t enough to really achieve the full impact.
Instead, you want to ensure your page looks professional, trustworthy, and has information that doesn’t appear spammy.
The easiest way to make this happen?
Create a content calendar and stick to it.
If you have a regular posting schedule and are using content marketing tactics like creating multiple useful posts around a bigger theme, then you’ll essentially never run out of things to write about.
Choose the right keywords to target
A big part of positioning is really choosing the right keywords to target.
This means taking the time to do keyword research and then following up in a few weeks or months to check if the term is still worth pursuing.
You’ll also want to see who currently shows up on the first page of Google for a specific term you’re considering targeting with your search engine positioning.
If you’re seeing a lot of social media links, Pinterest posts, or other user-generated content over specific websites, then you’re probably in a good place to try to snag a position with your content.
However, if there are a lot of competitors who are major corporations or brands, then you might need to focus on a term that is slightly less competitive.
A good way to accomplish this?
With long-form search content or even misspelled keywords, which a lot of in-house digital marketing teams for large companies won’t even bother attempting.
Check your website loading time
Not all aspects of search engine positioning have to do with keywords and content.
Sometimes, the structure of your page is just as important as the information you’re sharing with the world.
Google has made a big deal over the last couple of years about the importance of how fast a page loads.
They’ve stated numerous times that this is a key factor in SERP position, which means you need to be paying attention to your website’s speed as part of your overall positioning strategy.
There are multiple tools online that can help you check this, but our favorite one of course is our own Stage Analyzer.
It can give you an idea if there’s a page load speed issue that you should be taking note of and also free insights on how to improve it.
Bottom line, today’s web users are impatient and don’t want to spend precious time waiting for your page to load.
Google knows this, which is why they’ve put such a massive emphasis on this portion of their ranking criteria.
Update meta tags and descriptions with key phrases
For a seasoned digital marketing expert, this might sound like repeat information.
There are still tons and tons of smaller brands and businesses out there struggling to get organic traffic, when all they really need to do is update their meta tags and descriptions.
This is especially crucial on eCommerce platforms, like Shopify and BigCommerce. But it really goes for all websites, as well.
While it might seem like a good idea to let the auto-generated versions show up, this essentially means that you’re missing out on a key spot to target specific keywords and improve those rankings.
Why does it really matter?
The meta tags and descriptions are what a user sees when they get a list of search engine results for a particular query.
If your description or page information isn’t enticing enough or doesn’t make it seem like they’ll get the answer they’re looking for, they’ll skip right over you in favor of another website.
In the end, this reduces your chances of a high-ranking position and can dramatically harm your click-through rate.
Instead, just make it a practice of always updating these items on an individual page basis. And we really mean always.
Re-optimize existing content
Do you have a ton of content from over the years on your website that isn’t getting the right traffic or nearly enough traffic?
The great part about owning a website is that everything is editable. This means you can easily re-optimize existing content for better traffic.
There are a few ways to refurbish content to give it new life in the SERPs:
- Adding new keywords.
- Extending out the length of certain posts.
- Reconfiguring the organization of topics in an article.
This is an excellent method to really piggyback off the stuff that’s already on your page, while ensuring that it is up to modern standards.
Have a post that did great before a previous algorithm change?
Then it is definitely a good candidate for re-optimization as part of a bigger search engine positioning strategy.
Submit XML sitemaps to Google and Bing
This is another piece of low-hanging fruit you can tackle if you aren’t sure why your page isn’t getting the traffic it deserves for the content you’re producing.
Every so often, submit your XML sitemaps to Google and Bing.
Let’s say you’re having a party. Everyone is invited, only they don’t know how to get there. If they do, they don’t know where your front door is or even where they can find a side entrance.
XML sitemaps are like this.
They tell search engines what pages are on your website and how to find them directly.
While Google and Bing both automatically crawl your site to look for changes, this is a much faster way of letting them know what’s up.
And it is especially important if you’re adding content on a daily or weekly basis, where new pages are being added all the time.
How often should you resubmit your sitemaps?
This really depends on your content calendar, but once or twice a month is usually sufficient.
Use internal linking
Not only do you need to create content on a regular basis, but you should also be using internal linking to ensure context between different areas of your website.
Let’s look at an example.
Say you’re a veterinarian who is offering advice in a blog post about aggression in male pets.
You suggest neutering as a way to calm the animal down and link to a page that talks about the process. This would be internal linking.
From the eyes of the user, this is a handy way to get the information they need right when they need it.
There’s no need to go back to the search engine, type in a second query, and go to another website. All the info they need is right at their fingertips.
However, the way Google sees this is a little more abstract. They look at your page about dog aggression and see links to neutering, training tips, proper diet, and breed types.
From there, the assumption is made that your entire website and the current page somehow relate to dogs and will begin to look for additional keywords that maybe aren’t ones you’re specifically targeting.
After a bit, you can start to rank for those added words, as well.
The end result? More organic traffic and a list of words that you can try to refine for other parts of your website.
Avoid keyword cannibalization
One huge mistake a lot of digital marketers make is that they try to rank for a specific keyword by just repeating it over and over in every single page on their website.
The end result is that they have dozens of pages vying for the same first-page position, which can make it hard for any of them to achieve the end goal.
While it is certainly okay to repeat specific phrasing across multiple pages on your site, make sure you’re mixing it up where you can.
Have a specific focus keyword for each page, combined with other sub-keywords with a few less uses.
By spreading out your overall keyword strategy, you’ll ensure your pages aren’t working against each other to get in that top spot on Google.
But what if you already have tons of content that’s repeating keywords?
You can opt to combine posts and use a redirect link or you can simply re-optimize the lower performing ones for a better search term.
Wrap Up: Search Engine Positioning needs a Clear Strategy
This is really important to ensure your overall success.
Looking at your keyword selection critically, following an editorial calendar and posting regularly, and generally creating stellar content are just a few of the simple ways to ensure your site shows up within that coveted first page as often as possible.
Of course, a big part of search engine positioning is time.
If you haven’t looked at your overall strategy in a long time, it might be time for a Rock Content SEO maturity assessment.
Best of all? It’s free.