Poor visibility in Google search means you’re missing out on visitors and potential website revenue. Try these tips to start increasing your publication’s visibility right away.
Improving your website’s rankings on Google search is both an art and a science. While we all want immediate results, the truth is that increasing your visibility in Google search takes time. Some people say it can take up to 12 months to see full results once a search engine optimization strategy has been implemented.
The challenges of ranking well in Google search aren’t unique to the local news industry. Digital publishers of all shapes and stripes have the same struggles, as they work to ensure their websites are the first to come up when people search for specific keywords and related terms.
If your publication isn’t coming up on the first page on Google for the keywords you care about, you run a serious risk of losing out on visitors who could potentially convert into paying subscribers. As publications grow, both in prominence and in staff size, it becomes even more important that publishers take a look at the number of page views, advertising impressions, and click-throughs they are getting each week. The best way to increase those numbers is with an effective search strategy. The more people who find your publication’s articles on Google, the more traffic your website receives and the more opportunities you have for conversion.
A few other important reasons why publishers should care about increasing visibility in Google search are:
- Increasing your visibility in Google search leads to a boost in organic traffic
- Higher traffic levels lead to greater opportunities for monetization
- Having insight into what’s ranking well in Google search can guide your editorial decisions, or help you decide which topics to cover more frequently
Here are 12 tips for increasing your visibility in Google search:
1. Identify which keywords drive traffic. To measure how well you’re ranking on the keywords that matter, you have to start by identifying which keywords you care about. Digital publishers have a virtually endless supply of content to work with, and identifying a keyword universe is important. A keyword universe is the total number of keywords or phrases that are used to drive organic search traffic to a website. Very large websites, like most news websites, can have anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 keyword phrases in their keyword universe.
2. Set up tracking to monitor the competition. What are other publishers in your niche ranking for that you’re not? Most publishers start with a small sample, somewhere between 30 and 50 phrases, that they identify and track through a market audit. To run your own basic market audit, just Google the keywords you’ve identified and start tracking which websites show up on page one of Google results. These are the publishers you’re in competition with for Google visibility.
3. Run competitors websites against your keyword universe. Doing this will give you a better understanding of your Google visibility. With that knowledge, you’ll want to set goals for increasing your visibility in Google search and get to work taking the steps necessary to actually make your goals a reality.
4. Use analytics. Analytics should be near the top of any list like this. Closely reviewing monthly reports is an important step when increasing your visibility in Google search. Monthly analytics reports should show the top performing posts and how those posts interacted with your keyword universe. Over time, you’ll fine tune your efforts to use the keywords and phrases that are most likely to land your articles on the first page of Google results.
5. Check for meta titles, descriptions, and URLs. If your article pages don’t have unique meta titles, descriptions, and URLs, you could be missing out on valuable traffic. A well optimized meta title entices people to click through to your webpage. The best meta descriptions are accurate, concise, and optimized based on keyword research.
6. Not every adjustment to increase visibility requires the help of a web developer. There are plenty of small tweaks that publishers can make on their own. For example, including more keywords in headlines is a simple step that publishers can take to improve SEO. When writing headlines, make sure to include the primary keyword near the beginning. If a headline seems too long, create a headline with the primary keyword and a sub-headline with the secondary keyword.
7. Optimize the best performing content. Google takes age into consideration when determining its search rankings, so an article that shows up on the first page of search results today might drop down in the rankings next month. To keep articles ranking high, publishers should update and republish content from time to time. Manage your keywords during this process, and keep track of factors like keyword density and headline phrases, since these can influence search results.
8. Don’t underestimate Google News. Digital publishers can use Google News to drive traffic to their websites. Through a diverse set of features, Google has developed its Google News product to help people engage with publications quickly and easily. To learn more about how to make sure your articles are appearing in Google News, check out Google’s Publisher Center.
9. The popularity of structured data means publishers can’t afford to not have schema markup on their websites. Schema markup is code that helps Google give more information to its users, and it helps websites stand out from those that have no implemented schema markup. If your website does not have schema markup, then you should consult with your web developer to get it added.
10. Use an editorial calendar. Once publishers have identified which top 50 or 100 articles drive the most traffic to their websites, it’s possible to create an editorial calendar that includes content focused on those same topics. The best editorial calendars include schedules for when the highest ranking content will be updated and when it will be republished, since these are both simple steps that keep pages ranking highly in Google results.
11. Make sure articles are easy to read on mobile devices. Google takes page speed and mobile visibility into account when determining its rankings. Although most local news publications still optimize content with desktop computers in mind, the push toward mobile experience means it’s a good idea to start designing pages in a way that makes it easier for people to read content on smartphone screens and tablet screens, as well.
12. Run routine maintenance checks. The work is never done. Even once you have completely set up a Google search strategy that seems to be working well, you’ll want to check in regularly to make sure your articles are still ranking in Google search.
If you’d like to learn how to increase your visibility in Google search and drive more revenue at your publication, schedule a call with a member of our team today.