Google Ranking

Publisher’s Guide to Improving Google Search Visibility

Search for the keywords or phrases your publication uses most frequently. How often does your site show up in the top 10 results on Google? If you’re not satisfied with the answer, it’s time to get to work improving your Google search visibility.

Ranking poorly in Google search is a disaster for digital publishers. If your publication doesn’t appear on the first page of search results, then would-be readers won’t know you exist. Given that search is the most important driver of traffic for most digital publications, including local news and online magazines, it’s nearly impossible to overstate just how important boosting Google search visibility is to your bottom line.

So, what do publishers need to do to improve their visibility in Google search? Here’s what you should know:

Researching Google search trends

The latest data about consumer search suggests that personalization and convenience play a huge role in how people search online and what they find in Google search results. Some recent trends include:

  • People are searching for the term “near me” more frequently now than in previous years. “Near me” searches are common when people are looking for goods or services nearby, but it’s also likely that people will use terms like “near me” to search for local news sources in their communities. Hyperlocal news publishers should keep this in mind as they plan their SEO strategies.
  • Online reviews and listings aren’t just for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. More people are starting to “review” local news publications, and some publishers have started creating business listings. If you’re considering implementing this strategy, keep in mind that reviews on websites like Yelp and local business listings on Google are taken into account when determining if a business fits someone’s “near me” criteria.
  • Voice search is still on the rise, and it is expected to have an especially large impact on Google search visibility in the coming years. The use of voice search has increased by 50% in the past year. Savvy publishers will need to start implementing the right strategies now to capitalize on that trend, and to ensure their links are in the first position when people search for information on voice devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.

Optimizing search results

For the best chance of improving your Google search visibility, you need to understand how the anatomy of an online search is impacted by the search trends we just discussed.

People who search for keywords on Google usually see one or more of the following on the results page:

  • Snippet at the top of the page
  • Title of the webpage
  • Webpage URL
  • Internal site links
  • Related searches

As a digital publisher, the snippet could be your greatest asset. Google has control in deciding whether something on your website becomes a snippet at the top of a search results page. To increase the chances of your website’s link being chosen, try to make sure your content is as relevant to the keywords or the search query as possible. If it’s relevant, then there’s a greater chance that people who search for “Where is the best biking trail in town?” will see a snippet of your guide to the best biking trails in your city.

If your article becomes a snippet, then your ranking moves into the “zero” position. That’s a good place to be. If you’re in the zero position, your article page is going to get a lot of traffic, and people are more likely to consider your publication to be an authority on whichever topics you’re covering.

For the best chance of reaching position zero and improving your Google search visibility, update your content often and remain hyper-targeted to your niche. To use the example from above, a guide to the best biking trails should be updated annually, or even twice a year, to prevent you from losing that coveted snippet position.

Another great place to be is in Google’s “related searches.” Although publishers don’t have control over whether they appear in “related searches,” there are some maneuvers that have been shown to have an impact. Consider incorporating related keyword phrases into the content on your website, so it will appear in the results when someone uses those keywords in a Google search.

As for the other elements on the list above, those are within your control. As the publisher, you can alter the title, URL, and internal links on your article pages to boost your chances of improving Google search visibility.

To learn even more about the best practices in SEO, check out Web Publisher PRO’s Guide to SEO for Local News Publishers.