There is only one reason for a business to spend time and money on SEO — to generate more revenue. That’s it.

So does SEO work? Is it worth the time, money, and effort? Or should you run ads instead? And if SEO is a good idea, should you start now or later?

These are all great questions. The short answers are… Yes, SEO works. Yes, it’s worth your time, money, and effort. No, you should not run ads instead of SEO, but possibly in addition to SEO. And you should start now.

After I explain all that in a little more detail, I’m going to give you my seven steps to rank #1 in Google.

All on this page.

Alrighty, so…

Does SEO work?

Yes, it does.

  • As of 2021, there are over 4.9 billion internet users. That’s over 60% of the world’s population. 189 million (or 89% of them) are adults in the US.
  • And 92% of them use Google (not Bing or Yahoo!)
  • A study from Chitika Insights showed that the top search result gets up to 33% of clicks. The second result gets around 15%. And the third, about 10%.
  • The numbers decrease as you go further down the page (see chart below).
  • And getting clicks from anything after the tenth position, from pages two, three, four, … is unlikely.

Chart of traffic from Google by rank

If you can get ranked on page one in Google for the keywords your ideal customers search for, then you’ll at least get some traffic. The higher you rank, the more traffic you’ll get. And if your website is properly designed to convert that traffic into leads and sales…

Then yes, SEO will work for you.

 

Ok SEO works. Should you run ads, too?

 

 

Whether you choose SEO or advertising or both depends on your specific goals and needs. If you’re looking for long-term, cost-effective visibility. And if you want to drive targeted, organic traffic that converts visitors to leads and sales at a higher rate, use SEO. If you need immediate results and are willing to invest in advertising, run ads.

is seo or ppc better?

  • One of the main benefits of SEO is that it can help drive organic traffic to your website, meaning visitors who find your site through search engines rather than paid advertisements. Organic traffic is often seen as more valuable, because someone searched for — and found — you instead of you interrupting their day with an ad : ) When a person actively seeks you out and finds you, it’s more likely to result in user engagement, a lead, and a sale.
  • But with advertising, you can start driving traffic to your website as soon as your ad launches. And you can turn it on or off anytime you want. This is helpful if you want more control over the flow of traffic. Or, if you just need to generate sales quickly, because you have a new business, product, or service.

When should you start?

I can’t think of a single situation where a business should not do SEO. It really should be a matter of when, not if, because…

  • SEO generates more traffic and converts at a higher rate.
  • It’s more cost-effective than advertising.
  • It’s not difficult (anyone can do it).
  • It just takes longer (months instead of days).

So start today! Then in a few months, you’ll have another steady source of leads and customers coming in from SEO. Otherwise, you’ll need to continue relying on ads or whatever else you’re doing to generate leads and sales today. And in a few months when SEO is working, bringing in a steady stream of leads, you’ll have options. Turn ads on, or keep them going.

So keep reading, learn my 7 steps to rank on Google, and then get started : )

 

7 steps to rank #1 on Google

7 Steps To Rank #1 On Google

Step #1- Evaluate

It’s incredibly important (as a first step) to develop a comprehensive and effective SEO strategy. And you can’t do that without understanding your website’s strengths and weaknesses, what opportunities exist for improvement on and off your site, and what your competitors are doing.

By studying your top competitors (those in the #1, 2, and 3 spots), you’ll see what it takes to rank high. But don’t rush to model everything they’re doing, because odds are, they’re not doing everything right. It’s more likely they’re doing just enough to beat out everyone else.

That’s good news for you. You can catch up and pass them!

  • Choose the top 3-5 competitors in your market.
  • Look at their keywords, what they’re doing on-page, off-page, with reviews, and content.
  • Document what you discover.
  • Find ways to improve in every category. Not just by a little bit either. Plan on blowing them out of the water! 10x better. You want to create an extreme competitive advantage.

Perform your keyword research.

  • I’m assuming you already have an in-depth knowledge on your target audience: who they are, what they like, dislike, where they are, how they talk (their lingo), their search behavior, etc. If not, go figure that out, then come back : ) You can’t really do much else until you have a full understanding of who you’re selling to.
  • Generate a list of keywords related to your business, products, or services. You can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and others to help you generate this list.
  • Use these tools to see how frequently the keywords are searched and how their search volume changes over time. You can also check the competition level for each keyword to determine how difficult it might be to rank.
  • Once you have a list of keywords, refine it by selecting those most relevant to your business, with good search volume, and low competition.
  • Find long-tail keywords, too— phrases with three or more words that are more specific and less competitive. Long-tail keywords can drive highly targeted traffic to your website.
  • Analyze your competitors’ websites to see what keywords they’re ranking for (most paid tools allow you to do this) and what keywords they’re targeting.
  • And then continuously monitor your website’s performance for your target keywords and refine your strategy as needed to improve your ranking.

Perform on-page SEO analysis.

  • Make sure your website’s pages have unique, descriptive title tags and meta descriptions that accurately reflect the content of each page.
  • Make sure your website uses header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) appropriately to create a hierarchy of content and provide a clear structure for search engines.
SEO tool for checking title tag and H1 tag
You can use this free tool we built to check your website’s title, meta description, and H1 tags. It’s not going to perform a full on-page analysis. But it will point out some quick, simple things you can do to improve your ranking.

  • Make sure your website’s content is high-quality, relevant to your target audience, and includes your target keywords.
  • Check for a clear and consistent internal linking structure that helps search engines understand the relationship between your website’s pages.
  • Ensure your website’s images are optimized for the web, have descriptive file names, alt tags, and appropriate file size.
  • Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices, has a responsive design, loads fast, and is easy to navigate.
  • Verify that your website loads quickly across all devices. Page load speed is a critical ranking factor for search engines.
  • Ensure your website’s URLs are clean, concise, and descriptive.
  • Make sure your website has a sitemap and robots.txt file to help search engines crawl and index your pages.
  • Make sure it’s secure with an SSL certificate and free of malware or other security issues.

Run a baseline report (a snapshot of your website’s current state) to serve as a starting point for tracking your progress and measuring the success of your SEO efforts.

 

  • Gather data about your website, including the number of pages, keywords, backlinks, traffic, and ranking information.
  • Use tools like Google Search Console and others to check for technical issues, such as broken links, crawl errors, and duplicate content.
  • Analyze your website’s backlink profile to see who is linking to your site, the quality of those links, and any potential penalties or risks.
  • Use tools like Google Analytics to measure your website’s traffic, including the number of visitors, pages per session, and bounce rate.
  • Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs to track your website’s ranking for your target keywords.
  • Put all of your findings into a comprehensive report that includes a summary of your website’s current SEO performance and recommendations for improvement.

Step #2 – Content Plan

Content is the heart of SEO and provides the foundation for a successful search engine optimization strategy. To maximize its impact— ensure it’s high-quality, fresh, relevant, and provides value to your target audience. Because good content enhances the user experience, creates a positive impression of your brand, improves user engagement, keeps users on your website for longer periods of time, reduces bounce rates, increases the likelihood of conversions, and attracts links from other websites.

All of which improves your website’s search engine visibility and authority.

Here’s how—

  • Based on your target audience and keyword research (from Step #1), develop a strategy that outlines the types of content you will create, the topics you will cover, and the format of your content (e.g. blog posts, videos, infographics, etc).
  • Use a content calendar to plan and schedule your creation and publication. This helps ensure consistency and that you’re publishing new content on a regular basis.
  • Use your target keywords in your content and make sure it is well-written, informative, and engaging. AI tools (like ChatGPT) can help with this. If you haven’t tried them yet. Do yourself a favor. Try. You’ll be impressed. I promise : )
  • Optimize content for search engines by including target keywords in title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. Our free tool can help with this.
  • Share content on social media and other platforms to increase visibility and drive traffic to your website

Content Editorial Calendar (by Realiiz.com)

Step #3 – Google Business Profile

Claiming your Google Business Profile (GBP) is an important step for optimizing your business for local search and improving your SEO impact. GBP is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps.

Where to find your Google Business Profile

Some of its benefits include—

  • Ensuring the information about your business displayed on Google is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Engaging with customers through reviews, photos, and other features.
  • Improved search engine ranking.
  • Helps search engines understand your business’s location, which is an important factor for local search ranking.

Here’s how to set it up—

  1. If you don’t already have a Google account, go to Google.com and sign up.
  2. Go to the Google Business Profile website (google.com/business) and start the process.
  3. Enter your business name, address, and select the primary category that best describes your business.
  4. Google will then verify your business by sending a postcard with a verification code to your business address.
  5. Once your business is verified, complete your profile by providing additional information about your business, such as your business hours, phone number, website, and photos.
  6. Keep your listing up-to-date by regularly adding new photos, responding to customer reviews, and updating your business information.
  7. Use the insights feature to track how customers are interacting with your listing, including the number of views, clicks, and calls.

Course- How to rank on Google without hiring a marketing company

I put together a video course on how local businesses can make the most of their Google Business Profile, for just $6. It’s a deep dive. If you want, you can take the Online course… here.

    Step #4 – On-Page SEO

    This is a crucial component of a successful SEO strategy. It lays the foundation for a high-quality, user-friendly website that search engines can easily understand and rank highly. Effective on-page SEO helps improve a website’s visibility, attract more relevant traffic, and ultimately drive more conversions and sales.

    Some of your main goals are to—

    • Ensure your website’s well-organized and has a clear hierarchy of pages to make it easy for search engines and users to understand.
    • Analyze content and HTML to ensure they’re relevant, optimized for target keywords, and easy for search engines to understand.
    • Optimize title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and content, to target specific keywords and phrases.
    • Make sure all pages provide a good user experience on mobile devices.
    • Check page speed and take steps to optimize them for faster performance.
    • Analyze how users interact with your website and make improvements to enhance their experience.
    • Ensure your website is free of technical issues that could be hindering your search engine visibility, such as broken links, crawl errors, and duplicate content.

    Off page SEO

    Step #5 – Off-Page SEO

    Off-page SEO optimization refers to the activities and techniques used to improve a website’s search engine visibility and ranking that occur outside of the actual website. This includes activities such as link building, social media marketing, brand building, and influencer outreach.

    Link building is one of the most important aspects of off-page SEO. This refers to the process of acquiring high-quality links from other websites to your own (also known as backlinks). These links serve as “votes of confidence,” which can help improve your website’s search engine visibility and ranking.

    • One of the best ways to earn high-quality inbound links is by creating valuable and shareable content that people will want to link to. This could include blog posts, infographics, videos, and other forms of content that provide valuable information for your target audience.
    • Building relationships with influencers and websites in your niche can help you earn inbound links from their high-authority sites. You could ask if they’d be willing to link to your content. Or, you can contribute guest posts to their site with a backlink in your bio.
    • Participating in online communities, such as forums and social media groups will enable you to build relationships with other website owners. By sharing your expertise and providing valuable insights, they’ll take notice and organically start linking to you as an authority.
    • Partnering with influencers in your industry can help increase the visibility and authority of your website through mentions, links, and social media promotion.

    Off-page SEO optimization is an important aspect of a comprehensive SEO strategy. But it’s important to remember that off-page optimization should always align with your website’s goals and values, and any tactics used should be ethical and in compliance with search engine guidelines.

    Instantly leave a review - right on Google My Business with Realiiz

    Step #6 – Reviews

    Reviews can play an important role in improving your website’s SEO impact.

    They can increase your website’s—

    • Visibility (by providing new and unique content for search engines to crawl and index)
    • Engagement and user experience (by providing valuable information and insights for potential customers)
    • The likelihood that they’ll remain on your website for longer periods of time
    • And the number of backlinks to your website, too!

    Here are some ways to generate more 5-star reviews—

     

    • First and foremost, it’s important to provide excellent customer service and a positive experience. This (above all) is what will ultimately encourage customers to leave a positive review.
    • Encourage your satisfied customers to leave a review by asking them directly. You can do this by sending them an email, adding a request to your receipts or invoices, or including a link to your Google listing on your website.
    • Make it easy for your customers to leave a review by providing them with a direct link to your Google listing. You can find this link by searching for your business on Google and clicking on the “Write a review” button. We have a tool that will automate this. You can learn more about automating your review process and sign up, by clicking here.
    • Responding to reviews quickly (within 24 hours, ideally), both positive and negative, shows that you value and appreciate your customers’ feedback. This can encourage them to leave more reviews in the future, as well as show potential customers that you take customer service seriously.
    • You’re only looking for authentic, genuine reviews. So never offer incentives in exchange for positive reviews as this is against guidelines for most review platforms.

    Check out this article on how to generate more 5-star reviews, to go a bit deeper on this subject.

    Step #7 – Tracking

    By identifying trends, monitoring competitors, and tracking your SEO progress (across everything you do), you’ll be able to make better informed decisions and optimize your SEO efforts for maximum results.

    There is a very long list of things to track, and tools to track them with (Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMrush, …), but here’s 8 of the top ones—

     

    1. Website traffic: This is the most basic and fundamental metric. Increased website traffic indicates your SEO efforts are working and your website is ranking higher in search results.
    2. Keyword rankings: Keeping track of your website’s keywords and they’re ranking from month to month. You want to watch how well your pages are ranking for specific keywords and phrases. And make sure the rankings are moving in the right direction 🙂
    3. Local search visibility: If your business targets a local audience, it is important to track your visibility in local search results. This can include tracking your Google Business Profile listing and local citations to ensure that your business information is up-to-date and consistent across the web.
    4. Bounce rate: A high bounce rate can indicate your website is not providing the information that users are looking for. Tracking bounce rate can help you identify areas that need improvement.
    5. Time on site: The amount of time a user spends on your website can give you an indication of how engaged they are with your content.
    6. Pages per session: This metric can indicate the quality of the user experience on your website. A high number of pages per session indicates that users are finding your content helpful and are exploring other pages on your site.
    7. Conversion rate: The conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. Tracking this metric can give you an idea of how well your SEO efforts are translating into actual results. This is the most important metric. Everything you do with SEO should drive this number higher.
    8. Backlinks: The number and quality of backlinks to your website can have a significant impact on your search engine rankings. Keeping track of your backlinks can help you identify opportunities to build new links and improve your rankings.

    Conclusion

    Ranking higher on Google requires a comprehensive and ongoing SEO strategy that takes into account both on-page and off-page factors. By optimizing your website content and structure, building high-quality backlinks, and tracking your progress, you can improve your visibility in search results and drive more organic traffic to your site.

    However, it’s important to remember that SEO is a long-term process and success is not achieved overnight. Consistent and persistent effort, backed by a solid understanding of best practices, is key to achieving and maintaining a strong online presence.

    With the right approach and a little patience, you can position your website at the top of Google’s search results and attract more potential customers to your business.

    So now that you have a good idea of what’s involved, what are you going to do? 

    • Nothing? If so, why?
    • Start today? Awesome! Let’s go! Need help, let me know.
    • Wait? Huh? Why? Overwhelmed? Busy with other things? Wait how long?
    • Do it yourself? Great! You can do it. And if not, let me know.
    • Hire an agency? I’m available 🙂 Shoot me a note. Or give me a call.

    Let me know in the comments!!

    Author Bio

    Edward studied technology / business / marketing in the Executive Masters in Technology Management (EMTM) program at Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania’s school of Engineering. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Rowan University.