Want to have more of your website showing up on the first page of Google rankings without paying an arm and a leg for PPC campaigns?

Of course, you do! Who wouldn’t?

The fact that this is such a popular ambition, of course, makes it all that more competitive and difficult to achieve. In many cases, established brands with big names and potentially even international audiences are often the ones who snag most of those page one rankings, even if in some ways they’re the businesses who need them the least.

With the right strategies at hand, however, most brands have a valuable opportunity to increase your rankings overall and land more of those sought-after first page SERP placements. In this post, we’re going to look at 5 distinct ways you can get those rankings and drive traffic to your site.

1. Choose Keywords Based On Domain Authority

Want to rank high? Then when you’re conducting keyword research to decide what terms to optimize for, you need to take an honest look at what keywords you have a solid chance of ranking for.

If you’ve ever wondered why sites like Nike will overtake a hundred local shoe stores with zero effort, know that domain authority plays a part. Your domain authority is a score that’s created by Moz to predict how well you may do in the SERPs based on a number of factors like your link profile, trustworthiness, and how long your site has been around. Sites with high authority will typically outrank those with low authority targeting the same keywords.

Because of this, it’s important to consider your domain authority when choosing your keywords. If you’re just getting started to build up your score, focus on keywords that have the lowest competition possible while still having the best search volume given the circumstances. You can check your domain authority here.

screenshot of semrush

With this strategy, you could potentially show up on the top page of the SERPs for a keyword that’s still high intent and brings relevant audiences to your site. Even keywords that only get 100 hits will benefit you more if you can rank higher for them than a keyword that gets 10,000 hits per month if you’re buried on page 10.

2. Focus on Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords– which involve longer phrases instead of single one to three word terms like short-tail keywords– will be your saving grace when you want to rank higher.

There’s typically less competition for long-tail keywords, even though the search volume can be plenty high. These keywords make an outstanding fit for content like blog posts or even pages in your FAQ section, which can be used to fully address any search intent that the user has.

semrush keyword magic tool

If you’re not sure where to start in your long-tail keyword research, you can use a tool like SEMrush. Their Keyword Magic Tool will offer suggestions around the phrase you choose, and you can even opt to have questions-only keywords displayed. If users are asking questions, your content can mirror it back to them and then answer it. This could give you a shot at a featured snippet slot, but even if you don’t land that you can still rank well.

3. Take Advantage of Google My Business

More than half of businesses haven’t claimed or set up their Google My Business (GMB) listing, even though these profiles give you an opportunity to rank high and in a way that’s immediately noticeable apart from all of the other search results. This is particularly true for local search, but all businesses can benefit (even if you don’t operate out of a brick and mortar store).

google local panel screenshot

Go ahead and set up your profile, and then optimize it fully. Try to collect as many reviews as possible from past happy customers, drop in keywords for business descriptions, products, and services that your audience is looking for, and make sure to fill out all of your contact information. Fully-formed listings with lots of reviews will have the best shot of ranking towards the top of this section.

4. Be Mindful of Link Building

Link building will be a long-term strategy that can help improve your entire site’s domain authority, making it easier for you to rank across the board no matter what keywords you’re targeting.

Link building does take time, which can be frustrating, but there are things you can start doing today to get to work. These include:

  • Creating high-value, original content that people want to link back to. Opinion pieces, how-to content, and case studies rich in original data and statistics are all good options.
  • Start guest posting. When you get guest posts published on other sites, you’re getting an instant boost when they let you link back to the page of your choice in your author bio. This gives you more control over where some of those links are coming from.
  • Add CTAs to your content. Encourage sharing, which increases your content’s visibility and thus increases the likelihood of sharing.

Make sure that you avoid any “black hat” strategies for link building, especially those that are punishable by Google. Skip out on the Private Blogging Networks (PBNs), and never spam your link anywhere– including online forums and comments sections on other sites.

5. Create Quality Content

Quality content, which we discussed briefly in the section above, is going to be an important part of ranking higher in the SERPs.

Google looks for indications of quality when they’re deciding what sites and pages to prioritize for each keyword, so this isn’t something that you should overlook. When creating blog posts or other resources, make sure that the information is easy to read while still being thorough and high in value. This will keep people on your site longer, boosting the average time spent per page, which in turn will help you rank higher moving forward.

You should also make sure to include links to your own content in your posts, which can keep users bouncing around your site instead of leaving right away. I always recommend at least two internal links per page, with one being at the end to send users elsewhere on the site instead of resigning to let them just leave. A reduced bounce rate will help you, too.


Ranking on the first page of Google for any keyword you optimize for is the dream, and with the right strategies in place (including realistic keyword choices), you have plenty of opportunities to do exactly that.

As time goes on and your content draws in more traffic, you boost your link profile, and your domain authority goes up, make an effort to go back and review your current strategy. A higher authority page can make a shift in strategy, targeting higher competition and volume keywords while still holding their own.

Want some help ranking on the first page of Google for high-value keywords? Schedule a free meeting with us to learn how we can help!

What do you think? How do you increase your ranking in the SERPs? Do you use any of these strategies? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

Ana Gotter