A big marketing goal for 2024 should be getting your website onto the first page of Google searches. The first five organic results on that page generate more than 67% of all clicks. The more clicks, the more potential customers. Plus, if you rank higher than your competition, you can grab some of their traffic. Here’s what the experts advise.

Pay attention to the small stuff

First, dial up your on-page SEO (search engine optimization). On-page SEO refers to the elements on the pages of your website, such as headlines, page titles, and content. Try to use your keyword at the beginning of your title tags and insert it two or three times per page, but don’t keyword stuff. Also, create longer form content that’s at least 1,800 words. All these things can boost your ranking.

Next, optimize your technical SEO. This includes making your pages secure. Google favors websites that have HTTPS, which keeps information secure when it’s sent between website and user. If you don’t have HTTPS, make it a priority to get an SSL certificate. It’s also important that your web pages load quickly, have an easy to navigate user experience (UX), and are optimized for mobile devices. In addition, make sure all the links work and that you don’t have any plagiarized content or similar content on different pages. You’ll probably need a website designer or SEO specialist to help with these tasks.

Create high-quality content

Although the above SEO matters are important, when it comes to ranking higher on Google, content is king. Great content shouldn’t just be on your blog pages. Create other pages with topics of interest so Google can see your quality content extends beyond the blog. Another big benefit of great content is that visitors may share it on social media with a link back to your website. These backlinks play a big role in Google’s ranking algorithm. You can also pursue backlinks yourself by contacting other websites and asking if they’d like to publish a guest post you’ve written. Try sites that cover your industry, plus local newspapers, magazines, news stations, and the chamber of commerce.

Google’s focus today is more on high-quality content than on how many keywords are on a page. Post content that’s relevant, engaging, and well-written—and length is important (1800 words or more). Include internal links to other pages on your site and place them near the start of the page. Also, use LSI keywords (latent semantic indexing keywords). These give Google a better understanding of the page’s content. They aren’t just synonyms for the main keyword, but words and phrases that relate to it. There are free online tools to help you identify relevant LSI keywords, such as LSIGraph and Keysearch. And make sure you have a low bounce rate, meaning people stay on your site. To help here, don’t make visitors scroll down to see your most important info. Finally, post content that matches what your audience is looking for. Check the content of sites that rank on the first page and create posts that cover those topics.

Some final tips

Embed videos on your web pages and upload them to your own YouTube channel—Google likes videos! When you can, include statistical data. Others may quote these on their own blogs and give you valuable backlinks. Put these stats into an infographic to keep visitors on your site longer. Canva, a free graphic design site, can help here. Once people find you in a search, make sure they click through to your site. Boost this click-through rate by fine tuning the metadata description that appears below your search result. Make that info relevant and credible, and don’t be afraid to appeal to people’s emotions. Create a Google My Business profile and update it two or three times a month. Get more Google reviews and add links to your Google page’s review section on the footer of your website, social media pages, newsletters, email signature, etc.

Establish your expertise by going on popular Q&A sites such as Quora ad Reddit. Find topics and pages relating to your business, offer your insights, then add a backlink to your site, but only if it’s appropriate (no blatant self-promotion). If appropriate, post attractive visuals on Instagram and Pinterest, with links back to your website. Check the “People also ask” section on the first page of results. Pick one of the questions, write a blog post that answers it, and promote the post on social media and in e-newsletters. Lastly, don’t hesitate to hire experts when you need help. It’s worth it, because there can be a lot at stake with your online presence.