Why Ranking Number One in SERPs is SO Important – Here’s How

Search engine results pages (SERPs) are a gateway to visibility, whether you are aware of it or not. Most of us do several searches every day, or even dozens of searches, without consciously thinking about it. We remember we have to buy something, or we want the answer to a curious question, so we write a query and bam – we are presented with millions of sites we could visit for the answer.

This large amount and almost ubiquitous visibility are the motives behind search engine optimization (SEO), the strategic effort designed to get your site ranked higher in the SERPs. Using tactics like on-site content creation, on-site technical improvements and of course link building, you can get your site to climb the rankings.

The higher you are ranked, the better – which is mostly intuitive. Higher ranked sites are seen before lower ranked; After all, how often do you click to page two or page three of Google’s search results to find what you’re looking for? Higher ranking sites get more traffic and make more money.

But you may not know intuitively how crucial a # 1 ranking will be for your business. Rank 1 is better than rank 2, sure, but rank 2 is also great, right?

Not necessarily. According to some studies, the website in rank 1 gets as much as 33 percent of all organic traffic for a given search. The page in rank 2 gets only about 18 percent, barely more than half of the traffic of rank 1. At rank 3, you get about 10 percent, and the percentages drop even more from there.

There are a few great takeaways here:

  • Rank 1 generates almost twice as much traffic as rank two. If you are interested in the highest possible traffic volume, recognize that even though rank 2 is good, rank 1 is almost twice as good. Rising only a single position in rank can instantly double the traffic a page on your site gets.
  • Rank four and below is hardly worth the effort. It takes time and effort to climb the SERPs for any search query, even if you only get to page 2 or 3. If you spend all that time and money and only get to rank 4, it may not be worth it (depending on on search volume). It is often better to have a single rank 1 position than dozens of page 2 positions.
  • Visibility and authority flow from rank one. Getting to rank 1 is not just about getting more traffic. It is also about gaining more visibility as you are the first web page that people will see and more authority as many people know how much it takes to get to rank 1.

It was probably already obvious that rank 1 for any relevant search query was valuable. What was less clear is how rank 1 is much more valuable than other rankings.

With that in mind, what steps can you take to ensure that you reach rank 1 as often as possible?

Understand the core components of SEO

First, you need to understand the core components of an SEO strategy. There are more than 200 ranking signals worth considering, but most of your strategy is going to boil down to one of these factors:

  • Strategic focus. You need to choose the right goals for your SEO strategy. If you focus on keywords that are outside your area of ​​expertise, or those that are already dominated by competitors, you will end up exhausting your budget long before you see any meaningful results. It all starts with your targeting strategy.
  • Technical site changes. Google and other search engines prioritize sites that work well and serve users well. This means that your site must meet Google’s technical standards – and that all your content is easily accessible to users.
  • Content on site. Speaking of content, you need it. Your onsite content should be original, in-depth, well-researched and targeted to your audience. It helps you build authority and optimize for specific topics at the same time.
  • Link building. Did you know that rank 1 web pages typically have 3.8x more backlinks than their competitors in position 2-10? Backlinks send “authority” to your site; Consequently, the more links you have, and the more authoritative these links are, the better. Earning and building backlinks is indispensable if you want to climb the SERPs. But if you want to reach rank 1, you need almost 4 times as many backlinks as your closest competitors.

Start with the right keyword goals

If you want to target the right people and maximize your chances of getting to rank 1, you need to target the right keywords.

  • Prioritize relevance. Think about the terms your audience will use to search for a company like yours. You do not want to optimize for irrelevant or peripherally relevant terms just because they are readily available.
  • Identify your competitors. Get to know your biggest competitors. How do they currently rank? What terms are they targeted at? Who is their audience and how does it differ from yours?
  • Find the balance between competition and search volume. Higher search volume terms tend to be seen as more valuable because they are more visible – but they also tend to be more competitive, making it much harder for them to reach rank 1. Try to find terms that provide a certain amount but also a reasonable level of competition.
  • Go for the low-hanging fruit. Langhale keywords and less commonly searched terms tend to be devoid of greater competition. Aim first at this low-hanging fruit to establish yourself firmly in the SERPs.
  • Start with just a few measurement terms. Does not generate a list of hundreds of keywords to target; this can spread your strategy too thin. Instead, start with just a handful of goals, and make them your top priorities.

Become the leading authority on a given topic

Choose an area of ​​expertise that does not have much competition and make yourself an authority on the subject.

  • Do thorough research. See what else is out there and read all you can. The more research you do, the better your content will be.
  • Give original thoughts. Try to offer an original bid on the topic. It can stem from original research or just your original thoughts.
  • Write long-form content. Longer and more in-depth content tends to reach rank 1 more reliably than content in short form. Aim for thousands of words in each article.

Promote your best work

When you create work that you are proud of, you work to promote it.

  • Build links. The most important thing you can do is build links as they pass the authority that allows your article to rise in the SERPs. Earn and place natural, organic links as often as possible.
  • Share on social business. Share your work on social media and reach out to new people regularly to build your audience from scratch.
  • Network. Get involved in multiple groups and contact other experts. The larger your network, the more people will see your work.
  • Advertise. Advertising can be expensive, but it’s a great investment to build momentum for your latest writings.

Avoid keyword cannibalization

Finally, avoid keyword cannibalization. Every page on your site should focus on one primary keyword; If you have multiple pages on your site competing for the same keyword, they will end up in conflict with each other. This is known as keyword cannibalization, and it can greatly limit the effectiveness of your strategy (and prevent you from reaching rank 1).

SEO is not something you can fully automate, nor is it something you can use intuitively. If you want to succeed with this marketing strategy, you need to do exhaustive research, plan your strategy carefully and be willing to invest time and money to climb the rankings.

Still, if you can do that, and get to be number 1 in the SERPs in at least a few terms – you may end up dominating the competition.

Image credit: quang ngyen vinh; pexels; thank you!

Timothy Carter

Revenue Manager

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer for Seattle Digital Marketing Agency SEO.co, DEV.co & PPC.co. He has spent more than 20 years in the SEO and digital marketing world leading, building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and driving growth from websites and sales teams. When he’s not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running and spending time with his wife and family on the beach – preferably in Hawaii with a cup of Kona coffee. Follow him on Twitter @TimothyCarter


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