Wondering how to get on the first page of Google for free? Today I’m sharing my strategy using keyword research and social media tactics.
This strategy isn’t specific for travel bloggers and works for many blog posts. Of course, it’s always important that you have high quality content – that is what Google looks for first.
Whether you have a new blog or an established website, this strategy can help you figure out how to rank on the first page of Google. My goal in this post is to show you how to increase organic traffic to specific blog posts and provide all the right signals to get on the first page of Google for free.
Short-Term Traffic & What Doesn’t Work
Most bloggers are in a myriad of Facebook Groups that help promote website articles, such as my group, The Aspiring Travel Writer Evergreen Threads. These groups are great to get some initial traffic from social media, but don’t tend to work for long-term organic traffic. After the initial round of social media shares, traffic tends to die off.
If your website has been around a little longer, you may have an email mailing list that you share your posts and you also might see a wave of traffic from this as an initial spike.
For some of you, it maybe crickets. You might write a new post and not see any organic traffic to a post. That can be frustrating.
The reality is that you need to earn Google’s trust. They want to know and understand what your website is all about and that you’ll be delivering content on a regular basis on the same niche topic.
Google needs to understand your content because their job is to deliver the best results for each query or search.
How to Get on First Page of Google for Free: Establish Authority
If your focus is to rank on the first page of Google and drive organic traffic, Google needs to see you as an authority on the subject. While you will focus on one particular article at a time for ranking, you’ll also want to write as much high-quality content as possible on each subject.
Instead of writing one article on Aruba, write three or five or more. Link each article to the related articles on your site. Google will then see you have a handful of articles about the same location and begin to see your blog as an authority on that topic. Authority is key!
There is a very simple way to check a blog’s authority. Unfortunately, it is not 100 percent exact, so don’t bet your life on it. But it gives you a general ballpark idea and it’s a free resource.
Head to moz.com/researchtools/ose/ and simply type in the URL of your website to get your domain authority score.
Every blog starts with a Domain Authority (DA) of 0 and works up to a possible 100. Anything over 40 is a great goal. The higher your DA, the easier it will be for your posts and pages to rank on Google.
Focus on Strategic Key Words and Phrases
When you write a new post, you want to target specific keywords and phrases. But you can’t just go out and try and rank for the most competitive words and phrases.
Going back to the Aruba example, if you try to rank for “Aruba” or “Aruba Travel,” you most likely will have trouble. Page one of Google is filled with entries from Aruba,com, Trip Advisor, Wikipedia, Hotels.com, and other big websites. But when I went after “Reasons to Visit Aruba” – as I did on one of my articles on 52 Perfect Days (52 Reasons to Visit Aruba) – I was able to rank #5 on page 1 of Google (as of today).
For this article I am hoping to rank for the long tail keywords: Get Your Travel Blog On The First Page Of Google and How to Get On The First Page Of Google for Free.
Do Your Keyword Research
There are some paid tools and free tools out there for keyword research, but since this is an article about how to get your travel blog on the first page of google for free, let’s focus on some free resources.
This is a great way to see what Google is showing as popular search terms. Simply go to Google search and start to type in your keyword/s and after a few words, Google will show other popular searches you can possibly use. In the below example you can see all the phrases Google suggested.
Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz offers three free keyword searches per 24 hours. This is a great tool to get some initial research and find additional keyword ideas. Simply enter your keyword/s and you’ll be shown a few suggestions that fit your subject.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is located in Adwords. You’ll have to sign up, but it’s free.
Once you’ve done some keyword research, pick your keyword or words. Try to find a word or phrase that’s in the 10-100 range.
Interlinking and Outbound Links
When writing a new post, make sure to link within the post to other articles on your site that are relevant and on the same topic. Also, include a few outbound links to authoritative websites.
For example, in this article I’ve linked to many of the tools I’ve suggested. This is helpful to the reader and Google likes when readers are happy. You can also include a few links to high authority sites such as Wikipedia or popular sites that are relevant. This will add relevancy to your post and increase your ranking, despite the fact that many people think the opposite.
Use the Yoast WordPress Plugin
If you aren’t already using Yoast, go grab it now. This is my favorite plugin to help with SEO, keywords and helping rank your posts. There is a free and premium (paid) version.
Yoast will prompt you to take several steps such as adding your keywords to the title, URL and first paragraph of your post. It will also let you know if you’ve added the words enough times (or too many – don’t over-optimize!) into the body of the article.
Check out my list of 10 Essential WordPress Plugins for Travel Blogs.
Write In-Depth, Informative Posts
Writing longer posts has been shown to help you get on the first page of Google. Research says that posts over 2,000 words shows up on the first page of Google more often.
Yoast recommends a minimum of 300 words for a post, but I believe this is a bad recommendation. Don’t fall into the habit of writing short posts if you want to rank for your keywords. Longer posts do better.
If you aren’t a longwinded writer and have a hard time getting to 2,000 words, publish it anyway. Having the post published is better than not adding content to your site. You can head back later and add another paragraph or update the post.
Make Your Post Easily Shareable with Social Warfare
My favorite social sharing plugin is Social Warfare. I love it because it adds boxes at the bottom your post to add social media photos and text, so when someone clicks your sharebar, they have the right size photos and good text for sharing.
I’m positive having a great share bar on the photo plus the proper size images for each social platform helps increase social shares to my articles and in turn helps with more traffic.
Use Pinterest & Tailwind
While everyone has their favorite social channel, I think Pinterest has the potential to drive the most traffic. Pinterest is a search engine, just like Google.
Creating optimized Pinterest images is step one. Step two is making sure you pin your own posts. But what is more important is to join Tailwind and schedule your pins to post on a regular basis! This is my secret weapon for traffic from Pinterest.
Submit the URL of the page to Google
Once your post is ready, publish it, then go to your Google Search Console account.
Click on “Crawl>Fetch as Google”. Submit the URL of the page, wait until Google crawls it (takes a few seconds) then click “Request Indexing”. This is an important step for new blogs.
This step will result in your new post showing up in Google’s index and search results in about three days for newer blogs. If your blog has been around awhile, you will show up faster and will probably be indexed without this step.
Bottom Line for Getting to Page One of Google
If you follow the steps above for each blog post, you will see increased traffic to your posts. Also, don’t forget to update your posts over time. Google likes to see that you are adding new and relevant information to your posts.
I’d love to hear your strategies for getting your travel blog on the first page of Google. What has worked for you? What are the top strategies that are bringing you traffic organically? Please share in the comments below.
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