The secret to ranking highly on a Google search isn’t really that big of a secret, according to Evan Bailyn, founder and CEO of First Page Sage, the largest SEO firm in the United States.

Speaking at a Leadtail Spirited Conversation event, Evan shared the single most important tip for marketers who want their pages to rank first on Google results pages. “Consistently produce articles in a strategic way … where you’re producing the best page of content on the internet for the keyword that you’re targeting.”

It’s a profoundly simple idea, but it’s anything but easy.

Ranking consistently at the top of search results requires honing in on your target audience and buyer persona, figuring out which keywords are commercially valuable for your business, and then putting those two pieces of information together. To rank highly in search results, you need to understand search intent—what people are looking for when they type a set of keywords into the search engine—and then deliver content that fully satisfies those needs.

The next step is to produce content that is info-rich and packed with value for searchers. “It’s not a dry group of paragraphs,” Evan says. “It’s filled with proprietary information. … It’s just high value the whole time and interesting the whole way through.”

So, how can your organization put this method into practice?

The Google Algorithm: Simpler Than You Think

Let’s start with the way Google ranks pages. The algorithm has simplified somewhat over the years, Evan says. Ranking well boils down to a fundamental principle. “Simply focusing on the user experience just matters more than it has ever before.”

“It really is about thinking very carefully about what somebody means when they type in a certain search query. … What are the questions inherent in their search?”

Once you’ve gotten an idea of what your potential audience is looking for, it’s a matter of answering their questions in an engaging, visually pleasing, and easy to navigate way. In other words, create the best page of content on the internet for the keyword you are targeting.

At its core, the Google algorithm consists of two main ranking factors:

  1. Meta Titles, which are used to create the page titles in search result listings.
  2. The Google Trust score, which relies less on links than on how helpful Google determines your page to be.

The Google Trust score, sometimes referred to as “domain authority,” is incredibly important to improving your content rankings. And this is where a simple practice can boost your rankings: consistently producing very high-quality content.

Producing Highly Ranked Content

Here’s the method Evan suggests:

  • Publish two new pages a week, every week;
  • Ensure that each page contains the best content on the internet for the keywords you’re targeting;
  • Fit each page into a keyword cluster or “hub and spoke” content management strategy.

Evan says this kind of consistent, strategic publishing schedule will show results in four to six months. And it doesn’t rely on getting outside links. It works by demonstrating to Google that your content provides a lot of value to searchers by fully answering their search intent.

Once again, the simplicity of this method belies just how difficult the work can be. “It’s hard to create a page like this,” Evan says.

To create the best content on the internet, you have to brainstorm the keywords you want to target, perhaps as many as 25 per content hub. The brainstorming process continues with ranking the commercially valuable keywords in order of their importance for your business. Then you have to place the page within the structure of your website and craft a plan for creating content on that page that fully answers the questions searchers are asking.

Evan describes this process as “listening” to the search intent behind the keywords searchers are typing into Google. “Really think about what that human being meant,” Evan says. “What problems they have; what their situation may be. How can we personalize the page to the industry or the use case they are expressing within the keyword?”

The result of all this preparatory work is a page, whether a landing page or a blog post, that is highly researched, full of proprietary information, and speaks with the authority of a subject matter expert. This content takes time and hard work to produce, but, Evan says, the result is well worth the effort.

“I’m a big fan of doing things that are difficult—because they’re doable. … I’m kind of obsessed with excellence in all aspects of my life. And to me, this is the only way to do SEO—is to focus on excellence in this way, truly create the best.”

You can watch Evan’s presentation in its entirety on Leadtail TV.

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