Ranking highly on Google is achieved by strategically using keywords and design elements on your website that are favored by Google. Learning how to rank on Google will help give you the ability to capture the top organic and local results. Every business should be consistent in their efforts to increase and/or hold their top position on Google, as online searches are a primary way for customers to find companies and products.
Good stuff, Brian. The tip about getting longer (4-line) descriptions is awesome. I hadn’t noticed that too much in the SERPs, although now I’m on a mission to find some examples in my niche and study how to achieve these longer descriptions. I also like the tip about using brackets in the post’s title. One other thing that works well in certain niches is to add a CAPITAL word somewhere in the title. Based on some early tests, it appears to improve CTR.

Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say "might" because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page's visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user's query. Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case Google cannot find a good selection of text to use in the snippet. The Webmaster Central Blog has informative posts on improving snippets with better description meta tags18 and better snippets for your users19. We also have a handy Help Center article on how to create good titles and snippets20.

Google’s aim is to provide the most relevant result for any given query. Their entire business model relies on them being able to do this, consistently, across hundreds of billions of searches. For that reason, they’ve invested heavily into understanding the intent of queries, i.e., the reason a person typed a specific thing into Google in the first place.
The great thing about the long tail for new sites that have no backlinks and no authority, is that it is possible to rank for these terms, assuming great on-page SEO, quality content etc.. So therefore focusing on the long tail is a strategy that is often recommended and in fact Rand himself (and indeed others of good repute) have cited 4+ words and lower LMS to avoid the med-high volume kws due to their kw difficulty. Have I completely missed the point in your guide or do you indeed have a slightly different view on the long tail?
Killer post, Brian. Really want to know how to create those charts you keep using throughout your posts. I searched Google for them but couldn’t find them so I’m guessing they’re custom designed but with what tool is the question… Would love to see a flat architecture diagram for blogs and non-ecommerce sites. Look forward to your upcoming Blab with Dmitry.
Organic results includes a wider range of websites—not just local businesses. While location may still be a factor in the organic results, it is not generally the dominant factor. The main factor is the authority of the website (or the credibility of the site), external links back to the site, the length of time the site has been live, and other considerations. This is why you will often see sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, and Facebook show up high in search results.
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