If you’re a business owner, you know the key to building your brand is targeting your audience where they’re most likely to engage. Many demographics are active on social media and engage with brand content constantly, often to the point of developing a social media addiction. However, at least a third of customers discover a brand and initiate an online purchase with a Google search. They’re looking for a product to meet a specific need or a service to solve a particular problem.

Here are four strategies that will launch your content to the top of Google’s search results and give your website the necessary visibility.

1.Design your website with search engine crawlers in mind.

Whether you’re optimizing an existing website or building one from scratch, you want to ensure that your best content is visible. When crawlers like Googlebot visit a website, the first thing they do is access the robots.txt file to find out which pages to crawl. If the crawler doesn’t find any instructions, it will crawl your entire site.

Crawlers have a limit on how fast they can index URLs, and they give priority to the most popular content. If Googlebot is spending its crawling budget on pages that get no traffic or ones you don’t need or want your customers to see, the content you want to showcase will take longer to appear in search results or might not appear at all.

To view your robot exclusion file, type in your basic URL followed by “/robots.text.” If you see a blank window or get an error message, you need to update it. Use the robot.txt file to allow crawlers to access your best content and disallow them to crawl low-value-add URLS, such as login or admin pages, duplicate content like print-friendly versions of online texts, or thank you pages that only qualifying leads should see. Neil Patel provides a step-by-step guide to using robots.text syntax.

You also want to create a sitemap to make your web pages easier for crawlers to navigate. Include all of your site’s categories, subcategories, and product pages. Services like Screaming Frog will generate a sitemap you can link to your robots.text file, so you won’t have to map thousands of product pages manually. While you’re mapping your site, check for any content created with older plug-ins like Flash or Silverlight, which won’t be visible to search engine crawlers. To make all of your content crawler-friendly, convert the format to HTML5 or JavaScript.

2.Increase your dwell time.

Once your web pages start appearing in search results, you need to ensure that Google users who visit your site stick around long enough to become customers. The amount of time users spend on your website is known as dwell time. The average visitor only spends 15 to 20 seconds on a page, but if you can keep them longer, they are more likely to convert into a customer, lead, or email subscriber. Above all, your website needs to satisfy search intent; when your site pops up in the search results, visitors expect to find content relevant to their original search and will leave promptly if they feel misled.

Increasing dwell time has additional benefits. When a customer spends a lot of time on one page, Google logs the session as a positive user signal, which will boost your rankings. Creating a consistent structure for seamless navigation will not only encourage customers to view and interact with more pages but also build link equity and overall site authority, two major factors in Google’s algorithm.

When it comes to site navigation, speed is essential. Visitors will bounce if your page takes more than a few seconds to load. They also won’t stick around if they can’t view your site properly on a mobile device. Make sure all of your web pages are mobile-responsive. Avoid creating separate pages for mobile and computer navigation because one page will end up stealing traffic from the other.

3.Create a topic cluster.

Peppering your blog or webpage randomly with popular keywords won’t yield results. Just as your website needs a clear structure, your content creation requires a systematic approach. A topic cluster is a strategy that capitalizes on popular search terms without allowing your content to get lost in the crowd.

Begin with general topics related to your industry and use Google keyword planner or a similar tool to identify 10 to 15 short-tail keywords. These keywords are too competitive by themselves, but you can use each one as a pillar to support a cluster of subtopics that delve deeper into specific concepts. Generate five to 10 long-tail keywords related to those subtopics, which then become the subjects of individual blog posts.

Most importantly, create a page for each pillar with links to your subtopics and include a link in each blog post back to the main pillar page to illustrate the relationship between the long-tail keywords you’re using in your blog and the overarching topic for which you want to increase your SEO ranking. Google’s algorithm places a higher value on pages that go into detail on the inner workings of a topic and meet the specific needs of a particular query.

What strategies have led to your brand’s SEO success? Let us know in the comments.