ost readers find this post through our top Google listing. In seeking a Black-owned marketing company (and having found us), you probably already realize how important it is to rank on the first page of Google (for the right terms) to get in front of the exact clients you want.
This post outlines our exact strategy for getting top Google rankings.
If you’re still in the prep stages and need answers to questions like, “How long does it take a website to show up on Google?” or “How soon will I see visitors or leads once I’m ranked?” then see 5 Pertinent Questions on Google Marketing for Black Businesses before moving on.
How We Got to the Top of Google (Fast).
Below are some first page Google rankings we got using this strategy, back when our primary service offered was strategic website design.
Note: CTR is “clickthrough rate,” meaning the number of people that saw our listing and also “clicked through” to visit our target page.
Here are stats for a 90-day period:
#1 ranking, black owned web design companies: 20.45% CTR
#2 ranking, black owned graphic design companies: 22.84%
#2 ranking, african american web designers: 13.22% CTR
#2 ranking, african american web developers: 16.42% CTR
Our clickthrough rate was very good, but we could honestly have optimized some things to improve it even more. But because it was for a page I tossed up in a day for some easy rankings, I hadn’t done much to it because it was already doing a great job of generating weekly inquiries.
So here’s an overview of our process for getting ourselves and clients top Google rankings.
Stage 1: Keyword Determination
Objective: Fully understand who you’re targeting. Compile list of “starter” keywords. (CRITICAL.)
We start building every ideal client profile here, usually by
interrogating you relentlessly, er, digging deeply into your business to understand you, what you do, why you do it, who your target market is, what they want, need, and expect… for starters.
If your marketing professional doesn’t understand your motivation, your goals, and your ideal client, there is no way they can consistently help get you results.
This step is critical to be done thoroughly and well, as it sets the stage for ALL of your marketing efforts.
When we do this for our clients, we help them determine things like:
- What kinds of “solutions” to your clients’ problems do you offer?
- What do they expect from your business?
- What search terms are they using to find your competitors?
- What need are prospects expecting your company to potentially meet for them?
From that intel, we can determine the best starter target keywords to help guide their marketing strategy.
Stage 2: Competitive & Industry Analysis
Objective A: Identify top competitors and marketing strategy effectiveness of each (SEO audits).
Objective B: Refine & finalize home page keywords, choosing most relevant, popular, and attainable.
Here is where you would evaluate your top competitors for the keywords and key needs we determined your ideal client has in the last step.
- What types of content are your competitors offering, and how is the market responding to it?
- Are users asking a question via search that isn’t well answered by the search results? (If not, why not? Is this keyword a dud, or is it a prime opportunity for you to dominate the results?)
These findings help you “test” your starter keywords to either ensure they’re sound choices, or to refine them with alternatives that will best deliver the specific results you want to achieve with your marketing.
Tip: Make sure you’re considering only the Black owned marketing agencies that base your plan of attack around a solid understanding of who you’re targeting.
They can’t just go out marketing to any and everyone and expect to get any results (that don’t waste a lot of time and money in the process of “figuring it out.”)
Objective A: Compile shortlist of top domains/sites to scope for links.
Objective B: Notate critical on-page optimizations your site must do for best chance of outranking competitors.
Once you’ve decided on the final list of keywords to start with for your marketing plan, update your competitor list (if needed), and do some digging to understand why they’re ranked highly for those keywords:
- Do they have a ton of links? From where?
- Are they new to this, or have they been around for years?
- What domains and web pages are their top links coming from?
- What are the common top sites that link to most of your top competitors?
These findings tell you how easy it will be to rank highly for your chosen keywords.
Stage 3: Compile “Starter” Places to Set Link Foundation
Objective: Map out marketing first steps.
Based on the notes taken from the last step, (and also from your Ideal Client Profile), you’ll already have a few basic categories of online properties where you can plan to get your site linked.
You also will already have uncovered several “categories” within which to promote you for several weeks, to, most likely, several months (dependent upon your marketing package).
Note, all outreach you do to promote your website (get links) should be high quality and 100% relevant.
Getting relevant listings allows a specialized business to build a relevant online presence much more quickly.
Stage 4: Build Solid “Starter” Web Presence with Niche Listings
Objective: Build a solid and RELEVANT online presence.
Now the promotion starts. This is how you “get your foot in the door” in Google’s eyes, showing them that there’s a new biz on the block that is ready to take over the world.
Or do the next tax return.
Or design the next comprehensive financial plan.
Or guide the next investment, find the next real estate buyer, build the next succession plan… or however it is you serve your specific clientele.
In the previous preparation stage, you came up with numerous categories from which to begin getting eyeballs on your site. Now, you start exhaustively deep searching the Web for the most popular, relevant, and credible places we can find, then set out to get you listed there.
Stage 5: Create Starter Content to Establish Google Rankings
Objective: Start publishing content on your website that Google will come to love.
Depending on your offerings and target audience, by now you probably came across several competing blog posts or web pages that rank for one of your primary keywords.
Save those competing pages to analyze later in your marketing plan (once you begin to make a big dent in all the categories from above, and before you start writing content).
And just like in your earlier competitive analysis stage, you’ll scrutinize the top ranking post in particular to understand why it’s at the top of Google. From there your SEO pro may recommend building a post on YOUR website to outrank it.
Note, the first content you’d write and/or optimize would be for your primary landing page for the exact types of ideal clients you seek to attract. This “optimization” should include both the text you can see, as well as the ones you can’t, like meta tags, page formatting, and schema.
Stage 6: Market New Posts to Increase Google Rankings
Objective: Promote your on-site content to drive Google rankings up and visitors in.
To maintain your rankings over time, you should continue writing content and promoting it.
If the keywords you’re targeting are very competitive, we recommend repeating this cyclical process of:
- content creation
- content marketing (of that new content)
- keyword analysis (finding “spin-off keywords” to optimize for),
- competitive analysis (finding new places to promote your articles, based on “spin-off keywords”),
- content creation…
- content marketing…
…and so on.
In addition to everything else, you may also want to try different techniques that have proven effective for other consulting and advisory businesses, to see if you can overtake even more of Google’s first page by using sites like Craigslist.
*** Repeat Steps 5 and 6 often. ***
Stage 7: Measure Content & Google Marketing Results
Objective: Discover what’s working best for your website, to do more of what gets results, and eliminate what’s a waste of investment (in either time or money).
Once you’ve begun to get a system down and momentum going, you should regularly analyze your site’s content to see how it’s performing. This is critical in refining and getting a deeper understanding of what resonates with your unique audience:
- What are your highest traffic articles?
- Can you monetize those in some way?
- What keywords are those articles ranking for on Google?
- Are those the keywords you intended to rank for?
- Can you expand on those topics to create more high-traffic content?
- Can you repackage that content as supporting media (videos, guides, podcasts, etc.) to get the fullest benefit (from the lowest investment) from that piece of popular content?
…and so on.
Keeping the cycle going—and doing regular “internal” analyses (of your site’s and articles’ performance)—ensures that you never run out of content ideas and places to promote your website.
Stage 8: Promote All Website Posts on Social Media
Objective: Start establishing your social media footprint, as social signals are also very important to Google rankings.
If your business isn’t yet on social media, design a social profile to match your website and brand. Then use your Ideal Client Profile and the research we’ve done so far to understand the type of content your audience really wants to receive.
If you’ll manage your social accounts yourself, it’s important to make a list beforehand of where and how to find content indefinitely, plus how to increase followers and find interested leads organically, who are most likely to visit your website and contact you about services.
Spend some time each month building your following, sharing relevant, interesting content to your audience, and ensuring that all of your relevant articles and news get shared.
More importantly, as your on-site articles climb up the Google ranks, try to make sure that the most popular of those get shared by readers who visit your site, increasing your site’s social popularity, thus bringing in even more followers, likes, +1s, shares… and hopefully, clients.
As an example, just one of our on-site articles that gets hundreds of visits per week is responsible for helping boost our Facebook following into the thousands, as well as getting dozens of Twitter shares per month with exactly zero additional work on our part.
Hint: Make sure the marketing companies you’re looking at have the experience to create high-powered posts to help dominate your industry, from a perspective that’s attractive to your Ideal Client.
Is Google Marketing a Good Decision for Your Business?
By now, it should be abundantly clear that getting your website to the top of Google is vastly more important to your bottom line than social media. Achieving top rankings on Google can REALLY pay off — if you’re willing to stick with a sound strategy for the long haul.
Search engine marketing for competitive keywords is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. It takes focus, time, patience, high strategy, persistence, and adaptability:
Your chosen African American owned marketing agency must be able to discern whether something is working or isn’t… and know what to optimize in both cases to help you get more and BETTER clients from the Internet.
You have done so much in such a small article. It is quite impressive. The blog urges us to reflect on important things. Thanks!
Steve, we appreciate that. There’s definitely a lot to consider when attempting to reach the first page of Google, particularly as a diversely-run company.
I can only imagine how much research has gone into this. I like your writing skills as it makes one feel included in the journey. Thank you for the valuable notes.
Many hours of research, testing, and trial & error indeed. Thanks for your recognition; glad it helps.
I have to say that you are on the right track. This will be loved by several individuals as it is detailed and interesting. All the best for your future work.
This has got to be one of the most honest and well written SEO articles I’ve read thus far.
We thank you very much for saying that.
Hope you will keep on offering good content like this more often. I feel more and more people should know about this. Also, I agree on most of the points you have made.