Getting on the first page of Google is never an easy task. Nevertheless, it can be done in the long-term if you play by Google's rules. Google Hummingbird and the updates that came before it changed the playing field. You no longer have to concentrate solely on the technical side of things anymore.

That doesn't mean getting on the first page of Google is suddenly easier, though. It now means that you have to gain genuine popularity, rather than just popularity with Google.

1. Create a Content Plan

Your first step is to create a content plan. This is where you figure out what your niches are and what appeals to your chosen audience. A content plan is essential to get started with so you know what you're publishing and in what direction you're going.

Keep in mind that content is still king in this industry, and even more so now that Google's changes have come into effect.

2. Optimize Everything

Everything on your website should be optimized. This means you have to:

There's so much more to optimizing your content. But it's best to under optimize than to over optimize. The big danger you have to cope with is doing too much. You should limit the amount of keywords because Google clamps down hard on spammers.

When it comes to optimizing, go further than just the content on your website. Add a keyword or two into hashtags and social media updates.

3. Write for Your Audience

According to the CMO of BacklinksRocket SEO, "Google is not your audience. In the prior years, it was a case of simply writing whatever you wanted and hitting all the right buttons with Google. Today, Google is more intelligent than ever before. They now want to base their ranking decisions on what's genuinely popular. It means you have to go out of your way to write for your target audience."

This audience must love your work or you stand little to no chance of ever ranking highly on Google. This is where the research comes into play with your original content plan from earlier.

4. Images are Good

Images are essential for attracting people to your content. With more and more people operating using mobile devices, it's more important than ever to reduce the amount of written content and increase the amount of visual content.

The images you source should ideally be original. The more of your own content you can cram into the average blog the more of a chance you have of Google picking it up. Using someone else's image will only help to promote their brand.

5. But Videos are Better

Video really is king when it comes to SEO, but not for the reasons you think. To start with, video is king because mobile users are in the majority now. They don't have time to read a long stream of content. Furthermore, video simply engages people more and provides a better overall marketing and advertising experience.

You should invest in crafting your own unique video-based content. Video is more popular on social media, and social media is the metric that carries the most weight with Google. If you can grow your popularity on social media, Google will quickly follow.

It's why the most successful companies are now concentrating on social media, as opposed to traditional SEO with Google.

6. Cater to Mobile

While you should cater to as many devices as possible, it's extra important that you concentrate on mobile. Mobile is now in the majority, and whether you agree with it or not Google has clamped down on sites not suited to mobile devices. Dubbed 'Mobilegeddon', this is the term for how Google has kicked sites without this functionality down the search rankings.

Make your website responsive. This is easy to do with a newer theme because it's already built in, but for older websites you need a developer.

Last Word

These are the main areas you need to target to get on the first page of Google. Keep in mind that SEO and social media go hand in hand. It will take time to accomplish, but success will bring in unparalleled levels of traffic.

Published on: Feb 5, 2016