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Do you ever click through to the second page of Google’s search engine results?
No. No one does.
In fact, less than three percent of searchers make it to the second page.
Understandably then, most business owners who come to us are interested in getting their business on the first page of Google’s search results. There are several suggestions to get your business listed at the top of search engine results (even Wikihow has something to say about it)—but we have a tried-and-true method of making it happen.
There are a few different areas of Google’s search results you can rank #1 for: rich snippets, PPC ads at the top, organic listings at the bottom, and local listings in the middle. That means you have four separate opportunities to rank your content on page one. Blue Corona’s philosophy and strategy to get that spot on the first page and outrank competitors starts by breaking it down into solving four main questions, each one aimed at a different part of the search results page:
- How do you get a Google featured snippet?
- How do you get your pay per click (PPC) ads on page one of Google?
- How do you use search engine optimization (SEO) to get page one real estate?
- How can local search engine optimization (LSEO) help get more page one listings?
Below you’ll find the answers to these questions along with some on-the-ground tips to help you claim that coveted number one spot on the first page of Google.
Editor’s Note: We started writing this post in 2013. Google has changed since then, so we’ve updated it—a lot—and will continue to do so to reflect the most recent statistics and information on getting your business on the first page of Google search results. Enjoy!
Don’t have time to read this whole post? Get it on-the-go by downloading the ebook here »
What Goes Into Google’s Ranking Algorithm in 2019
Before we dive in, you should know what the ranking factors are that Google looks for:
“You want the answer, not billions of webpages, so Google ranking systems sort through the hundreds of billions of webpages in our Search index to give you useful and relevant results in a fraction of a second.
These ranking systems are made up of a series of algorithms that analyze what it is you are looking for and what information to return to you. And as we’ve evolved Search to make it more useful, we’ve refined our algorithms to assess your searches and the results in finer detail to make our services work better for you.” – Google
There are more than 200 actual ranking signals, but here’s what you should focus on if you want to get your business on page one of Google’s search results in 2019:
- Secured sites (HTTPS vs. HTTP)
- Websites that are mobile-friendly
- Schema markup
- Webpage content quality
- Webpage content length
- Page speed
- Social signals
- Quality backlinks
- Optimized images
- Domain age
How to Rank in Google Featured Snippets
Would you be surprised to learn that 34 percent of Google searches result in no click at all? It’s true—and it’s because more and more searchers are getting the information they need right there in the search results through rich snippets/featured snippets.
A featured snippet is often used when the search query is a question. Frequently referred to as “position zero,” rich snippets always appear at the very top of the search results page. You’d be smart to try and get a few pages featured as rich snippets considering Google is rapidly becoming the world’s Answer Engine.
Here’s what snippets can look like in the search results:
There are three major types:
Certain types of content and queries tend to rank better for rich snippets:
To optimize your content for rich snippets:
- Use headers and bullets
- Answer the question fully
- Condense the information into the simplest answer you can
- Be as factual as possible
- Make sure to use images
The main difference between knowledge panel results and rich snippets is how much control you have over the content in it. You have less control over rich snippets, and you can actually claim and edit knowledge panels.
How to Get On Page One of Google for Paid Search Campaigns
While you might think SEO and PPC are at odds with each other, they actually work hand in hand—and I highly recommend you invest in both.
However, if you want to get on the first page of Google tomorrow, investing in paid search is the way to go. SEO campaigns can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to deliver results, so you’re unlikely to get more organic (non-paid) traffic, leads, and sales early in your investment.
Pay per click ads have always been a cost-effective way to get more leads and sales from the web.
Most marketers and advertisers have accepted that many people have “ad blindness” towards PPC listings—meaning they purposely do not click on paid ads. But if you look at the search engine results page, the first half is all ads!
If you’re not investing in PPC, you’re basically giving those clicks to your competitors.
Want to learn more about how to enhance your paid search campaign? Check out the following posts:
- Why Should I Bid on My Brand Name?
- The Benefits of Remarketing/Retargeting Ads
- How to Reduce Your PPC Cost-Per-Lead
- PPC Ad Copy that Converts
- Bing vs. Google Adwords
- Pay Per Click Statistics to Know
- Google Local Services Ads
How to Improve Your Organic Google Rankings with SEO and Get Your Website to Appear Higher in Search Engines
We’ve seen that the paid results claim the first half of the page, but if you want to rank higher in search engines for free, you need to rely on SEO. To be exact, you need to be in one of the first three organic positions.
Take a look at the graphic above. That’s the percentage of users that click on the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth positions. A whopping 55 percent of users click on the first three entries.
Getting in those spots, especially if you’re a new business, is tough. The best way to get in one of those top spots is by adding content to your website. High-quality content increases your rankings and also creates a better user experience for your customers. In addition, the more quality information you have on your site, the more likely others are to reference it. When other people link and reference your website, the search engines interpret your site as more authoritative and display it more prominently in search engine results.
Unfortunately for you, there’s much more to SEO than just adding content to your website. From a technical standpoint, you also need to make sure the search engines can easily crawl, understand, and index your website (read more here). This involves things like improving your site speed, using a search-engine friendly site navigation menu, creating a well-structured XML sitemap, building a responsive site for mobile and tablet users, and more.
A huge part of dominating search results is to focus on more than one service or key phrase. At Blue Corona, we always recommend you try to get as many listings on the first page as possible (what we call “maximizing your online real estate.”)
Want more SEO tips from Blue Corona? Check out the following:
- What SEO Success Looks Like Today
- What Is the Top Organic Listing on Google Worth?
- Does Website Security Impact My Google Rankings?
- Why Should I Blog for My Business?
- How Much Should You Spend on SEO?
- How Does Linking to Another Website Impact SEO?
How to Get More Local Leads from Local SEO
When you Google something like “plumber,” “ac repair,” “digital marketing company,” you’ve probably noticed that Google uses your location data to display nearby businesses. Obviously, if you own a local business, you want to get in those local listings (the “local pack”) in between the PPC ads and organic listings.
To show up in the local listings on the first page of Google, you need to optimize your NAP (name, address, phone number) citations across the Web. The more local citations you can build with consistent NAP information, the better.
If you’re a local business, you NEED to get savvy with local SEO. Learn more about local SEO and why it matters here >>
Other resources you might find helpful:
- Local Listing vs. Organic Listings in the Search Engine Results Page
- The Importance of Local SEO
- Three Things You Can Do to Improve Local SEO
Other Strategies for Getting More First Page Results on Google
While the paid listings, organic listings, and local listings are the main three SEM strategies for getting your business on the first page of Google, I have a few other (arguably) under-utilized tactics for getting even more listings on the first page (especially following Google’s decision to limit domain crowding):
A lot of companies—especially those with multiple business lines—opt to have more than one website. These companies tend to have a main or primary domain complemented by one or more microsites.
A microsite (sometimes called a minisite) is a website used to supplement a company or organization’s primary domain. More often than not, the microsite will have a URL distinct of the primary domain and has its own unique design and navigation.
Microsites can help you target different buyer personas, appear more relevant and authoritative, as well as get multiple listings in organic search results.
You can read more about the benefits of microsites in one of our older posts, “Should I Build Multiple Websites?”.
To improve its own customers’ user experience, Google likes to display a wide variety of media in its search results—including videos. Take a look at the organic listings below—a video hold the second spot. A video is 60 percent more likely to get ranked in a search result than a landing page on the same topic.
Having a YouTube channel and embedding videos onto your site are great ways to increase the chances that you’ll show up in related search results.
You already know about social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But depending on your industry, there are other social sites you should consider joining to increase your chances of showing up on the first page of Google. Pinterest, Houzz, Tumblr, and Yelp are all good examples.
Optimizing the images on your site can help you get on the first page of Google when it displays image results:
Google Product Listing Ads
If your business operates an ecommerce site, Google product listings ads represent another way to get your site (and products) featured on the first page of Google:
Putting press releases out for your business can potentially score you a spot in the News section of Google, particularly for branded terms:
Get Ahead of Your Competitors in the Search Engine Results Page with Blue Corona SEM Services
None of this matters if you rank behind your competitors. That’s the point, right? Outrank your competitors in Google’s search results?
Getting on the first page of Google in 24 hours isn’t realistic if you don’t have a partner that knows what they’re doing. Give me a call, and we can talk about a unique strategy for getting your business on the first page of Google. If you have an irrational fear of speaking to people on the phone, fill out this form; I’ll analyze your site, and show you what it takes to get that number one spot in Google’s SERPs:
About The Author: Betsy is Blue Corona's Digital Content Manager. When she’s not directing Blue Corona's corporate digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring with her wife, diving into the latest marketing trends, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod