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Looking for the answer to a question you’ve been pondering all day? Need a plumber? Wandering a new city on an empty stomach and want to find the best Italian restaurant nearby?
Chances are, the first place you’ll look for this information isn’t a trusted friend or family member; it’s Google. In fact, 81 percent of consumers conduct online research before they buy, and 93 percent of that online research starts with a search engine.
Though Google contains a vast amount of information that can satisfy almost any query you can think of, most people don’t make it past the first page of results.
In fact, less than ten percent of searchers make it to the second page of Google, and pages ranking number one receive 33 percent of clicks. Needless to say, as a business owner, you should aim to get as many pages of your site ranking in this top spot for the services that are important to you as possible.
If you’re looking to make progress toward this goal, you have to be willing to make some changes.
Ready to make some changes now? Contact us!
How Do Google Search Rankings Work?
Simply put, Google awards content that it feels is the most valuable to users with top spots in searches. What factors go into determining what pages deserve to be ranking number one? Though we have a good idea, no one except Google knows for sure.
There are over 200 ranking factors that go into determining which pages are worthy of that number one spot. Some of those we recommend concentrating on are:
- Secured sites(HTTPS vs. HTTP)
- Mobile friendliness
- Schema markup
- Content quality
- Content length
- Page speed
- Social signals
- Quality backlinks
- Optimized images
- Domain age
How Do I Rank Higher on Google?
To rank number one on Google, your site needs to excel in each of the ranking factors listed above. Of course, that’s much easier said than done. We suggest starting with something fairly simple that you have the most control over: your content.
The Value of Quality Content
When you type a query into Google, you expect to have your want or need satisfied by whatever results the search engine offers you. Ideally you would like to only have to visit one or two web pages before finding the information you’re looking for. Even if your page does rank number one on Google, it won’t do you any good if the content on that page doesn’t fulfill the reader’s need.
Make sure the content on your site is valuable and thorough. Think about your target audience and their reasoning for visiting a page on your site. Write thoughtful blog posts that answer questions and solve common problems. Create detailed service pages, and clearly list the services that you provide and reasons why you stand above the others in your industry. Though you can’t always guess exactly what query a searcher typed to get them to your page, at the very least, make their visit to your site worth their while.
The Important of Site Structure
Unfortunately, there’s more to getting that spot than just helpful content—you need to make sure search engines are able to successfully crawl and index your website. In order to best accomplish this, your site should have a decently fast load time, a search-engine-friendly site navigation, an XML sitemap, and overall, should be a responsive site that’s easy to navigate on mobile and desktop.
Ranking Factors that Give You That Extra Boost Up the Page
Have you added valuable content throughout your site? How about your site structure, is that all in order? Great! Now you can concentrate on some of the less important ranking factors. The next thing you should look at are backlinks.
If you were looking for a restaurant to go to, and five friends spoke high praise of one location and just one of your buddies said they enjoyed another, which would you be most likely to go to?
Though you may say you would check out the first spot, would your answer change if that one friend who recommended the second place is a food blogger who hasn’t led you astray with restaurant recommendations in the past? My guess is that it might.
That’s kind of how backlinks work. A backlink is any time another site links to your site. Google sees these almost like you see restaurant recommendations. If other sites like your site enough to link to it, it must be good!
Just like your foodie blogger friend’s opinion held more weight to you than just another person’s opinion would, a link from a major news site like CNN means more in Google’s eyes than a link from a city’s local news station.
Though any link is a good one (excluding spammy sites), aim high and try to catch the attention of a more authoritative website.
Looking for link building tips? We’ve got you covered!
How Do I Rank Higher on Google Maps?
Another opportunity to get to the top of users’ screens is through the local pack. The local pack includes up to three nearby locations that fit the searcher’s query. To rank in the local pack, your site should still include everything mentioned above in addition to a few other things.
You’ll want to make sure your NAP (name, address, phone) is consistent throughout various platforms. The best place to start is on your Google My Business profile. If you haven’t already, go to https://www.google.com/business/ and create a business profile. After you’ve done that, create as many directory profiles for your company as possible. Try sites like Home Advisor, Yelp, and Foursquare.
How Do I Get My Website to the TOP of Google Search?
Even if you put all of your efforts into improving your site’s rankings, there’s a chance it still may not be enough to snag that number one spot. This could happen for a number of reasons.
One thing that may keep you out of that top spot is directories. After looking at the rankings of roughly 1400 keywords, our team found that 30 percent of possible page one rankings were directories and of the top three spots, 56 percent were directories. Because of the size, popularity, word count, and freshness of content on these sites, it’s very difficult (but not impossible) to outrank them.
Another thing that could be standing in your way is the size and quality of your competition. It’s much easier to rank for something like AC repair in a small town in the middle of Utah than in a major city like New York or Chicago. Chances are there are tons of other businesses similar your own that are fighting just as hard for that number one position. If you’re a new company trying to compete with big names who have been in the business for decades, you may want to set your expectations a little lower.
How Long Does It Take for a New Website to Rank on Google?
Though it’s the dream of every business owner to make a few tweaks to their site, snap their fingers, and automatically see results, that’s just not the case. We’ve found that it takes roughly three to six months for you to start to seeing improvements in your rankings. We recommend giving it at least three months before making any more changes to see if there are any improvements.
Why Rankings Aren’t the Only Thing That Matters
So if I don’t rank well for all of my most important keywords, I’m failing, right?
Don’t worry—rankings aren’t everything.
Many business owners think their Google rankings are the best factor to determine online success. While it’s true that your position in Google searches can play a large role in your business’ success, it’s definitely not the only thing that matters. We recommend concentrating more on revenue growth and your lead numbers than on rankings.
Trust Our SEO Specialists to Help Boost Your Google Rankings
Though there’s no guarantee that your pages can be optimized enough to make it to that number one spot, with the help of our SEO team, your online presence will definitely see an improvement.
About The Author: Danielle is a Content Marketing Specialist in Blue Corona's Charlotte office. When not running campaigns for her clients, you can find her talking about music to whoever will listen, searching the city for a new sushi restaurant, or watching The Office.
View more blogs by Danielle Duggan