When anyone uses Google or another search engine to try to find information about a product or service, the search engine will generally return thousands or millions of results. However, Google only shows ten of those millions of results on the first page. The vast majority of people searching the web will find what they are looking for on the first page of results, and the higher a site is placed on the page, the more likely people are to click on it. In fact, nearly a third of all searchers will go with the first search result. If you are trying to promote your business online, you definitely want your website to be on that first page of results, and the higher on the page the better.
How to get on the first page
If you’re a business owner, it can be incredibly frustrating to see that one of your main competitors has the top spot on Google, while your own website is nowhere to be found in the search results. There is no magic bullet to suddenly get your site the top spot (and don’t trust any marketing company who says they can do it for you). However, you have a lot of options to help improve your site rank, and most of them will have the bonus effect of making your website more valuable to your customers.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is simply the process of making sure that Google and other search engines understand what your website is all about. There are a whole lot of tools and methods for optimizing your site, many of which we have detailed in other blog posts, but one of the simplest and most effective things you can do is make sure that your website has plenty of good content that focuses on the keywords for your business. The way most businesses are doing this in 2015 is through frequent blog postings. Blogs give you the opportunity to produce new, relevant content on a regular basis (say, once or twice per week, if possible), and then promote this content you’re creating through social media. Google will see all this activity and it will naturally build up your authority in your industry over time.
The other big factor is establishing good quality backlinks for your website. Backlinks are simply links from other websites to yours, and these show Google that your website is a reliable source of information. If you are following a good content strategy, you will naturally build up backlinks over time. You can also hire an online marketing firm to help you build backlinks (LinkNow Media’s RankBooster services includes high quality backlink building), but you always want to make sure you are working with a reputable SEO company. There are SEOs out there using “black hat” SEO tactics that major search engines consider dishonest. These will sometimes result in quick boosts in search ranking, but your site’s search rank will be severely penalized if Google discovers your SEO company has used these tactics.
The other thing to remember is that all of this takes time. One of the biggest factors in Google’s rankings is longevity. If your competitors have a head start on you and have been producing good content and ranking well for years, it will take time for your website to be considered as trustworthy and reliable as theirs. Don’t give up, though! Good SEO tactics always pay off over time.
Where did my website go??
So, you’ve done all the SEO work, created lots of great content, and have established a strong network of backlinks, and you’ve started to see results – your website is ranking high on the first page for multiple keywords. Then suddenly your site is gone from the first page with no explanation. What’s going on?
If you find yourself in this situation, there is probably no need to panic. The truth is that there is no way to guarantee your site will always be at the top of the rankings, even if you are doing everything right. Google is prone to changing their ranking algorithms without notice or explanation, and these kinds of changes generally result in big shake ups in the search results for different keywords. However, these things generally sort themselves out as long as you keep following good SEO practices, keep producing good content, and keep building backlinks.
However, sometimes a sudden drop in rankings can be the result of something more serious. If Google becomes aware that a website is attempting to manipulate their algorithm by using unethical SEO tactics, they will usually punish that website by greatly reducing its search rank or by removing it from search results all together. If you suspect this may have happened to your business’s website, it is usually in your best interest to invest in the services of a reputable SEO company who will work to fix the damage that has been done to your brand.