The million dollar question. From every client we hear – “Can you make me number one in Google?” Although there is no doubt that being on the first page of Google helps with traffic to your site and potentially will get you new work, if the site the user ends up on is out of date, hard to use and simply not appealing to them, what’s the point?
Building up a good online position takes time. People are impatient, they think having a website online buys them instant power that some how magically means their site will be on the first page for every term they can think to Google. Clients then get frustrated when they Google a term and they are not on the first page. You need to be more be realistic!
So let’s think about this, for example, if you are a brand new business, no existing online content at all, no one knows who you are yet. The expectation is that you launch your site and you want to be on the first page of Google. How do you expect this to happen? What have you done so far to let people know who you are and what your product or service is?
This expectation is the equivalent of starting a new job as office worker and walking straight into the M.D’s office and expecting to run the company. And although one day you may very well be ‘running the company’ and be the top dog this takes time, lots of time and effort.
Online competition is extremely dog eat dog, you slack off for a short time and your position will dwindle, it requires ongoing constant attention. That’s not to say that you should spend every waking moment obsessing about your online reputation, (hard I know!) but you have a business to run! However creating posts and new content on a weekly basis will definitely help.
You also have to remember that you are in competition with some big names and brands, companies that have been around for a long time who have a team of dedicated online marketers. Expecting to gazump these companies and hold a better online position than them is unrealistic. You can however start with local searches and less competitive keywords and establish yourself in your local area.
So what can you do? Below is a list of things to think about and action to help you on your way to that burning desire to be on the first few pages. Start making friends with Google and letting people know you exist.
1. Why do you want people to find your website?
What do you want them to do when they find you? Fill in your contact form, buy your product, email you, call you? You need to answer this question before you do anything else. Why? Because for example if you expect people to contact you via an enquiry form that is only on one page and hard to use, you need to address this first. Could you put your form on each page? Is it easy to use on mobiles and tablets? If you would prefer a potential client to call you, is your phone number present on the front page and easily visible for the user? Think about your site, does it do what you need it to do?
2. Why do you want to be number one in Google?
This may seem like a daft question because it should be obvious, however people generally just want to be on the first page without thinking about what the long term effect of this might be. Paying for pay per click ads straight away, not doing keyword research and just chucking money at quick fix SEO companies who create 100’s of links to get you there quick is not a long term solution. In fact some processes if not carried out correctly can have long term damaging effects on how your site is received by Google. You need quality traffic that will return and find you because you are what they are looking for – not 1000’s of traffic results from spam and sites that are not relevant to your industry. Getting to the first page organically is the best way, longer lasting and no tricks! If you just want to be on the first page for the sake of being able to tell your friends your company is on the first page of Google then you have missed the point completely.
Research what you do before you do it!
Being on the first couple of pages after 6 months could be a realistic goal if you put in the time. Google is changing what it looks for constantly to keep up with demands of users. For example last year we saw Google announce that it would be making users on mobiles aware if a site in their search results is mobile friendly. There are plenty of things you can do to ensure you give your site the best chance, here are a few starter tips.
- Ensure you site is responsive to improve user experience and to meet mobile friendly requirements
- Work on your content, make it clear and easy to understand
- Research keywords and long tail keywords for your industry
- Include an address to improve local searches so Google knows you are a real company
3. Feed your site
Having a website is not enough anymore, competition is too high. You need to constantly feed your site and maintain an online presence. You also need to ensure that users from other locations such as Facebook, Twitter or directories land on a decent web page. If you have led them to something that is poorly executed and not what they were after they will leave straight away. This action will cause a high bounce rate. Bounce rate is a measure of the percentage of people that leave your site having not looked at anything other than the page they landed on. A high bounce rate is also something Google will pick up when ranking your site, if Google thinks the pages don’t hold value to the user, down you go….
Either before, during or after your site is built you can create social media accounts, engage clients through a blog and sign up to online directories to improve your online presence, get people talking about your brand and what you offer, direct them to your site for more!
Whatever you do, it is always your content that matters more than anything else. Get this right and you are on your way….