I get the same phone call over and over from business owners. The person is frustrated, and they say something like this.
“People can’t find me online. Even if they search for my business by exact name, sometimes they have trouble finding me. I’m the biggest provider of XYZ in my area, but when you search for XYZ online, my business doesn’t come up.”
They recognize not having visibility is costing them business. They may have worked with other companies or agencies that offer to help, but they don’t see consistent results.
When you type in keywords relevant to your business, if you don’t see your name multiple times on the first page, you’re losing money. Spade Design creates and promotes websites that consistently rise to the top.
Google Search vs. Other Search Engines
Why the focus on Google search? Because that’s what most people use. When you look at search engine market share worldwide, the difference between Google and other search engines is staggering. Let’s pull up a few of the stats for the United States in early 2019. At the time this article is being written, here are the most recent measures of search engine market share in the U.S.
- Google – 88.6 percent
- Bing – 6.01 percent
- Yahoo! – 4.09 percent
- DuckDuckGo – 0.98 percent
- MSN – 0.15 percent
- Baidu – 0.04 percent
If you’re focusing on just one search engine, Google is by far the most important. However, they all use roughly the same methods for deciding what pages are relevant for search terms. Following best practices for Google will also help your page ranking with Bing and Yahoo.
Learning the Lingo
Search has its own vocabulary, and many terms sound like alphabet soup. Here are a few you should know for the purposes of this article.
- SERP/Search Engine Results Page – When you type words into search, you get a list of the results that search engine thinks is most relevant to your query.
- SEO/Search engine optimization – A process that should lead to ranking higher in SERPs organically.
- Organic – Traffic comes naturally, not from paid methods like Google AdWords.
- CTR/Click through rate – the number of people who click on your link on SERPs.
You’ll find additional terms in our article The Essential SEO Jargon Glossary.
Ranking and Revenue
Some businesses point out they’ve been doing what they do successfully for a very long time without worrying about search engines at all. They reason that if their products and services are the very best, people will choose them.
The problem is, people have to find you to know what you offer. They’re looking for you online, not driving around town reading billboards.
So how important is it really to rank at the top? Is it enough to be on the first page or two, or do you need to be extremely competitive?
If you spend on improving page position on Google search, what will that get you? Is it just a vanity thing or will your business receive revenue from your efforts?
Think of your page’s position like a retailer’s physical location. The business with a store in the trendiest, busiest, most accessible part of town will receive the most traffic. Place the same store with the same merchandise and customer service in the middle of nowhere and that traffic dwindles to almost nothing.
Search engines are actually pretty good at identifying user intent and supplying relevant results. People know that, and subconsciously feel the top suggestions are probably the best. Most people also prefer organic results to ads, even though ads show up at the top. Most people don’t go farther than the first few organic choices.
SERPs are personalized to each user. That’s why you see different results searching on your work PC than on your cell phone.
When your result stands out, you’re more likely to grab attention. When you grab attention, more people click on your link and visit your page. As your site receives more traffic, search engines reward you with a higher ranking.
Your result displays a title, the web address or URL for that specific page and a description of what users will find. After that, you may have noticed how not all results look the same.
Google is constantly adding, removing and tweaking the features users see on search engine results pages. These features can make your business stand out on Google search.
- Featured Snippet – When users ask a question, Google might show a result in a special block at the top of the page. It’s basically a summary of the information that user is looking for.
- Local Pack – If the search has a geographic intent, Google shows a local pack. You’ll see a map with pins that show the business location. It takes up a significant portion of screen space, especially on mobile.
- Reviews – When you see yellow stars under a business URL, that comes from page markup.
- Sitelinks – Sometimes results have extra links to make it easier for the user to find what they’re looking for. In the above example, note how the first result is further broken down into two sub-categories. It gets more screen real estate and is more noticeable than the other choices.
- Image pack – Image pack results show up as a horizontal row in any organic position. They appear when Google thinks a visual migh help.
- Video – Sometimes Google displays a thumbnail of video in search results. People are more likely to click.
Over the last few years, the number of people using voice search has grown dramatically. At Spade Design, we create content that gets results no matter how users input the query.
How to Rank High With Google
You can’t trick Google. There’s no magic or digital marketing trickery that can successfully manipulate your search engine ranking over the long term. There are black hat SEO techniques, but those are best avoided.
It takes extensive background knowledge and consistent work to get clients where they want to be on SERPs. Reputable firms don’t guarantee search engine ranking, because Google is always changing. However, these elements have helped many Spade Design clients achieve that coveted top spot.
Copying your competitors won’t get you anywhere. When you create a website, page, post or anything else in the digital space, search engines are looking for one-of-a-kind material. Unique content is like food for Google bots and for the people looking for you as well.
Flawless Technical SEO
Spade Design builds websites that are easy to crawl and index. They’re also mobile responsive and lightning fast, both critical ranking factors.
Clear Website Structure
People and search engines use how your site is structured to make sense of the information it contains. If you’ve ever clicked on a result and felt confusion, you know how quickly you looked for another result. How your pages link together tells Google which ones are the most important and how topics are related.
Backlinks From High Authority Domains
When another site links to your domain, it’s like a vote in your favor. However, not all backlinks carry the same weight. The best links come from high authority domains.
For example, if you have a bed and breakfast and you receive a link from an esteemed travel magazine, that’s helpful. You don’t get the same rankings boost if you place an ad with a link on Craigslist.
One of the best ways to get backlinks is to create good content. When your content is the best thing out there on a topic, other sites want to link to yours.
Google updates its algorithm all the time, sometimes more than once a day. Instead of making yourself crazy worrying about tiny tweaks, design for your customers, your website visitors.
When people search and click on your link, they form a first impression in milliseconds. If they find what they expected, what they were looking for, they’ll stay and look around. If your website is cluttered, claustrophobic or confusing they won’t.
When your layout, images and design are pleasing, they’ll move on to the information you present. If the link took them where it said it would, the information is on the page and they can accomplish their goals, it’s a good result. Google takes note of their behavior after they click and adjusts your SERP position accordingly for that query.
To rank high with Google, examine the features of each page. Your URL, title tag, heading tags, keywords, internal links and image alt text should all reflect what the page is actually about. We tell exactly what you need in our article On Site SEO Factors That Affect Rankings.
Your Business on Page One of Google Search
So where is your business currently on Google Search? Being on page one drastically increases the amount of traffic your website receives. It gains you customer trust. Your business becomes more visible and people view you as an authority in your industry.
Are you curious what it takes to get there? Our clients say hiring Spade Design pays for itself many times over. Stop missing out on traffic and revenue when you get in touch today.