Almost every small business owner I talk to wants to know why their business isn't number one on Google. They have often searched for a term like "bicycles" and discovered that, not only is their business not number one, they're not on the first page at all - or the tenth - or the 100th. Unfortunately, this is where I have to step in and be the bearer of bad news. Your small business may never be number one on Google (at least not for those generic, highly-sought-after keywords).
In this article, you'll learn why you can't expect your business to rank in the number one spot for generic keywords and why it doesn't matter.
How Google Ranks Pages
Let's start with a quick overview of how Google and other search engines rank pages. The main goal of a search engine is to give the person who is searching the most accurate results possible. They don't want website owners to be able to game the system and trick the search engine into moving their page up the list, so they are constantly change their search algorithms. We do, however, know some of the things they consistently look for, some of which are website authority, inbound links, keyword relevance, and traffic volume. I'll go over some of these in broad strokes, but if you really want to look at this in more detail, check out this post by Moz.
When Google is deciding which web pages have more authority on a topic than others, one of the things it considers is how long the site has been live. If you have competitors who have been online longer than you have, it's going to take some time to build up your site's authority in Google's eyes.
Many sites that rank highly for a specific keyword have a large number of inbound links. When another website links to your website, it shows Google that other people view your site as a valuable source of information. The more quality inbound links you have, the more credit Google gives you for being an authority on the topic. As a side note, search engines are smart enough to know the difference between a real inbound link and one that was purchased from a link farm, so don't fall for that trick. Your site could be penalized for using dishonest tactics. Google has this to say.
Another indication Google looks at for your site's authority is the volume of traffic coming to your site. If a large number of visitors are coming to your page for the same thing, this tells search engines that people are finding what they're looking for on your website. It may seem like a bit of a catch 22, but the more traffic you bring to your site, the higher your site will rank in search results.
Why it Doesn't Matter that You're Not Number 1
All of this may make it feel like it's impossible to succeed as an online business. It feels like that because most business owners think they need to be on page one of search results, when what they really need is an increase in qualified traffic. Yes, being at the top of the search results will bring more traffic to your site. But that doesn't always translate to more business. Isn't that the goal?
Instead of focusing on getting everyone's eyes on your site, focus on getting the right eyes on your site. Find the people who are looking for the product or service you provide, and get them to your site. Once they've been to your site, continue to nurture the relationship. Give them a reason to come back to your site. You'll build more credibility by speaking directly to the right audience, and with a little extra work, convert them into paying customers.
Not sure how to take the next step? We'd love to chat with you. Send us a message, and let's talk about how we can start sending quality traffic to your site today!
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