Where does your company rank on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)?  If you are not listed on the first two pages, then your business is invisible to Google searchers (about 92% of searchers click on organic links on the first page of Google search results).  Page two gets about 5% of the clicks from searches.   Very few people go beyond page two (most will refine their search first).  So how does one get on page one of a Google SERP?

Follow Google’s Guide

Search results - improve your ranking on Google

The Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide published by Google is a must read for any business interested in getting to the first page of Google search.  The Starter Guide focusses on six key areas where you must focus your attention. These include covering SEO basics, improving the URL structure, optimizing content, helping website crawlers, setting up SEO for mobile phones, and promoting your site.

SEO basics include creating unique and accurate page titles.  Each webpage title is displayed on the first line of the search results.  It is important to capture the interest of searchers with this line. Consider it the banner for your advertising campaign.  Searchers use the page title to determine the relevance of the search result.  Additionally, use the description meta tag to describe the contents of each page.  The information found in the description meta tag is also displayed in the search results.

A simple URL structure is easy for searchers to read.  For example, which is easier to remember?  http://www.test.com/computers or http://www.test.com/?post_id=12;ver=6

Include human readable URLs

Use proper naming schemes when creating your URL structure.  Remember that Google also displays the URL in search results.  Make your website easy to navigate.  This is important for human visitors and web crawlers.  A well planned layout makes it easier for both types of visitors.  As an added bonus, add breadcrumbs to your website for human visitors.  This way, visitors will always know where they are within your website.

Optimize content by diligently researching popular keywords related to your business.  There are a variety of keyword tools available (some require payment but there are free keyword planners also).  Produce unique and relevant content based on your keyword research (remember to include keywords in your page titles).  Use accurate and descriptive links (to both onsite and offsite content).  Optimize images by creating descriptive information in the alt attribute (include keywords here also). Use h1 tags for the most important text (again, include keywords).

Make effective use of your robots.txt file.  Restrict crawling to pages you only want listed on Google.  Google provides an easy to use robots.txt file generator that you can use.  Add a rel=”nofollow” to content that you don’t want Google to follow (such as comments left in your blog).

Notify Google of any mobile sites you have.  Some businesses have two different websites set up for different visitors (desktop or mobile).  A common trend these days is to create a responsive website that automatically adjusts its size based on the visitor’s device.

Finally, promote your website the right way.  Don’t buy inbound links (Google will lower your ranking).  Earn inbound links by providing quality content, others will link to your website and help build your credibility.  Use social media to promote your business and include social media links on your website.

These helpful hints (all provided by the search engine master) will help you get found on Google.  Think of Google as the phonebook for the world.  If you are not found on page one or two of the Google Search Engine Results Page, then you will not be found.

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