Upon publishing a website, small businesses have one thing in mind. Traffic.
And how do they plan on seeking web traffic? Organically through Google (though SEM campaigns are an even easier option).
In fact, the most common question our SEO specialists receive is, “How do I get my website on the first page of Google?” And while giving the answer may be simple, it can very difficult to understand and accomplish.
There are three things we know to be true about that coveted first page:
- There is only one first page.
- Every website wants to be there – all 3 billion of them.
- It takes hard work, and then more hard work.
Now, let’s demystify search engine rankings and define what will get you onto that first page.
A search engine is a business with a product
A search engine offers a service, the same as any business does. Where you may offer contracting services, search engines offer search results. For example, when someone searches for “San Francisco flower shop” the search engine’s goal is to provide the best results in the quickest amount of time.
There are three major search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing. As you are probably aware, Google is the top dog. Do you know why this is? Because they provide the very best service in their arena; their search returns are quick and incredibly accurate.
How does the search engine provide its product?
The same way you create your product using the tools of your trade, search engines create their product, the search returns, using a tool called an algorithm.
An algorithm is a computer program that spiders through billions of websites Internet-wide to figure out what they are about, and then adds them to their extensive index. The index refers to a massive library of web pages that the search engine can choose from when giving search results.
So, if someone searches for the keyword “used cars,” in the blink of an eye, the search engine scans its index to pick out the most relevant web pages and rank them within a search engine results page (SERP).
An algorithm is built to look at a variety of aspects of a website to interpret its topic, define its keywords, and determine its ranking. Here are a few factors a search engine will look at:
- Domain name – Does the website have a custom domain name?
- Age of domain name and website – How long has the domain name been owned? How long has the website been published?
- The popularity of a website – How much traffic does the website get?
- The number of links coming into a website – How many other websites link to the site. A link to a website can be considered a vote in favor of it.
- The authority of the links coming into a website – How popular are the sites that link to a website? A link from a very authoritative website, such as Nike.com, will hold more weight than a link from a not as authoritative website such as bobs-fun-shoes.com.
- How often a site is updated – How often does the website provide fresh content to its site visitors?
- Site navigation – Can a search engine spider easily get through a site?
- Amount of written content – A search engine reads text. The way for it to pick out the topic of a page is through written text.
- Load time – How fast does the site load? Are there any pages that load slowly due to image size?
- Keyword usage - Does the website content focus on keywords that the search engine can pick out? Is there metadata written for each page of the site to focus on keywords? Do images have alternative text?
The above are only a few factors we are aware of that the search engine looks at to decide how to list a website for any given keyword search. A great majority of this landing in the realm of site popularity, relevance and authority.
Things to remember:
- There is only one first page of a search engine.
- There are billions of websites vying for the first page of the search engine results for their preferred keyword searches.
- Getting on the first page of Google take literal time. No website can have popularity and authority right away. This takes good, old fashioned marketing.
- It’s the search engine’s job to make their first page as relevant and amazing as possible so that people continue to use them as their search engine of choice.
- And the most important of all – getting to the first page of Google takes an incredible amount of hard work in the realm of search engine optimization. If popularity, authority and site traffic are major contributors to how you rank in the search engines, then building up your authority and traffic is one of your biggest jobs, and the one that will take the most time.
Yola’s primary goal is to offer you a website builder to help you easily create a professional website. Where you go with that website in the search engines depends on the amount of effort you’d like to dedicate. If you make it to that first page of Google, pat yourself on the back! We know it took hard work to get there.
In addition, Yola is here to provide you with tips and tools for moving forward with your search engine optimization. Resources such as Yola Gold, our wide spread of tutorials and consults with an SEO Specialist (one of the many perks of Yola Gold) are great ways to point yourself in the right direction.
Already a Yola Gold subscriber? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consult with an SEO Specialist to help you get the most out of your premium subscription.