I suggest you get yourself a cup of tea, coffee – or whatever you like to drink – and pull up a chair because the truth is a bitter pill to swallow. I swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
First page of Google
Statistically people do not venture past the second page of Google for search results. So competition for the first twenty results is high. The thing to note is that these first two pages of Google and especially the first page is a prestigious place. With that in mind doing Search Engine Optimisation [SEO] and tweaking your site is not enough of an advantage to get you on to the first page: your brand plays an instrumental role – which has nothing to do with SEO.
I have an analogy for you: consider a karaoke singer of average ability (I do not wish to offend any karaoke singers out there, I have nothing against you). Performing at a local public house is one thing. Performing at the Albert Hall is a different league. To be on the first page of Google you, your company and your brand have to have real substance. A few years ago, black-hat SEO techniques and an army of back-links from link farms may have temporarily got you to the first page, before Google ‘twigged’ and gave you the axe.
Google first page promises by companies
Recently it seems to have become a trend to receive unsolicited emails from the Indian subcontinent that claim to be able to get you to the top of Google, first position ranking: for a fee of course! It appears that they use the machine gun method of targeting companies in the Western World. Use their service at your peril. I strongly advise against it.
Prior to the ‘Panda’ updates that Google introduced in April 2011, such companies made their money by providing back-links to websites that wanted to boost their Google Ranking. Google’s Panda updates killed off any advantages in its algorithm that rewarded a site for the quantity of back-links.
The truth is with back-links, it’s quality not quantity that counts – as is the case with many things in life! All that is required are a few good quality links from authoritative websites.
Authoritative sites are those that have been around for years and who have proved themselves over time to have behaved well.
You can optimise your website yourself
If there is just one thing you take from this article it is this: all you need to do is to get your lion’s share from Google is to give each page of your website appropriate, meaningful titles reflecting the content on that page.
Invest in your Brand
It is important to note that digital communications are a tool for business. In the last thirty years digital has come to shape the innovative ways to communicate and engage with your target audience. Investing in your brand and being known in your immediate locality is what you should be aiming for. Word of mouth is an extremely powerful marketing tool.
When you are signed into Google and search for something, you are most likely going to be delivered local searches if Google can detect your location. There is no need to try and aim for the top of Google. Google is in the business of connecting the searcher with the most appropriate search results: else you would not use Google.
Let’s say for example you search for a ‘beauty salon’ in the Birmingham area. Google will return beauty salons near you and not beauty salons from, say, across the pond in the US.
Make a listing on Google Places for Business, and put your business on the map.
Facebook, and Twitter are okay, however everyone is doing it. You reap what you sow. You need to spend money to make money. Spend it on developing your brand and save it from avoiding “cowboys”.
Invest, invest, invest in your brand. Get involved in community projects and local and national charities and get your brand name out there in press releases.
– Read the Google Webmaster Guidelines – which is largely just common sense.
– Give meaningful page titles to your web pages.
– Get your business listed on Google Places for Business / Google Maps.
– Avoid individuals/companies who “guarantee” you Google first page ranking.
– Work on your brand; meet with your design agency, or commission one.
– Get involved with local community projects and charities.