We get questions all the time about how to get a website to show up on the first page of Google. So, in this post, I’m going to run through 8 things that you might not know about how Google works and give you concrete steps to take that will improve your rankings.
1) You should (if possible) create individual pages for each of your products or services.
Google lists web pages that are entirely about a given search keyword above web pages that just mention that keyword. Therefore, in order to dramatically increase the number of people who find your website on Google, you should create individual pages for each of your products or services— rather than having one page that lists them all.
This technique of creating separate pages for each product or service is something that I do for almost all of my clients.
Using this technique, I was able to get one client listed on the first page of Google (nationwide!) for over 50 different products.
2) If you want to show up on Google when someone searches for a specific keyword, that keyword must be on your website.
What I mean by this is that, if I search on Google for “VA loans” and your website doesn’t have the words “VA loans” on it, then your website won’t show up. Although this might sound obvious, a lot of businesses forget to include complete lists of services or products on their websites.
It’s also very important to use words similar to those keywords throughout your site. Try to make each page focused on a single keyword.
3) You should include keywords in the headings and sub-headings on each of your web pages.
Google gives more weight to the words in the headings on your web pages than to the words in the rest of the text. This means that you should use headings with keywords in them, rather than headings like “welcome to our website.”
Also, make sure to use multiple levels of headings and keep your content organized like an outline.
4) Search results aren’t the same everywhere. You need to decide whether you want to show up locally or nationwide.
Google now brings up different search results based on your location. This makes it easier to show up when local people search, but it makes it much more difficult if you want to show up nationwide.
You need to decide whether your goal is to show up locally or nationwide and optimize your website for that goal.
To show up locally, list the areas that you serve in multiple places on your website. To show up nationwide, eliminate most references to specific areas, towns, and cities.
5) Google gives you bonus points for having a business Facebook page.
Not only is having a business Facebook page a great way to get new customers and stay in touch with old customers, but it’s also something that will help you show up on Google. Google wants to put the most trustworthy and high-quality businesses at the top of search results.
Looking at your business Facebook page is one of the ways that they decide how trustworthy and high-quality your business is.
Having a business Facebook page gets you bonus points, having a business Facebook page that a lot of people “like” gets bonus points, and having a business Facebook page that you update frequently gets you the most bonus points.
6) Google penalizes (and sometimes completely ignores!) websites that use outdated technology.
Another thing Google uses to judge the quality and trustworthiness of your business is the underlying technology that your website is built on. Web technology changes extremely quickly. A website built 10 years or even 5 years ago was built using very different technologies than a website built today.
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of web designers and web design companies that haven’t upgraded to modern technologies.
Google penalizing websites that are built on outdated technologies while preferring websites built on modern technologies. Simply having a high-quality, modern website gives you a leg up on your competition.
Additionally, and this is really important… if your website is built with certain technologies, Google will completely ignore it! Many older websites are built in such a way that search engines can’t read them. These websites literally look like a blank piece of paper to Google.
7) Websites aren’t the only things that show up on Google.
Google now lists a lot of other things besides websites when you search.
For instance, have you ever searched on Google and got a map and a list of addresses rather than websites? These addresses are from the Google My Business directory.
Adding your business to this directory is extremely important if you’re trying to get local customers. In fact, if you don’t have this set up — you should go and do so right now. You are almost certainly losing business by not having it set up.
When you do, you must get your category right. If you’re a mortgage broker, use that category. If you’re a credit union, use that one. Don’t guess — go to maps.google.com and search for your top competitors. Look at what their category is and what information they are listing. Do likewise!
Google search results also include videos that have been uploaded to YouTube. Often times, it’s much easier to get a video to show up on the first page than a webpage. A great search engine strategy is to create a series of short videos where you answer frequently asked questions about your business. You can them upload these videos to YouTube and post them on your business Facebook page.
8) You can pay to show up on the first page of Google.
Google has a paid advertising program called Google Adwords where you can pay to show up on the first page of search results.
Paid search results show up either above the normal search results or on the right side of the page, and they are either highlighted in yellow or have a yellow “Ad” icon to identify them as advertising (as of this writing — they change this all the time!!!). With Google advertisements, you write your ad, you choose what keywords you want to show up for, and you only pay when people actually click on your ad.
The cost per click depends on how many other businesses also want to show up for that keyword. My experience has been that most businesses will have to pay around $3 to $5 per click to show up on the first page, and that’s true for many mortgage brokers as well. It depends on your geography and a number of different factors.
That’s it — get these things right and you’ll be well on your way to the first page of Google!