It is so frustrating, isn’t it? You’ve spent so much time, or so much money, or both, to have this amazing website built for your company. Everything is perfect on it, all new pictures and graphics, and every page has been proofread five times. You have your contact information boldly displayed on each page, and you can’t wait for the phone to start ringing, with all these new leads that will come from your website!
No one is finding your website! Besides for a few daily visitors who are searching specifically for your business, your site is not getting any new visitors searching for the services you provide. Is it because there just aren’t many people searching online for what you provide? Absolutely not! People search for EVERYTHING online! Trust me on that! It most likely is because your beautiful new website for your dental business is buried on page 10 for keywords like “Chicago dentist” “teeth whitening Chicago” and “dental office Chicago”, etc.
Here are a couple stats for you – 4 out of 5 consumers search online for business. And ninety percent of all searchers will NEVER look past the first page of search results! That means if you’re even on page 3 out of 100, you might as well be on page 100. No one is going to find your website.
So, why the heck are the one of the unfortunate many whose websites are stuck in the cyber abyss of pages 3-100? What makes the first page listings so much better that Google decides to show them first?
Here’s the answer in one word: RELEVANCY
Google, and the other major search engines, show websites in order of relevancy to the search term. The absolute most relevant Chicago dental website (in the “eyes” of Google) will be shown in the #1 spot for the search term “Chicago dentist” and other related searches.
Ok, that makes sense, right? Google wants to show the best results for its users, and of course that means that it matches relevant websites to search queries.
But, what makes one website more appealing, more relevant, than another website?
Here’s the answer in three words:
The search engines look at these three factors when determining relevancy of website to search queries. The first one, content, is all about YOUR site, the content on your site. Do the words, pictures, page titles and tags of your pages have the search term in them? If so, that will move your site up in the rankings. Here’s one big free SEO tip – the title of your home page should have your targeted keywords within it. Back to the dental example. If you want to show up high for searches about teeth whitening in Chicago, those exact words should be in the title of your homepage. This shows Google that your website is about, in part, teeth whitening in Chicago.
The second factor, popularity, is the most important ranking factor. This has to do with incoming links to your site from other websites. If site A has links to it from 200 other websites, and site B has 20,000 links from other websites, which one would seem to be more “popular” to Google? The one with 20,000 links obviously. People link to other sites because they believe there is something about that site that is work pointing out. Google takes this as a sign that the site has good content on it, and again, Google is all about providing website with good, relevant content at the top of their search results.
This is a big part of search engine optimization, making sure you get lots of links to your website, not just any old links, but the right kind of links. I won’t go into all the details about what makes a link the “right” kind of link, I’ll save all of that for another post.
The third and final factor is trust. This simply means, does Google trust your site? Google, and the other major search engines prefer to show older, more well-established sites in their search results. This is why it is much easier to get a 10 year old site to rank for a competitive keyword compared to a site that was created yesterday. A site that regularly publishes fresh, unique content will also gain more trust from Google.
So that is it, in a very, very broad nutshell. Google and the other search engines have extremely complicated algorithms they apply to every search query to determine the order of the listings in the search results, but they all have to do with content, popularity and trust.