How a website gets to the top of Google

How a website gets to the top of Google
Dave Wright - Web ManagerWritten by: Dave WrightWeb Manager

Why you should want to be at the top

Anytime you do an online search, that search engine uses a complex set of algorithms to determine which websites should appear to you and in what order. Of course everyone wants their website to be at the top of the list. It can mean big money to many businesses. Consider this:

"93% of online traffic to business websites comes from search engines"

The lion's share of those search engine clicks go to the first three websites on the page. Just how much are we talking about? Search Engine Watch reported Chitika’s latest findings indicating:

  • #1 position on page one for any search phrase means you'll get about 32.5% of the traffic to visit your site
  • #2 position garners 17.6% of the traffic
  • #3 will get you 11.4%
  • #4 brings 8.1%
  • #5-10 steadily declines to a measly 2.4% for the #10 spot at the bottom of the page

Forget about page 2. No one ever goes there.

How to get to the top

Of course there's a whole industry built around competitively analyzing website structures and keywords and making detailed adjustments to a client’s website to meet these ever-changing parameters better than the competition. The process is called "Search Engine Optimization" or SEO for short. Google says its algorithms "... rely on more than 200 unique signals or 'clues' that make it possible to guess what you might really be looking for." So basically, it gives your website a grade as to how well it delivers on those 200+ factors when compared to your competitors' websites. The recipe is top secret, and each search engine's recipe is different, but of course they let some secrets slip out here and there and there is a lot of research done to figure these recipies out. For example, back in April of this year, Google told the world that they will boost the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results and give lower ranking to sites that aren't mobile-friendly. Ultimately, true SEO professionals have a very good grasp on the "secret" algorithms of each particular search engine and we tend to share this information with each other. The rest of the people out there doing some SEO work tend to stick with basic industry standard "best practices" that can be somewhat effective across all search engines. However, that kind of a shotgun approach is not highly effective and will rarely take a site to the #1 position. Our professional SEO team at Avenue 25 prefers to focus on Google for its SEO clients since that’s where almost 70% of all searches are done. Doing so typically garners rankings in the top 3 positions on Google and page one listings on Bing and Yahoo.

Meta tags... know what they are so you can sound smart

A few phrases that can sound like a foreign language to people who don't do SEO every day are "meta tags," "meta keywords" and "meta descriptions." Meta tag is sort of the catch-all word for meta keywords and meta descriptions and other meta stuff. The word "meta" just means self-describing, and the meta keywords and meta descriptions are just bits of code in the website that humans don't see, but that give information about the website to search engines. Yahoo and Bing and other search engines love them. Although Google is no longer paying any attention to the keyword tag, they DO value the meta description. In fact, they will use what you write in the meta description tag and display it on the search engine results page.

The other parts are important considerations too - the blue line at the top is the title of the page, and the green line is the URL, both of which we can change to appeal more to the search engines. What we change them to depends on your search engine strategy, and that's the most important part of the equation. You can’t cross the finish line if you’re just running wild.

We’re here for you

Get in touch if you'd like to sit down and talk about your SEO goals. We’ll help you determine which keywords would be best to target, then create and implement a plan to improve your ranking for those keywords. SEO is a competitive space, but we know this stuff inside and out, and would love to help boost your rankings. Be aware however that SEO is not a quick fix. It can take months or even years to reach the top. But fortunately, if you need to be at the top right away, there are other strategies we can use in addition to your SEO program. Talk to us.