Search engines like Google use "web crawlers," bots that scour the internet to return results from a user's search query.
For example, a potential customer may type "auto body services near me" or "lawyers in Denver."
Ranking high on a search return request increases visibility for businesses, especially since most people rarely go beyond the first or second page of search results.
Websites on page three or lower may as well be invisible.
Make sure your business website rates highly for search returns through SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.
This includes using keywords that are relevant to your industry in your web copy and posting relevant, informative content on your site.
However, a newer business or new website may take some time to start ranking highly.
Let's explore how Google rates websites and how long a new website owner can expect to see good SEO results.
Criteria For Successful Websites
Most sites that rank on the first page of Google have a few things in common. The strength of the website, the budget that the business has to make sure that the site has fresh content, plus photos and videos (Google web crawlers love videos!), and the competition in the industry. Websites with a high Domain Rating (DR) also rank higher.
Domain Rating indicates the authority of a website and is calculated based on the number of high-quality backlinks the site has.
That is, how many other websites or blogs link to a particular site or an article published on the site.
Generally, obtaining backlinks happen best organically – owners of other websites will note that your site has something new to say about a particular subject, or your article is recognized for its insight and authority about a particular matter in your field.
Other things that appeal to the "Google bots" are things like photos and videos, so posting pictures of your business, the products you offer, or videos that explain a concept or demonstrate how to use your products add value to your website.
My Website Has All the Elements of Success – How Long Does SEO Take for a New Website to Rank on the First Page?
The site can be nearly perfect – loading times that are lightning fast, plenty of photos and videos, and fresh content loaded weekly – and still be buried on page three of Google search results.
Unfortunately, even the best new websites may simply need more time to move up the rankings. Search results are based on the Google index, and it may be that your site isn't being identified as being relevant to a particular string of words. Time is often the best way to improve search results.
How Can I Improve My SEO Rankings?
While Google (and other search engines) use specific algorithms to determine whether a website is relevant to a user's search query, determining which sites are deemed relevant and how relevant they are isn't an exact science. Several things come into play, and unfortunately for newer website owners, patience is the key to results.
- The SEO of your website. Is your site optimized for results from search engines? Things like keywords and phrases, the meta titles and metadata for each page of your site, the headings of your web content (for example, Google bots like question-and-answer content), and the alt image text you use all contribute to your site's relevance.
- The popularity of keywords. The more popular and common a particular keyword or phrase is for searching websites in your niche is, the more competitive rankings are when a user types in that word or phrase. It may be easier for new website owners to tweak their content for less-popular key phrases before trying to compete for the more popular phrases. If you aren't sure which phrases are popular for your industry, a professional SEO marketing company can help.
- Domain age – your domain name is the name of your website. The age of the site also plays a big role in how high your search ranking is. Sites that are more than two years old will generally rank higher than new sites.
- Fresh, high-quality content. Having a blog on your website, with articles that pertain to your industry, is an excellent way to supply a stream of fresh, relevant content. Include regular video posts, too, interspersed with the text. If you aren't confident in your writing skills, many reputable SEO marketing agencies can help turn your ideas for blog posts into well-written, informed articles.
Don't Game the System
There are a few commonly cut corners to achieving higher rankings on Google search returns, and, when websites are caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar, they get penalized by a large drop in rankings.
"Keyword Stuffing," for example, is one of the most common ways that website owners try to inflate their ratings, putting every relevant keyword and phrase into their copy without regard to a natural flow of content itself. Purchasing backlinks is another common tactic.
Google has realized these (and a few other tricks) and reprogrammed its bots to spot instances like these, and subsequently "punish" the site.
If you aren't sure where to start when building a high-quality, well-rated website, you aren't alone. Many small business owners benefit from SEO Marketing services, to construct the site and to ensure that the site continues to add value for users, from the speed of page loading to security to Google crawler-friendly content.