Why isn’t my website showing up on the first page of Google?
This can be a common question for website owners, particularly ones new to the web, so I thought I’d address it with a quick article.
As a business owner getting your website to rank high on Google and other search results is important, simply because higher rankings means greater website visibility and traffic, which in turn equals more leads and sales.
But I’ve just spent hard earned cash on my new website design? Doesn’t this mean I should instantly be ranking high?
Unfortunately the answer is no, it’s simply not that straight forward.
So what’s the answer?
Search Engine Optimisation
In a nutshell, getting your website to rank higher in the search engines “natural” search results comes down to something called search engine optimisation, or SEO for short.
SEO stands for “search engine optimisation.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.
– Search Engine Journal
Heres a handy video from well known SEO industry website, Search Engine Journal, if you need further clarification…
But Isn’t SEO the Responsibility of my Web Designer?
Not necessarily. You’d be forgiven for thinking this, many people do, but your websites search engine optimisation is not necessary 100% down to your web designer.
Let me clarify.
It might be the case that your chosen web designer is an expert in SEO or can at least help in some way with regards to improving SEO, in which case you may agree a deal for them to carry out both web design and SEO work. If thats the case then great.
But it also could be the case that they’e a rock star designer (or not!) and are absolutely clueless when it comes to SEO.
I’d personally ague that any decent web designer worth there salt should understand some basic, fundamental SEO. Particularly technical and on-site SEO. After all, if there building your website it should be done so in a technically sound and search engine friendly way.
But coding and building your website in a technically correct way does not instantly guarantee ranking high on Google or other search engines.
SEO is an extremely complex beast.
As I mentioned, while there is a certain amount of cross over between web design and SEO, SEO is an entire discipline, industry and area of expertise in itself, one that is often separate to good web design. People build entire careers around it and finding someone that is a true expert in both is either rare or likely to be expensive.
As the saying goes, jack of all trades, master of none.
Why Can’t I Rank High on Google Quickly?
It’s rarely simple and possible to rank highly in the search engines over night and I would stay away from anyone that tells you it is, or guarantees that they can get you first page rankings.
You might get lucky if you’re in a particularly low completion business or niche, but as the search results become more and more saturated, this is becoming harder and harder.
SEO is a long term game that is reliant on over 200 different factors. It takes a lot of time and work and unfortunately almost every business, when first starting out online, will already have competitors that have a head start on them in terms of SEO.
If you wish for your new website to rank highly in the search engines then you will almost certainly need to have separate SEO work carried out, either by your web designer (if there capable) or an SEO specialist, if you haven’t already agreed to do so.
How much work that’s needed is totally reliant on the competitiveness of the keywords you are trying to rank for.
I don’t openly advertise it, but as a web designer I personally do offer on-site SEO work to clients, usually as an add on any web design services I carry out.
Design is my passion, but after years of working on client sites, as well as my own, I have become knowledgeable and confident when it comes to keyword research, technical and on-site SEO.
If you are interested offsite SEO and other more intensive services, such as link building, (generally speaking more relevant and quality links to your site equals better rankings) then you will need to employ a freelance SEO specialist or company. Sorry, but this part of SEO bores me to tears.
Alternatively, if you have the time and desire to do some of your own on-site SEO, you can follow my on-page SEO for WordPress websites tutorial.
However, it’s paramount that you learn how to do proper keyword research first. There are many tutorials for this online. This one from MOZ is an excellent place to start.
Improving Your SEO through Content Creation
One of the absolute best things you can do though to improve your websites search engine rankings and organic traffic is to regularly publish articles and content to your website or blog, and base these articles around the keyword phrases you wish to be found for in the search engines.
This is also known as content marketing and has a three way, positive affect on your website and business…
- You improve your websites search engine rankings simply though the writing and onsite SEO’ing of your article. More website content equals a more authoritative website and more phrases to be found for in the search engines.
- You will naturally generate back links to your website from these external sources as well as others that find your content and link to it, which will again further enhance your SEO and rankings. For this to work though, be sure you provide a clear call to action and link back to your site with anything that you syndicate around the web.
- Lastly, if you include a link back to your site as mentioned, you will generate natural referral traffic back to your website from these external websites, which a well designed website will then convert into leads and sales.
A lead magnet is simply something that’s of great value to your idea customer, that you give away for free in exchange for there contact details, usually their email address. Ideally a very specific and easily digestible piece of information such as a report, checklist or template.
By them signing up to your email list you’re then able to market to them on autopilot via an email autoresponder, as well as send out regular broadcast messages (such as new blog posts or offers!).
Basically, content marketing, the creation and syndication of useful, SEO friendly content, becomes a triple win for your website and online presence.
Yes, it takes either your time or your money, but unlike print, banner or pay per click advertising it becomes an asset that you own, one that you can utilise and reap the benefits from long term.
Understandably it can be frustrating if you’ve spent money on a new website design expecting it to instantly rank high on Google and other search engines, but SEO is a long term game and process, and one that is largely separate in a lot of ways to the actual design of your website.
When I first launched my freelance business and website it took around 8 months before I appeared on the first page of Google for my key targeted phases.
This is likely to vary hugely depending on your industry, niche and targeted phases. It could potentially take weeks if you’re a local, low completion business, or it could take months or even years if you’re trying to cash in on a extremely high competition keyword such as “auto insurance price quotes”.
But, the sooner you start, the sooner your website and business will start seeing results.
Is SEO a strategy you’d like to try for your business? Or has it already been successful for you? How long did it take you to rank for your targeted terms? If you have any questions or thoughts please leave them in the comments below.