seo-ranking.jpgA search engine ranking on page 1 of Google is the holy grail of any website marketer. But that simple goal can be misleading. Google’s robots constantly scour the web looking for new content to index. Whether you’ve ever invested in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy or not, if your website has been around for any length of time, it’s probably already indexed by Google and will show up in search results. The question is, does it show up in the results for the right searches?

Most company websites will show up on page 1 of Google for a search of that company’s name and city, and maybe that’s good enough in some cases. But most businesses want their web pages to show up at the top for searches about the products and services they offer, or the questions their best customers ask during their sales process, and they dedicate the necessary resources for an SEO plan to optimize their web content for these results.

Why is SEO so important?

With more than 30 trillion web pages in Google’s database, a number 1 rank in a search result, by itself is nothing more than a vanity metric. The purpose of that ranking is for the person to click on the link. The goal of SEO strategy is to drive visitors to a website.

For a website to appear on page 1 of Google depends on a number of factors, including the phrase that someone types into the search bar and the number of other websites that are also available for that search phrase. It’s no good to rank number 1 for a search term that isn’t searched very much or to target search terms that are very competitive. Use a tool like Google Keyword Tool to find phrases that:

  • Are relevant to your business
  • Have high number of monthly searches
  • Have a low competition value

How can I tell what keywords my website ranks for in Google?

Beofore starting an SEO strategy, it’s helpful to establish benchmarks by identifying how your website currently performs. Important metrics to track include:

  • What keywords does your site currently rank for?
  • How much traffic does your website currently get?

Most SEO providers offer a free SEO report card, that give a general snapshot of a website’s current status.

One intriguing new tool is GrowthBot, a simple free chatbot for marketing and sales professionals from the makers of HubSpot. Think, “Amazon Alexa” for marketers, available as a chat interface in Facebook Messenger, Twitter and Slack. Ask GrowthBot a question, like “What keywords does rank for?” Or, “How much traffic does get?” While not nearly as detailed as Google Analytics, GrowthBot is a super simple place to get basic data to start with.

How long will it take for my website to appear at the top of Google?

Nobody can truly say how long it will take for your website to appear at the top of search engine results pages (including people who actually work at Google), but here are a some things you can do to improve your changes:

Use WordPress

Building your website on WordPress is a good start as WordPress has some great search engine optimization fundamentals built-in.

Publish Frequent, Original Content

Creating unique and interesting content on a regular basis for your website is also critical to increase your visibility in search engine results. Launching your website and then forgetting about it is a surefire way to get lost in the noise.

With the understanding that the purpose of an SEO strategy is to drive traffic to your website, a systematic approach to identifying the right keywords and then creating original content around them is a timeless way to achieve the best search engine rankings.