We are often asked by prospective clients “How can I be at the top of Google?” and they usually mean “for free”. Whilst this would indeed be awesome, there are 2 key problems with this question:
1. The Google search results are actually 3 different sets of results. This is explained in our blog post Understanding the Google Search Results.
At the very top of the Google results page are the Google Adwords pay-per-click results. As you might guess, if these get clicked the owner of the listing gets charged a fee. Read more about Google Adwords.
To appear in any of these sets of results requires an investment of either your time doing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or paying money for pay-per-click or paying for SEO, or a combination of the two. As with everything in life, there is no “free” as someone, somewhere, always pays.
2. You cannot be “at the top of Google” for every query. Google is trying to provide a credible set of results of pages from the web that are relevant to the query its users enter. So when a query is entered into Google, for the Organic set of results, Google pulls from its index of web pages all the web pages it thinks are relevant to the query. Google then orders the list of results based on which pages it thinks are the most credible.
There are some key search terms which people will likely use to search for the product or service that you provide. Appearing in the Google search results for these search terms will likely be valuable to your business. However where there is value to be had there is usually competition. Some search terms will be perceived as being more valuable and therefore likely there be more competition for than others. Picking your battles is important.
If for example you are a builder based in Earlsfield in London it is likely your potential customers might search for “Builder in Earlsfield” or “Builder in London”. As builders all over London might also be competing to appear for the more general “Builder in London” key phrase (either via pay-per-click, SEO or both) it would make more sense for you to target the more niche “Builder in Tooting” key phrase. This would also make more sense as you are likely to get better prospects from more niche phrases (would you really want to travel all over London for work if you could pick it up locally?).
By further niching your services by offering “loft conversions in Earlsfield” for example, though narrowing the market, you can better align what you provide with what some people are searching for, be perceived as an expert rather than a Jack Off All Trades and have less competition over key phrases.
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