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Every business owner wants to be on Page One of Google Search. But with more and more websites being created, and newer technologies and social media platforms, it's becoming increasingly difficult to rank "at the top". This leaves business owners desperate, and where there is desperation there is greed. Scams abound, as well as "solutions" that don't work as well as expected (including Pay‑Per‑Click ads).
Google has many factors (thousands, in fact!) that it looks for in determining where a website should rank in search results. Find out what just a few of these are HERE.
I'm asked by almost every prospective client, "Can you get me on Page One of Google?" I explain some of the things I can do to get them to rank as high as possible, but I make it clear that there are no guarantees. I then proceed to explain why, but it's put best in a book I read in 2011 about search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that still hold true today:
This last sentence is very important: "queries that have little or no search demand behind them". Unscrupulous SEO companies use fraudulent techniques to get your website to rank high in search engines. A former client of mine was working with such a company that did get his website to #1 on Page One of Google very quickly, at an absurdly high cost. But the client wasn't getting any visits to his website. I discovered that the search term they were using was "south jersey yellow zebra". I kid you not! The SEO company did exactly what they promised: Put my client's website at the top of Page One of Google. Of course their contract failed to mention that the website would only come up if someone did a search for "south jersey yellow zebra"!
Search Engine Optimization is a combination of art, science, voodoo, and a little bit of luck! As such, there are no guarantees, and the official Google SEO Help Page reiterates this when they state that "No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google," and "Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings." Anyone who says they can guarantee that your website will rank on Page 1 of Google organically (without paid advertising) is probably a con artist.
There are too many variables outside of the web designer's and client's control to guarantee search engine placement, including search engine algorithms, the client's online and offline marketing efforts, online reviews, social media activity, even the economy, and most importantly, what your competition is doing. Think of it this way: If I guarantee that your website ranks #1 on Page 1 of Google, then I'm also guaranteeing that none of your competitors will rank in that #1 spot. Which is an impossible guarantee, since I don't have control over what other companies do. A good web designer and SEO expert should be able to get your website to rank very well if everything that should be done is actually done!
So can a small local company rank on the first page of Google? Of course, and I do it for my clients all the time. But it takes time (if you try to do it yourself), expertise (something you don't have in this field), or money (if you hire someone). Success depends a lot on your type of business and how much competition you have in your target geographical area. If you sell statues of blue squirrels to residents of Bevier, Missouri, you're going to rank much better than a general contractor who works in the entire state of Texas.
A company with a lot of competition is going to have to work harder to rank higher. So it comes down to the question: How much are you willing to pay (in time and/or money), and is it worth it? If you have the time or money to spend, then go for it. If not, don't sweat it, but make sure that you have alternative techniques in place to get your company found online, such as free online listings and active social media profiles.
If your company is listed with a lot of high-ranking, reputable listing websites including Google My Business (this one is VERY important), and you're posting frequently on your company Facebook page, then links to those websites can appear in search engines. When people search for a company in your area that provides your services, those listings might appear on Page One of Google. Someone looking for your services will click that link, and from there they can visit your website. You can find out what websites people are clicking on to get to your website by checking out your Google Analytics reports.