“Why isn’t my website ranked on Google’s first page when my prospects are searching for keywords related to my business?”
Many people who ask us this question usually want a quick fix based on two key beliefs: that a Google ranking problem is easily fixed and once they fix this, website visitors will flood their website, be wowed by their products and become customers.
The assumption is that people don’t buy their products because people aren’t able to find their websites. If only they could make a smooth path from Google search results to their website, all will be fine.
We usually say that there is a quick fix to search engine ranking – pay for Google advertising! Your website can be the first result on Google’s first page. (But will people click? Most people are so turned off by ads that they may intentionally NOT click on the ads that appear at the top of the search results page. They seem to trust organic results more. We know we do.)
You can test this on your own. Invest in Google ads for a month. See if your sales results improve. Nothing beats testing a theory and finding out for yourself if it really works like you assumed it would.
A friend named Anita emailed us recently. She wanted to know why her website wasn’t showing up on Google and what she could do about it.
Here’s what we said to her.
A Google ranking issue is not always about keywords and incorrect search terms.
In most cases, the problem lies with your website and how it is structured, designed, written and managed. If you can do something to improve your website, your chances of being ranked by Google are higher.
Check these areas of your website:
* Is your website platform constantly updated on its backend or has the website never been updated since the day it was launched?
* Is your website content addressing the needs of your website users (Are you giving website visitors what they came for? Are you showing them what you want rather than what they need?)
* Does each web page include keywords you want to rank for? Are these keywords written naturally into the website content such as headlines, body copy and calls-to-action? On the invisible to human side but visible to bots and search engines, do your web pages have meta descriptions and page titles?
* Do you link within your website using relevant and appropriate internal links?
* How do you name and caption images? (Do your images make sense to search engines? Do your images make sense to your visitors? Do they include captions with keywords?)
* What about your calls to action? (What do you want your visitors to do eventually? What’s the next logical step in your multi-step marketing process for the website visitor?)
* How compelling is your message to your prospects? Are you showing and telling how your business is unique and how this matters to the people who need your help or solutions?
* How does your website reflect your business? Are the colours, fonts, content, design and images appropriately placed to attract the people you want as customers?
Once you’ve done that, also ask yourself:
* How often are you updating your website with fresh content that serves your prospects and customers?
* Are you updating pages that make sense for your customers? Don’t update for the sake of updating; update real news and products that matter to your customers.
* Are other websites linked to you? Are you linking to other websites?
* How are you attracting people back to your website to find out more about you?
* How are you keeping in touch with website visitors who want to hear from you?
* How else are you informing people that you’ve got good stuff on your website?
* Do you tell customers about your website and encourage them to visit and find out stuff that can help them?
* What is your data telling you about the people who visit your website? (what can you infer from these data to help you improve your marketing?)
These questions are not easy to answer but if you want to make your website valuable to Google and to your prospects/customers, you need to look at your website not just from an SEO perspective but a marketing perspective.
Many business owners don’t consider marketing first when they outsource their website to a website designer. This is why most websites fail big time.
It is far more challenging to fix a problem (a website that cannot rank) once it is developed.
While you can invest in Google advertising, no amount of advertising money can help you fix a bad website – poor navigation, content that doesn’t serve the prospects, non-credible design, images that don’t reflect your business and more.
For more about SEO, here are 3 more articles.
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