Why the first page of Google is important
Google’s search results are getting more robust— with Knowledge Panels, answer boxes, expandable related questions, local results, and more. With so many ways to stand out, working for top ranking is well worth the effort.
Getting on the first page means significantly higher click-through rate
It’s a known fact that the first page of Google captures the majority of traffic, but there is also significant differences in click-through rates for the top vs bottom results.
• First result: 36.4% clickthrough rate
• Second result: 12.5% clickthrough rate
• Third result: 9.5% clickthrough rate
With the last result from 10 on the first page getting only 2.2%.
So if you’re not at the top of Google search results, you are missing out on a lot of clicks.
Get immediate exposure
Top results for Google searches now also populate “Position Zero” answer boxes, otherwise known as featured snippets:
Earning a top spot on Google could lead to getting featured in a featured snippet, granting your business immediate exposure and increasing your credibility.
How does first page ranking benefit your business?
It’s important to understand the different goals that getting a top ranking on Google can help your business to achieve.
1. Improve your visibility
With 167 billion searches per month, getting on the first page of Google is like planting your business on the busy road in town. The more people that see your website, the greater your brand awareness. The more familiar consumers are with your brand, the more receptive they will be to conversion activities.
2. Generate more leads
Your goal is to get on the first page for queries that your ideal customers are performing. By doing so, you get discovered by consumers that are searching online with the intent to buy or engage. These people are the most likely to convert into leads and customers for your business.
3. Increase engagement
According to Adweek, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying, and Google is the go-to for this. With answer boxes, the “People also ask” section, and local results showing contact information, maps, reviews, ratings, and descriptions, Google’s search engine results page alone enables consumers to learn about, compare, and engage with your business before even clicking on your result.
4. Drive website traffic
Not only does being on the first page of Google drastically increase traffic to your website; not being on the first page of Google has a huge disadvantage. In fact, the first page of Google captures at least 71% of web traffic (some sources say up to 92%), and the second page is far from a close second: It drops to 6% of website clicks. This steep decline in web traffic is an indicator of just how important the first page of Google is.
4. Increase your industry authority
Getting on the first page of Google requires regularly creating high-quality content that Google recognizes is satisfying the needs of its searchers. This takes time, but the increased traffic and trust that will result is well worth the investment.
In addition, writing regularly about your industry and business will require you to stay in tune with what your target audience wants to know as well as what the latest updates are in your industry. Appearing on the first page of Google is important because it facilitates the development and maintenance of a robust knowledge base upon which your business can firmly stand.
5. Earn trust
Google’s algorithm is designed to recognize spammy, suspicious, and low-quality content. If you’re consistently showing up on the first page of Google, it means that Google recognizes you as a trusted source of information, and consumers trust businesses that Google trusts.
6. Build your audience
As mentioned above, getting on the first page of Google requires creating high-quality, evergreen content. This type of content is the gift that keeps on giving; it can be repurposed and redistributed across a variety of marketing channels including social media, email, and paid ads.
Your content-driven efforts to get on the first page of Google will provide you with more material and more opportunities to engage with your target audience, nurture leads, and stay top of mind.
How many different ways can you get on the first page of Google for free?
Getting on the first page of Google is not only a common goal among small business owners, but also a very feasible one. Google is not focused on quantity, but quality. As a result, a larger company or bigger budget does not equate to top rank. There are several factors behind Google’s algorithm and, thanks to the fact that Google’s results page has many different components, there are also different types of media that can achieve first-page status. They include:
• Blog posts and website pages (in organic results)
• Your Google My Business account (in the local/maps section)
• Snippets of your website content (in Google’s many search results page features including “People also ask” and the answer box.
• Your landing pages (This is via the paid ads section, which is not free, but still worth mentioning. For more help with using paid strategies to get on the first page of Google, head to this post on Google Ads tutorials.)
How to use your website to get on the first page of Google
The practice of aligning your website with search engine ranking factors is called search engine optimization (SEO). You do not necessarily search engine-optimize your whole site at once, but rather each individual page on your site. Here’s how to do so:
1. Determine your keywords
First, determine which search queries you want Google to answer with your website pages. These are known as keywords—which, by the way, can be single words OR phrases.
Each page on your website should target a different set of keywords so that the pages aren’t competing with each other.
The right keywords for your business are those that your ideal customers are typing in to get the products and services they need.
2. Tell Google what keywords you’re using
Google works by crawling the web, ranking the millions of pages that exist, and storing them in an index. When a user performs a search, Google can then scan through its more organized index to quickly come up with relevant results.
Therefore, another important step for showing up on the first page of Google is to make it as easy as possible for Google to scan, index, and retrieve your site. Do this by placing keywords in the following places:
Every blog post and page of your website has a meta title. This title appears at the top of your page in the form of a header but also as the title of that page’s listing in search results (depending upon your CMS settings).
The meta description is the little blurb that shows up underneath the title in Google’s search results.
In addition to telling Google what your page is about, the meta description quickly tells a searcher what they can expect if they click on your page, increasing the relevant clicks to that page. Therefore the meta description helps Google to put your business on the right first page for the right searches and helps Google searchers to keep it there.
Your URL consists of your domain name (such as wordstream.com), followed by a forward slash, followed by text separated by dashes.
Including keywords in your URL will help Google more quickly identify what your page is about. Also, the URL appears in between the title and meta description in search results. A clean URL that matches the title of the page is more appealing and trustworthy to users, and better suited for first-page appearances.
Google can only see images if the image has a text alternative (aka alt tag). If your alt tag includes keywords, Google can detect further relevancy of that page and feel more comfortable putting you on its first page of search results.
3. Write for humans
The key to getting on the first page of Google is providing useful, trustworthy, easy-to-read, but informative content that will keep your target audience on your pages and coming back for more. And conversationally sharing the knowledge already in your head is both free and easy. Just remember that if you want to rank on the first page of Google for a particular keyword search, your page needs to provide the information, and not just the keywords, that users are trying to obtain when they type that search into Google.
4. Emphasize location
Another free way to get your website pages on the first page of Google is to target location-based queries. Make sure your website clearly indicates your city and/or geographic area, via your contact page and potentially also through blog posts and services pages. That way, when people search: “your industry” + ”your city”, Google will pick up that information and show your business as a “near me” search result.
Even if a user does not search using a specific location, Google will still serve up geographically relevant results based on their IP address, so local SEO is not only free, but always important.
5. Optimize for mobile
You will not find a website at the top of a Google search that is not responsive. Consumers now use phones and tablets more than computers and laptops, and the majority of local searches are performed on mobile devices. As a result, Google favors mobile-friendly websites.
Responsive is ideal, as your website will adapt to any size screen and maintain functionality. However, if you don’t have a responsive website, there are adjustments you can make to your site to ensure the most seamless experience for a mobile user.
6. Focus on user experience
Being mobile-friendly isn’t enough for a website. It must also be appealing and user-friendly. A website with intuitive navigation, clear calls to action, and answers to your visitors’ most immediate questions will keep visitors there longer and coming back later—which Google will notice and, in turn, rank you higher. The higher you rank, the more traffic you will get to your site, and the more likely you are to show up on the first page.