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“Where should you bury something that you don’t want people to find?” The answer to that is, “On the second page of Google.” As corny as that joke may sound, according to statistics, 75% of people will never scroll past the first page on a Google search. And did we mention that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, or that there are over 1 trillion searches every month? When it comes to driving traffic to your business’s website, Google is the all-powerful – and you can’t afford to be ranking on the second, third or – gasp! – fourth page. The good news is that it’s more possible than ever to rank high in search results. Let’s discuss why being on the first page of Google is important and the two different ways that you can achieve this common goal amongst business owners.

How ranking on the first page of Google benefits your business

For starters, it’s a known fact that websites that show up on the first page capture the majority of traffic. However, it’s lesser-known that there are significant differences in clickthrough rates when it comes to the top versus bottom results on the first page. One study found that the clickthrough rates by Google position were 36.4% clickthrough rate for the first result, 12.5% clickthrough rate for the second result and 9.5% clickthrough rate for the third result. Another study revealed that the first result on Google captures a whopping 33% of search traffic. In other words, the higher up you can get your website to appear on Google, the better your visibility, website traffic, leads and, of course, brand authority.

Successful methods to show up on the first page of Google

The first step to achieving first-page status is to optimise your website for SEO (search engine optimisation or, in simple terms, the process of increasing your website traffic through search engine results) and conversions. Good SEO – the process of optimising your website copy and HTML to help your website rank higher – will not only help your website become more discoverable, but also attract more traffic to convert potential customers. To help you better understand the power of SEO, we’ll use this example: Imagine you have a logistics company in Johannesburg. You offer warehousing, distribution and transportation of products and supplies. With good SEO practices, a person searching a keyword like “list of logistics companies in Gauteng” or “warehousing and logistics companies in South Africa” might have a better chance of finding your website – and your brand.

While useful, compelling and valuable content that targets specific keywords can get your website listed on the first page of Google, unfortunately the average Joe’s website doesn’t have the power to rank for the best keywords overnight. There are plenty of businesses out there trying to capitalise on the top industry key words as well, meaning the deck is stacked. This brings us to the second step, Google AdWords; a paid way to boost your SEO results. Google AdWords can skyrocket your SEO traffic overnight or in a single afternoon – an AdWords campaign can be set up, activated and driving traffic at scale in a few hours, as opposed to SEO which can take up to 12 months to start seeing strong results. Google Ads, more commonly known as Google PPC, operates on a pay-per-click model, in which you bid on keywords and pay for each click on their advertisements. Google Ads will attempt to drive the most clicks possible with your daily budget.

We did a quick keyword test on “logistics company” and found that this medium competition type keyword garners an average of 3,600 monthly searches and costs R3.98 per click for a low-range bid (bottom of the first page) and R14.10 per click for a high-range bid (top of the first page). Using this sneaky tactic, you’ll rank above the organic results on the first page for a popular keyword, such as “logistics company” that you’ll never be able to rank for organically.

In addition to the two points that we’ve discussed above, there are many other unconventional methods to get your business in front of the traffic you crave. These include writing more blog posts than your competition, getting reviewed and featured in roundup posts, creating a Google My Business account and optimising your website for mobile. We’ll be going into these points in more detail in an upcoming blog post, so keep an eye out!

What strategies have you used to get your business on the first page of Google?