At Moolah Digital, we often get asked a lot about SEO and how to get your website ranking in Google. And while we ensure that your website is SEO ready from a technical perspective, we always make it clear that an SEO expert should be engaged if you want your website to rank well. So we brought in our friend and SEO guru Lauren Fraser from LMF Marketing to give us a better insight into the world of SEO and to better understand why a website doesn’t rank as soon as it launches.
Have you launched a website only to Google that day, 1 month, or 6 months later and not see it anywhere in the top results for your services? I’ve seen this happen lots! You invest into a website, but then it doesn’t show up online. It can feel like one and the same, having a website means it can be found online, right? Wrong.
There’s a crucial step that’s been missed, and I’m going to explain why you don’t rank immediately when launching and why it’s important to understand the role of Search Engine Optimisation. Don’t tune out! I know it sounds blah, but it’s the difference between staying stuck in the backwaters of Google or having steady traffic coming through to your website every day. I’ve made it nice and clear for you… So, here’s 3 key points every business owner needs to know in order to rank within Google.
How Google Works & Decides to Rank Websites
Did you know there’s over 400 million active websites out there? That’s mind-boggling, there’s truly a website for every topic you could imagine. But, this unfathomable number of website’s provides Google with a pretty big task.
Google’s number one aim is to deliver a great service for its users. Ever since it began it has been on a mission to constantly improve the delivery of its results. It wants to ensure the most relevant results come up and searchers can quickly find what they’re looking for.
But do you know how it does this? It’s actually a pretty simple 3-step process:
- It Crawls the internet to find and updated web pages. With 400 million website’s you can only imagine the number of individual web pages that exist. So, the Googlebot has an on-going task, constantly crawling the web – either via submitted sitemaps, following links across sites or by periodically revisiting pages it has crawled before.
- Next, it Indexes these pages it has crawled, trying to determine what the page is about, how it should be categorised within the countless other sites and which search results it is most relevant to be delivered on. It does this by reading key signals on the website and pages.
- Lastly, it decides how to Serve the websites within search results. There’s over 200 ranking factors that go into determining where websites are positioned within the search results, and though we know what a lot of these ranking factors are – they have not all been disclosed, it’s actually open to speculation how many there are exactly. But what we do know is there’s a lot of factors considered when Serving and the variables change depending on the search.
From this you can see that in order for your site to show up within Google’s results, you first have to be Crawled by the bots, have them be able to effectively Index your pages, and then you need to perform sufficiently well compared to other sites in order to be Served within the search results.
It’s not just as simple as you have a website and therefore you rank.
Why Websites Are Not Optimised At Launch
There can be confusion as to why the necessary tasks to rank in Google are not carried out on all new websites, and it’s because SEO is a separate marketing activity. Website developers can effectively design and build you a beautiful site, and a good developer will include many of the technical optimisations as best practice, but the work required to rank well within Google is a different kettle of fish.
Due to the nature of Google and the competiveness of the online space, it can also take time to rank well, months to years. Web developers focus on what they do best, designing beautiful sites which connect with your audience. Then it’s the job of an SEO consultant to implement the best optimisation strategy for your website in order for it to rank well.
The optimisations required for a website to rank well will change for every business. As I mentioned, there’s a few core items that pretty much every website needs ticked off, but otherwise a range of variables impact what your website will require, and this includes things like:
- The industry you operate in and the level of competitiveness online
- Your competitors and the performance of their websites
- The current level of optimisation and online performanace of your site.
Does this mean I have to invest in SEO?
It can seem like a bit of a shock; you’ve just invested in your new website to be built and now you need to invest further for people to find it online? What the flip! Well, maybe or maybe not. You see, every website is different and will therefore take a different level of optimisation to perform.
If your business operates in a small niche and has little-to-no-big-name competitors dominating the search results, it may be a simple case of optimising basic elements on your web pages so that Google can correctly index them.
However, if you’re in a competitive industry and have established brands filling the first page of Google, you’re going to require a clear strategy and a higher level of optimisation to perform.
You might be wondering if just anyone can perform SEO then, and the answer is kind-of. Stay with me here – SEO is literally just the tactic of optimising your website to perform better in the search results, so your web developer will certainly have done this to a degree, you probably have yourself as well. But, it’s all dependent on the type of optimisation being performed to who needs to perform it for best results.
As I said, you may be able to do some basic SEO yourself and see good results… you may also see no results. There is a risk to your site when poor SEO work is done, and sadly due to a lot of misunderstanding around SEO – there’s a lot of shady “specialists” who do more harm than good and run it more like a scam.
Have I scared you?! Sorry about that. But it really riles me up! SEO is an extremely important and effective marketing tactic, but it’s had a bad rap and there’s still a lot of unethical practices in the industry.
What’s Your Next Step for SEO as a Small Business Owner?
So how do you know if your website needs SEO? Well, the first thing to know is whether you’re ranking on page one for important search queries related to your business… if it’s a no – then yes, you can definitely benefit from SEO and getting your website in front of interested searchers.
Ranking on the first page in Google can bring a steady stream of warm leads straight to your business, it’s literally like having leads on automation!
Do you need to invest with an SEO consultant, you ask? Again, that will depend on your buisness and those variables I laid out earlier. I’ve put together some FAQs on my website and this may be a good next step to understand what’s involved in working with an SEO specialist.
In Summary, SEO is the Best Next Step for New Websites
Now that you understand how Google works, by Crawling, Indexing & Serving web pages within its massive catalogue, you can see why your website doesn’t just rank immediately on page one upon launch. SEO is that missing next step, and what’s required for your website to perform well within Google is impacted by a range of variables, such as industry, competitiveness, competitor performance and your performance.
Search engine optimisation is literally the practice of improving your performance within the search engine and investing in SEO with a specialist will include a clear strategy and consider all of these items just mentioned.
But you can get started right now if you like. As I said earlier, there are key items that need to be addressed and any one can optimise to an extent. If you’re ready to optimise and feel confident navigating your website back-end, then click here to download my SEO Checklist and get started right away.
About the Author
Lauren is the Director & Founder of LMF Marketing, a Brisbane-based digital marketing agency that focuses on providing holistic digital marketing services that increase your brand presence in market, brings in qualified traffic and helps you shift the needle to grow your business. With extensive experience in SEO, she’s passionate about educating business owners on the power of this amazing marketing tactic.