How to get your website found on Google and Bing

Have you ever wondered why your competitors' websites rank high on Google but yours doesn't?

In this article I'm going to refer mainly to websites which have been developed and built for local service businesses who depend on gaining extra business from Google by having a first page position in the search results.

The first thing to understand is that a high ranking not only depends on having a correctly optimised website, but also a number of other factors which help contribute to the achievement of gaining a high ranking. Ideally, a first page position is the goal, in particular for the most popular keywords that are used when people search for a specific type of service.

It's important to realise that your website will not magically appear on the first page for every variation of your preferred 'keyword' search phrases, unless perhaps you use Google AdWords to do so. But in the organic (natural) listings, results are certainly not guaranteed. People often type in different search phrases which can result in different search results. If you have very little competition for the service you provide in your area, then you probably have nothing to be concerned about. The chances are your website will do very well if your web designer has done his job properly. But even before you can hope for getting a good ranking, your website has to be found first, usually through an external link pointing to your site, or through the search engine submission process. So getting your website found is the first step. Getting a high ranking will be the next goal to aim for.

It's a fact though, that many freelance web designers don't have an in-depth knowledge of how SEO (search engine optimisation) works. Or they may still be implementing old SEO methods that are now outdated and simply don't work effectively anymore.

By the way, Just because your website doesn't appear on the first or second page of Google, it doesn't mean it isn't in their search results. Chances are it has already been found, unless perhaps it's a relatively new site, but it may be languishing somewhere in a far off place where nobody can find it. Perhaps anywhere between the fifth and 100th page of the SERPS.

The major search engines such as Google and Bing (the only ones that really count) use automated systems to find and list websites in their massive databases. They visit websites all over the internet and assess the content of each page to determine what each page is about. Google is by far the most frequently used search engine on the planet, and the information it collects is then used to decide which web pages get listed and in what order they should appear in for the keywords and search phrases being used, No matter how clever your website designer is, or how much knowledge they have of SEO techniques, only Google has full control over their search results. Their highly advanced and hugely complicated methods to assess the relevance of results involve complex algorithms to figure it all out. And very few people know exactly how they work.

The listings that appear in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are regularly subject to change because Google and other search engine providers are constantly striving to provide the best user experience for their visitors. This means that if the websites they list do not provide a positive search experience, for example if they suffer from slow web page loading times, poor navigation, very little useful information, or worse still, totally irrelevant information, then their users will not be happy with the search results they have been presented with. If a search engine such as Google were to constantly deliver poor search results then they would not hold on to their crown.

You may have already noticed that the SERPs of today differ quite substantially from the SERPs of a couple of years ago. Each new Google update can have a positive or negative effect on the position of a website, so over time their search position can fluctuate, and sometimes quite dramatically. Any company that relies solely on getting enquiries from their website because it has a high position in Google is just asking for trouble. Only the big brand companies can assume they are relatively safe from a Google update, and even they can be badly impacted at times.

When a user does a search on Google and Bing the results that get displayed are usually laid out as follows...

At the top of the page you will usually see the sponsored ads that Google and Bing are getting paid for. This is how they make a large part of their income.

Next comes the local business listings, often accompanied by a map showing where the business is located. Companies and organisations that provide a service or products are usually listed here. Getting a listing is free, but usually only the first three companies show up on the results page, though just like the regular search results, these listings may fluctuate occasionally and show other companies.

Then comes the ‘Organic’ results, or natural search results, that the search engine lists in order of relevance according to their search algorithms. A good web designer or company with specialised knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can help websites rank higher in the organic search results.

So how can you get your website on Google and Bing AND get a good ranking?

That's what we'll find out in the second part of this article. Getting good search results