If, like us, you get emails almost daily from companies offering to "Put you top in Google", and other emails offering to "Boost your SERPs", they are actually talking about the same thing - Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).
SERPSs and Searches
We're all pretty familiar with how search engines work. When you're looking online for information, products or services, you'll type a search term into a search engine (search website) such as Google or Bing. You then see a page of websites that feature the phrase you've typed in; this page is the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Here's a search we did for "web designers Ingersoll", for example.
Who chooses which website is top of the list?
So, how does a search engine decide which websites appear at the top of the list, and which appear on page 10? Very good question, and if we knew the exact answer, we'd be billionaires and reclining on a beach rather than freezing in snow!
What we do know is that search engines apply mathematical algorithms to analyse your website, which is like giving your website a inspection. The more elements of the inspection your website passes, the higher up the ranking you will rise.
The most important search engine criteria
The most important criteria is the search term itself. Each search engine has a massive database full of all the words appearing on every website they’ve indexed (catalogued). The search engine searches this enormous database for the search term you have typed in. If it finds the search term in your website text, either on the page or in your meta tags, your website will appear *somewhere* in the rankings. Note the word, somewhere. So far, so good.
Then the search engine applies other tests, which probably include:
- The quality of your on-page text in terms of content and structure
- The context of your content and its relevance to the search term
- The accessibility and quality of your website code
- The history of your domain name
- Links to and from your website from other sites
- Social media mentions and likes for your website
- Video content
- Your website's accessibility according to WCAG standards
- The relative positions of keywords on your page, headers, etc
And a whole bunch of other stuff they are sooo not going to tell us about!
Why Akira websites rank so well in SERPs
Your website need to tick as many boxes as possible in order to be at the top of the SERP. That's why at Akira:
- We build all our websites to the highest standards of coding, with accessibility built in
- We offer SEO keyword research, to ensure those key phrases people type into the search engine appear on your website
- We host websites on our own servers to ensure your website always has "good neighbours" (yes, another search engine criteria)
- We suggest every website has an active blog and associated social media sites
My website isn't top in Google!
OK, so you've got your new Akira website and it's got great text and it's got fab video and you blog every week and - it's not top of the SERPs for your key phrases.
Don't panic. It takes time for the search engines to find and list your website, work out the links, and all that other stuff they need to check out. It can take up to three months just to get established, simply because the search engines are busy, well, searching. (If you want to see how many searches are done in one day, check out this live display - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8552415.stm). Remember, domain age is important, so if you've got a new website AND a new domain name, your website will need time to be acknowledged and build a 'history'.
New content is also important. Keep your website active and interesting, and the search engines will keep coming back to check out what's new (as will your customers!).
The top website last week isn’t the top website this week
Hand on heart, at Akira we're pretty good at getting websites into search results in a matters of days, but the more competitive your market, the harder that is. Here's why; the smartest of your competitors are working just as hard to be top of the SERP as you are. They'll be adding new content, engaging with customers through social media, blogging interesting stuff weekly, and probably videoing the company cat too.
SERP rankings also depends on WHERE customers are located when they are searching online. If you use a mobile device to search online, the search engines use your physical location to show you the most relevant results near where you are at that precise moment. So, if you're standing in downtown Stratford and you search for "coffee shops", you'll first be shown ones within 1km to you. If you are in Ingersoll, the same applies. So, that's why it's important to put your location in your website text, so if someone is in Stratford and searches for “coffee shops Ingersoll” your website will still come up. Therefore, you should be "Akira Coffee Ingersoll" as often as possible, not just plain "Akira Coffee".
So, why do so many email companies claim "We can put you top of Google"?
Because they want to make money. NOBODY can put your website 'top of Google' in every search for a popular keyphrase such as "coffee shop". However, if the phrase is long and obscure (and nobody searches using it but you), of course it's possible to rise to the top of Google with:
"Akira Coffee and Pet Possum Grooming Services Tuesday Afternoons in November Ingersoll".
That search term may put your website top in Google if you have the phrase on your pages, but since nobody in their right mind would type that, it is no use to man nor beast (or possum). Save your money and invest instead in high quality blog content as part of a social media posting service instead. (Ye, we can do that too, if you wish.)
For more details on how to boost your website in the SERPs, call us. Just don't expect quick fixes or instant results!