Why Should You Be On The First Page?
There’s so much talk about getting on the first page of Google, but why? According to a click-through-rate (CTR) study by Sistrix, the first position in Google’s search results garners over 25% of clicks in a given query.
But why does this matter?
Why the first page is important
Aside from the fact that over a quarter of clicks go to the first position, over 90% of traffic only visits the first page of search results. If your website is listed on any page other than the first page of Google’s search results, it is much less likely to be seen and visited.
Very rarely does someone scroll down a search results page to click on the second page. When people use Google, they expect to find the most relevant information listed first, without having to do much searching around themselves.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king.” How much does content matter if no one sees it? A first-page spot will provide a platform for your content to be visited.
More traffic isn’t the only thing your site will receive by being on the first page…
Benefits of being on the first page
All the following benefits work together to provide significant value in having your site listed on the first page.
Taking up real estate on the first page of Google’s search results will lead to greater exposure. Greater exposure leads to greater brand awareness. Greater brand awareness will help customers decide to choose you over your competitors
Higher click-through rates
The more people who see your site, the more clicks you are likely to receive. Users assume that the sites listed on the first page of search results will have the answer they are looking for. The higher your position on the first page, the greater chance you have to get clicks.
Sometimes sites that show up on the first page will be presented in a form other than a plain text result. Examples of this include: featured snippets (like Google’s Answer Boxes), local business results (that have a phone number, address, ratings, etc) and “People also ask” section.
These different formats allow users to preview your site and engage with it before actually visiting it. Users can essentially “pre-qualify” sites before they decide to go to them. This pre-qualification could lead to a slight increase in the amount of time spent on your site.
Earned trust and sense of authenticity
People associate sites that show up at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) with trustworthiness. If a site shows up first, there has to be a reason why. Sites that show up first are a sign that:
- Many people have clicked on that result before
- The site was able to provide useful information to its visitors
If you appear on the first page, you’re probably pumping out good content. The better the content you provide, the easier it will be to show up on the first page.
Like earning trust amongst visitors, you will also gain industry authority. Those in your industry will see you as a leader, someone who knows what they are talking about. Quality content is so important on your site.
Not only will you gain respect and an excellent reputation, but you will be the one users go to in your industry when they are looking for information.
One of the most excellent benefits you will gain from being on the first page of the SERPs, is the potential for increased leads. At the most basic level, more exposure to your site increases your chances of lead generation.
One of the most significant challenges of generating leads is merely competing for a place in the search results. If users don’t see your site, then they may not know it exists. If they don’t know it exists, your users won’t be able to convert to customers.
Keeping in mind the other benefits you gain from being on the first page, increased visibility, earned trust and higher CTRs will help you generate more leads.
Now that you understand the importance of ranking on the first page and the benefits you can attain by doing so…
How do you get on the first page?
Before anything else, you need to know that Google gives every site on the Internet a ranking. Google’s ranking is what will determine where you show up in the SERPs. The better your ranking, the better your position will be.
Google page ranking
“How do you get on the first page of Google” is a complicated question, as there are so many factors that go into ranking. Here are 5 of the most influential ranking factors in no particular order:
To be able to compete in the SERPs, your website has to be accessible to Google. Accessibility, in this case, allows Google to reach, crawl and index your site.
You must be aware of which pages on your site Google does and does not have access to. Submitting your site’s sitemap to Google Search Console is a great place to start.
Users should also be able to access and navigate through your site easily. If your site is too difficult for visitors to use, Google will notice this and push down your ranking.
Although content is not necessarily the be-all and end-all factor, it is still one of the top 5 factors for ranking. Quality is much more important than quantity when it comes to good content. When producing content, the user should always be at the top of the mind.
Quality content should also be optimized. Optimized content uses relevant keywords, understands searcher intent and contains an adequate number of words.
Understanding search intent is crucial so that you can better strategize which keywords to use to target your target audience better. Content length is important because you should go into a certain amount of depth for a given topic.
The more content you have, the easier it will be to implement keywords naturally. The more keywords you use (naturally – never keyword stuff), the greater the opportunity you have to rank organically.
You want to ensure that your site has a fast page-loading time. Having a slow page load could lead to a penalty from Google that lowers your ranking.
Think about it from a user perspective: how long are you willing to wait for a page to load? Less than 1 second? 10 seconds? 30 seconds?
Chances are, you expect results immediately. If the page you go to doesn’t load right away, you’ll most likely leave it to visit another site. Page speed matters for both desktop and mobile.
Backlinks and internal links play a large role in determining your site’s ranking.
Receiving backlinks from trusted sites with high Domain Authorities will help your site surge in its rankings. The more links you have pointing toward you from qualified sites, the better. Inversely, you want to limit the backlinks you get from low authority sites.
Internal links are also vital. Not only do internal links help Google navigate your site, but they also urge users to engage with your site. Including links allows users to visit different, relevant parts of the site easily.
Mobile friendliness and responsive design
Nowadays, mobile devices are the most popular way to visit the Internet. In 2016, Google realized this and introduced mobile-first indexing. This update enables crawlers to see your site from the perspective of a mobile user.
How a website appears on mobile devices directly impacts its overall rankings. If your website isn’t compatible with mobile, its usability and accessibility will be seen as low, causing your ranking to drop.
One way to optimize your site for mobile users is to implement a responsive design. Responsive designs are best because they automatically adapt your site and its content to fit whatever device the user uses. No more awkward unoptimized mobile internet browsing.
Ways to get on the first page
There are no short answers to this question; however, improving your site ranking is a great first step. Optimizing your site can only help you – but be sure not to over-optimize.
The best long-term strategy to getting on the first page of Google’s SERPs is search engine optimization (SEO). You want to ensure that you optimize your site for users. Optimization can take a while but will pay off in the long run, if done well.
Another easy strategy, but for the short-term, is to use paid ads. Showing a Google Ad will help your page immediately show up in the SERPs. This strategy is great for immediate exposure but has the potential to turn costly.