In all the years I’ve been promoting websites (17 so far and counting), one of the things I get asked most often is to get a particular site to “the top of Google”. Now, over the years there have been various ideas as to what the “top” of Google actually is – with Top Ten, Top Five and Top Three often being regarded as a very good runner up to that coveted Number 1 slot.
And there have been many changes at Google over the years, such that the very concept of a specific Google ranking position has been called into question through such things as Personalised Search and Everflux listings.
But this article isn’t about that issue.
The eagle-eyed among you (a phrase that always nostalgically reminds me of my old Action Man from the 1970s!) will have realised that the headline of this post is a question – why should you be? – rather than the statement – why you should be.
The reason for this is to try and make you think a little about what it is that Google is trying to achieve with its organic search results.
That is, if you look at things from Google’s perspective, why should it put your site at the top, rather than the thousands of other sites that are also competing to be where you want to be?
In order to appreciate this, we have to try and understand what Google’s motivation might be for featuring its listings in the particular order that it does.
Conspiracy theories from disgruntled SEO practitioners aside, it’s actually pretty easy to determine what Google is trying to do – offer its users the best possible result for the query they have in their mind when they type that query into the search box.
No rocket science or brain surgery being discussed so far – it should be obvious that Google’s organic listings are based on providing the best search experience for the user that it can. (Again, leaving aside any conspiracy theories that suggest Google tries to give organic listings that aren’t very suitable, in order that people will click the adverts and thus generate income for the search giant).
But once you adopt the mindset that Google works on behalf of searchers, not website owners, you quickly start to realise what it is that you should be offering on your own site in order to provide the best result for particular search queries that would be relevant to what you offer.
I’ll be coming back to this point in coming posts that deal further with SEO and how to get your site to “the top of Google”.