Have you ever searched for your business name online, only to struggle to find your website in the results? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, when business owners experience this common problem, they usually discover some more unsettling news—their biggest competitors turn up in the search results instead.
With over 80% of consumers looking online before deciding which business to patronize, it’s absolutely critical to have a visible presence online. That means both ranking high in search engine results and outranking your competitors. If you’re asking yourself why you don’t show up on page 1 of Google when you search for your business, but your competitor does, here are some of the reasons that may be to blame.
Not Claiming Your Google My Business Listing
If you’ve ever searched for a business online, you have probably encountered a text box alongside the search results that includes information about the business. This box—which is called the Google Knowledge Graph—includes quick links to the business’ home page, directions to the business, customer reviews, and more. It also includes other important information that is useful to customers, such as operating hours and phone numbers. This information is collated by Google to appear for easy reference for customers in both search and Google Maps.
Companies that rank well online have claimed their Google My Business listings. To do this, you will need to sign up for a Google My Business (GMB) account. With a free GMB account, you can take control of the Google Knowledge Graph, so you can update information, add images, and manage basic info about your company. This critical feature of GMB will help your search ranking on its own, but GMB accounts also offer multiple other tools that you can use to further manage your online search success.
Having a Slow-Loading Site
Search results aren’t just sorted by relevance to search terms. They also take into account the user experience that customers can expect by clicking on a link. So, your website performance could be to blame if you’re not showing up in search results. For instance, if your website takes a long time to load, includes broken images, and has videos that keep buffering, potential customers are likely to click away.
Have you checked how long your website takes to load? Have you tested the site on different devices and browsers? If your website is slow to load, then potential customers will click away from your site back to search results and select a competitor’s site. This is one of the biggest factors that impacts your “bounce rate,” or the number of times people use their back buttons after clicking on your page. Google tracks bounce rates closely, and sites with large bounce rates are ranked lower than sites with lots of click-through traffic.
Competing for the Wrong Keywords
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an umbrella term that describes several different techniques used to improve SERP rankings. One of the most important parts of SERP is keywords. Keywords are terms that people use to search for information. To increase SERP rankings, people creating web content use specific keywords in their text so that the site seems relevant to people searching those words. For example, if you have a dry-cleaning business, “dry cleaning” and “dry cleaner” are likely to be among the keywords you use for SEO.
However, some companies use the wrong keywords, which in turn increases their bounce rates. For instance, using the term “cleaning service” instead of “dry cleaner” for your dry-cleaning business could cause people to come across your site when they are looking for a house cleaner. They’ll back out of your site, your bounce rate will increase, and your SERP rank will decline.
Additionally, some keywords just have too much competition. One way to maintain a high ranking with competitive keywords is to include your business’ location with your keywords, e.g., “dry cleaners in Baltimore.” Another way to deal with this issue is to use the tools in your GMB account and other online databases to find out which keywords are the most searched for businesses like yours in your local area.
Lacking in Backlinks
One thing that search engines consider when ranking sites is how reliable or authoritative relevant websites are. Backlines are a great way to bolster this authority. Backlinks are links to your content published on other sites. When search engines see that a lot of people are linking to your site, it tells them that you’re making helpful, informative, accurate content that is likely to be useful to people.
Although you can engage in backlinking arrangements with other sites, such as complementary businesses, the best way to get backlinks is simply to produce good content that gets updated when necessary. People are more likely to share this type of content via social media, personal blog pages, and other areas on the web. In fact, publishing quality content on a regular basis is the best strategy for gaining and keeping high SERP rankings for the long term.
Getting the web search results you want is an ongoing process. Let Salem Surround help you reach and maintain a high ranking in search results, so that potential customers find you and not your competitors. Our digital marketing experts work with brands nationwide to help them succeed in today’s online marketplace. Contact us today and find out more about how we can help you with SEO and other digital marketing needs.