Search Rankings Explained: Why This Metric Matters to Your Business

Search Rankings Explained: Why This Metric Matters to Your Business

Search RankingLet’s face it: whenever you need something, you search for it online.

We used to go to the department store to try on running shoes. Now we’re logging on to Zappos and taking advantage of their no-questions-asked return policy if something goes wrong.

We used to ask neighbors to recommend a plumber. Now we look at the websites for plumbers in the area, and we confirm their effectiveness using reviews on Angie’s List. You don’t have to call up your bank to check on hours of operation, or sit and wonder where else you’ve seen that actor who plays Peeta in The Hunger Games. It’s all online.

If you are going to succeed in your business, you have to realize that your customers will act the same way you do in your online habits. When they need you, they’ll find you online.

The question for you is, are they actually finding your business?

Most online inquiries start with a search engine. Though each question you ask Google yields thousands, if not millions, of results, people rarely look past the first few websites. As soon as users get their answers, they move on.

Therefore, you need your business to make an impression early. It comes down to the search ranking.

What Is a Search Ranking, Anyway?

A search ranking is the position where your website (or a specific page on your site) falls in the search engine results when users search for a specific term or query. Tweet This

Say you are an HVAC technician located in Las Vegas, and you want to track the term “air conditioning repair Las Vegas.” If you have a ranking of 3, your website appears in the third spot when locals are looking for someone to fix their A/C unit.

But a search ranking of 3 also means that two other companies have the opportunity to show off their services before you do.

You want to get your ranking as high as possible with the keywords you target. The smaller the number, the higher your result falls on the page. You don’t have to have the top ranking on every keyword, but you want to aim for one of the 10 positions on the first page. As of 2012, 75% of users never searched past the first page of search engine results. And as Google gets better at delivering answers, that percentage will only go up.

Search Rankings Depend on the Answers You Provide

Do you feel like you have to answer to Google or other search engines to get customers? Don’t worry. Google answers to someone, too: its users. Tweet This

Google wants people using its products just as much as you want people buying your product or service. And in order to remain the number-one search engine in the world, Google has to provide the answers users need as often as possible. If you typed in a query like “affordable pet grooming” and only got pictures of Grumpy Cat, you’re not likely to stick around and use Google again.

Thus, search engines look at different factors to determine which websites are most relevant to a search term or phrase. Is this company close to the user? How often do people actually click on this company’s link when they see it? Is anybody talking about this company? What are they saying about it?

You can change what search engines think of your company, however. You simply have to be the answer people need.

Provide essential information, and prove your worth to Google and to the end customer. According to reports from Moz, many factors contribute to your search ranking, including:

  • Your name, address, and phone number (known as “NAP” within the industry) found on the page
  • Keywords in titles
  • Number of reviews
  • Social engagement, such as Facebook likes and Twitter followers
  • Click-through rate (CTR), or the percentage of people who see your link that ultimately click it
  • Inbound anchor text, or other sites that are talking about and linking to your company

By placing your keywords well and adding substantial, helpful content throughout your website, you’ll see your rankings improve.

Search Rankings Affect More than the Numbers

As we prepare for a new year and the inevitable goals that come along with it, you will have to decide which strategies are most important to implement now. You may wonder if it’s even worth your time to check your search ranking and work to improve it.

Take a look at Ignite Spot.

Once they got serious about their presence on search engines, this accounting agency made it on the first page of Google for several key terms. The amount of visits to their website doubled. High-profile businesses across the country were now aware that Ignite Spot exists and offers efficient, outsourced accounting services.

Ignite Spot has been able to attract high-profile clients and increase billing by over 300%. They opened additional locations and more positions within the company.

But think beyond the numbers.

This company is offering a service its employees can be proud of, and they’re doing so nationwide. They have created more jobs—and not just jobs, but stable positions. Because the website will keep bringing in paying customers.

It all starts with checking one number: your search ranking.

Among your resolutions for 2015, choose to pay more attention to the one metric you are missing. Contact a trusted SEO company, and help customers find your business first through the power of search.

Shannon Williams
[email protected]

Shannon Williams is the team lead over Onsite Copy and Onsite Blogging at Boostability. In her nearly four years with the company, she's also worked in guest blogging and content strategy. As much as she enjoys writing for different companies, Shannon hopes to publish her own novels and personal essays one day. She enjoys all aspects of pop culture, and she aspires to be a little more like Leslie Knope.