I receive emails offering to get websites I work on to the top of Google seemingly on a daily basis. Almost all of these emails come from, or allege to come from, SEO companies based in India or China. They use words like ‘guarantee’ and ‘rankings’ as though getting to the top of Google’s search engines was easy and, when they get you there, you’ll get untold riches from them doing so.
Firstly, getting to the top of Google for any search term worth searching for isn’t easy – as if it were, everyone would be there. By the very nature of the phrase ‘top of Google’, only one website can occupy the top spot for one phrase, meaning there’s not much room at the top.
Secondly, there is, and never has been, any way to guarantee search rankings. Any SEO company (or self proclaimed SEO company) that guarantees rankings is usually relying on one of two clauses that many people fall for, they are:
- They get you to the top of Google’s Paid Search (Adwords) instead, and hope that you don’t know the difference. This is a temporary result, only sustainable so long as you pay for it and it costs you every time someone clicks on it.
- They get you to the top of Google for a search term that nobody will search for, something very longtail (three or more words in a string) and then proclaim how they’ve fulfilled their end of the bargain because your website now ranks at the top of Google for “lime green widgets in the Nottingham area”. This is no use to you because nobody will search for it; therefore you won’t receive any traffic from it.
So, the moral here is to avoid any email that purports to be able to get you to the top of Google, guaranteed. This is all idle chatter anyway because you can get to the top of Google for free… this is no joke, and here’s how.
First ask yourself this; what is Google?
Google is a search engine. It is the most successful (by a massive margin) of all of the search engines and it makes more money in a day than Simon Cowell does in a year. It makes this money, on the whole, from the aforementioned Google Adwords, where advertisers pay for their ads to be listed on Google next to the search results that appear when someone makes a search.
This means that as long as people are using Google, Google is making money, lots of money.
This brings us to the next question; why do people use Google instead of Yahoo or Bing? This is a simple one, and one you can, and probably have and some point, try out for yourself. Google is used by more people than the other search engines because it offers the best results when you’re looking for something. Whatever you’re looking for, no matter the subject, a search on Google is more likely to net you the information you seek than a search on either Yahoo or Bing (or from one of the other millions of search engines that have tried, and failed, over the years).
So we have two facts here:
- Google makes more money the more people use it
- More people use Google because it works as a search engine
How does that help you, and how does that make it possible to get to the top of Google for free?
This is a simple one, and one that many websites are cottoning onto (and many more are failing miserably to understand). If Google is successful because, not to put too fine a point on it, it works, what is it exactly that it’s looking for in a website?
Again, this is a fairly simple question to answer. Imagine you were looking for information on how to rank at the top of Google for free (as you probably are, seeing as you’re reading this). What sort of results would you like to find for a search such as that? Would you like to see SEO companies selling you their services? Would you like to see websites offering to sell you links? Would you like to find a directory featuring loads of adverts for SEO companies?
No – you want to find information that answers your search query, information on how you rank at the top of Google for free. You want to read content telling you how to do it.
Can you see where this is going?
Whatever website you have, no matter the industry, you can improve your search engine rankings dramatically by adding fresh, unique, interesting and informative content to your site on a regular basis. By turning your website into a resource of information about your industry, one that is filled with articles, guides, tips and news relating to your industry, Google will see your website as being an expert resource. Google will know that your site is the sort of website that people want to see when they search for queries pertaining to your industry, and as such Google will rank your website where it belongs.
If you want to rank at the top of Google for free you need to make your website the industry leader for information – and this can you do yourself, in your own time, without spending a penny of your marketing budget.