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Why Doesn't My Website Rank Number One On Google? Or Choosing the Right Battles for SEO Success

17 January, 2024

In the vast digital landscape, achieving the coveted top spot on Google Search requires an understanding of how search engines work. From comprehending keyword competition to navigating the complexities of content variations and variety of SEO services, let's explore the essential factors influencing your website's SEO performance and address the common question: Why doesn't my website show up at the top of Google Search? 

keyword compeititon

Decoding Keyword Competition 

Being in a position to rank highly in Google Search results relies on various factors. For example, the words you choose to rank for and their popularity play a crucial role. If, for instance, you aim to rank for "Taylor Swift," it becomes a highly competitive term due to substantial traffic and numerous webpages dedicated to Taylor Swift. Starting a new website or a page targeting this keyword can be challenging because of the existing competition: a lot of people were there first, and all of them are focused on this keyword. All these factors contribute to the difficulty of ranking for specific keywords. 

As another example: let’s say that you want to rank for "web design". If you want to rank for just "web design", it's going to be much more difficult than if you decide to rank for "web design Nova Scotia". "Web design Halifax" might be easier, and "web design Lower Sackville" might be even easier because it's going to depend on how many people and how many websites are competing for that term. This is a competition. So if no one else is interested in showing up for "whatever web design," then it's going to be very easy, and Google will look at it as a great opportunity. High competition for the key word of your interest might be one of the reasons why you may not rank first. 

Strategic Keyword Selection 

Without a clear plan and conscious decision-making regarding key terms, the chances of success rely heavily on luck. If you don't decide upfront what keywords you want to rank for, the content you create might not actually include those keywords. So, if you don't start with a specific plan about which key terms are crucial for you, and you don't conduct research to understand competitiveness and traffic volume, nor make conscious decisions about how you want your site created and your pages structured, you're essentially relying on luck, hoping that it works out. On the other hand, if you begin by choosing keywords that are very important to you and investing time and energy in optimizing pages and the site for these terms, it can significantly impact where you rank. However, it's important to acknowledge that this is still connected to competition. 

keyword searching

Keywords Spelling Dilemma 

The third consideration is understanding the nuances of different spellings, variations, and whether a term is used in plural or singular form. For instance, "heat pump" is different from "heat pumps," and "heating pump". Each variation carries its own significance. If your intention is to rank for "heat pumps," but you find that you don't appear when searching for "heat pump," it may be because every instance on your website is focused on "heat pumps." According to Google and other search engines, this suggests that your content doesn't align with searches for "heat pump." 

The Role of Regular Updates 

In the dynamic world of the internet, staying relevant is paramount. How often do you update your website? Regular website updates have a direct impact on your SEO performance. A stagnant website, untouched for years, might struggle against competitors who consistently add fresh content, blog posts, and actively promote their online presence.   

website updates
website traffic

Safeguarding Traffic and Rankings in Website Development 

Sometimes, if you're not careful during website development, changing all the content might lead to setbacks. Altering pages that attract a significant amount of traffic or modifying keywords can result in a decline in rankings. It can be detrimental. Therefore, it's crucial to carefully assess your existing traffic sources, including specific pages and keywords, before undertaking major renovations or creating a new site. This ensures that when you rebuild the site, you account for these factors. Redirecting traffic to the correct locations and avoiding excessive changes that could confuse Google are essential considerations in this process. 

Google Business Profile vs. Organic SEO  

A common issue arises when clients believe they are not ranking well, but they are referring to the Google Business Profile—those businesses displayed on a map—rather than the organic results. In some cases, even if you rank within the top one, two, or three for a specific search term, it may not feel that way because the Google Business Profile map pushes your position down the page. It's essential to understand that your website and your Google Business Profile are different and not affected by the same factors; not ranking on your Google Business Profile is vastly different from not ranking in organic SEO. 

organic seo
website location

Using Local SEO Services

Google does, in fact, prefer local results. Therefore, it strives to provide local results unless dominant national or international pages significantly surpass them. If Google perceives that you are trying to get information on a topic (your search intent is informational rather than looking to make a purchase), it may be more inclined to display large sites from around the world that it deems to have more information. If Google thinks you are trying to buy something, it may be more likely to show local search results. 

In conclusion, achieving the first rank in search results requires a comprehensive SEO strategy that goes beyond merely targeting high-volume keywords. It involves a nuanced understanding of search intent and a continual effort to adapt and optimize content. By comparing and selecting less competitive yet relevant terms, keeping content updated, and implementing a clear strategy, you can enhance your website’s visibility. However, the journey to the top isn’t limited to these factors alone. Many other critical elements contribute to successful SEO, which we will explore in detail in our upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned for more insights to elevate your website’s search engine ranking and overall online presence. 

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