When people think of being on page 1 of Google, they usually think about a prominent place in the organic or natural search results. There’s no denying that being in a top organic spot is powerful especially as Web traffic increasingly goes mobile.
However, organic search is not the only way to get onto page 1 of Google. It’s important to understand their are many other ways to claim real estate on the first page of a search phrase valuable for your business.
1. Organic Search.
It’s said that the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google and with good reason. The vast majority of searchers don’t get past page one. In fact, as data shows, many don’t even get past what’s above-the-fold on page one.
Organic search results are calculated into an algorithm containing over 200 factors but the domain authority relative to competitors and the quality of the website’s external links are usually critical in gaining a top spot.
Organic results referencing your business can include beyond just what is on your website. It can be from your social profiles, presentations, guest posts, directory listings, or other citations.
2. Local Pack.
The local pack appears in Google search when a user is searching for a keyword phrase with local results. Based on IP addresses, Google knows the area searchers are using their device and their intent is to show them the most relevant, local results.
The pack helps group results near them on a map and then lists the results and addresses of the businesses in alphabetical order. The nice thing about the local pack is there are usually at least 3 listings and the local pack usually follows the first or second result of organic search. Therefore, having your business included in the local pack is a great place to be.
The Google ‘Pigeon’ update that rolled out in summer 2014 caused some changes in pack results. There are less map results than before and not as many 5-7 pack listings as there used to be. Also, since the ‘Pigeon’ update more directory type websites have been included in the local pack.
Local pack results take into account factors beyond organic search but being prominent in organic search can increase your likelihood of being in the local pack so it’s a win-win if you get both. Other local factors such as customer reviews on your Google business page and other sources are helpful.
3. Local Carousel.
The Local Carousel appears in some local search results such as restaurants or hotels. As Google is ever-evolving carousel results have changed over time. Here’s a screenshot of how a carousel may appears.
The Local Carousel is the first results shown, even above the paid ads making them very valuable real estate. It’s important to include quality photos on your Google Business Page and that they look good if cropped to a square so that Google is more likely to pull in a photo you want shown. The Carousel also shows Google reviews for the business, making having a variety of positive reviews all the more crucial.
Yep, ads are big part of page 1 of Google search for commercial terms. The AdWords ads typically show first in the results, above the organics, which make can them very valuable places to be. Ads may take up the first three results and then also the right hand column of page 1.
AdWords has its own algorithm to determine ad rank so the results shown aren’t connected to the organic or local results. AdWords uses a pay-per-click bidding system and also calculates Quality Score, which impacts ad position.
Sites included in Google News should offer timely reporting on matters that are important or interesting to our audience. We generally do not include how-to articles, advice columns, job postings, or strictly informational content such as weather forecasts and stock data.
Google produces ‘News’ results and has a separate category from its search engine for just news stories. However, ‘News’ results can also be interspersed with regular search results.
Google sources the ‘News’ results from a wide variety of websites but not just any website can be included in Google News. The News results reward freshness for websites that cover developing stories and new information.
The quote above from Google discusses how they may determine which sites to include. Google accepts blogs, press releases sites and even satire into Google News. Check out their ‘Getting Into Google News‘ page for more details.
6. Google+ Page.
Being on Google+ and implementing ‘Authorship’ used to be one of the best ways to get into page 1 of Google as you could have your profile picture next to the result. This was a significant advantage over a text-only listings and resulted in more clicks to results with pictures.
However, Google has since removed the Authorship feature from most search results. This was a loss for business owners, bloggers, and marketers who had embraced it and had seen added traffic and exposure as a result.
The Google+ profile picture will still appear in search results if you are logged into Google and there is relevant content for the search result from a person you are following in Google+.
Similar to Authorship, Publisher is for companies that have Google+ business pages. Publisher does not appear within the natural search results but instead shows on the lower right hand column of page one. Publisher shows the companies most recent Google+ post but you must follow the company’s Google+ page for the Publisher result to appear.
8. Google Business Page.
If you enter the name of a company into Google search, the right hand column will show a photo, their location on a map, reviews, and contact information for the business. If you are logged into Google and follow the company, Publisher will appear below the Google Business Page information.
Also, if your business does not yet have a website, Google will provide the Google+ Business Page as the clickable link for the business.
9. YouTube Videos.
Videos used to be more frequently seen on page one of Google search but that has changed in 2014. But it is still possible to rank on page one of Google for a YouTube video. Google Hangouts can also be used which stream live and are connected to a YouTube channel.
While you can also do an image only search in Google, images also appear in Google search. This can be seen in the above ‘Cargo Glide’ search, which shows what appears towards the bottom of page 1. Video and images, if present on the page 1 results, are more likely to appear near the bottom.
It’s important to add the “alt” attribute is an important page of image search optimization. They identify it and tell Google what the picture is about.
Other Ways to Appear More on Page 1 of Google and Conclusion
By using structured data and rich snippets such as the star ratings for reviews, you can also gain additional visibility in search. But these enhanced visibility features may not last long so don’t want wait to make use of them.
Google is always refinishing its search results. In 2014 it streamlined it’s interface with the reduction of video, Authorship, and local pack results. Of course, there was no reduction in the amount of ads shown.
Having your website appear multiple times in Google for a single search result can make a huge impact on your bottom line so take advantage of as many of these opportunities, many of which are free, while you still can.