Four Free Ways to Appear on the First Page of Google
People are sometimes surprised that there is more than one way to profit from prominent placement on a Google search page. In this section, we’ll briefly touch on each. Then, using the techniques in this book, you’ll be able to increase your visibility in all of them.
Not all of these different types of results will show for every search. Google assesses the intent behind each search and will display the results it considers most appropriate, based on previous user behaviour.
Method 1: Google Organic Results
The ‘normal’ Google search results are the ones that appear running down the page with no ‘ad’ signs, as shown below:
The amount of traffic you get from your Google ranking obviously depends on the position you’re showing in this area. According to Advanced Web Ranking’s click-through rate study, ranking position one (top of Google), for example, can bring you 37.9% of all the clicks made by people searching for that phrase. Ranking in position two brings only 18.47% of the searchers. By the time you get onto page two, even the top listing is only picking up a measly 1.86% of all searcher clicks.
You can see from this that the rewards for the top position are disproportionately high. It’s just like the winner of the Olympic 100m race receives a disproportionate share of the rewards compared to the person who comes second—despite the runner up being the second fastest person alive (an incredible feat, for sure). One of the most common mistakes with SEO is complacency. Those running websites that rank on page one, but not in top spot, assume that there is little to gain by focusing on increasing their ranking further. You can see from these stats, however, that being persistent and aggressive until you own top spot can really pay off.
Method 2: Featured Snippets
The second free way to appear on Google is through Featured Snippets. These are short pieces of text displayed by Google above all the other organic results on the page. Because they’re shown above all the regular results, they’re often referred to as ‘position zero’ results.
The image below shows the search results for the question “what is Digital PR”. You’ll notice that, in addition to ranking in top position, the description from our website grabs a large amount of screen space, increasing the likelihood that a searcher will click to visit the Exposure Ninja website.
Method 3: Google Local
If you’re a local business, you’ll be well aware of Google’s map listings that appear for searches likely to have ‘local intent’, as shown below.
As well as showing on the map, you can also have your business appear as a Knowledge Panel local result, as shown below.
Method 4: Using Other People’s Websites
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to use your own website to get business from Google. In fact, sometimes, appearing on a third party site can give you more credibility. We have one client, for example, who picks up as many leads from an article we wrote on somebody else’s website, as they do from their own traffic! This makes sense; if someone else writes about you and says how great you are, doesn’t that hold more weight than if you’re writing about yourself saying how great you are?
Not only can this be a great credibility strategy, but being featured on other people’s websites is also a powerful tool for increasing your own website’s ranking.