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Search Engine Rankings – Why They Matter

Sometimes I think we take it for granted that everyone knows about Search Engine Rankings and why they matter.

Cambridge Digital Marketing is a marketing / web services firm, based in Cambridge, in the Waterloo Region,  Canada's technology triangle. Cambridge Digital Marketing  offers website development, search engine optimization,  other digital marketing services to small and medium sized business.

Search Engine Rankings – Why They Matter

Those of us involved in technology, SEO, and marketing are constantly inundated with website rankings, search engine rankings, search engine algorithms and this kind of thing, but people in other walks of life possibly have heard a bit about search engine rankings and search engine optimization, maybe they've even researched and worked on their company search engine rankings. Most, however, just wouldn't give it a thought.

Anyway, let's take a look in detail at search engine rankings to make it as clear as possible for those of you that are interested.

You obviously know what a search engine is so I won't go there, however let's take a look at how they are used and how they work.

First off, did you know, there are over 400 million different website on the internet today?

So, when a person searches for something on Google, Bing or Yahoo, a lot of work is kicked off.

For an example, let's say a person is looking for information about dog training.

Search Engine Rankings – The Search

Did you know the term dog training is typed into Google about 1.5 million times a month!

There are that many people interested.

There's also a lot of people, companies and products related to it.

In fact, if you try typing in dog training into Google, you'll find there are about 45 million resulting entries! Each entry listed, is a page of content, which could be an article, a video, news, and pretty much anything else related to dog training. WOW!

Now, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and the other search engines, aren't in business to promote your company or service. They're in business to make money, and in order to do so, they want to give their users the best possible experience and results they possibly can. That way, the people keep using their services, and they keep making the big bucks.

So, in order to provide the best possible service a very important task the search engines provide is by ranking the results in an order that helps the user or searcher.

Search Engine Rankings – The Results

Can you imagine if they presented back 45 million results in some random order? No one would ever use Google, and no one would ever find what they were looking for. That's why search engine rankings exist.

Essentially, they've built highly sophisticated algorithms that sifts and sorts the 45 million results and presents them back in the form of a list,  that, in general, has the most important, most highly respected, and highest quality results at the top of the list.  They take into account things like how old a particular website is, how many pages of content it has, how well constructed the material is on a page, is it quality, informative material, or is it just a sloppy page full of all types of ads etc. Naturally, there are all kinds of things they can use to figure out if the material is high quality and relevant.

They also take into account what you are searching for. If your search term is what they consider to be a “Local” service or product, in other words, something that is offered locally in most communities, they use Google Map to present the top results, and then continue with the normal website listing.

If you need help getting your business on the Google Maps, or want to rankin the top few positions, feel free to give us a call.

Back to our example, if you searched for the term “dog training”, Google would include some business in the Google Map in the results because it is deemed a local service. Google will provide you a map and a list of the top 10 relevant Google Places in your community. You wouldn't even have to put the name of your community in the places ranking service They can tell what it is from your IP address.

So regardless of where you are located, if you search for what they consider a local service, you get a list of the local service providers in your own area,  for whatever you searched for.

Google shows the business on the map, as well as a list off to the side, with the corresponding business, and links to their website if they happen to have one. 

In an effort to constantly improve their search results, Google is always tinkering with the algorithms. It's just good business on the search engines part to provide great service.

So, back to the results. Once Google has sorted the results into the order they think is best,  they present them back to the searcher. All this is done just in the second or two that it takes from the time the person enters the term.

Now, beyond the Google Places section of the search results, Google will present a more traditional list section of websites. They arent necessarily local, they're just sites with information about your search term.

Our dog training searcher will receive their results on multiple pages….in this case it would be thousands of pages if they ever go that far.

The best, and most relevant results (in Google's eyes)  however, are presented on page 1, and they drop off as the results go forward.

Google will place the searcher on page 1 of the results to start.

That's very important. Because, of the billions of searches that are done on Google each month, about 60% of the people never go beyond page 1 when they get their results.

Also, each page by default, has 10 results, and in general, 42% of all searchers click on the very first link on page 1!

The process that owners of websites go through to get ranked up as high as possible in the search engines is called Search Engine Optimization.

So, for the company or person that has the all important “dog training” Search Engine Ranking in the first position of page 1 on Google, they will get 42% of the 1.5 millions searches per month or about 630,000 people, come and visit their site, each and every month that they are on the top of the list. 630,000 visits!

Remember, this 1.5 million visitors searching the term dog training, isn't local, it's worldwide.

If they are in a country that has Google Places, they'll get those first, for their locale, followed by main website results beyond the Google Places.

But, for the webistes listed just below the Google Places the traffic to their site can be staggering.

Think about that. 630,000 people coming to your website every month, looking at your product or service, and all people that we're looking for that type of product or service in the first place.

And all of those people are coming there, yet the owner of the website, the dog training company, didn't have to spend a dime on advertising!

Compare that to advertising in a newspaper, as an example.  You can spend a few hundred to many thousands of dollars to place an advertisement in a newspaper one day.  Using our same example even if it's a large newspaper, how many of the few hundred thousand people reading the paper that day were looking for dog training. 10, 20, 1000? Who knows. But the point is, it's not really a targeted audience, and even if someone was looking for dog training in the paper, who's to say they'll ever see your ad.

And finally, the biggest point of all is, what about tomorrow?  If someone didn't read yesterday's paper with your ad in it, unless you are advertising again, they'll never see it.

Now, I'm not trying to criticize newspapers. Far from it.  There are many highly targeted sections in a paper that may bring great results.

But think about the traffic that can come to your actual website, with a great Search Engine Ranking,  and how much better you can tell your story on your website, compared to a small ad in a newspaper.

Search Engine Ranking can easily be the deciding factor in whether a business succeeds or fails. It can have a massive affect either positively or negatively to a business. It can basically mean feast or famine.

Search Engine Optimization, work done by quality, honest professionals, can be a tremendous investment in your business.

And that is why website rankings and search engine rankings matter.