So you want to appear first through search engine results? I get approached with the following constantly. “Do you do SEO? I need a guarantee that I’ll show up on the front page.” “I want to appear first in search results above my competitors.” Or I get – I’ve paid this company X amount of dollars, and I’m still not ranked as high as my competitors.

As a web developer, I want to hand out a stack of books. And say, “Read these books on SEO, marketing, analytics, social media, trends, and when you’re done reading, come back!” Instead, I start with, “it’s a bit more complicated than that.” Therefore, let me begin by clarifying a small piece of the problem. Search engine page ranking (aka SEO search engine optimization) and search engine ad ranking (aka SEM search engine marketing) are two different things. However, they work together in unison to benefit a business. I’ll get into more detail about that later and how it isn’t a one-and-done deal.

You will not pay a search engine for higher listing ranks.

First, businesses cannot pay a search engine such as google, bing, ask, or other search engines to appear first through search engine results. You will never pay a Search engine for traffic and clicks; instead, you can earn a free spot in the search results by having the most relevant and most important content for a given keyword search (Sisson, 2003, “Do You Need an SEO?”, 2018).

Search listings are free of charge and organic. As long as you have the following:

Getting listed is easy (“Do You Need an SEO?”, 2018)!

Watch out for search engine optimization guarantees.

3rd party companies handle search engine advertising and marketing, not the actual search engine companies. SEO marketing and advertising require quite a bit of knowledge and can be costly if done incorrectly. Some search engine optimization companies will try to “guarantee” high ranking for your site” (“Steps to a Google-Friendly Site – Search Console Help.” 2018). Legitimate consulting firms can improve your site’s flow and content. Others employ deceptive tactics in an attempt to fool search engines” (“Steps to a Google-Friendly Site – Search Console Help.” 2018). Permanent inclusion in search engines versus temporary advertising is two different options that an SEO person/company can charge for when getting SEO services. Be leery when someone guarantees that they can get your company to appear first through search engine results.

How to look for websites on search engines

Ok, now that I’ve clarified some of the basics. Let’s understand what happens when one performs a search for their business. I am the owner of Green Thumb Lawn Service, and my web address is I can open a browser or search engine and type in my web address. My site will pull up fairly quickly (as long as that search engine has indexed my site). But how many people will know the name of my company, much less my web address? I’m going to say none other than those who have used my services before. Now they are left to find my site among the billions of websites.

Relevant content for higher search rankings

Now potential customers will do what has been coined as the term “google it.” Googling can often be Binging, Yahooing, Asking, or whatever other search engines they usually use. Business owners will also search for services differently than their potential customers. They may search for a specific service, general service, or even use a product name. For example:

So, why is what they search for necessary? Quite frankly, if the words they search don’t appear as keywords, relevant text, and pertain to images, you’ll never come up in a search result. Therefore, the text on your pages should be as relevant as possible and include keywords. This does not mean spam keywords. Let me show you the difference.

Don’t do the following:

Welcome to GTSL where we provide:

.Do the following:

Title of page/post – local landscaping and tree services

Welcome to GTSL, your local landscaping and tree services provider. We are here to handle your backyard and front yard needs.

Our local landscape services

We may not always be the cheap guys in the block, but we provide quality sod installation. We generally recommend the following types of grasses for our local landscaping jobs. Bermuda is great for sunny areas, while St Augustine is better for shaded areas.

We also Have Tree services.

We also have a variety of tree services that include brush removal, trimming, and deadwood. Let us handle your local landscaping service needs! Working on your tree helps the tree live longer and affects your overall landscaping. So don’t hesitate and give the local guys a shot.

See the difference? Keywords are to be used in the title and repeated throughout the text (Neilson, 2017). Add relevant keywords that match the copy of the text. Writing page copy primarily in an active form and not passive. And don’t forget that images alt tags on the page should also contain the keywords for that page and be relevant to the text. Last but not least, you need to be looking to other sources and internal sources on your pages and blog posts (Abdullah, 2017).

It takes more than keywords to rank in search engines

There are a lot of factors that drive rankings in search engines. We’ve only begun to skim the surface. A multifaceted approach is required to drive business and rank in search engines. Getting found on searches and ad placement that bring business requires getting properly ranked:

All of that is for another post! However, if you have questions in the meantime, feel free to contact me!


Abdullah, K. D. (2017). Search Engine optimization Techniques by Google’s Top Ranking Factors: Website Ranking Signals.

“Do You Need an SEO? – Search Console Help.” (2018). Google, Google,

Neilson, M. (2017). Seo: Proven Search Engine Optimization Strategies to Dominate Google And Other Popular Search Engines.

Sisson, D. (2003). Google SEO Secrets. Blue Moose Webworks, Inc.

“Steps to a Google-Friendly Site – Search Console Help.” (2018). Google, Google,