Everyone wants to be at the top of Google, but not everyone knows exactly what that means. Google results are constantly changing and at the moment, there are three parts of the first page. At the top are Pay Per Click Ads (PPC). Below that is Google Maps, and after that are the organic search results, which is what most people think of when they hear “ranking on Google.”
This is how you can get your website in the Pay Per Click section at the very top of the page. You tell Google what words you’d like to show for and how much you’re willing to spend, and they show your ad accordingly. The pros are that this is a quick and easy process to start, the cons are that ongoing management is complex and requires a lot of research and understanding.
This is the section that displays local businesses. Getting listed on the maps on the first page is based on a variety of factors, the most important of which are having positive reviews and optimizing your Google My Business page. This is incredibly important because it shows searchers what is nearby, which drives immediate action.
The organic results below the map require the most work to rank on the first page. That means a combination of content marketing, social media engagement, and backlinks from other websites and businesses. The downside is this is a time intensive and never ending process, but the positive is that once you are on the first page, you tend to stay there for a while.
The different parts of the first page of Google require different strategies to compete, each of varying difficulty and cost. So when you try to rank on page 1 of Google, make sure your online marketing strategy addresses all 3 areas.