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Understanding the Google Search results

In this post we are going to help you to understand the Google Search results and how you can improve your websites search rankings. Below is a typical example of a Google search results page. As an aside your website MUST be mobile friendly.

To appear at the very top you must pay for advertising, there is no other way.  This may not be as expensive as you think and worth exploring and perhaps doing a little bit of experimenting. There are 0 to 4 adverts at the top of the page and 0 to 4 at the bottom.

If the search has a local intent, and we are not quite sure exactly how Google interprets this, then you will see the Map Listings. These listings are Google My Business pages.  There isn’t a great deal of information you can add in here to differentiate yourself from your competitors but reviews will really help your ranking. You can see in the bottom left there is a MORE PLACES link.  Click on this to see if you are on the list, if not get a My Business page created and start asking for reviews. For advice on how to get more reviews and how to create a review direct link please go here.

Then after up to 4 adverts then 3 places links come the organic results. So even if you’re No1 on organic you can be in position 8 on the Google search results list.  That said it’s still an important position, so don’t ignore this.


The basic principles of organic on page (technical) SEO

Keyword research

If you have a Google account setup Google Adwords. you will need to add a credit card and setup a basic campaign but just make sure the campaign is paused and you won’t pay anything.  Why? Because with Adwords comes Google’s Keyword Planner.  Look for TOOLS > KEYWORD PLANNER.

Google has a giant database and every search done on Google.  The Keyword Planner allows you to access this information so you can find out exactly what users are searching for. No more guess work, you can KNOW there are xxxx number of searches for “website design scotland”, and if you know that you can build a page that focuses on this keyword phrase.  Yes it is that simple!

So go and generate yourself a list of keyword phrases for your business and download them from the keyword planner into a spreadsheet. As well as number of searches you get information of the commercial value of a phrase and the level of competition.

Keyword research is the foundation stone of all internet marketing.

On Page Optimisation

This is a well trodden path and should be known by anyone in the business of website development and digital marketing.

And before you say “what about Googles AI algorithm”, yes I know it’s out there but this work is still really important.

So imagine you are Google and you have no idea what your web page is about. It’s our job to make sure Google indexes our pages correctly.  Here’s how we do this.

We will use a florist as an example so you can see how this is done.


THE SEO PAGE TITLE (up to 60 characters incl. spaces, well 520 pixels actually but who’s counting)
This is the wording you see on the organic listing above in blue. This is the only place you will see this shown except if you roll over the tab in your browser. However it is supremely important as it’s the first thing the Google Search Bot will look at on your web page.  This sets the scene for the rest of the page. EXAMPLE: Beautiful fresh amazing flowers for your special occasion (57 characters including spaces).


URLIn most content management systems you can define your page URL and although exact URLs are no longer important I would always suggest you use a URL that matches your target keyword phrase. EXAMPLE:

META DESCRIPTION (up to 230 characters incl. spaces)

meta-descriptionAlthough this sows in the search results it has no impact on your pages search engine ranking. However users (think how you decide on what to click on) will scan read it and if it’s delivering what’s in their head they will click on your link. Think of the meta description as your sales pitch. EXAMPLE: Looking for the most impressive flowers for your budget? We can create bouquets for friends or loved ones, wedding flowers, funeral flowers, specialised creations for the most individual of requirements. We deliver or collect.


The most important of all is that your page has great quality, useful, informative, grammatically correct, content with images wherever possible. Don’t worry about the word count, it’s more important that you have great content. Try to use your keyword phrase at least once in the text just to reinforce the context.


So there you have it, good old fashion on page SEO activities. If you do this for every page on your website the results can be dramatic. Make a note of your rankings and traffic before doing this work so you have a benchmark. And of course you still need to be selling products or services that people want. But for very little effort you can make a big difference in your website effectiveness.

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