Being first position in Google isn’t what it used to be!
Back in the early days of Google search rankings were pretty straightforward. It was pretty clear who was position one in google for a given term. As time has gone by Google has changed. It no longer wants to be a search engine but a knowledge engine. It doesn’t just want to point you to the websites to find what you want, it wants to give you those answers without you even having to go to a website! Google is getting better and better at trying to give you the information that it thinks you want. So how does this affect your ranking for your driving school? Quite simply Google doesn’t just rank websites as to how good they are. Google tries to predict what the searcher is looking for and give the best results for that individual. These results are based not JUST on the website but also on the user’s own behaviour. It does this by taking into account a whole host of other factors such as where the device being used is located, previous searches, whether you are logged in to Google, previous visits to relevant sites etc.
So this means that two people doing exactly the same search may get slightly different results. Other factors that may result in different results are: whether the search is from a mobile device or tablet or desktop, the browser being used, cookies stored on your device and the datacentre used for that particular search.
Being in the first few results is still the holy grail of search but it has become harder to define which sites are in those positions. As if that wasn’t enough Google continually shuffles sites up and down a few places. So one day your site might be position 2 when you search and a few days later position 4 and then a few days later still back up to position 2 even with nothing changing!
Another factor to remember when looking at your ranking is that it’s not just your site that is moving, it’s other sites too. If you have dropped 3 or 4 places it might not be anything wrong with your site, just that other sites have improved. Or it could be that Google is trying a tweak to the algorithm which is not so good for your site and that tweak could be permanent or it might be temporary.
So where does all this leave us?
Quite simply you want to get your site onto page one for a number of search terms. Quality SEO should keep you on the first page. If you drop a few places don’t panic.
There are websites that will analyse your ranking for you but be aware that the free versions are limited and may not be 100% accurate.
Finally and the best bit of advice for anyone with a website. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Although ranking well in google should help generate more business, it’s a risky business model if you rely solely on one source of customers. Make sure that Google search is one strand of a multi-layered marketing strategy including facebook, adwords,other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing as well as offline methods such as branding on your car, personal recommendations etc.