GoogleHaving designed around 20 websites for people, the most common question I hear is “How do I become top of google?”.

The question sends a shiver down my spine, it’s almost as bad as when I’m asked “How much does a website cost?” – I just reply, “They’re all £1,000 mate, everyone of them, ebay, facebook, juliasflowersinkent, they all cost £1,000 – every website does. They soon realise what a silly question it was, if they don’t still get it, I say like houses, they vary on cost depending on what you want building. Some still don’t get it, at that point I tell them to call someone else.

When someone has a new website, they automatically assume it will instantly sit proudly at the top of Google’s page 1 for the name of their site. When they find out it doesn’t work like that, it’s usually a surprise to hear that a lot of work has to happen for Google to think your website is any better than the other 10 billion crap sites floating around the internet.

Most new website owners have never heard of SEO, have no idea what it means, and certainly no idea what it entails, they just think whack a website up, add a PayPal button and sit back and watch the money pour in. This of course couldn’t be any further to the truth. Without SEO, a brand new website of less than a dozen pages can expect to attract as little as 50 visitors a month. It may get indexed by Google within a week or two, and then just sit there, doing nothing.

So if you’re speaking to a web designer who is going to build you a new website, if you have a specific keyword in your mind that you’d like to rank well in Google for, instead of just asking if you’ll top the search engines, ask the following questions :

Will my website contain onsite SEO for my desired keywords, including Title Tags, H1, H2,H3, keyword density, image alt text, SE friendly url extensions, textual internal linking and, sitemap.

If your web designer has no idea what you are talking about, or says no, then go and look for another designer, because without on page SEO being built into your site, you’re off to a very bad start indeed. Google looks for all of those elements (and many more) and if it doesn’t find them you have zero hope of being ranked well, and zero hope of gaining visitors.

As well as having correct onpage SEO, there is another huge element to search engine optimisation, known as off page SEO, but that is another blog post another day.

What ever you do, don’t just say “I want to be top of Google” – it takes time, and effort, and you won’t find it comes to your new website overnight.