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How We Got to Top 5 on Google


February 8, 2021 - Boston, MA


Google headquarters at dusk

A top Google ranking can be a game-changer for a small business.

Where We Started: Nowhere

When we started our SEO effort a year ago, we were 49th on Google for the search term 'boston web design'. 49th is page 5 of Google results. And as the saying goes, the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google results (92% of all clicks occur on the first page). Starting on page 5 meant we had a long way to go.

Our Goal: First Page (Top 10)

Our goal was to get on the first page of Google for the search term 'boston web design'. For our business, that's the most relevant and highest volume (most searched) keyword. We hoped to move steadily up the page from there, since not only do 92% of clicks come from the first page, 80% of clicks come from the top 5 results alone.

How We Did It: Two Parts

While Google's ranking algorithm is an unknown, they're clear about what it takes to rank well: 'provide visitors with an excellent user experience'. This encompasses everything from speed to security, mobile-friendliness to well-structured content. Secondly, your website has to be linked. Backlinks (links from another website to yours) have always been important to ranking well on Google.

Part 1 - SEO Optimization

SEO starts from the ground up. It's easy for us, because we build all of our websites from scratch with SEO in mind. We optimize meta tags, code, images, and content, ensuring the website is mobile-friendly, accessible, and up to Google's high standards. Our websites load fast, securely, and error-free thanks to our business class web hosting service. In short, we build fast websites that people like to use, and Google approves.

Part 2 - Link Building

The second piece isn't as easy, because it requires content creation and outreach. Google likes websites that other people like, so if people find your website to be appealing or useful, it earns a higher search ranking. We accomplished much of this by reaching out to select directories and creating articles like this one. To be fair, we didn't have a very aggressive content creation or outreach program (and still don't), but neither did our competition. We just did a little more than the rest.

Google rankings over the past 6 months

Our Results: From Page 5 to Top 5 in Less Than a Year

Over the course of a year, we went from nowhere to the Top 5. We've been as high as 4th, and are currently hovering around 5-7th in rankings, which is outstanding for our small business. We spent $1,000 for a key paid listing, and spent about an hour a month (12 hours total) tweaking our website, writing articles, exploring backlinks, and adjusting our tactics.

What We Didn't Do

We didn't spend thousands hiring an SEO consulting or marketing firm. We didn't waste hours every month writing fluffy clickbait articles stuffed with keywords, and we rarely posted on social media. Yet, in less than a year, we outranked all but 3 other web design firms in the greater Boston area (including firms much larger than ours). The key was experience - knowing what actually works and using it to our advantage.

Do You Want to Rank Highly on Google?

All of our websites are built with SEO foremost in mind. That gives our clients a leg-up right out of the box, without having to spend an extra dime. For clients who want more return on their investment and more business from their website, we offer an SEO Boost service for $100/month that mirrors the process we used on our own website to go from nowhere to Top 5 on Google in under a year.