Check your ranking
Ranking well (in the top ten at least) can be a great advantage for a business, as it's essentially free advertising. (NB: Here the discussion is the "natural" or "organic" results i.e. those returned by the search engine based on its assessment of your website. These are highly desirable for most businesses as they in effect represent a form of free advertising. The "sponsored listings" you might see at the top or side of organic listings are a form of advertising that generate revenue for the search engine),
Usually there will be so many words and word orders/combinations that potential customers could use that it would be unrealistic to expect a site that would rank well for all of them (even if you could anticipate all the possibilities).
While you might not be able to achieve a #1 ranking for all possible keywords and phrases, you should certainly keep an eye on how your website is performing for those keywords that you think are the most significant to you, and make a reasonable effort to improve your ranking.
First, check your own busines name
As a first step, try searching your domain name (e.g. mydomain.com.au) in the major search engines to make sure you're included. Then try searching using your business name (try "Australia Only" if you have a fairly generic name). You should expect to rank well for that at least.
Ranking well for your own business name is important because:
1. people who may have heard about you elsewhere (e.g. offline advertising, TV interview or word-of-mouth) are likely to plug your name into a search engine if they want to find out more about you.
2. it's a test of your website. If you can't rank #1 (or even #2 or #3) your website may have serious problems that are also affecting your ranking for other keywords.
Reasons you're website might not rank well for your own business name:
1. It's a new website that hasn't been picked up yet by the searchengine. See if they have a form that you can use to submit your site. See what you can do about getting linked from other websites. This will also help search engines to find your website (and might also help your ranking. See Promoting your website).
you business name is too generic, and there are other businesses interstate or overseas with the same or similar names (try narrowing your search by checking "Australia Only".
Then, check your major keywords
People searching for your business name already know about you. To reach new customers you need to put yourself in the position of someone looking for the products or services you supply.
For example, if you mow lawns in Gladstone for example, you might hope to rank well for phrases such as [Gladstone lawnmowing contractors] or [lawn mowing Gladstone] because those are the sort of terms local residents might use to find someone to mow their lawn.
Variations might include "mower", "mowing service" "lawn cutting" etc. plus the names various suburbs or nearby towns that you service. You can se how the number of combinations quickly expands, even before considering special services (aeration, spraying, edging etc), alternative spellings and typos.
If you're coming up in the top ten for your major keywords, congratulations. But don't rest on your laurels. Search engines change their ranking formulas (algorithms) from time to maintain quality. Your competitors might move up the ranks and push you down. And you might want to try to improve your ranking for those keywords that are currently performing poorly - there's always room for improvement. See Common website problems and Promoting your website
If you're coming up #20, #50 for not at all, see What if my website doesn't rank well?
NB: As search engines get more sophisticated, there may be some automated filtering based on your geographic location or previous search history. This means that the results you're seeing might not be the same as someone else does, and you can't assume that because you rank #1 when you try a search, that you will rank the same onthe computer screens of all your target market. Where search engine ranking is very important to your marketing strategy, you may wish to consult with a SEO professional, who should be able to help address such factors.
Modern Garden Marketing is a collection of news, opinion, information and resources for those working inside the Australian garden and landscape industry in the 21st century. Start Here