Getting on the first page in Google for your targeted keywords is the key to online marketing success. Small companies can spend thousands of dollars per month for online marketing. However, that’s often not necessary, except in the most competitive markets. Basic website architecture goes a long way.
There is actually a formal process to get there. First, your site needs to become fully compliant with the current Google Webmaster Guidelines. Everything from page load speed to mobile friendly code should be optimized to avoid any ranking penalties. The Search Console, sitemap submission and analytics are the basics.
The next step is generally referred to as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Basically, the website is optimized for your specific marketing targets and competition. This is done through keyword research and application to the site attributes.
A basic tenant of SEO is link building. The more links that point to your site the higher your 'Authority' in the search engines.This is the most time consuming part of SEO, but it has the highest impact on your rankings.
Once the site is fully optimized, you will need to ‘compete’ within your specific target market(s). Whatever your competitors are doing, you need to do a little better.
Before spending any money on paid ads from the major search engines your site needs to be fully keyword optimized for your target keywords. You will pay premium prices for ads if their target keywords have a low quality score.
Controversy here…It’s a very popular platform. Many site owners love them. There are endless free themes and plug ins. Web designers love them because they don’t have to use any HTML code. However, Word Press sites are generally not secure and require ongoing maintenance and updates. If a website gets infected with malware Google will immediately remove it from their index. There will be a huge amount of work needed to get the website cleaned up and re-submitted to Google.
Generally, SEO work should be done on a project basis, not a monthly contract. Depending on the specific needs of your site, you may only need a couple items optimized. Most ongoing work would be responses to competitor rankings and trying to best their efforts.
What Does Google Say: Here's a link to info from a recent Google webinar on website rankings