Arnold Schwarzenegger said to me once, "I want my website to come up first in Google. Do it now!" I did a very detailed research and optimised all pages for google, focusing on the relevant key words and phrases, together with implementing all relevant information in my Google Webmaster Console, such as a site map file and structured data markup. I rushed to set up Google Analytics and setup a Google My Business account. I was so proud that, according to my SEO software, I managed a 91.8% optimisation throughout the website. The software said, good job!!! Weeks, months past with no sign of the site moving up the search rankings. Sure enough, Google had indexed pages in their so called Google bot, but it was stuck on page four. Why was the site not moving up the rankings? I said to myself, this is total crap! I had done everything possible what Google wanted.
I decided to analyse the content and site structure of the sites that did come up every time. No matter what various key words I put in, the same websites kept coming up on the first page. Google uses many variables to boost sites and they say (whoever they are) that Google likes HTTPS (secure pages). I had already set up HTTPS on the site, so how come Google didn't like my site? The sites that were on top rank didn't have HTTPS, so how come Google liked theirs more? I decided to research further. According to my SEO software, one of the sites came out with good optimisation on their homepage, with a 88.9% reading. And they have structured data markup in place too. However, on another site, which comes up even better ranking, it had very poor optimisation at 45.6%, with hardly any optimisation in place on their homepage. How can this be? Their site had poor site structure and very poor optimisation, yet it still manages to rank very high in search engines. I came very frustrated!
This led me to the conclusion that there are other factors why Google is prioritising the top rank website, even though they have poor optimisation. Another variable Google uses is how 'active' a site is and how many people visit the site. The top ranked website had a news/blog section and social sites setup (Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter), and it could be these that are driving people to visit their site and read their blogs, which in turn influences Google to favour these top rank sites. Also, the top ranked sites had lots of Google reviews, which makes me to believe this is another factor why Google puts these sites high in the rankings.
So, in conclusion, optimising your webpages (placing keywords in title, h1 headers, description, body text, alt img tag, blah, blah, blah) and having links pointing to your site, will not be sufficient to lift your site up the search rankings. It might do it a bit, but not as much as you would like. Therefore, I suggest you think about setting up active social sites, introduce a news/blog section to your site and advertise by other means, to drive more traffic to your site. This in turn will tell Google to put your site further up the rankings.