How Much Does It Cost for a Small Business to Rank #1 on Google?

Posted Feb 9, 2023 | Updated 1 year ago

When it comes to digital marketing, one of the most common goals for businesses across industries is to achieve a high ranking on Google’s search engine for a variety of relevant keywords and phrases.

This means that prospective customers will come across your website during their research phase of the buying journey, even if they’re not yet familiar with your brand but looking for the types of services and products you offer in the Colorado Springs area.

However, ranking high on Google doesn’t just happen by chance, and the process of getting there can sometimes feel convoluted, costly and confusing.

Is it Possible to Rank No. 1 on Google?

The good news is that improving your company’s ranking on Google—or even getting to a top spot—is doable for small- to medium-sized businesses, and there is value to this sort of visibility that is worth the effort.

Nowadays, most people do some initial online research when searching for a brand in their area that offers the services or products they need. You want to be among the top choices, as research shows approximately 30 percent of search-engine users click on the first result they see. Therefore, if you rank high, you will generate more traffic to your website.

In order to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and nab a No. 1 spot on Google’s search results, there are a couple different approaches you can take. They vary in terms of cost, effort, and effectiveness, both long and short term.

Can You Pay for Google Ranking?

The first approach is to purchase Google Ads, which is a way of temporarily paying for a high Google ranking by strategically investing in certain keyword phrases and running campaigns. 

For example, if you operate a pet grooming business in Colorado Springs, you might choose to invest in phrases such as “pet grooming Colorado Springs,” “pet groomers near me,” or “dog salon Colorado.” Based on the value of your investment, your website will show up at a certain ranking in the search results when someone types in a keyword phrase you’ve selected.

The cost of this strategy varies, because different keyword phrases have different market values based on their popularity. Consider it like real estate. In real estate, you pay for location. With Google Ads, you pay for digital real estate. Some areas or more popular than others, and incur higher costs per click as a result.

Do Google Ads work on a small budget?

Highly sought keywords will require a greater investment—because more businesses want to rank for those, creating more competition—but they’re also more commonly used by search-engine users. As a result, if you can pay, you’re likely to achieve a higher return on investment for your brand.

If you want to get a good ballpark estimate for running ads and improving your ranking for certain keyword phrases related to your company and industry, use the Google Ads Keyword Planner.

Is $500 enough for Google Ads?

A small budget of a few hundred dollars would be better invested in some other digital marketing tactic. As a small business, you should plan to spend at least $1,000/month on Google Ads in most cases, but 10x that ad spend up to $10,000/month to really move the needle for your short term search engine rankings. Further, plan to run your Google Ads for 3-6 months at the bare minimum. It usually take about 90 days for Google’s Ad platform to optimize your ad placements based on their machine-learning system.

Some businesses will set aside a certain amount of their digital marketing budget to invest in ads, and they simply see it as another way to boost the relevance of their business on Google’s platforms. Also, nonprofit organizations can apply for the Google Ads Grant program and get up to $10,000 annually in free ads.

What is the Fastest Way to Rank #1 on Google

Paying for Google Ads is generally seen as the quickest way to get a high ranking, as you can set up a campaign, choose a few ad groups, and have your ad running as soon as it is approved.

However, there are also downsides to this strategy. You have to pay per click, and that cost per click (CPC) can be high, especially if there is a lot of competition. Think of it like an auction: the more bidders there are for certain keyword phrases, the higher the price goes up. If there are bigger businesses in your industry that are sharing your region, you might have difficulty “out-bidding” them, so to speak, and you won’t be able to get your ad campaign on the first page like you wish.

Additionally, although you’re paying for users to click on your ad and go to your website, there is no guarantee that they’ll convert. In that case, you might not see the ROI you were hoping for.

Finally, there are some limitations to Google Ads, including the character counts for headlines and descriptions.

How to Get to the Top of Google Without an Ad Budget

Another way of getting found on Google is to build the reputation of your website by implementing a consistent and well-rounded SEO strategy and by publishing relevant, user-friendly content regularly.

Your long-term ranking strategy should address:

If you focus on these different areas, you can enhance your digital footprint and increase your organic search engine ranking cumulatively over time. Additionally, you can boost the likelihood that those clicking on your listing are more motivated to convert into customers—because they are already actively searching for services like yours in the Colorado Springs area. When you provide helpful, relevant content that answers searchers’ queries, they’ll stay on your website and continue their journey once they are there.

This isn’t to say there is no cost associated with a customized SEO marketing plan that focuses on organically increasing visibility and traffic, but you’ll see a greater long-term ROI because your efforts month over month compound. The results of this long-term strategy mirror that of the folktale of the one grain of rice.

In general, if you’re just starting to design your website or you’re struggling with SEO, you’ll want to partner with a professional team that provides SEO marketing services to put your best foot forward online and increase the pace at which you begin to rank #1 in Google. 

How Long Does It Take to Rank Highly on Google?

As mentioned above, how quickly you get to the top of Google’s search engine results depends on the strategy that you adopt.

If you invest enough money in Google Ads, you can get your campaign to a No. 1 spot fairly quickly. But this is more often perceived as a short-term solution, because once your budget is used up, the ads turn off. You’ll have to continue to buy more to stay on top, so this tactic works in times of plenty, but during recessions and tighter times, could spell disaster for your business.

Building your SEO organically can take more time, but it’s a long-term investment that offers better lasting results. If you are consistently creating high-quality content, maintaining the technical components of your website, and improving your SEO, it can take about three to six months to start seeing movement towards the high rankings on Google that you desire and 12-24 months to be ranking in the top spots for many of your most desired keywords.

Fortunately, once you’ve achieved this spot, you don’t have to worry about your rankings suddenly disappearing if you have to reduce your marketing spend. Everything you do afterward that is SEO-related simply strengthens your position.

Getting Your Business Found on Google

SEO and improving Google search engine rankings can feel like somewhat nebulous concepts. Not to mention it can seem like algorithms are regularly changing (because they are)—along with navigating changes in what works best and what doesn’t. As a busy business owner or manager, it’s difficult to keep up with these aspects of digital marketing.

That’s where we can help. Our team at Third Angle can work with you to assess how your company currently ranks on Google and then develop an action plan to improve your search engine rankings.

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