How We Achieved First Page Google Rankings for Our Black Owned Marketing Company

Last updated: Dec. 16, 2017

Still seeking a Black owned marketing company that can get your website on Google? In a moment, we’ll outline the exact process we follow to get our own number one rankings — the same process we’ll use for YOU, should you hire us to handle your marketing.

Because you’re here, you already realize how critical getting on the first page of Google is in

But did you know that search engines send 300% MORE traffic to content sites than even the beloved social media?

This chart from Outbrain shows how GOOGLE ALONE is sending exponentially more traffic than Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks combined:

Google Search Leaves Social Media in the Dust When it Comes to Generating Website Leads.

And that’s why the Black owned marketing companies YOU’RE considering can’t just tell you we can increase your Google rankings and website traffic.

You need us to show and prove.

So that’s what we’re doing here.

Below is an overview of how we got several first-page, number one Google rankings for our website (a few of many), to give you a look behind search marketing’s mysterious curtain. This is what works for us — and what we’d do to put YOUR website on Google’s first page.

2 Primary Questions YOU Need Answered About How Organic Google Marketing Works

“Organic” means the “free” search results you don’t pay for, which does not include the paid ads surrounding those listings.

We’ll outline our proven Google ranking strategy for organic search in a moment. But first, it’s imperative to understand this:

Getting to the top of google search results takes time.

We’re not magicians (unfortunately! because that sounds kind of cool).

We’re focused hard workers who have been doing and studying search engine marketing for almost 20 years.

That said, here are two top questions YOU need answered:

Question 1: How long does it take to get your website on Google?

If this isn’t a trick question, it certainly has a trick answer.

Frankly, any marketer worth her or his salt knows how to get Google to find your website immediately after it’s created.

But because 91.5% of searches END on Google’s first results page, if you’re not on the first page, you’re unlikely to ever be seen by the customers looking for you.

However, even then, a first-page ranking still may not cut it.

Why not? Because…

The top THREE Google results ALONE steal 50 to 67% of all first-page result traffic.
(Sources: van Deursen & van Dijk [2009]; Optify, Chitika [2010]; Advanced Web Ranking [2014])

So even if you’re on the first page, but not in the top three, more than half the people who view your listing will never visit your website.

With this data, you’d think that it makes sense to shoot for a #1 to #3 ranking for your keywords. Right?

In theory, this sounds amazing.

But with literally millions of websites competing for most keyword phrases… this is only happening for THREE of hundreds of millions of websites.

Of course you see the problem.

The following tidbit is beyond the general scope of this article, but suffice it to say that it’s a fine idea in some cases to shoot for lower rankings for super-competitive keywords. But…

Microbusinesses don’t usually have the budget to compete for super-competitive Google rankings.

Instead, you’d start with moderately competitive, plausible keywords to establish a ranking foothold. Your marketing team should know which ones to best choose.

Back to the original question:

Getting a #1 to #3 Google ranking can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, to more than a year to achieve, depending on a wide range of factors (actually more than 200!).

Question 2: If Google rankings are increasing… why isn’t website traffic?

Top rankings don’t automatically indicate a landslide of traffic.

In addition to simply taking time, here are five reasons why:

Basically, although you might be ranked #20 out of 549,396,209 websites… you’re still on the second or third page of Google results. In this case, stick with it, understand your marketing plan, and give it time to work. (Honestly, at least a year.)

If you’re still in the beginning months/year of Google marketing, you likely just haven’t amassed high enough rankings for reasonably-competitive keywords to see traffic from them. (That’s IF your marketing team knows what they’re doing. No one can guarantee rankings because we don’t control Google, AND because the only entity that knows *exactly everything* that causes a website to rank at #1 is Google.)

In this case, your marketing team should be on that, adjusting your site snippet to get higher clickthroughs… or adjusting your keywords to choose better fitting terms for your business.

It’s only by a careful analysis of your stats, conversions, on-page live user sessions, and more that the answer to this can be determined. But if keywords lack relevance or search intent was misinterpreted, a high bounce rate could be a telltale sign.

One very common explanation for this is assuming a buying intent when there’s actually an e-learning intent.

For example, if the keyword is “halloween makeup,” it’s difficult to be sure which users seek to buy it, and which seek application ideas. It’s better and more cost effective to shoot for more specific keywords — “buy halloween makeup” or “halloween makeup tutorial” — whichever matches our product/service offered.

We try to avoid these types of errors by using keywords more specific to your offerings, and researching user intent thoroughly before settling on a keyword list.

Again, “long tail” keywords (very specific ones with lower search volumes) are the appropriate starting point that allow many “niche” businesses, (like black owned marketing agencies), to gain a foothold most quickly — even if that foothold is a baby step.

Because traffic numbers just aren’t as important as number of leads.

It matters less if you’re only getting 10 visits per week from one keyword group… if two of those 10 people are contacting you weekly about services. (A 20% conversion is pretty great!)

And that’s just from one keyword.

The longer your Google marketing campaign goes on, the more keywords sending leads to your website, and the more the snowball effect occurs once social media, content marketing, and more are begun. This is why it’s vital not to give up after a few months!

Focus more on your website conversion rate than website traffic. After all, you’re really only concerned about the result (a new client/customer/donor/subscriber), not a landslide of traffic that never converts.

In summary, patience and a sound strategy are key.

So long as your rankings are steadily improving, the keywords chosen are relevant, you have a smart, well-planned Google marketing strategy AND a high-converting website, then traffic, clients, sales, subscribers, donations, or whatever your business is shooting for should eventually find you. (Literally!)

How Our Black Owned Marketing Company Got to the Top of Google — Quickly!

Finally! The goods.

Below are some first page Google rankings we got using this strategy. (CTR is clickthrough rate, meaning the number of people that saw our listing and actually “clicked through” to visit our page for people seeking African American website designers).

Here are stats for the last 90 days:

#1 ranking, black owned web design companies: 20.45% CTR

#2 ranking, black owned graphic design companies: 22.84%

#2 ranking, african american web designers: 13.22% CTR

#2 ranking, african american web developers: 16.42% CTR

Our clickthrough rate is very good, but we could honestly optimize some things to improve it even more. But because it was for a page I tossed up in a day for some easy rankings, I haven’t done much to it because it’s already doing a great job of generating weekly inquiries.

So here’s an overview of how we did that — and how we’d help get your website on top of Google, too:

Stage 1: Keyword Determination

Objective: Fully understand your market. Deliver list of “starter” keywords.

We start every marketing plan here, usually by interrogating you relentlessly :), er, digging deeply into your business, both in writing and by phone, to understand who you are, what you do, why you do it, who your target market is, what they want, need, and expect… and a whole host of other things.

If we don’t understand your business and audience, there is no way we can consistently help get you results. So answer these questions thoroughly, and to the very best of your ability.

We’ll discuss things like:

  • What kinds of “solutions” to your clients’ problems do you offer?
  • What do they expect from your business?
  • What search terms are they using to find your competitors?
  • What need are prospects expecting your company to potentially meet for them?

From that intel, we’ll brainstorm a list of a few keywords to help guide the rest of the strategy, showing them to you for feedback and approval/discussions.

Stage 2: Competitive & Industry Analysis

Part 1

Objective A: Identify top competitors and marketing strategy effectiveness of each (SEO audits).
Objective B: Refine & finalize home page keywords, choosing most relevant, popular, and attainable.

Here is where we evaluate your top competitors for the keywords we determined in the last step.

  • What types of content are your competitors offering, and how is the market responding to it?
  • Are users asking a question via search that isn’t well answered by the search results? (If not, why not? Is this keyword a dud, or is it a prime opportunity for you to dominate the results?)

These findings help us “test” our starter keywords to either ensure they’re sound choices, or tell us we need to go back to the drawing board and replace some or all of them with options more likely to deliver the specific results you’ve told us you want to achieve with your marketing.

Tip: Make sure you’re considering only the Black owned marketing agencies that base your marketing strategy around a specific business goal (or set of goals) you specify!

Part 2

Objective A: Compile shortlist of top domains/sites to scope for links.
Objective B: Notate critical on-page optimizations your site must do for best chance of outranking competitors.

Once we’ve decided on the final list of keywords to start with for your marketing plan, we update your competitor list (if needed), and do some digging to understand why your competitors are ranked highly for those keywords:

  • Do they have a ton of links? From where?
  • Are they new to this, or have they been around for years?
  • What domains and web pages are their top links coming from?
  • What are the common top sites that link to most of your top competitors?

These findings tell us how easy it will be to rank highly for your chosen keywords. (Are your competitor’s sites well optimized?) They also shape which online properties we approach first to get links back to your website.

Stage 3: Compile “Starter” Places to Set Link Foundation

Objective: Determine marketing first steps. Deliver this action step overview to client.

Based on the notes taken from the last step, we should already have a few basic categories of online properties where we plan to get you links, and even at least a few specific Web pages and sites to request link placement.

For instance, let’s say you’re an African American female massage therapist in Raleigh, NC that has their own brick and mortar to serve clients, but that also does house calls. At minimum, we would start your marketing by attempting to get website links and citations** from (in no particular order):

  1. Raleigh business directories
  2. NC business directories
  3. massage therapy business directories
  4. Google Maps (yes, your own location-specific business profile on Google—imperative if you need to attract local clients!)
  5. mobile massage therapy directories
  6. women-owned business directories
  7. African American-owned business directories
  8. “minority”-owned business directories
  9. common websites and specific pages that link to your competitors (i.e., has someone done a roundup of AA-owned massage therapists in NC that doesn’t fit in any category above? Has a popular blogger compiled a list of recommended massage therapists in Raleigh? Those specific pages would go in your plan.)

…and so on.


As you can see, we already have several “categories” to keep us busy promoting your site for several weeks, to, most likely, several months (volume dependent upon your specific marketing package). Nice!

** “Citations” contain your business NAPW (name, address, phone #, and website URL). Although they may not contain active links back to your website, they’re still immensely important in Google’s eyes in deciding how your website ranks against the competition.

You’ll notice that a good part of the initial strategy for your search marketing is listing your business in relevant directories.

And it’s true: The general strategy of submitting a website to business directories is old. But does “old” mean “ineffective”?

Even if the current popular medium is, say, social media, that doesn’t mean directory links no longer matter as long as they’re high quality, carefully placed, and relevant. Getting relevant directory listings allows a specialized niche business to build a relevant online presence more quickly.

One final point:

Yelp, Yahoo, Manta, and Hotfrog are some of the most popular general business directories with millions of users.

If you have any type of business… shouldn’t you be listed there?

Urban Salon Finder and came up #1 and #2 when I searched for “black hair stylists.”

If you are a black hair stylist… shouldn’t you be listed in these directories? Or would you shun them… just because they’re directories?

Good answer. ;}

Stage 4: Build Solid “Starter” Web Presence with Niche Listings

Objective: Build our specific niche audience a solid and RELEVANT online presence.

Now the promotion starts. This is how we “get your foot in the door” in Google’s eyes, showing them that there’s a new biz on the block that is ready to take on the world.

Or do the next tax return.

Or design the next sweatshirt.

Or coach the next “life,” deliver the next bag of groceries, win the next lawsuit… or however it is that you serve your clientele.

In the previous preparation stage, we came up with A TON of categories from which to begin requesting links for your site. Now, we start exhaustively deep searching the Web for the most popular, relevant, and credible link sources we can find. We search and submit you to those each month until they begin to dry up, then move to the next stage.**

** For clients on the most accelerated Google marketing plans, we perform this stage in tandem with the content marketing stage for fastest results.

Stage 5: Create Starter Content to Establish Google Rankings

Objective: Start publishing content on your website that Google will come to love.

Depending on your offerings and industry, by now we may have come across several competing, third-party blog posts or other pages that rank for one of your primary keywords.

Hmph. Just who do they think that they are?

No worries. If we have, we’ll save those additional competing pages to analyze later in your marketing plan (once we begin to make a big dent in all the link categories from above, and before we start writing your content).

Oh, right–

Remember that hypothetical roundup of AA-owned massage therapists we found in the last stage, which ranked highly for one of your primary keywords? (Humor me, please.)

Just like in our earlier competitive analysis stage, we’ll scrutinize that top ranking post in particular to see how many links it has, from what sites and domains, how it’s optimized and more… and we may decide to later create you a post to outrank that top page, once analysis is complete.


However, we’ll start** by creating shorter-form articles for your on-site blog, just to begin building keyword-rich content on your own site. (And if you don’t yet have a blog on-site, now would likely be the time to create one, so that we can. We’d share this important recommendation with you in your end-of-month report under “Next Recommended Steps.”)

And of course, we’ll decide what to write about using the keyword list we created for you in the beginning stages.

**If you’ve added search engine marketing and optimization to your Web design package, there’s a bit more to do first. If you have, the first content we’d write and/or optimize in that case would be, of course, for your home page. (It may include other site pages, depending on your package.)

On-page/on-site search engine optimization includes the text you can see, as well as critical components you can’t see, like meta tags, page formatting, and schema.

Tip: Make sure the African American marketing agencies you’re vetting will also take that “invisible” on-site optimization into account.

Stage 6: Market New Posts to Increase Google Rankings

Objective: Promote your on-site content to drive Google rankings up and visitors in.

Not only will we continue requesting links in all the content categories we found in the “First-Steps Marketing” stage, we’ll begin to do even more, specific, NEW keyword research and competitive analysis on the topics based around your new blog content.

We keep repeating this cyclical process of:

  • content creation (based on existing keyword research and topic list),
  • content marketing (requesting links from the best sites to promote your new blog articles, [instead of just your Web pages]),
  • keyword analysis (combing through top ranking articles for your article’s keyword to find secondary or “spin-off keywords” that we hadn’t yet thought to optimize for),
  • competitive analysis (finding new sites to promote your articles to, based on “spin-off keywords”),
  • content creation…
  • content marketing…

…and so on.

This neverending “external” analysis is how we know how to continually produce new content and marketing that work best for your particular business and industry.

In addition to everything else, we sometimes also try different techniques proven effective for other small businesses, to see if we can help you overtake even more of Google’s first page with sites like Craigslist.

(This is just something to consider. The Black marketing companies you’re considering may not add in this “extra,” and that’s perfectly fine — as long as their strategy is sound.)

*** Repeat Steps 5 and 6 often. ***

Stage 7: Measure Content & Google Marketing Results

Objective: Discover what’s working best for your website, to do more of what gets results, and eliminate what’s a waste of investment (in either time or money).

Once we’ve begun to get a system down and momentum going, we start to regularly analyze the content on your own site to see how it’s performing. This is critical in understanding what resonates with your unique audience:

  • What are your highest traffic articles?
  • Can we help you monetize those in some way?
  • What keywords are those articles ranking for on Google?
  • Are those the keywords we intended to rank for?
  • Can we expand on those topics to create more high-traffic content?
  • Can we repackage that content for you as supporting media (videos, guides, podcasts, etc.) to get the fullest benefit (from the lowest investment) from that piece of popular content?

…and so on.

Keeping the cycle going—and doing regular “internal” analyses (of your site’s and articles’ performance)—ensures that we never run out of content ideas and places to promote your website.

Stage 8: Promote All Website Posts on Social Media

Objective: Start establishing your social media footprint, as social signals are also very important to Google rankings.

This only applies if you have a professional social media account that you’re using exclusively for business. (If you don’t, now might be the time to create one, so we can continue to expand your reach. We’d share this important recommendation with you in your end-of-month report under “Next Recommended Steps.”)

If your business isn’t yet on social media (and you choose to add on our strategic social media marketing/management service), we’ll first design your social profile to match your website. (See the Fundo Press website and Twitter profile as examples.)

We’ll then use the research we’ve done so far, and do a bit more to understand the type of content your audience really wants to receive. If you’ll manage your social accounts yourself, we completely demystify social for you, providing specific examples of where and how to find content forever, and how to increase followers and find interested leads who may visit your website and contact you about services.

Or, if you prefer the hands-free approach, we can fully manage your account, build your following for you, share relevant, interesting content to your audience each month, and ensure that all of your relevant articles and news are shared.

More importantly, as your on-site articles climb up the Google ranks, we’ll ensure that the most popular of those get shared by readers who visit your site, increasing your site’s social popularity, thus bringing in even more followers, likes, +1s, shares… and hopefully, clients.

As an example, just one of our on-site articles that gets hundreds of visits per week is responsible for helping boost our Facebook following into the thousands, as well as getting dozens of Twitter shares per month with exactly zero additional work on our part.

Hint: Make sure the Black marketing companies you’re looking at have the experience to create YOU some high-powered posts to help dominate your industry.

The Reveal

Is Google Marketing a Good Decision for Your Business?

By now, it should be abundantly clear that getting your website to the top of Google is vastly more important to your bottom line than social media. Achieving top rankings on Google can REALLY pay off — if you’re willing to stick with a sound strategy for the long haul.

Search engine marketing is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. It takes focus, time, patience, high strategy, persistence, and adaptability:

Your chosen African American owned marketing agency must be able to discern whether something is working or isn’t… and know what to optimize in both cases to help you get more and BETTER clients from the Internet.

Need help with that?

We’ve got your Google rankings covered:

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About the Author

Excellent Presence Owner H.T. Major established her first Web design & marketing business in 1999 at age 19, taking it full-time in less than a year. She now manages the "xPrez" team to help service-based small businesses and solo entrepreneurs amplify resources to get more and better business from the Internet. Start YOUR quote for strategic website design, maintenance, or marketing now.


  1. steve April 22, 2019 at 6:37 AM - Reply

    You have done so much in such a small article. It is quite impressive. The blog urges us to reflect on important things. Thanks!

    • H. T. Major April 26, 2019 at 3:13 PM - Reply

      Steve, we appreciate that. There’s definitely a lot to consider when attempting to reach the first page of Google, particularly as a diversely-run company.

  2. Duba May 9, 2019 at 6:25 AM - Reply

    I can only imagine how much research has gone into this. I like your writing skills as it makes one feel included in the journey. Thank you for the valuable notes.

    • H. T. Major May 14, 2019 at 6:30 PM - Reply

      Many hours of research, testing, and trial & error indeed. Thanks for your recognition; glad it helps.

  3. A. Help May 13, 2019 at 12:31 AM - Reply

    I have to say that you are on the right track. This will be loved by several individuals as it is detailed and interesting. All the best for your future work.

  4. Nompumelelo Monareng August 4, 2019 at 2:47 AM - Reply

    This has got to be one of the most honest and well written SEO articles I’ve read thus far.

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