Results from Google on the left hand side are called natural results or organic search.
Unlike paid search or PPC (Pay Per Click), there is no guarantee that you will appear in a natural search result. Google decides using their secret algorithm – Its a secret but then again its really not a secret.
They tell you everything you need to know here
And they explain – In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages
If you are in a competitive search environment or trying to rank for a term where money can be made then this process is going to be more difficult. So it goes hand in hand that generally the high the average bid for paid search then the more difficult its going to be to rank naturally for a search term.
What happens if my website is an established website with inbound links and pagerank but I am still not ranking well?
If you have an established website that is not ranking well then the first thing you need to do is to make sure that you website was created to rank well on Google.
Again Google makes all of this information public so this is no secret. You need to follow Google webmaster guidelines
Here are some keypoints
- Create a useful, information-rich site
- TITLE tags and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate
- correct HTML – validate your HTML with W3C
- Descriptive and Relevant Url
- Trying looking at a text only version of your websites to see how a search engine would view it
Basically to rank well you need to have a website that follows Google’s webmaster guidelines and then is linked to with relevant terms see my other post search engine ranking 2007.
The easiest way to have a website that is linked to is to have some linkworthy – ie a neat service, tool or some good articles but thats an article in itself.