Remove the frustrations that come with your poorly ranking website
Have you ever had a great website designed for your business, and when you launched it, you heard …crickets?
The mentality of “build it and they will come” is often not the case for business websites. While having a high-quality website is important for an online business, just as having a great storefront is important for a traditional bricks and mortar business, you also need a strategy to bring potential customers to your website. This includes a holistic approach to marketing in the form of customer acquisition channels, digital advertising and partnership building, and one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to getting your business found online: Google.
Unfortunately, getting your business found on Google is not as easy as pressing “publish” on your new website. You need to take into consideration SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), keywords and business listings. Your website will likely have options to help you edit and improve your SEO settings, although some platforms will give you more control than others.
But outside of your website’s internal settings, there are some key things you can do to help get that coveted first page position.
- Add your business to Google Maps
One of the first steps to getting found on Google is to add your business to Google Maps, which helps customers find you when they’re searching for relevant businesses. Adding your business to Google Maps is something you can do easily yourself in five minutes just by completing your Google Business Profile (previously known as “Google My Business”): head to https://www.google.com/business/ to create or update your account for free. You must include information about your business such as your business name, contact information, opening hours, address, business category and business description. The more information Google has about your business, the higher it will rank in search results, and the more visible you’ll be to your customers.
Once you’ve completed your profile, you will need to verify your business with Google to be added to its search results. Verification can be done by phone, text, or by having a postcard physically mailed to your address. This can take a couple of weeks, so plan ahead and add your business to Google Maps early, well in advance of any big marketing campaign.
- Ask your customers to leave a Google review
Once you’ve set up your Google Business Profile, a great way to improve your organic reach on Google is to ask your customers to leave you a review through your Google Business Profile on Google Maps. Collecting reviews on Google improves your trustworthiness both from your customers’ and Google’s perspective, which in turn impacts your SEO and brand awareness (2). Reviews cost you nothing, and are a fantastic way to boost your search results and your credibility online.
- Identify keywords for your business
Keywords are the words or phrases that your target audience are typing into Google when they’re searching for businesses like yours. By understanding who your audience is, and what their needs are, you can make sure the language and words you use to market your business matches what your audience are searching for. Common keywords can include your industry or products, but might also include questions or phrases that your website might be able to answer. By using these keywords in your website, you’re indicating to Google that your website is relevant for these searches, and you can improve your ranking.
To identify your keywords, you must first understand who your audience are, what problem they’re trying to solve, and what words they use when they’re searching for an answer to their problem (3). As an example, if you are a plumbing business in Warragul, one of your keywords should be “plumber warragul”, because your audience will likely be using phrases like this when searching for a plumber in their area.
A tool that can assist you in developing your business keywords is Keywords Everywhere. Keywords Everywhere is a browser add-on which assists you in developing your keywords by providing information on related searches by your audience, and data relating to keyword search volume and cost per click.
- Create great content
Producing content for your business is important not only to prove you are a reliable and knowledgeable source, but to improve your organic ranking on Google. Blogging for business has become popular over the years, and for good reason! Blogging is a great way to incorporate keywords in an informative, organic way, and by answering the questions your audience is asking and providing useful information you can improve your chances of getting found on Google and drive visits to website and sales pages. However, using content to improve your organic reach on search results does take time, and Google favours content that is well written and free from spelling errors (4). You can utilise tools such as Google Search Console to help you understand the queries your audience is asking on Google (4), and then you can adapt your content to suit.
It is also recommended that you post your quality content on your business’s Google Profile too, especially if longer blogs are not well suited to your business (or schedule!). Google My Business posts are free, and can assist your Google ranking. You can add events, news, blogs, products and services to your posts, and add images and call to actions which will help your business to stand out in search results.
- Use Google Ads
Utilising paid ads is a fantastic way to help get your business ranking on Google, particularly for the more competitive keywords where getting to #1 without ads will take time. Pay Per Click Google Ads give your business a guaranteed spot on the first page of search results, and 75% of people have said paid ads help them to find the information they need when searching online (1). While free advertising by getting your website to rank well organically is ideal, paid advertising using Google Ads can give your business the ranking boost it needs, however, you should first consider your budget, goals and keywords for your campaign (2). The Google Keyword Planner can be utilised to help you create a list of keywords to advertise your business.
- Improve your website speed and mobile friendliness
It has been shown that 53% of consumers will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load (5). If your website is slow to load, or not optimised for mobile, users are likely to feel frustrated and leave your website. A slow or unsecure website or a website that is not well-designed for mobile will immediately tell Google that your business website is less likely to be a high-quality source, and your ranking will be impacted. By working with your website developer to ensure your page loads quickly, your website is secure and your content is optimised for mobile, you will improve your chances of ranking higher on search results.
- Blue Corona, June 27, 2019, “How do I get to the top of Google search results in 2019”, Blue Corona, https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/how-do-i-get-my-business-on-the-first-page-of-google/
- Thrive Hive, “How to get found on Google”, https://thrivehive.com/how-to-get-found-on-google/
- Julie McCoy, January 7, 2019, “9 tips for creating your best SEO content in 2019”, Search Engine Journal, https://www.searchenginejournal.com/best-seo-content-tips/284899/#close
- Rachel Tinker, April 2, 2019, “How Google recognises and rewards quality content”, Blue Corona,
https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/how-google-recognizes-and-rewards-quality-content/Hosting Tribunal, “20+ website load time statistics and facts, Hosting Tribunal, https://hostingtribunal.com/blog/how-speed-affects-website/#gref