Phone books and yellow pages are a thing of the past and people now turn to the internet for the majority of their business needs. Whether looking for the best dentist in town or looking for a good restaurant for dinner tonight, Google continues to be the top place to find those answers.
As a business owner, you want to make sure that you capture the eyes of potential customers and the best way to do that is to get your name to the top of the Google search results list. The secret to accomplishing this is to know exactly what Google searches for when it generates the list.
Here are ten things that you will want to include in your online presence as they are what Google’s search algorithms just love!
1. Content – One of the best ways to generate online traffic and show up at the top of internet searches is to have fresh, quality content on your website. A great way to accomplish this is to create and maintain your own business blog. Make sure that your blog contains material that is original, interesting, and relevant. Your posts should relate to what your business has to offer the target market and should also be relevant to the current culture and economy. Keep most of your content short and to the point as well as up-to-date. Create a calendar and schedule your posts to make sure that your content is always fresh and new. Feel free to also include pictures of your products or completed work, coupons or discount offers, contests or promotions, and upcoming events or new product announcements.
2. Search Ads – To make the top of the Google search results page, you will need to incorporate search advertising into your marketing strategy. Search ads are designed to match specific keywords that are commonly searched for by consumers. This targeted approach to marketing and advertising allows businesses to land themselves right at the top of the list of search results, which is clearly the best place to be! Creating tailored advertisements designed to meet the consumers immediate purchasing need will encourage them to click on your search ad rather than scroll through pages of unpaid search results. The majority of Google results are either paid ads or map listings and if you’re hoping to get your business on the first page of results, you will most likely need to invest in paid search advertising.
3. Mobile Capability – Many consumers are doing their searching and shopping via mobile devices. With the convenience of mobile search capability on the go and one-click phone call features of smart phones, it’s extremely important that businesses have a strong mobile presence. It is not always enough to invest only in mobile advertising either. To meet the needs of a mobile-centric society, business owners need to make sure that their mobile ads take consumers directly to a mobile website or mobile app that allows for a quick and convenient browsing and shopping experience.
4. Google Maps Listing – The first page of Google search results usually contains a map and list of businesses that are located closest to the search destination or GPS location of the searcher. Make sure your company has a prominent place on that list by obtaining and updating a Google+Local page. Many times, consumers will pick the business that is closest to them or their specific search area. Ensure your business listing is full of important information that the consumer will need to make their selection. Include business keywords and categories as well as your address, phone number, website, e-mail address, hours of operation and any other pertinent information about your business, products, and/or services. Don’t forget to keep your listing up-to-date with the most current and relevant information!
5. Google+ – To show up frequently in Google search results, you’ll want to be connected with the entire Google family! Get familiar with Google+ and incorporate it into your online marketing strategy. Creating and updating your Google+ page will ensure that your map listings are up-to-date, useful, relevant, and featured in search results. It is also helpful in sharing your content, connecting you with potential customers, increasing your online exposure, and directing people back to your main business site.
6. Social Media – Google+ is a great start when it comes to getting your business noticed, but it’s only a start. Social media sites are exploding with popularity and tend to make their way to the top of search results as well. Active and up-to-date social media sites rank higher in search results so it’s not just enough to have a page created for your business, you need to keep it fresh, new, and interesting as well! Google also picks up on pages that get a lot of likes, shares, tweets/retweets, etc. so make sure your content is interesting and attractive to consumers. Getting your company on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and even YouTube will ensure that your business shows up in multiple categories of Google searches and keeping them active will boost your site closer to the top of the results list.
7. Locally Relevant Keywords – To ensure you show up in searches for your target market, you will need to incorporate specific geographically logical and relevant keywords into your online presence. Try to include these particular keywords in places like your title page, anchor text, and various links. Incorporate the same keywords into your social media sites as well as any online directory sites you utilize and of course, your Google+Local page.
8. Backlinks – Backlinks are inbound links to your website that are received from other web sites. Originally utilized as the main source of web navigation, backlinks do still find significance in SEO today. Google utilizes backlinks as a determination factor in whether your website is important, relevant, and popular enough to be placed at the top of the results list. Your backlinks must be both quantitative and qualitative in nature and the links should generate from websites that are considered popular, credible, and/or authoritative. Keep your content interesting, relevant, engaging, entertaining, and worth sharing! Post information in your blog, social media sites, and e-mails that promote other sites to link back to it. Send messages and suggestions to customers, viewers, followers, and fans that encourage them to share your information with others. Spread your content around to quality people and websites and it will create the kind of backlinks that Google loves!
9. Quality Reviews – Business reviews listed on Google+Local will show up with your business map listing on the Google search results page and are an important factor in consumer purchasing behaviors. You don’t want your business featured with no reviews or poor reviews so reach out to your happy customers and encourage them to leave reviews on your Google+Local page. The best reviews are positive and thoughtful and reviews that contain your target keywords will ultimately land you a higher spot on the map listings.
10. Authorship – Authorship allows you to create a link from your personal Google+ profile to your professional website. The feature links content that you have published on one website to your personal profile on Google+. When this link is created, your picture will appear alongside your published content and will be displayed within the search results. Authorship allows you to utilize your personal network to generate interest in your company and use your business to build your personal brand and boost your professional credibility.