Google Search is the number one search engine on the planet, which means they are more than likely the number one way that new customers find your business. Here are my top 5 must have’s to maximise your exposure on Google Search. Best of all, you don’t have to pay for it!*
*Before I begin I feel the need to put a caveat on my comment above about not having to pay. All the things I am going to list below are earned or owned marketing and can be done with no out of pocket expense. But that is if you know how to do them. I’m going to try and point you in the right direction for each of them, but if you don’t feel confident, or feel that any are beyond your capabilities, then you should engage someone with a bit more experience to help you out. The good news about that though is that it should only be a one-off and not too expensive.
1. Google My Business
Google My Business, or GMB as it is also known, is like a business directory listing on Google. You create a profile for your business and then tell Google and the world about your business. This information is then displayed on Google search results in the form of a map location.
Details you list include:
- Your companies name
- What it is your business does
- When it is that you are open for business
- Where you are located, or the areas that you service
- How customers can get hold of you
- You can add your logo, and photos of your business, and if you are running eCommerce, you can link your online store to your profile.
When you are setting up your GMB profile for the first time Google will need to verify your address. To do this they usually send you a postcard which can take a few weeks to arrive.
Be Aware – trying to dupe Google into believing that you are in a location that you are not is not recommended. It can result in your listing being blacklisted and remove altogether
For full details on setting up your listing go here: Google My Business
Okay, so this isn’t just as easy as 1,2,3 and suddenly you have a great performing, optimised website. Unfortunately, when it comes to good SEO, this one takes time.
For a good reason, Google doesn’t make it easy to know what factors it ranks websites for specifically for SEO. This is because of the tendency of some users to try and game the system and gain an advantage over their competition.
First of all, content is key. You need to be providing informative, engaging content that users want to hear, see or read. It should be hyper-specific to a topic, and it should be unique.
Outside of the content though, there are some basics that you need to be aware of:
Inbound and Internal Links
If your content is of value to others then you will automatically start to gain inbound links to your website from other sites. This is known as link-juice and can give you a lift in your ranking.
It needs to be genuine though. Paying for links from low-quality sites is a no-no and can actually have a negative impact on your SEO performance.
The best links come from other websites that are relevant to your content and are of a high authority. For example, if you were a manufacturer of women’s footwear and ASOS provided a link to your website for its customers, then this would be good link juice.
You should also use internal links to tie the page back to its category, subcategory and home page as well.
Title Tag and Description
Tagging on each page of your website is important as it dictates what is displayed in the search results on Google, such as below.
There are two components:
- Your Title Tag (what you name the page); and
- Your Page Description (where you described to users what the page is about.
You’ll need to add tags for each page on your site so that Google knows what to display when your page is searched for. Most modern Content Management Systems (where you manage the content on your website) will offer the ability to add and edit your meta tags easily.
I’m not able to give you exact details on how to do it because every CMS will have its own way. If you are using one of the larger CMS platforms such as WordPress, Wix or Squarespace, then a simple Google Search should help you find the instructions. Failing that, contact them directly and as for some advice.
Hot Tip: Your titles and descriptions should be unique and be relevant to the content on your page. They should contain your keywords, and there is a limit to how long they can be. For more information read here: How to Write Meta Title Tags for SEO
A well-structured URL gives hierarchy to your page and helps group similar pages into categories. It helps search engines to understand relative importance and adds a relevancy metric to the given page.
You should keep your URL as simple as possible, and try to include your primary keyword in it. For example, using the footwear example again, let’s say you were manufacturer black stilettos, your URL may look something like this: http://www.mandysshoes.com.au/womens-footwear/black-stilettos. This gives the hierarchy of being in the category “women’s footwear” and includes the keyword “black stilettos”.
Hot Tip: when creating a URL you can’t have any spaces, so rather than typing “womensfootwear” as one word, separate the words with a dash “-”. Do not separate them with an underscore “_” though, as this can interfere with how search engines interpret the URL.
3. Google Search Console
This is one that not everyone knows about (unless you are a developer). Formally known as Google Webmaster Tools, it is used to index websites, and to optimise visibility.
It can also give you useful insights into how many users are visiting your site, where they are coming from, and what they are doing when they get there.
The reason that I find it so important is from an SEO perspective. It helps you to identify errors on your website that may be hindering your SEO performance. You can find and fix website errors, and submit your sitemap for indexing.
Want to know more? Here is what Google has to say about it: What is Google Search Console?
This ties back to item 2 above because it is about your SEO, but often images are poorly executed and don’t take full advantage of the opportunity. If someone is searching for a specific product, and your image comes up in the search results, then that is free traffic to your page.
When using images on your web page, you need to make sure they are relevant to the category of the page, that they are appealing or engaging to the user, and that they are correctly labelled with a name and Alt Text.
Again, a good CMS offers the ability to edit the title and Alt Text of your images. For more information read here: Rules to Optimise your images for SEO
Hot Tip: Make sure your images aren’t too large. By optimising your images you ensure that they aren’t impacting your websites load times (see link above).
Lastly, I want to talk about video. In a similar way that images appear in search results, if you can provide informative and engaging videos for users then they can be presented in Google search results as well. Not only that but if the videos are being hosted on YouTube then you are expanding your omnichannel presence, which means more eyes are going to see your business.
Again, this is a powerful tool in your SEO strategy but only if you do them right. You can’t just put your existing television commercial on YouTube and expect it to deliver results. Videos need to have title and descriptions, and your videos need to be hyper-specific.
Who would have thought that a video about how to tie a tie would garner 44 million views (at the time of this post)? Well, it did because it was information people were searching for, and the video was specific and easy to digest. Imagine what 44 million pairs of eyes could do for your brand!
We’ll be doing another post in a few weeks time which will give you more detail on how to create a video that ranks, but in the meantime check out my business partner Chris’s advice on how to make a video that works for online – or specifically Social Media – right here.
NewyMedia is a digital marketing company based in Australia. If you help to make sure that you are getting the most out of Google Search then we can take care of it for you. You can contact us here, or sign up below to join our mailing list for more great tips and advice.