Google is the place to be. Did you know it sees 400,000 search queries every second? If you can get your business on Google, you’re much more likely to find customers. Some would even say it’s vital to your success.
The problem is, being on Google isn’t enough. Your business could get lost on page five where no one is going to look. That’s why so many people focus on SEO strategies. The problem is, as a small business, figuring out all the things you need to do in order to make your website rank well is extremely difficult.
Well, it’s not anymore!
This infographic provides a handy roadmap with 32 stops on the way to boosting your SEO so you can rank better on Google, ultimately encouraging more people to visit your business.
Here are the 32 steps, broken down in better detail so you can rank higher on Google, even if you’re the one in charge of your SEO strategy.
A well-designed desktop website
It all starts with a high-quality website that is easy to navigate. Treat your website as you would your physical storefront. After all, it’s a virtual storefront of sorts.
When visiting your site, people need to know what exactly what you do, what services you offer, and how they can get ahold of you quickly and easily.
An easy-to-navigate website is so important that Google uses is when ranking a site. It’s definitely worth your time to get your website up to snuff, even if it means hiring a professional digital team for the job.
A mobile-responsive website
Today, more people access the internet on a mobile device than they do a desktop computer. Although it’s important to make sure that you have a functional website, if you want to search well on Google, you need to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices.
Not only will it help you rank better on Google, it will encourage more people to visit your storefront. Most people searching on a mobile device are out and about. That makes them more likely to take a look at the map data outlining local stores that match their search and make a quick trip to your store.
Google just loves blogs. That’s because they provide relevant, timely information on a site with mostly static content. There’s no doubt that you need to update a blog on your site if you want to rank well on Google.
The trick is to put those blog articles to work for your business. Optimize them with keywords and phrases that people relate with your business. Provide plenty of internal links to other areas of your website.
Quality content can make your blog popular, which in turn can boost your ranking on Google.
Put your contact information in the header and footer
Why are people visiting your website? Well, they could be looking for more information about your business. They could be looking for your latest blog.
They could also just be looking you up to find your phone number so they can give you a call.
If a visitor to your website can’t find your contact information in just a second or two, Google isn’t going to be happy, and neither is that visitor who is likely to give up without calling you. The easiest way to solve this problem is to put your contact information in the header and footer of your website.
Customer reviews and testimonials
Word of mouth is important to any business, and in the digital age, that means customer reviews and testimonials. Use them to your advantage by placing them on your website, social media, and more.
Not only do potential customers read reviews in order to determine if they should do business with you, Google notices too. After all, it’s Google’s job to provide searchers with relevant findings, which means weeding out low-quality businesses.
A good contact page is a great way to demonstrate your authenticity. Any company that provides their address, phone number, and any other contact information is more trustworthy.Include the information you can on your contact page. In some cases, depending on your business, you may not have a physical address. Providing a contact form can help legitimize your business, especially if some information is missing.
Take care of the www problem
Many people visiting your website will be searching for it on Google, but some people may know your web address already. Some people may type in www while others won’t. If you want visitors to be able to find you, and if you don’t want Google to penalize you for duplicate content, it’s important that you’re able to direct visitors to your website, no matter how it’s typed in.
This is something you can do yourself, but it isn’t necessarily easy or simple to understand, especially if you don’t have a programming background. Save yourself some time by hiring someone to do it for you.
Using keywords in blog articles to optimize your content is a great way to get noticed by Google, but it’s also important that you use keywords throughout your website. Using certain words and phrases that pertain to your business is a great way to get the attention you seek from Google.
Keyword research can be a bit more complex than it initially seems because the keywords you choose must be words and phrases that people actually use to search for the kinds of products and services you offer. Hiring a professional can be helpful.
Having keywords isn’t enough. They must be integrated into high-quality content that people actually want to read. That also means that none of the content on your website is repeated.
Google punishes websites quite heavily for having duplicate content.
Don’t be afraid to create content on your own, but you may find that hiring out for your content can save you time and enhance your SEO.
So, you know which keywords and phrases you should be using. Now what? It can be very helpful to keep them organized so that you use them throughout your website.
Create a spreadsheet with columns called:
- The page
- Primary keyword
- 2nd keyword
- 3rd keyword
- Total searches
By organizing your keywords in this way, you can optimize each page for different keywords. This technique can also help you determine exactly what pages you should have on your site.
Use clean URLs
People visiting your website may not notice, and if they do, they probably won’t care if your webpage URL is a bit messy, but it’s important nonetheless. Messy URLs are the ones that contain strange letters and numbers, instead of being clean by stating exactly where the visitor is located on your site.
Clean URLs are easier to link, they cut back on confusion, they’re easier to search for, and they just look better, so Google likes to look at them when ranking your page.
Meta titles that utilize keywords
Meta titles are used by Google and people searching the internet to determine exactly what kind of business you are. That’s why keywords are so important, but it’s equally as important to use those keywords in the meta titles on your website.
Just make sure that every single page has its own unique meta title, even if you’re using a few of the same keywords. That way search engines can tell the difference between all the different pages on your site.
Meta descriptions that utilize keywords
Not only should the meta titles on your site utilize keywords, the meta descriptions should utilize a matching keyword. Repeating these keywords throughout the information on a single page is how you get noticed by Google so that people searching for those keywords are directed to your site.
Treat a meta description as a description for your page. A good description gets noticed by Google, but it also gets noticed by the people searching. It’s the first thing they are able to read on the search engine before they visit your site.
Having heading tags means the content on a site is easier to read. Just take a look at this article! Each item in the list has its own heading tag. It’s up to you whether you want to read all the content or if you want to skip through and read only the items on the list that interest you.
Google is looking for websites that are easy to read, which means they’re easy to skim. By using headings throughout your content, you’re making it easier for visitors to your site to find the information they’re looking for.
What is an alt tag? It’s a bit of information that is associated with an image. Google can’t recognize images.
Instead, search engines depend on alt tags to determine what the images are all about.
Use them to your advantage. Choose relevant images that allow you to use your keyword in the description. By using a keyword in the meta title, meta description, alt tags, and throughout the text, you can increase your chances of ranking well with search engines.
Google is arguably the most popular search engine, but it isn’t the only one. Fortunately, you don’t have to jump through a bunch of different hoops in order to rank with each one when you register your site with Schema.org.
This organization supports a common set of markup terms and tools used to structure data on web pages with search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. By registering, you’re making your site friendly to multiple search engines.
Never forget that your website exists to serve visitors. One way to serve them is to use internal linking. For example, when you mention another area of the website, say the contact page for example, that item is highlighted.
That way, if your visitor wants to follow your direction and contact you, all they have to do is click on that link.
The key is making sure that there are no broken links or links that lead to nowhere. Proper internal linking gets the right attention from Google.
Create a Facebook business page
Now that you’ve got your website all straightened out, it’s time to think about your presence on other sites on the internet. The more ways you provide for people to discover your business, the more business you’ll attract, and there’s no better place to attract attention than Facebook.
Having a Facebook page can make your business seem more credible, not to mention, it’s a fun way to connect on a personal level with your customers.
Put your physical address on Facebook
Just like you should add your physical address to your website, so too should you put your address on Facebook. Not only will it help people find your business, it further promotes trustworthiness with the visitors to your page.
In addition, a physical address on your page shows Google that the page belongs to you. This is especially important if there are other businesses that have the same, or a similar, name as yours.
Create a Google Places page
If you really want to get noticed by Google, it would make sense that you’d want to create a page there! There’s where Google Places comes in.
It can definitely help you get Google’s attention, but this page will also appear for free in Google searches, which is certainly a positive thing.
Put your physical address on your Google Places page
Again with the physical address! It’s important on all of your websites, but it’s arguably most important when it comes to your Google page.
That’s because Google connects to Google Maps. When someone searches for you, your Google account will be shown and your address will be marked on a map. With this map marker, people searching for you can easily find your location.
Add your website to Google Places
Not only do you have to create a Google Places page and list your website, it is very important that you don’t forget to link your website to your new page.
With a link to your site, you’re giving searchers an easy way to visit your site for more information. And of course, listing your website with Google is never a bad idea. It’s another way for your business to show up in search results.
Add a category to your Google Places page
Just like you’re trying to create a website that serves visitors, Google is trying to create a list of search results that are most relevant to the person searching. One way they do this is by knowing exactly what kind of business you have.
On your Google Places page, you’re able to add categories to your profile that outline exactly what kind of business you are. Make sure that you’re honest about these categories. This is one area that is checked by real people at Google, and you could be punished if they find that you’ve chosen the wrong categories in an attempt to attract more customers to your business.
Add pictures to your Google Places page
The internet is a very visual place, and images can very powerfully sway people. Of course you should put images of your business on your website and your Facebook page, but you should also add pictures of your business to your Google Places page.
You can add other images as well. If you own and operate a restaurant, upload a picture of the menu. If you provide a service, consider uploading a picture of your employees.
Create an introduction on Google Places
With normal search engine results, you don’t have a lot of control over what shows up. Sure, you can utilize keywords and describe the page with meta information, but you have to utilize a very limited space and discuss a very limited topic.
With Google Places, you have a better opportunity to describe your business. Create an intro or an about us page and treat it like a quick elevator pitch. It’s a great way to tell people information that directly relates to your business instead of the information that can be found on each individual page of your website.
Put your business hours on Google Places
So far, you’ve put in a lot of time to make sure that people know where you’re located so they can pay you a visit, but there’s no point in knowing your location if they don’t also know your hours!
Add this important information to your website and your Facebook page, but don’t forget to add it to your Google Places page. Your hours become especially important around the holidays. Google Places can show visitors whether you’re open or closed.
Yelp business page
There’s still more websites that require your attention! People love using reviews to determine whether a business is worth their time, and no website does reviews as well as Yelp does.
Create a business page and encourage your customers to leave you positive reviews. Customers can even upload their own images of your business.
Consider other local directories
While you’re in the spirit of utilizing other websites to advertise your business, don’t stop at Facebook, Google, and Yelp. Consider other sites like Angie’s List, Yellow Pages, local newspapers, and more.
The key is finding sites that most relate to your business. For example, Angie’s List is a great choice for businesses that provide services, like home repairs, but not for restaurants.
Utilize reviews on Google Places
You’re not done with Google Places yet! Encourage people to leave reviews on your Yelp page, but you can also encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews on Google Places.
The key is to ask customers to leave reviews. Life is busy, and most people won’t take the time to leave a positive review. Don’t be afraid to get creative by offering discounts, coupons, and more to get people to leave you positive reviews.
Respond to reviews
Google assumes that quality businesses care about what people are saying about them, which means they keep an eye on whether or not you’re responding to reviews.
A quick thank you is appreciated when it comes to positive reviews, but at least make sure that you’re responding to negative reviews. It can help boost your overall review score, it shows your customers that you care about their satisfaction, and it shows Google that you care as well.
Utilize Google Search Console
With so much of your information out there on the internet, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed. Keeping track of it all is key, but how in the world do you know if Google knows what you want it to know?
The answer is Google Search Console. It can make sure that Google can access your content, it allows you to submit new content, you can remove content from search results, and you can monitor and resolve spam issues.
Utilize Google Analytics
Google Search Console is a great way to keep tabs on your business on the internet, but you need to keep a close eye on how your website is performing. Remember—your website is your digital storefront. Just like you’re keeping track of visitors and sales to your store, you should also be keeping track of visitors to your website.
Google Analytics can:
- Let you see how many visits your website gets
- Help you discover how much time visitors are spending on your website
- Allow you to see what countries your visitors come from
- Let you see which pages on your website they visit
- And more
Need a little help?
Building an effective internet presence takes quite a bit of work, and it can all seem overwhelming if there are many other aspects of your business that require your attention.
There’s no need to do it all on your own! At Three Palms Media, we’re experts at getting you up and running on the internet. From helping with website content to social media, online advertising, and more, we can make sure that you get noticed by Google for all the right reasons. Contact us today to learn more about how we can make your business shine on the internet.