Throughout our many years as a digital marketing company, we have encountered a lot of confusion and misunderstanding on the part of small business owners on how Google search works and that leveraging it properly using search engine optimization (SEO) and carefully targeted content creation is the most affordable, effective, and lasting approach to marketing they can take.
But before we get into any optimization tips for Google search, it’s important to understand some basics of how Google search works.
Understanding the Basics of Google Search
One of the most common questions we hear is “How do I get my business to the top of Google search?” This question is problematic in many ways, the first being that it doesn’t define what specific search the person asking is trying to get to the top of. The reality is there is always a huge variety of search phrases that could bring a potential customer or client to your website – and a successful conversion.
Years ago, “keywords” were everything to getting found in search, but these days Google’s algorithms are so sophisticated that the meaning or intent of the searcher has as much, if not more, relevance than a few keywords. We like to call this intersection of keywords, key phrases, intent, and meaning, “namespace”, since it focuses more on the destination of the search rather than the individual, myriad ways to get there.
For example, if you are a plumber, it is better to focus on the needs of a prospective client on Google, rather than a list of plumbing related keywords. You could think of a particular need as a namespace since there are many different questions and keywords that could be used to express that need.
Another important point about Google search is that everyone’s search results are different based on that person’s location, demographics, personal interests, the device that person is using, and a slew of other personal and impersonal data that plays into the Google algorithms. Additionally, the ranking is always changing with websites gaining and losing authority over the namespace being searched. So what is at the top of Google search for you may be far down the first page for another.
The takeaway: Google search results are very fluid so being very specific about the namespaces you want to gain authority in is critical.
So, How Exactly Do You Get Your Business Found on Google?
First of all, the results you see when you google something aren’t only organic answers to your query. There are ads, business listings, maps, snippets, and more! But rather than break down a search results page (something you can do on your own), let’s get right to four meaningful strategies which should not only help in your understanding of search results, but help your business rise to the top of them.
1. Make Sure Your Business’ Online Presence is Set Up for Success
The key to finding your way onto those business listings and local map directories is to make sure Google has updated information about your business and it matches the information found around the web – including social media. If you have five different phone numbers and two different addresses floating around the web, Google is not going to be confident in pointing people to your business since there is no certainty whether the contact information they will be presented with is correct. Their reputation for giving accurate information is on the line with every search query, so why should they take a chance with your business?
To address this, start at your website and make sure all your basic business information is correct and uniform throughout the website. Next, move on to your social media accounts. Every profile and description should be checked to make sure there are no discrepancies. Lastly, search for your business on Google and look at every listing that comes up. If you find any inconsistencies there, reach out to the listing service or website, and see if you can get the information updated.
Once all this is done, set up a Google My Business account (if you hadn’t done so already) and make sure all the information there is accurate and up-to-date. It’s wise to monitor and update your Google My Business account frequently. Consider it as important as your social media accounts.
2. Carefully-Crafted Content is the Key to Organic Search
Now that you’ve laid the groundwork to establish trust with Google, the next step is to bring value to its users and show that you are the authority in your respective field. These days, search engine optimization (SEO) is more in the realm of expert wordsmiths than talented coders and this is due to one simple truth: your website is a collection of words, phrases, and ideas, and if what your website is conveying doesn’t answer a question or offer a solution to a problem that a potential client is searching for, you will not be presented by Google as a viable best search result.
As a writing craft, producing content for web pages or a blog is actually very technical. Business owners typically want to tell the world about their businesses, but the bitter truth is that that is not what people are searching for. They may be interested in learning more about the business once they are on your website, but this is not the information that will get them there. By the same token, blogs that don’t speak to problems or interests of potential clients can actually have a negative effect on overall search rankings.
This is where the guidance of an SEO expert or experienced content creator can pay off big time. He or she can keep your content on track and make sure your website is a valuable asset to potential clients with needs and wants that you can address. And that makes you valuable to Google.
Here is the rub: it can take a long time – months or years even – for businesses in competitive fields to rise to the top of search rankings for a wide array of namespaces. The good news is that most web content for businesses can have a long shelf life, meaning that a well-crafted blog can keep bringing visitors to your site long after it has been posted.
3. Use Google Ads to Get Immediate Results
But maybe you don’t have months or years to wait for your web content to bring visitors to your website. The quickest (and most expensive) way to get to the top of Google search results is with Google Ads. The key here is to properly use paid search ads to insert your business into namespaces where you want to be competitive, but don’t show up.
Where paid advertising pales greatly to organic search is that if you go all in on ads, once you stop paying for ads, your website could disappear from the first few pages of search immediately.
Another pitfall with Google Ads is targeting search queries where you’ve already risen to the top organically. Users might click the ad rather than the organic result costing you money for something that you basically already had – a top search result.
As mentioned above, hiring an expert is the best way to save money in the long run and maximize your online marketing budget.
Having a Comprehensive Digital Marketing Strategy
The best way to ensure your business is affordably and sustainably connecting with potential clients via Google search is to have a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Our digital marketing team here at Blink;Tech is composed of Content Creators, SEO Experts, Social Media experts, and top tier web developers. By bringing different areas of expertise together, we can leverage a wide array of skills to develop and manage strategies to help your business grow. Give us a call!