Having your business listed at the top of a Google search result is one of the most valuable marketing assets you can obtain so it’s no surprise loopholes to algorithms have been attempted to gain visibility. While there are no ethical shortcuts, there are a few essential SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practices that will make a substantial difference to your current ranking.
In this post, we’re going to save you the trouble of looking for any “magic bullets” and instead provide a no-nonsense road map to getting more visitors to your website.
- Keep Your Google My Business Profile Up-to-Date
Whenever a search is made online, Google aims to provide users with the most accurate results by displaying a list of local companies providing that product or service requested. That’s why it’s crucial to have a company’s address, phone number, and hours up to date on Google My Business profile. It’s also important to verify your profile to give your company more credibility for anyone who hasn’t visited your website before.
To take it one step further: Remember to ask customers to leave reviews on Google!
That way, your company will start appearing in local recommendations at the top of the search page.
- Start Using Google Search Console to Track Website Performance
To gain an edge in your website’s search rankings, a sense of your website’s current SEO performance is essential. Google Search Console, a free webmaster tool, lets you access vital information related to search results, such as…
- Which search queries are bringing visitors to your website.
- Find out who’s linking to your website to ensure you’re not getting traffic from questionable/spammy sources.
- Discover any crawl errors that might be hurting your search visibility.
When adding or updating content to your website, it’s a good idea to report these changes in Google Search Console so that they’re accurately reflected in search results.
At the very least, you can think of adding your website to Google Search Console as being a kind of “formal introduction” into Google’s system.
- Entice Visitors to Click by Optimizing Website Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, and URLs
People are going through the trouble of searching for what you have to offer, so it’s important to present your website properly in search engines. This entails…
- Using meta descriptions (short snippets that summarize a page’s content in Google searches) that include strong, relevant keywords. To get the most out of them, meta descriptions should be under 155 characters and added to every individual page.
- The titles for your pages also need to include some of the keywords that get typed into search queries. A few good questions to ask yourself are:
“What problem or concern does this page solve?”
“What would I be searching for to end up on this page?”
- Along with your post’s title, the URL (the address for your page) has to be properly structured. By that, we mean that it should be concise and designed for readability. Use lowercase characters, as well as hyphens, to separate characters in your URLs.
- All of these components make your website more easily identifiable not just by Google, but also by users who are looking for the content you offer.
- Take Advantage of Structured Data (Schema Markup) to Help Users Find Your Website
Using structured data is a way to add extra “labels” to your pages to inform Google about the content you’re providing on your website. Not only that but using structured data will help your website stand out by emphasizing key elements that appeal to visitors.
Here’s a quick example that highlights important elements in a search results page:
The names and dates of performances are marked up for Google Results
Structured data can be particularly helpful for the following types of content:
- Book reviews
- Local businesses
- Movies and TV shows
Although schema markup makes a substantial difference in bringing potential customers to your website, very few people go through the trouble of implementing it to their pages. It’s estimated that only .3% of websites are taking advantage of this.
Check out Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to start using schema markup and make your website stand out!
- Don’t Forget About Your Mobile Visitors!
Approximately 60% of Google searches are done on mobile devices, which can have strong implications for your website’s visibility on search engines.
Google has explicitly said that in order for a website’s content to rank highly, it will need to be optimized for mobile:
“Starting today, pages, where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results, may not rank as high.” —Google Webmaster Blog, January 10, 2017
Make sure that your website has responsive web design, and that it retains all of its functionality across all devices.
To find out if your website is currently optimized for mobile devices, you can check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Deliver Memorable, Helpful, High-Quality Content That Will Visitors Back for Years
When people arrive at your website from Google, they’ll most likely have a problem that they need to solve. Depending on whether or not their question was answered, those people will come back to your website or share it within their networks. For a lot of your visitors, their first impression of your brand won’t be your “Home Page,” it might be a helpful blog post you wrote three years ago!
When creating or updating any content on your website, remember to ask yourself: “If I was seeing this website for the first time, would I consider coming back?”
If you want to be in the top search results for Google, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to create content that will exceed a visitor’s expectations. That way, Google will take into account how much time people spend reading through your content, and your ranking in search results will start to improve!
Although some people will continue searching for quick Google ranking solutions, at the end of the day improving your search visibility is all about providing a memorable experience for visitors.
Once you’ve published valuable content and registered your website through Google’s webmaster tools, you’ll be well on your way toward getting discovered by potential customers!
Author: Ania McNamara, Associate Publisher of American Cake Decorating and President/CMO at McNamara Marketing