Getting your business found in Google is all the rage these days. And, rightly so. Google is still the top search engine, with 67% of all monthly searches happening there. That’s why the inquiring minds of business owners everywhere want to know: “How do I get my business to show up on Google when someone searches?” Here are 10 things Google’s search algorithm loves – so you can add some of these to your online marketing toolbox and improve your business Web presence.
1. Quality Content
One of the number one rules of online marketing today is generating fresh content. What this means is you need to post content that’s original, relevant, and timely that will appeal to people searching for terms related to your business. One of the best ways to actively share quality content is by having a blog for your business. Then, it’s a matter of finding time to create and share content. Start with an editorial calendar and plan weekly posts that are informative and engaging. While long-form content every once in a while is important, you can keep the majority of your posts short and simple. Some blog post ideas can include before and after photos of completed projects, a discount or promotion, an upcoming event, or a new product announcement.
2. Search Ads
Search ads are now emphasized very heavily on the first page of local search results – whether you search for direct local terms or if Google detects local search intent. For instance, when I search for a plumber in Dallas, Texas, six of the results above the fold—the portion of a webpage you see before scrolling— are paid ads – while only two are organic results. In fact, Google only shows between seven and ten organic results beyond ads and map listings— about 13% of the first page— and competition for those spots is high. So, it’s important to have a balanced approach that uses both search engine optimization and search engine advertising so that consumers will find your business when they search for your target and business keywords.
Mobile devices now make up 25% of search clicks. And, 88% of mobile ad clicks are incremental to organic clicks – which means paid clicks aren’t replaced by organic clicks when search advertising is paused. In other words, you get more mobile clicks overall when doing both paid advertising and SEO than when using SEO alone. That means it’s more important than ever to not only invest in mobile advertising, but also to make sure those mobile clicks take consumers to a mobile landing page or website that’s optimized to capture those leads.
4. Map Listings
Whether consumers are searching via mobile or desktop, your map listing is critical in getting found on Google. It’s important to claim and update your Google+Local page, because many consumers see your map listing before they ever find your website in the local search results. Make sure you optimize your listing with your business keywords, business category, address, hours, and other important information. Google+Local is even more important for some business types like restaurants now that Google+ Local results are even more prominent with Google’s carousel results for certain categories.
5. Google+ Pages
Of course Google loves Google+; it owns it. And that means having a Google+ page for your business is an important part of your online marketing strategy. Not only is having an optimized, active Google+ profile an important step in making your maps more robust and useful for searchers, but it’s a great place to share and connect with your audience and influencers who can help share your content. This can help increase exposure, comments, and links back to your content, which can help boost your SEO.
6. Social Shares & Likes
Just like it’s important to optimize your Google+ page, having claimed and optimized profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, along with updated content, can help you claim more territory for your business on the search engine results page. But, it’s not just important to have these pages; you need to post engaging, shareable content that will signal to search engines that these pages are an active, useful resource, which can help your social pages rank higher in search. Plus, social signals like Facebook shares and Tweets from your website or blog can serve as signals to Google search as well.
7. Local Keywords
For your business to get found on Google by searchers in your target area, it’s important to use geo-specific keywords. According to the Google search ranking factors, the target keyword you want to rank for, like “emergency plumbing dallas,” should be present in places on your website like your page title, links, and anchor text. It’s also important to use these same keywords on your social media pages, Google+ Local page, and other review or directory sites you may use to drive visits from local consumers. Make sure you choose keywords that are targeted to your location, business type and name, but be careful not to stuff your webpages and profiles with keywords, which can have a negative impact on your results – and on the consumers looking at your content.
Backlinks are still important signals of authority to Google’s algorithm that help the search engine determine the usefulness of your content. Essentially, backlinks are links to your website from other sites around the Web. But not all links are created equal. Google’s recent algorithm updates emphasize the importance of high-quality links, in other words, links to your content from sites and influencers who have authority and credibility. That’s why it’s important to make your content interesting and engaging enough that other sites will want to link to it. You can start by creating engaging content and sharing it on your blog, social media pages, marketing emails, and other properties online. When you share this content, include a call to action that asks your customers, fans, and followers to also share it as well. This can help spread your content and increase quality backlinks that Google loves.
Reviews for your business on Google+ Local are extremely valuable because they appear along with your map listing on the search results page. But, nobody wants to feature their business prominently with one-star reviews. So, ask happy customers to leave you positive, thoughtful reviews on your Google+Local page to make sure consumers new to your business see great things about you. Plus, the more reviews you have with your target keywords, the higher your map listing will display in the search results.
Authorship is a feature of Google+ that lets you link content you publish on another domain directly to your personal Google+ profile. When you do this, your Google+ profile picture will appear directly next to content you have written in the search results, emphasizing your content and helping increase clicks to it. This is great for building your personal brand, which can help you build credibility for your business by establishing yourself as the expert in your field. Plus, using your personal Google+ account is a great way to spread the word about your business to drive interest and shares among your personal network.
What are some things that you’ve noticed feature prominently in Google search? Let us know in the comments!