Written by Umika Verma • Published 21st November 2017
Google has become the most crucial part of our day to day, whether it’s for an irrational self-diagnosis, online shopping or a search for services. It’s now so important that it’s become a verb it its own right.
But how does “Google it” play in the world of small business?
When 95% of web traffic goes to sites on page one of Google, your website is the virtual storefront to your company, and if you were opening a shop, you’d want it to be on the main road with the most footfall, not in the obscure backstreets where little to no one pays a visit. As they say, the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google.
Here’s is why having your company rank on page 1 of Google is so crucial – and how you can make it happen
WHY: A big part of business success is having a positive reputation within your industry. If when potential customers or investors research your business online only to find Google rife with negative news stories, customer reviews and financials, or with next to nothing on it, it’s an automatic turn off.
HOW: When a user types a word or phrase into the search engine, Google crawls the web for stories, posts and sites which are most relevant to the query – that’s where you want to be. By hiring a third-party SEO agency to identify key search terms for your business, you can optimise both your onsite content (blogs and website copy) and your external content (news stories and thought leadership pieces – with link backs to your website) with all those key words. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated. There are plenty of online tools alongside Google Analytics ready to help you find the prime search terms for your business. For example, HubSpot has compiled a handy list of the 9 best keyword search tools to help you find out what people are searching for.
WHY: Ever googled “Cheap reliable business finance” to find the top three search results accompanied by an “Ad” box? How often do you click on that result as opposed to the organic searches below it? Good question….
By building up your company’s online portfolio and populating Google with relevant stories, as opposed to paid for visibility, you’ll be the first choice for that user.
HOW: Invest the time and effort into nurturing your company’s Google ranking and you will most certainly reap the rewards. This means working hard over a long period of time to invest in PR, onsite content and social media channels with consistent messaging, organic subject matter and keywords. It isn’t a quick task and requires serious TLC and patience.
From the very beginning when choosing a domain name and designing a website, you must ensure every aspect is optimised for your business. There are simple things like using ‘.com’ in your domain name if you can, ensuring landing pages are tagged with keywords and that your website is mobile friendly (this is very important), all help you climb up the ranks.
WHY: That organic search will do your brand wonders. It means customers will trust what you do because you haven’t paid your way to the top of Google, but you’ve earned it. If Google trusts you enough to appear on the first page of a search, it is a good starting point for potential customers and investors to have confidence in you too.
HOW: The most important trust-building exercise is that credible titles and news outlets positively cover your business. Look at it this way, when you want to find out if a product is worth using, do you believe the retailer’s product description on its website or do you research to find customer and third-party reviews? The same goes for business. Your blog could be filled with great content and challenging thought leadership pieces, but standing alone and unsupported, they only get some of the job done. Existing alongside external pieces on national newspapers and magazines like the FT, Telegraph and The Guardian, they hold a crucial supporting role whilst those pieces are at centre stage.
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