If you are like most business owners I know, the mere mention of Google has you cowering in a corner. They are like the hottest person in school and you have to go out our your way to get them to notice you because they have plenty of others vying for their attention. As the leader of the pack, other search engines usually follow their lead, so almost anything you do to improve your Google ranking with other search engines.
Like any good technology company, Google is always changing - new algorithms, new and changing properties, new apps and products. That's good for them, not so good for you unless you know what to do and follow tried and true best practices. There are hundreds of articles on improving your search ranking that talk about on site SEO (page titles, keywords, links, etc.) I won't rehash those here but here are a few other tips to get you a lot of bang for your buck:
1. Be Mobile Friendly
This is one of Google's newest changes, nicknamed Mobilegeddon. Mobile internet searches now outnumber desktop searches and search engines have taken notice. Now if you're site isn't "mobile friendly" or mobile responsive, it will rank lower on searches performed on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). Responsive websites resize and shuffle the content on your site to make it easy for user to navigate and view your website, no matter what the screen size.
2. Get on Social Media
Social Media is making a big impact on the way companies market themselves. There are hundreds of social media sites out there and choosing the right ones for your business can be time-consuming. Let's look at a few of the major ones:
Facebook - Creating a Facebook business page is a no brainer. They are the #1 social media site out there. People are talking about your business on Facebook even if your business isn't. If they are saying good things, you want them to be able to "Tag" or "Check-In" at your business.
LinkedIn - Another no brainer, especially if you sell BtoB. LinkedIn is the number 1 source of information for professionals and business leaders. Your business page can be a hub for your employees, their connections, your clients and their connections. Download our guide to optimizing your LinkedIn company page.
YouTube - People love watching videos, whether it is a how-to video, a video testimonial or bloopers. Having a YouTube channel for people to visit, allows them to see what your company does, rather than just reading about it. Plus YouTube is now owned by Google, so they love showing results from YouTube.
Twitter - Short, sweet and to the point. People like get their info in snippets, so give them what they want. Tweets are now indexed by Google.
Google My Business - Whatever they are calling it today - Google+, Google Places, Google My Business - your business probably already has a page or multiple pages. You may have created one, Google probably created you one and maybe an employee made one. Untangling, connecting and gaining control of your Google properties is important and can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming. Many of our clients didn't know what they had on Google until we accessed their accounts, deleted dead pages and combined repetitive pages.
3. Create relevant content regularly
Search engine bots love to read and get bored if they have to read the same thing on your site over and over. Fresh content that is relevant and interesting will get search engines to notice you and push you up the results page. Does this mean rewrite your site every week? No, it means write blog posts as often as you can - every week, twice a week, as often as you can and have something relevant to say. That's exactly what I am doing right now because I know the impact it makes.
Creating content that is relevant for your clients and prospects also positions you as an expert in your field and builds the trust that is necessary for any on-going business relationship. If someone is trying to figure out a solution to their problem and your website has a blog post addressing that specific problem, you look like a hero and they'll come back when their facing a similar problem. This is the basis behind Inbound Marketing.
4. Know your customers/audience
What problem do you solve for your customers? What are they looking for when they find you? If you don't know your customers or potential customers and their problems, how can you offer them your solution? By understanding the people that buy from your business, you can figure out how they search for solutions and what words or phrases (keywords) they type into the search engine. Once you figure out what keywords or keyword phrases they are searching for, you can sprinkle those words and phrases throughout your website and blog.
5. Hire an agency that takes the time to know your business
Most small business owners don't have the time to execute a successful inbound marketing strategy, so they need help. You could hire a marketing person in-house or hire an outside agency. The benefit of retaining the services of an agency is you are getting a number of marketing professionals with a lot more experience for about the same price as one in-house person. Of course, finding the right marketing agency can be tough. To some agencies, you are just a number in their bank account. They may outsource the work to India or Pakistan to keep the cost down or may not take the time to understand your business and customers. You want to find an agency that asks questions about your business before they start giving you estimates and contracts. Without understanding what makes your business unique, they will do a bad job at showing value to your customers.
Whatever the state of your marketing efforts, you should regularly take stock of where you stand. Google your business. Check your social media accounts. Reexamine your marketing strategy. If you need help contact the Charmers at CharmLab for a free Inbound Marketing and Website Assessment