While I take some time off to cuddle the new baby in our lives (and change 1,000,000 dirty diapers), I am thrilled to feature some stellar small business owners, marketers, and freelancers. These contributors have been right where you are: in the trenches of growing a business and creating products and services that resonate with their audience. They’ve got tons of great tips to share!
How To Improve Your Website’S Google Rankings
Welcome to the challenges of being a business owner in the new millennium! The game is the same as it always was — getting consumers to buy your product instead of your competitors — but the playing field is an entirely new one.
Successful business owners know that you must have a solid presence on the web these days. When people want something, they search for it on the internet and pick the first thing they see.
So how do you get your business to rank #1 in the search results?
Use these 3 strategies to drive traffic to your small business website.
Use Strategic Keywords
Understanding the way Google searches work is complicated. No one knows except Google, and they’re keeping it a secret.
But quality web developers and copywriters have some tricks to boost your web page’s ranking.
For example, using the term “Google Ranking” instead of “Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” in this article wasn’t a mistake. We could have the same discussion using either term, but “Google Ranking” is a layman’s term, while “SEO” is a more technical term used by web developers and marketers.
I want normal people who use normal words to find this article with a web search, so I used the word “Google,” the only online search engine elevated to honorary verb status (Don’t believe me? Google it!)
Once you know what keywords to use, you need to incorporate them into your website. But here’s the catch:
It would help if you incorporated your keywords organically.
Your web pages still need to make sense, and the writing still needs to flow. You can’t cram as many keywords as possible onto a page and expect Google (or your customers!) to like what’s going on.
Include your main keywords in your main pages, such as your About, Services, Bio, or FAQ pages. Then, when you want to add more keywords, create an informative article or blog post around them.
You’ll be able to incorporate as many keywords as you need without sacrificing the quality and readability of your site. And Google likes that.
Establish Your Authority
Of course, keywords are just one small cog in your website’s Google ranking wheel. To be #1, you have to act like #1. It would be best if you were #1.
This is what Google recognizes as being an “established authority.”
Say, for example, I ask Google where to buy the best bifocals for Dalmatians. Google will know that dogglasses.com is a better choice than chineseknockoffs.com.
But how exactly do you establish that authority?
You need to:
1. Demonstrate your authority.
If dogglasses.com is truly the best maker of doggie bifocals, Who should reflect that in an easy-to-navigate, a mobile device-friendly website with loads of professional and relevant information. There should be articles about why dogs’ eyes go bad, how to prevent it, and even what the latest styles are in doggie eyewear (cat-eye rims are ALWAYS unfashionable). The database of information on your website will help drive traffic to your site.
When someone searches, “Why can’t my dog see?” your website article with the poignant title “Why your Dog Can’t See and How to Fix It!” pops up as #1 in the search ranking. (And how do you fix the problem of a dog with astigmatism? The best way is with a pair of quality specs from dogglasses.com.)
2. Encourage others to demonstrate your authority.
One of the ways Google determines authority is the number of inbound links that drive traffic toward dogglasses.com. For example, the webpage of your veterinarian’s office might direct you to those quality specs with a link. Your vet is an authority too. Google’s algorithm knows this.
To encourage other authority websites to link to you, start by publishing quality content. Could you give them a reason to link?
Then, use your online network to get the word out.
Share other people’s information on social media and tag them (they’re likely to return the favour). Let other businesses and websites know that their customers might find your articles useful or informative. Comment in relevant groups or on related websites.
Don’t be spammy, but treat online networking like any other networking.
Target existing authority sites, and they’ll be more likely to link back to you and improve your authority rankings.
Collect Quality Clicks
Another aspect that will increase your web page’s Google rank is the number of times people visit your site.
But clicks alone aren’t enough. If the owners of dogglasses.com wanted a flurry of traffic on their site, they could post a partially obscured photo on their social media pages with the caption, “This Beagle Wore WHAT to Prom?!” You better believe that post will drive crazy traffic toward the site.
You’d expect that to increase the page’s Google rank, right? Well, you won’t believe what I’ll tell you next…
Google does not like clickbait! Don’t try it. They’re onto you, and links to irrelevant garbage will drive your site’s ranking straight to the bottom.
Google recognizes the quality of inbound links.
So if you’re running a clickbait campaign and all of your site’s inbound links start to come from, you’re busted.
Instead, share relevant, quality information in various places: on your social media accounts, newsletter, and articles. Participate in online chat groups and use print marketing materials to get the word out about your business. Include links to your website in your email signature. Network and share to encourage other businesses to link to your pages.
By casting a wide net, you’re more likely to have various inbound links coming from established, respectable sources.
This quality will boost your Google rankings more than any clickbait campaign.
So… What Does It All Mean?
You have to play it straight with Google.
There aren’t any tricks or shortcuts to win the game and make it to the top Google charts.
You need a quality website with quality articles about your quality product. Building out a website like this takes time and skill, which leads to the final piece of the Google analytics puzzle:
Your small business website needs to be frequently updated with fresh content to maintain relevance as an authority.
A stagnant site will eventually slide down the ranking scale into obscurity as fresh, new authorities on the subject pop up.
For many businesses, constant website maintenance is challenging. If you’re a professional at making dog glasses, it’s unlikely that you’re also an expert at online marketing, web design, SEO management, and writing copy for your website.
Updating and promoting a website takes time and skill, but it’s a critical tool in your marketing arsenal.