- Keyword selection is... key!
- Grasp opportunities to target local users.
- Write in a style that will appeal to your readers.
For many businesses across industries, performing well in a Google search is the most critical factor in generating customer enquiries.
If you put in some work to align your website with Google's ranking factors (this is called search engine optimisation or SEO) you'll move closer to the top of Google's search results. Better still, if you can get on the first page, you'll be way ahead of many of your competitors. The higher your ranking is in any search, the higher the level of click-throughs you’ll have – which means a lot more potential new business.
Here's some good news. Getting on the first page of Google’s search results is totally achievable for small businesses. Google is focused on quality, not quantity, so you don't need to be a giant company or have a massive marketing budget for the chance to elevate your ranking.
Here are five Google search tips that give you relatively easy ways to significantly improve your ranking.
1. Choose the right keywords and include them in your website
Keywords are one of the most important criteria Google uses to index websites. Don’t be confused by their name though, keywords don't just have to be single words; they can also be unique phrases.
By picking up on the most common words you’ve used in your titles, copy and meta tags (more on that later), Google determines what your business does, and displays it in relevant search results.
Make sure you include keywords which relate to your business’s location, its area of specialisation, and what your customers are looking for, but don’t try to shoehorn keywords in where they don’t naturally fit.
Here are some examples:
- Retailing rights and regulations Fremantle
- How to seal leaking windows
- Designer lampshades Sydney west
- Best coffee in Surry Hills
- Apartment manager North Adelaide
One thing to note: don't try to work the same keywords into every page of your website. Tackle each page individually, with different keywords. Otherwise, your pages will be competing with each other.
Google's Keyword Planner tool can help you with this.
2. Let Google know which words you're using
When someone does a search, Google doesn't scan the whole web. That's an almost impossible task. Instead, it scans through its own index – a much more organised, simplified record of websites – before coming up with results.
So you want to make it as easy as possible for Google to scan and retrieve your site's data.
This means placing relevant keywords into each of these places:
- The meta title: These are the words that appear at the top of each of your website's pages and also as the title of that page’s listing in Google's search results.
- The meta description: This is the short paragraph that pops up under the meta title in Google's search results. It previews what users can expect to find on your page.
- Your URL: A URL is made up of your domain name (e.g., smithandjones.com.au) followed by a forward slash, followed by some more text which is separated by dashes. Featuring keywords in your URL can help Google more easily identify what your site is reflecting.
- Alt tags: What are these? They're the alternative pieces of text that describe what's in the images you use on your site. (This text is essential if your images are going to be visible to Google). If you have relevant keywords in these tags, Google will consider your site as more relevant to its search.
3. Make your location prominent
Even if a user doesn't search by location, Google’s search results will usually prioritise websites that offer a relevant service or product in the user's area. In a lot of cases, people will also search by location (e.g. city and/or suburb) so make sure your location features in your keywords.
4. Write like a human being
First up, don't try to jam as many keywords as possible into your copy. This'll work against you and your rankings will slide.
Instead, aim to make your content as reader-friendly and natural as you can. Include plenty of useful, authentic and informative content that will keep users engaged.
A good way to get into the groove of writing is to say what you want to write to another person, record what you say, then transcribe it. Being conversational, rather than writing formally, can create a better connection with the reader.
5. Optimise your website for viewing on mobile
Optimising your website so that it can be viewed on a mobile phone is an absolute essential. Most customers nowadays are using their smartphone to browse, and purchase, online.
Optimising for mobile is not just about making the pages responsive, it also means you need to keep calls-to-action prominent, the navigation simple, and the most relevant content at the top of the page.
Need to create or refresh your marketing plan? Start by reading our guide "Why every business needs a marketing strategy and a plan."
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