New Businesses: How to be Found in Google
Where's the best place to hide a dead body? On the second page of Google!
Ok, it's a rubbish joke, but you get the picture. There are millions of webpages online, and yours needs to stand out to reach your audience with your products and services.
If you’ve started your own business, you'll need to be familiar with a three-letter word: SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Here are six easy tips strategies to help you stand out on the web.
1. Keywords: It's all about the long-tail
Keywords are a set of words that are related to the user’s search query, meaning the words or phrases the customer uses to look for a product, services, images, etc. Keywords are either short or long tail.
Short-tail keywords make difficult targets for SEO. It’s likely that a short-tail keyword query will return results for big companies or websites that were established long ago and are well-trusted by search engines.
Long-tail keywords bring targeted traffic and higher success rates. Long-tail keywords are more specific and longer phrases, such as “winery insurance agent California.”
Long-tail keywords are also cheaper when you want to run a paid search marketing campaign. The bid on long-tail keywords, and thus the cost-per-click, is cheaper compared to short-tail keywords. When you target for longer and more specific keywords, you can get higher ad rankings without the need to pay for a premium price.
2. Don't be a Fluffer: Write Quality Content
Avoid fluff! Fluff is a term used in marketing to describe lots and lots of words with little substance or value.
Quality content means that people will take the time to read it to the end and decreases the chance of them leaving the site immediately.
Quality content also attracts backlinks which make your site more authoritative. When you have quality content, people will be more likely to share it with their friends, colleagues, and family members, therefore boosting your rankings faster than focusing only on keywords.
Quality content means useful content. It needs to contain updated information or tips that your readers can implement straight away.
Pro Tip: Google your topic and scutinize your top 5 competitors' pages. Write better content that theirs.
3. Write Compelling Titles: Use AIDA
A compelling title will help get you to the top of search engine results. Use the AIDA formula to create effective ads:
Attention: Attract your prospective visitors. Make your content stand out.
Interest: Raise the interest of your customers by providing quality content so they won’t look elsewhere for answers.
Desire: Convince your visitors that your content will satisfy their needs, so that if you put your product or service in the content, they’ll buy it.
Action: Lead customers to take action upon reading your content and take measurable action like sharing your content or buying a product from your website.
Your goal is to capture your target audience’s attention, generate interest, and cause them to take action.
4. Be Mobile Friendly
Nowadays people search for content on their mobile phones, not desktop or laptop. That's why Google places "responsive design" among its top SEO ranking factors. A responsive design makes your site to work well on all mobile phones and all devices.
Pages that are built for large desktop screens may not be shown in mobile searches. If they are, they'll be pushed so far back in the results that they may as well not exist.
Pro Tip: Check how mobile-friendly your website is using Google's Mobile Friendly Test.
5. Prove Your Cybersecurity: Use SSL
Having an SSL (Secure Sockets Layers) certificate is helpful to your website and the people visiting your site, as it encrypts the information being sent between your site and your visitor’s browser.
SSL prevents advertisers and cybercriminals from viewing your visitors’ activity.
This is very useful particularly when a visitor purchases a product or buys a service from your site as the passwords and credit card data is encrypted. Without SSL, this information would be displayed. Google gives higher priority to websites that have SSL certificates and whose SSL credentials are up to date.
Pro tip: You can learn more about SSL certificates from the SEO company that manages your website.
6. Use Social Media Icons: Get Users to Share
Google doesn’t currently use social media sharing metrics to rank search engine results, but those shares can get you visitors who may have never found you otherwise. This is another reason to create useful content that answers the visitor’s query.
Quality content is more likely to be shared by people with friends, family members, and colleagues in social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Pro tip: Use Social Media icons on your site to help users share your content on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and any other social media platform you want to be found on.
7. Measure Your Progress: Google Analytics
Now that you know how to stand out in search results, it’s time to find out if your campaign works. Google Analytics is a great tool to understand the traffic you have on your site, how visitors found you, and which content was viewed most.
Online success can be bolstered by repeating the processes that work well. If you have a few pages that are doing much better than others, analyze the data and learn what you did right so you can replicate it in the future or build on the content that isn’t performing as well.
Basing your business decisions on real and actionable data is crucial to make sure that you have enough evidence to make a decision when things go your way and when they don’t.
Jessica Thiefels is the founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, Glassdoor, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.