Getting More Google Clicks for Your Small Business Website
Every day, we talk to business owners who want to know the secret to getting more Google clicks. What’s the secret formula? Can I even get to page one for my small business website? The simple answers to these questions are #1 there is no secret formula, and #2 yes you can rank for relevant keywords locally for your business. Some of these rankings can be on page one by following a Google’s best practices approach and doing the work necessary to deliver the rankings you desire. At Colorado Internet Solutions, we NEVER utter the words FAST, EASY, or GUARANTEED, and we never quote time frames. If someone uses these words when talking to you, you should run, no sprint, out of that engagement.
SEO is a no guarantee business, and if you read through this short post, we hope you’ll begin to understand why.
Getting your business to pop up on Google, Yahoo and Bing is the crown jewel or holy grail when it comes to businesses who look to grow their businesses via the internet. We focus on Google specifically because they are the 300-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to website traffic, but these ideas apply to Bing and Yahoo as well. While working to improve your search result rankings (aka Search Engine Optimization or SEO) may seem like an overly expensive and equally daunting task, knowing the basics will go a long way in helping to make your website presence successful. Below is a basic list of questions and answers that we’ve developed as a guide for small businesses looking to conquer their market.
1) What’s the #1 thing a business should do to help their business show up in Google’s result pages?
You build a website with the audience you want to reach in mind, not the search engines. This is a phrase we read from experts all the time and it’s true but with one caveat, at Colorado Internet Solutions (CIS) we wonder why you can’t do both at the same time. Offering a great experience for the people who visit your site will help your organic search rankings (meaning search results outside of paid advertising) tremendously, but you can create a strategy to please both the visitors and Google at the same time. At CIS, that is the approach we take, finding a balanced strategy that can foster strong growth for an existing tired website or brand new site as well. Having a content-rich site with a blog is the most impactful technique. You’ll want to post fresh, engaging content regularly.
2) What type of content should you post?
Want to rank for a search term your customers are searching for? Write about it consistently and with an eye toward providing the searchers with helpful information that will drive them toward your brand and encourage sharing of your information. It’s helpful to be consistent and develop themes for your content. The key is identifying what your customers are looking for, since each business and market is unique, and this is where an SEO professional can help by identifying and then developing the strategy to target your clients. Don’t try and be all things to all people. You need to develop 4 or 5 key themes to your blogging efforts and make sure you’ve built your online presence to attract and convert these searchers into paying customers.
3) How do search engines determine your ranking?
In the 20 or so years of organic search, ranking factors have changed a lot. In the beginning, your website’s general popularity was all that mattered. Nowadays, search rank depends on a variety of factors. This includes relevant, high-quality content, user behavior signals (like the time people spend on your content), and links back to your content from topically related websites or social media. But these ranking factors, much like the SEO industry itself, change constantly. For example, Google made a dozen major changes to its search algorithm in 2016 and the minor changes are too numerous to count if you even notice them, Google stays mum on a lot of their updates. If you want to see what’s happened over the years, take a look at Moz’s excellent tracking of Google algorithm changes. Staying up to date with SEO trends is crucial to knowing which techniques can have the most impact.
4) What lowers your website ranking?
Poor quality content or stale content. Google’s Spiders (think robots crawling trillions of web pages looking for new relevant content about a topic) are constantly searching for information that their users want, thus creating a positive user experience on Google. If you don’t make the searchers on Google happy, your website will be harder and harder to find. Chances are, you’ll never get a chance to disappoint a Google searcher because Google’s army of algorithms and quality control processes will never put your website in a position to do so.
If you never update your website’s content, you’ll lower your ranking since search engines reward sites with fresh content. Also, if people just read the first line or two of a post and quickly leave (what’s called a “bounce rate”), search engines notice. You need to create content that will capture your future customers’ attention. Stay away from practices that violate search engines bylaws, like “keyword stuffing” which is the overuse or mass repetition of the same phrase over and over. Linking schemes are also a “black hat” (bad) strategy when it comes to your website. Detection by Google will certainly lead to a rankings drop or outright ban altogether.
5) How does social media play into SEO?
Again, it all goes back to your content-building efforts. Blog posts and your website content need to be engaging — something people will want to share on Facebook and Twitter so make it easy for visitors to share information with their social media followers. You should make sure your updates consistently link back to your website content. Your website should be the hub or center of all your online activities, the top stop for all things about your business.
6) Should you hire an SEO expert?
Basic SEO strategies are something that any business owner can learn, but with that being said, the devil is in the constantly changing landscape of a search engine like Google. With several major changes and many more minor changes flooding in at a maddening pace, it’s challenging even for professionals to stay abreast with everything that changes almost weekly. That said, you’ll get the best SEO results through a long-term strategy and constant site updates that come from hiring a search marketing professional who you can work with over time.
Be aware of the never-ending slew of miracle ranking tools and vendors, you know the ones that call weekly and promise page-one rankings at the end of one month. That just doesn’t work. Google makes over $20 billion every quarter selling paid advertising, AdWords, do you think they would let any company get their customers ranking on page one with some magic trick making their Google AdWords, or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising unnecessary? The simple answer, of course, is no, but these SEO firms look to take advantage of small business owners with reasonably sounding guarantees made to take advantage of a very complex subject matter like getting your business ranking on Google.
Make no doubt that Google is running a business, not a free public utility like many small businesses think. Google is all about making money for their shareholders, and they do not give page-one ranking away, not even to the big companies like Amazon, United Airlines or Apple. It has to be earned through a process that has hundreds of steps.
If someone has promised you something too good to believe, it’s probably not true. Call other companies like CIS or ask your peers or members in your business community, and you might find someone who’s heard the same promises. You’ll be glad you did in most cases, you’ll also save some money for true marketing work.
The good news is that SEO works for millions of small businesses because they’ve positioned themselves using Google’s best practices and it’s a real money maker. If you follow the rules and invest in doing the right work for your website, it can be a complete game changer. We would welcome an opportunity to discuss your online business with you. What’s stopping you? It’s FREE, so just contact us here or by phone at 720-458-3046.