The Google rankings can seem like a bit of a lottery. Some business owners spend a lot of time and money on a stunning website, but it doesn’t rank well at all. Others build their own cheapie website, perhaps not the most attractive website, and it shoots to the top of the rankings within a few weeks.
A lot depends on how competitive the market is for your type of business. But equally, a lot depends on whether Google can easily find out what it needs to know about your business. Most importantly:
- The product or service you offer
- Your location
These two things are your “keywords” (to venture into SEO-speak for a moment!) SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Google wants to see these keywords in your text, for example:
- I am an accountant based in Dorking, Surrey……
- I run a beauty salon in Crawley, Surrey
- I’m a massage therapist based in Horsham, West Sussex
- Visit my office/salon/studio in Location
- Free parking at my office/salon/studio in Location
And Google especially likes to see these keywords in your headings, for example “How We Help Businesses in Location.”
If you want to rank well in local searches use the Location word throughout your website’s text, wherever it fits in a natural way. For example, if you post case studies or testimonials on your website, include the location as well as the name.
Your Website Pages
Have a different page for each product or service you offer to make it clear and easy for Google, and your website visitors. And so that you can load up each page in a natural way with the right keywords for that page. So, the beauty salon’s website would have a separate page for Nails, Facials, Body Treatments etc.
If your website’s not ranking well on Google check through your text and headings to see if your keywords are appearing often enough. Be aware that if you make any changes it will take a few days for Google to pick them up.
Do you need an SEO Audit?
Still struggling to get noticed on Google? Get in touch for an SEO audit of your website.
You’ve probably noticed that Google’s search engine results pages have changed, giving more prominence to paid-for ads.
The good news is that this makes a little more space available in your listing – to promote your business!
There are now paid-for ads at the top (usually 3) which are repeated at the bottom of the page. The ads on the right hand side have been removed.
Losing these ads means that the page is wider, giving more space for your website’s page titles and descriptions. Precious real estate on a key web page. Make the most this opportunity to grab people’s attention and persuade them to click on YOUR website!
You can control the wording that appears under your website’s name and url, known as the Google “snippet.” This wording comes from your web page titles and descriptions, which you can edit through the WordPress editor, or other content management system.
You can make your business really stand out by making sure that your page titles and descriptions are clear and compelling. Put out a strong message about the benefits your business offers. Include a “Call to Action.” Maybe include your phone number.
If you don’t have specific page descriptions in place Google will pick up some text from the relevant web page, normally the first line, which may or may not get the right message across.
So don’t leave it to chance. Take control of your search results listing!
Note: If you make changes to your page titles and descriptions you will need to wait until Google next visits your site for them to be picked up
Last November Google published its “Page Quality Rating Guidelines.”
Google tends to be pretty cagey about how it works out which web pages rank well in the search engine rankings, and which don’t. So when it publishes some guidance it is worth taking note!
Here are the key points for small business websites:
1. Don’t be stingy with your Contact Information
An impersonal contact form is not always what the website visitor wants. Provide an email address, a phone number, a physical address and your social media details to keep Google (and your website visitors) happy.
2. Keep your “hero” content up-to-date
There’s nothing wrong with having some key pages of content that don’t change much over time, but do make sure you keep them up-to-date, and refresh them occasionally. And check for broken links. (Google hates links that don’t work!)
3. Watch out for typos, spelling mistakes and bad grammar
Immediate black mark as far as Google page rank is concerned!
4. Don’t cut and paste
Google will pick up any content that has been copied, even if superficial changes have been made so that it looks different from the source.
It’s OK to quote from other sources though, as long as you credit the author.
5. And finally…….
It’s not about looks!
Videos of cute kittens are fun but what Google really wants to see on your website is a good quantity of quality content, written with a high level of expertise and authoritativeness.
Follow these guidelines to get the best possible search engine ranking for your website.
“How do I get my website higher up the search engine rankings?”
This is the question I am asked more than any other (by far!)
Search Engine Optimisation is generally seen as difficult, something of a black art. But the truth is that Google is actually looking to make its search rankings easier to understand and more transparent.
Google wants its search results to answer the questions people are asking, so three top things Google looks for are:
- Quality content – well written and well structured web content that is easy to understand
- Content that is updated frequently – up-to-date, relevant content shows that your website is an active and helpful resource
- “Long-tail keywords” or “keyphrases” – Google is moving away from a simple focus on one or two keywords.
Choose “keyphrases” that your customers use and which they might enter in the search field. For example, instead of using “pizza” as a keyword how about “woodfired authentic Italian pizza?”
Long-tail keywords attract more targeted website traffic – people who are looking for exactly what you are offering.