Nice. You started your business with high hopes. Your website is up and running. Friends think your business/service/product is great. A recipe for success! But then, the sound of crickets.
Your site isn’t showing up in Google, or at least, not on the first page. 9 out of 10 people ask me how to be found in Google. Let me explain how.
Here’s what you need:
- Understanding of what the definition of a “keyword” is.
- Content. Lots and lots of content.
Step 1: Being found by Google at all.
Having a new website is not a matter of “build it and they will come”. You’ll have to let Google know that your site exists. You do this by submitting the site to Google in the Google Webmaster Tools. An important file to have is called the “sitemap”, which is basically a list of links to all your pages that Google will use to scan your site. Your web designer should be able to assist you with this. If not, give us a call.
Step 2: Getting to the front page.
This is where it gets tricky. After submitting your site, Google will start gathering information about your site. Over time, the Webmaster Tools dashboard should give you an indication of which keywords are being used to find your site, as well as valuable optimization information. I won’t get into details on that because that can get very technical and would be different for every site.
Content, content, content.
As mentioned above. You’ll need content. Lots of it. Not only lots, but also relevant content. Google is getting smarter every day in the way it finds and indexes sites. You’ll need to evolve with them. Moreover, if you’re selling book club memberships, you better be talking about book club memberships and mention it more than once. Stuffing your pages with a list of keywords without context is not going to cut it.
Your content should be relevant to the products/services you sell. This blog post is a great example of a service we provide: search engine optimization. The trick is to not post everything you have in one shot. Google likes an updated website, so consider creating regular blog posts. For example, write a blog post with about 300-500 words every month, again, relevant to what you’re selling. That way, you’re killing 2 birds with one stone: Keep your site fresh, and always have relevant content.
You’ll need backlinks. What are backlinks? They are links on other websites linking to yours. For example, if you’re selling vinyl records, have a vinyl or music blogger link to your site. The website linking to you should have a good, or at least decent reputation with Google and not be marked as a spam site.
You’ll need to understand what your customers are Googling. This is where the understanding of keywords comes in. If you’re selling something I know I need, but I don’t know the jargon, don’t expect people to find you on that keyword. For example: If I focus my content on the keyword “web design Prince Albert”, but instead, everybody is using the keywords “website company in PA”, my site will not be found. You’ll need to really connect with your target audience to understand what they’ll be looking for. The keywords in the Google Webmaster Tools will give you a good indicator of what people are Googling.
Nobody wants to hear this, but you’ll need patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day. A good Google presence isn’t either. You’ll have to give Google some time to find your site, index your site and compare them to others in your industry, so they can make an educated decision on where to rank your site. It’s all an automated process, so “call them and tell them to hurry up” is not an option.
If you need your business to show up within 24 hours of your site going live, you may want to consider creating a budget for Adwords advertising. More on that in a future blog post.
Step 3: Google Business listing.
Selling locally? Make sure you have a Google Business listing, like this one:
It gives some basic information about your business, but it’s essential for the credibility of any business.
However, there’s a bit of a catch. You’ll need to verify your Google Business listing the old fashioned way. Google will send a postcard witha verification code to the address you specify as your business address. This can not be a PO box, so if you run your business from a farm with no physical location, you’ll have to go through a manual verification process, which can be tedious and lengthy.
Being found in Google is getting more and more about the personality of a business’s website. Slap a website together and people will find you is no longer possible.
The steps above are a basic guide and are only the first steps to getting higher in Google listings. Do you need help with any of these steps? Contact us today.