Imagine that Google is a bouncer. It controls who is let ‘into the club’ and who is expelled. For the purpose of this analogy, the club your small business wants to get into is the very popular and very exclusive, ‘First page of Google’ club.
This article covers why you want your website to rank well online, 7 tried and tested ways to ensure it does, and why digital marketing and content creation plans are key to getting new customers to your website.
Why you want your website to rank well online
Internet search users rarely scroll past the first few results when looking for answers, products and services online, and even more rarely do they venture past the first page.
As a business owner, if you want new customers to find you online, you must try to rank as highly as possible for the searches that your key audience is likely to make, such as ‘marketing consultants near me’ or ‘handmade children’s clothing’ for example. The searches that are relevant to your business will depend on the products and services you offer, and the type of customers you’re trying to attract.
According to Zero Limit Web, on the first page of Google alone, the first five organic results (those that aren’t paid for) accounted for 67.60% of all clicks in 2019. From this you can see that internet search results are a competitive field and it pays to appear as highly as you can in key searches for your business.
How to get into the first page of Google Club
As the first page of Google club is very popular, Google will never tell you exactly what to do in order to gain entry. As it likes to focus on quality over quantity it constantly updates it’s requirements. This means you have to keep working hard at your digital marketing strategy and content creation to ensure your website remains favourable and worthy of entry in it’s eyes.
Backlinko says the Google search algorithm (the way it decides which websites to display and when) contains over 200 factors to rank websites. Although the factors are regularly updated, the good news is, there are lots of tried and tested simple factors that always stay on the list and will boost your chance of your website ranking well for your key customer searches.
7 tried & tested ways to ensure your website ranks well online
- Create high quality content that is relevant to your audience, is added to your site in ways that is easy for Google to read and provides a positive user experience for your website visitors.
- Use Google’s free tools, such as ‘Google My Business‘, Google Maps and Google reviews.
- Look presentable.
- A website’s structure and the way its pages are set up and labeled impacts how easy it is for Google to find it and understand what it is offering to users amongst the billions of other websites in the world. Read up about ‘on-page SEO’ to get this right and look out for other articles in this blog on that topic.
- Have good conversation.
- Talking to your audience via blog posts, social media channels, news, and regularly updating your website content shows you’re still active online. Google won’t want to display an inactive business in the first page club so keep your conversation flowing.
- Build a digital network of friends to back you up.
- Sharing well put together content like videos, blogs or expert articles on other websites in your field and getting them to share their content with your audience is a good way to generate high quality backlinks from reputable sources. This indicates you’re good at what you do and that other people rate your opinion – all good signals to the bouncer! You Tube, MumsNet, Online media publications and certain local directories can be great sources of backlinks.
- Come recommended by others. Who doesn’t love a recommendation? Google is no different. Ensure your business is highly rated with your customers on sites like Facebook, Feefo, Trustpilot, and of course Google reviews – These opinions all add up to give us extra favourable points. NB: Never be tempted to fake your reviews, the bouncer is clever and can spot this a mile off!
- Ensure your website is mobile friendly. With over 52% of all worldwide online traffic coming from mobile in 2019, you have to take a ‘mobile first’ approach to designing your site and displaying your content.
I’ve focused on Google as the bouncer in this article because it’s the world’s most popular search engine, taking over 75% of all internet searches. The points above are just as relevant to other search engines like Yahoo, Bing and Baidu, and implementing as much of the best practice guidance shared will provide a solid basis for your small business digital marketing strategy this year.
Providing value to your customer will probably always be the best approach to ranking in search engines. With that in mind, keep writing quality content and designing excellent user experiences to keep the bouncer happy, and remember that mobile use is becoming an increasingly large factor in ranking, especially when it comes to local marketing.
With so much to consider, and constantly updated Google algorithms, it pays to have a clear SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy for your business along with an annual digital audit to spot key areas for improvement.
I hope I’ve given you an idea of some of the simple things you can do to improve your website’s performance online and form the basis of a brilliant digital marketing plan but if the idea of implementing any of the above brings you out in a cold sweat or you just want to talk through anything before you do it, please do get in touch!