Some help for all our favourite & loyal Clients & Friends
The information included in this blog post answers one of the most frequently asked questions I receive when I help a client develop their online presence with a website: “How do I get to the top of a Google search?”
Getting high rankings on search engines (the process of search engine optimization [SEO]) is not a speedy process with immediate and obvious results. But with time, an ongoing effort, and a clear strategy, you can do a lot of work yourself and guide your website’s Google ranking destiny in the upward direction.
DO understand that any site changes you make to enhance your Google ranking (except paid advertising) can take up to 10 months to start showing positive results. These things take time but are a worthwhile endeavor.
Please read through my hopefully helpful guide of things you can do, and, as always, let us know if you need any help.
1. Have you set up your Google Places listing?
This is free, easy and one of the best ways to get your name and information on the first page of a Google search when users type in a location (e.g., “fishing, York, England”). Your business will appear on the Google Places map, and if you have created a listing, people can click on the map location marker to learn more about your company. This isn’t a website, but more like a detailed yellow pages listing.
To set up your Google Places listing, go to: http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guide.cs&guide=28247&from=28247&rd=1
If you really like your Places listing, you can pay to promote your listing in a new Google feature called Boost.
2. Google Adwords – Paid advertising
If you want to quickly improve the number of people who find your site, you can pay to have an ad appear on Google’s non-organic search results (e.g., the listings at the top of the page or to the right of the regular [or organic] results). Google Adwords lets you set up an advert listing that will be activated to appear on Google when users type in certain keywords that you have identified in your ad campaign. You can decide your budget (e.g., $2.00/£1.50 per day). You only pay when a user clicks on the advert and goes through to your website. You can also create a goal page on the website (e.g., the BUY page for an e-commerce site or the DIRECTIONS/MAP page for a venue/location-based website) and we will add code in that page. Then when a person clicks through from your ad and stays on your website long enough to get to that “goal page”, this will be considered a “conversion”. A conversion is the best form of identifying success from your Adwords endeavours.
There are a number of factors to consider but with a good understanding of your market place, your clients, and the keywords people will use to try to find you, you can do this! Documentopia has set up a number of these ads for our clients. If you need help setting up the process, just give us a call.
3. Fresh content
Don’t let your site go stagnant. Yes, we created you a great website that says everything you wanted, at the time you set it up. But how long ago was that? The longer your site sits unchanged, the more likely it is to drop in Google and other search engine rankings. The complex algorithms that Google uses to rank your website emphasize freshness of content as Google wants to make sure its customers (the people doing the searching) always get the most relevant up-to-date information.
Documentopia has provided several clients with a content management interface where they can edit news, resources or other pages to their website using a simple-to-use editing system.
Or you can always contact us whenever you want to switch up your content if you prefer the hands-off approach.
4. Know the market and industry trends
To enhance your advertising and continue to create effective content on your website, you need to keep abreast of what is happening in the world. Check out Google insights to see what other information you can glean from Google’s vast data banks of search data to identify trends pertinent to your market.
If home foreclosures increase, you can start offering “recession deals” to your clients or as political fervor grows during election years, don’t forget to add some fresh content relating to election deals or specials in your website content.
5. Use Google Alerts
A great way to keep up with the changing world – create custom search-related alerts. As Google says,
Google Alerts is content change detection and notification service that automatically notifies users when new content from news, web, blogs, video and/or discussion groups matches a set of search terms selected by the user and stored by the Google Alerts service. Notifications can be sent by email, as a web feed or displayed on the users iGoogle page.
For example ask Google to alert you about any changes that affect the search terms that pertain to your business (e.g., “website development Atlanta”), set the volume (number of alerts per day/week/month, etc) and put in your email address to start receiving alerts.
6. Get other businesses to link to you – Relevant Linking
Why do we want to do this? The Googlebots that explore your site to scan for up-to-date content, not only scan through all your text but they also follow all the links that you have on your website as well as all the links on every website that they list including those that link TO YOUR WEBSITE.
Imagine a website that sells coolers. They should contact companies who sell camping gear, boat supplies, and picnic items, for example, companies that have a relevant connection to that product. They need to join a network of companies that tie together in a recreational / food field, which ties well with their product by linking to them on their site and getting links back from others.
DO try to avoid direct reciprocal linking, as this can easily be tracked by Google and seen as a simple link share (which they disapprove of, especially those long pages of links). Look for 3 way links (e.g., can you add a link on your landscaping business website to a supplier of plants, who links to a lawn supplier who links back to you?). Things to think about so you don’t get caught out.
Look at your competitors: Who is linking to them? One quick way to do this is to type “Link:webaddress” in the search box of Google, e.g., “link:www.redwoodpark-york.co.uk” and you will see a list of who links to that site. This isn’t always up to date so you can contact Documentopia for further more detailed help in who links to your site.
7. And Finally, one of the best feedback resources for a site owner:
Documentopia has set up the code required to obtain Analytical information about your website’s performance. If you want access to this information, set up a Google Analytics account then send us your email address so we can give you access to your site statistics.
The kind of information you can expect to get from Analytics:
- See the number of visits your site has received in a set time frame
- The average bounce rate (e.g., how many people click on your site link then leave immediately)
- Number of pages per visit, average time they spend on the site
- The physical location of people visiting your site (by country, by region, by town…)
- How they found you (search engine, website-website linking, etc) and what search terms they used.
All of this information, and more, can be used to refine your content, create an effective online ad campaign, and learn more about what your customers want. If you have a high bounce rate (hard to quantify but its pretty high if your rate is over 65%), you can try to figure out what the problem is. Do you sell landscaping services but somehow people are finding you when they are looking for potting soil? Is your site content misleading somehow? Take a real good look at your site, send it to people who don’t’ know what you do and have them see how easy it is to figure out what services / products you sell.
That’s it from me for now. As always, never fail to contact me if you have any questions!
And don’t forget to take a break every now and then!