Posted at Jul 25, 2019 1:18:00 PM by THAT Agency | Share
You want to get on the first page of Google. To do so, you're competing with every other business in your industry. Some have years of experience on you. Some have marketing departments that dwarf your own. Some have marketing budgets larger than your business's entire budget. Can you still do it? Can you still get to that first page? Yes. It takes work, building content over time, and knowing the ins and outs of your task from SEO keywords to Google SERP features.
Think of All the Ways
There's no one, single way to get to the first page of Google:
You can also get there through business and map listings. This is one of your first stops and pretty straightforward. You can get there through the creation of content. This includes your website pages as well as blogs and articles you post, and other content such as videos you host.
You can pay for ads that lead people toward your landing pages.
Your website content may feature in the “People also ask” section that delivers answers to commonly asked questions about certain topics.
Google My Business is a free tool for business owners. You've used it before when you search for businesses of a certain type near you. Google Maps gives you a map of the nearest businesses that fit your search as well as accompanying listings.
Create a Google My Business profile so your business shows up on local searches. Keep your name consistent across all searches. This means every character you enter should be the same every time. It won't like it if you abbreviate once and write out a full name in another field.
Make sure to complete the entire profile as thoroughly as you can. A complete listing gets seven times the clicks an incomplete one will. Keep your information as updated as possible.
Provide service. If you list a number as your business's phone number, answer that number. Have a voice mail set up. Return calls. Businesses that have positive Google reviews get boosted to the first page of results.
Feature photos. Google favors listings that feature photos of the business. Customers respond well to this, too – they can trust what your business will look like and envision what it will feel like to be there.
List it on directories like Yelp as well. Yelp's and Google's directories inform each other – traffic on Yelp encourages traffic on Google.
Content creation is an investment. You likely won't see a massive spike in visitors after you post the first blog. If you're consistent with it, you will see a reliable growth in visitors over a period of months. Unlike paid ads, content will still show up on the first page of Google months later. Paid ads will only do so for the period you've paid.
Content creation relies on SEO relevance. This means figuring out keywords that you want to feature in your blogs, articles, videos, and other content. These keywords will correspond to searches people make on Google. If the Google search is close enough, Google will feature your content more highly as a result.
Once you've determined your keywords, start implementing them. Google scans content for keywords, so place important keywords and key phrases in your title, meta description, URL, and alt tags. What are these?
The title is the title of your content.
The meta description is what Google uses to describe the content in search results.
The URL is the link itself.
Alt tags are text descriptors of images. These are the only way that Google can see an image from an SEO standpoint.
Utilizing the keywords in subheadings, first paragraph, and within the text itself also helps.
You can overuse keywords. If you overuse a keyword, Google might dismiss the page as spam and not feature it at all. This is especially true for “higher risk” industries, such as finance. There's a range of SEO tools available to help assess how SEO-friendly your content is. It's a good idea to invest in one.
Write actual content. If your content is just an excuse for the keywords, it won't work. It needs to be thought out. Your content needs a reason to exist so that people have a reason to read it. Don't write sales content. Write about why you make certain choices for your products, why your business operates a certain way, what you think of certain trends in your industry. Speak to people with your content and they'll value it.
Focus on location. Keywords with location involved have a clear advantage when people search for businesses because the businesses that will pop up first are the ones in the searched location.
Google Ads can be harder to get consistent results on. Many people have already conditioned themselves to ignore the ad result and go straight to the first organic result. Nonetheless, Google Ad campaigns can be very useful. Essentially, you bid on keywords that get you featured as a top result – noted as an ad. Google Ads do offer you a ton of metrics to be able to analyze your success. Typically, don't rely on a strategy that only utilizes Google Ads, but do use it as a piece of a strategy that also relies on content creation and other elements that are more consistent and have better ROI.
Any results on a Google search that aren't organic are called Google SERP features. SERP stands for “Search Engine Results Page.” They come up on nearly every search page. Here are a few:
Rich Snippets visualize a result to make it easier to read, such as when a 4.5 star review average is represented by five stars with four-and-a-half filled in gold.
Paid Results cover Google Ads, where you bid on keywords.
Universal Results are other organic results such as image, news, video results, or results from any other section of Google Search.
Shopping Results will show on product searches along the top of the screen, allowing easy access for those who want to go straight to reviewing a potential purchase.
Tweets will often show in relation to an ongoing event, search on a celebrity, or sports inquiries.
Obviously, not all of these are Google Ads-related. They give you an idea of what Google SERP features are. There are a number of ways to take advantage of Google Ads, and to bid low on specific high-return keywords. This is so contextual for each individual business that it's usually better to leave this level of advertising campaign to a marketing department or digital marketing firm that has extensive experience.
Google and Beyond
Beyond this, it's important that you make your marketing have value. You can have the most successful marketing campaign in history and if nobody can find what they're looking for on your site, it makes no difference.
Your content has to be intriguing and thought-provoking. Your site has to work on all browsers, devices, and platforms. Ensure that it's mobile friendly and that it will load quickly across the board. You need to have an easily navigable site. If you can't fulfill these requirements, fix these first before you step into a serious campaign to get to the first page of Google.
If you don't know where to start, it's OK. If you can't write content or it doesn't interest you, that's OK. That's what digital marketing firms are for. They can research out good content angles, assess SEO quality, and manage delivery on social media with a strategy that fits a business's specific needs. They can even build websites out for you, if you're on that stage. You don't have to wear all hats when someone else is qualified to wear a few of them for you – especially if they have a history of producing results for other businesses.