Though more and more business owners are becoming aware of the meaning and importance of SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, there are still many people who can’t quite wrap their heads around the concept and why it is so crucial for their business. This is especially true of brick-and-mortar stores that have historically relied on either word-of-mouth, their location relative to their customers, and/or a superior product to get more business and outperform their competitors.
However, even the greatest local businesses may be experiencing a slip in their sales in recent times and turning to the internet to figure out how the changing business landscape is taking away their competitive advantages. For those who only dabble in the online world, they may be shocked to find that people are relying on Google’s search algorithm to instantly fetch information on everything in the local community and beyond. And, if they haven’t been tailoring their business to fit Google’s needs, they might as well not exist on the internet at all.
So how does one tailor their business to Google? And how long does it take for Google to recognize and rank a business? It certainly depends on how rich the content is on your current website, how long that website has been up on the internet, and how many people post links to or share your website across the web (including on social media).
Why am I not on the first page of Google yet??
If you are creating a brand new website, you aren’t going to instantly rank first even if you have a well-established business that received tons of web traffic on the old website. The fact is that it takes time for Google to recognize the new site and forget the old one. And even after it recognizes or “indexes” your new site, it still needs to see whether or not people actually like your site (i.e. are they visiting multiple pages and staying for a few minutes?) and whether or not visitors are sharing your site with others. So, if you just put a brand new website up and still aren’t seeing your website on the first page of Google – don’t panic! Give it at least a month, and if you still aren’t showing up consult a professional.
When Writing the Text for Your Site, Keep the Average Web User (like yourself) in Mind
When creating your website or having it designed for you, it is best to make sure that the copy or text in your site is optimized for search engines. What this means is that the text includes keywords that people are searching on Google in order to find content just like yours. It should also be easy enough to read to where people and robots (yes, robots) can tell what it is you are talking about or trying to sell.
Google’s robot, called Googlebot, will scan your site’s text and determine its “readability” as well as its relevance to the keywords that you want it to think are your main keywords. For example, if you own a massage business and tell Google that your main keyword should be “massages” and yet you barely mention that word or describe massage services in the text, Google is going to rank your website poorly and won’t recommend it to anyone. If you mention the word fairly often and in the right context, Google will rank you higher than those who don’t pull it off as well.
Once the site is live, you can then send it to Google for indexing via Google Webmaster Tools. By doing this, you are speeding up the process of having Google’s robots recognize and “crawl” your site to determine what your site is actually about. This helps Google see what keywords you are using on your site, and therefor what keywords to display your website for during someone’s search.
You should also start an online advertising campaign to at least show up in the Google search results under the “Paid Search” section for keywords that are relevant to your business.
Share Your Website URL Wherever You Can (Without Being Annoying or Spammy)
Search engines can’t do all of the work for you when it comes to spreading the word about your site. This is especially true during the beginning stages of your site, as search engines like Google still don’t really know you exist. You will want to get your new web address or link out to as many people as possible on your own in order to drive up web traffic.
You also want people to share your link to prove to Google you are a great site. This means you should post the link anywhere you can, including on social media accounts and forums (i.e. Reddit and Squidoo) that relate to the main topic of your website or the industry you are doing business in. By posting your website link on pages that have communities of online users, you are increasing your chances of someone reposting that link.
The more shareable content you have on your site, the more likely people are to actually share your site to their peers, fellow professionals, or whomever their audience may be. Who knows, maybe someone with a really popular Twitter account will retweet a link to your blog page!
Put Out Fun and Engaging Content
It is also a good idea to blog, create a podcast, or create a YouTube channel that talks about your subject and points people to your website for more content. By always updating the content relevant to your business, you are constantly keeping people interested and giving them a reason to visit your site. You can also share this content on your actual website, so that people whom are fans of your Podcast or YouTube videos will come to your website to consume that content. They will then peruse the rest of your site once they are done, and perhaps contact you to purchase one of your products or services.
Put Time and Effort Into Your Marketing
To put it simply – you have to take your website and your business seriously in order for Google to take you seriously, and you also have to give it time. It is understandable that some business owners may not have the time necessary to grow their business and website into an entire community, and that’s why it is good to hire a marketing professional to handle your website and SEO. They can either create the content for you, or can advise you on what content to release next in order to keep your site fresh and engaging. A full-scale marketing company can also manage your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to make sure you are always putting out content that promotes your business and spreads the word about your website.