Your website is your digital window to the world. Without optimising it for Google (other search engines are available), it’s like having the door firmly closed with the shutters pulled down. Is your website welcoming potential new clients with open arms? Director Charlotte Skayee from Word it! Communications Ltd shares her top tips for getting started with search.
If you want to get to the top of Google’s rankings, you need to tell it as much as you possibly can about your business. Google needs to know what you do, where you do it and trust that you provide a great service. In a way, you need to convince Google that you’re legit, so that the search engine can tell the world all about your business!
Think of the internet as a huge Yellow Pages. It’s basically a catalogue of different pieces of information provided by individuals and businesses from around the world. Then think of search algorithms as tiny spider-like robots that continuously crawl over the pages of the internet and report information back to Google.
The idea behind search engine optimisation, is kind of like leaving out little treats for the spiders, so they keep coming back to your page and adding information to your Google “file”.
So how can we make sure Google knows what we do?
Google offers a number of (free!?) tools to help you highlight your brand, your services and the geographical area that you cover. Why? Because their mission statement is this:
“To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
This means that, in order for Google’s customers to trust their search capability, they want to ensure that the information they provide is as accurate as possible.
Three fantastic tools from Google
To access Google’s free tools, you’ll need to set up a Google account. Just use a Gmail account that you only use for the business (not your personal account) so you can keep things separate. You’ll then be able to access the following tools:
- Google My Business. This is where you can let Google know about your business; what you do, where you’re based, and other key pieces of information. You can include opening times, pricing guidelines and your customers can add reviews. Have you noticed that when you Google certain companies, their information comes up in a larger box on the right-hand side?
This is thanks to Google My Business. Not only does it give you more space in a prominent position in the search results, but it also gives potential customers the chance to call you straight away! Great for people searching on a mobile device!
- Google Analytics. This is the number one tool on the web to monitor your website traffic. Set up your account, link it to your site and it will start tracking your website visitors.
You can easily access simple statistics, such as how many visitors you have had in a period of time. But you can also look a lot deeper. You can find out the locations, interests and demographics of your website’s visitors!
This is a great tool to determine whether or not your website is doing its job. For example, if you’re a timber merchant from Huddersfield but most of your traffic is coming from China, there’s probably something wrong! You can also evaluate your digital marketing efforts using Google Analytics. How much traffic comes from social media? Is your email campaign working?
- Google Search Console. Back to the image of the Yellow Pages from earlier. Google Search Console allows you to “index” your site. This is essentially placing your ad in the Yellow Pages, making sure your page is included. You’re using this tool to tell Google that your website is live, and you’d like to invite the spiders in to get their information. You’ll need to submit a site map (.xml file) so that Google knows what it’s looking at.
There are many more great tools from Google. Some of them are more complex than others, and some are much more useful to small businesses than others! These three will give your website (and digital presence) a great start, and you’ll learn as you go!
For more hints and tips on how to improve your website, speak to the team at Word it! Communications Ltd. They’re happy to give advice on search engine optimisation (SEO), and also provide copywriting and content marketing services that will boost your business.