Rule #1 – There is no magic bullet.
Rule #2 – Playing the Google game does help with organic listings.
Rule #3 – There are things you can do to improve your ranking but they take time.
1. Search Engine Advertising
You know that really pale, faded block at the top of Google search results (SERPs) that has one to three listings in it? Those are paid for. You can buy them. While they are still seen as paid ads by many and therefore have somewhat lower click-through than organic ads, you can still create a perceived credibility and pull good business by bidding on these.
Create a professional website that people like to land on, and stay on. The longer people stay on your site the more Google feels that it must be relevant to the search term and the higher you float in the SERPs. At all costs avoid the “free” site-builder programs. You will waste time, money and opportunity.
3. Optimized Website Pages
Create keyword-optimized pages for the main topics you want to be found for. Pages such as Contact, Privacy, etc. likely won’t be indexed individually by Google but may still show up in a group listing. Including SEO planning in the very early stages of website development is easier and smarter than trying to implement it after the fact. However, a good SEO professional can almost always locate basic improvements that can be made to an existing site.
4. Fresh Content
Search engines like Google love fresh content. Plan on a series of articles that could be posted over a period of weeks or possibly months. Adding a blog is another way to add new content; however, many people find that maintaining a blog is just too much work and abandon it after a few posts. Having a blog with few posts or out of date posts is a negative drag on a website, so only undertake this if you really think you can follow through.
5. Google Places Page
Can you believe it?…It seems to be true. Participating in Google programs can enhance your ranking on Google. Google+, Google Groups, Circles and all the other offerings, along with the fact that many of them allow business listings, is an all too obvious example. Get involved.
Claiming your Google Places page is an absolute must for any local business. An optimized Places page can help in SERPs and also appear on Maps.
Google loves things that keep people on your website, like videos. What could you video that would be interesting or useful to visitors and that would fit well into your website?
7. Online Directories and Listings
Get yourself listed on as many local search sites as possible and focus on the free ones first or you’ll burn through a ton of cash. Make sure all the listing information is consistent through each of the sites. It even helps to write everything down on a separate page and use that as a master to fill in the listings.
8. Social Profiles
Get you and your business listed on the four main social sites: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
9. Review Sites
Claiming your business profile on review sites such as Yelp can really help you get a handle on your reputation, and Google like businesses with good reputations. Picking the right review sites, properly completing the profiles, and following up month by month takes time. If you are short on time you might consider hiring a Local Directory Submission service to manage this for you. These vary greatly in price and professionalism, so shop carefully.
10. Professional, Optimized Press Releases
Create and distribute optimized press releases on a regular schedule. Don’t saturate the market with fluff copy but do try and get the word out about important things. These will be picked up by the engines, including Google, and add to your “street cred.”
Lastly: remember that Google’s algorithm gives points to websites that A) have been up for awhile, and B) have inbound links from other, industry similar websites. So, patience and building your inbound links are both very important.
Like many things in life, your success in the search engines is really a sum of the parts. Understanding all those pieces, how they should fit together and then actually making it happen can be daunting for many businesses. However, they payoff for making the effort is almost always worth it. If you find you would like some professional help with putting it all together, just drop us a line at ProClass Web Design and we will be happy to show you how to make life a lot easier.
This article was originally published by ProClass Web Design
Chris Bachman is a business consultant and Project Director at ProClassWebDesign.com as well as a self confessed serial entrepreneur. He is a regular writer on topics pertaining to marketing, SEO, and business websites as well as an instructor and independent consultant. Learn more about Chris Bachman on Google+ or LinkedIn. Contact him at Chris@ProClassWebDesign.com.
Published: January 13, 2014