Do you regularly browse on Google as an information source?
Whether it be for information related to a particular topic, reading a review on a specific travel destination or simply to find more details about a product or service, Google has always been the primary source for a lot of my personal searches as well.
Come to think of it, your customers are out there right now looking for answers to their questions, seeking clarity on some products or services and are most probably turning to your competitors, given that they are ranking on the first page of the search results.
What does all this affect you as a business owner?
It’s really simple.
All it takes is for you to understand the mechanics of what Google does and why it’s important for your business to be part of its overall process of information delivery.
On average, there are about
3.5 billion searches per day on Google
according to internet live stats.
Breaking this down further, the top 10 countries based on internet users are broken down based on;
- China, which ranks as #1 with 721,434,547 users with a 52.2% population usage ratio
- India, which ranks as #2 with 462,124,989 users with a 34.8% population usage ratio
- S, which ranks as #3 with 286,942,362 users with an 88.5% population usage ratio
- Brazil, which ranks as #4 with 139,111,185 users with a 66.4% population usage ratio
- Japan, which ranks as #5 with 115,111,595 users with a 91.1% population usage ratio
- Russia, which ranks as #6 with 102,258,256 users with a 71.3% population usage ratio
- Nigeria, which ranks as #7 with 86,219,965 users with a 46.1% population usage ratio
- Germany, which ranks as #8 with 71,016,605 users with an 88% population usage ratio
- K, which ranks as #9 with 60,273,385 users with a 92.6% population usage ratio
- And Mexico, which ranks as #10 with 58,016,997 users with a 45.1% population usage ratio
The statistics can be found by going here.
With an increasing number of population that is dependent on using the internet as their resource tool and having an increase in activity in terms of searches, it is now important more than ever that your business be found on Google when your potential customers look for you.
Even then, regardless of what you wish to accomplish and how quickly you’d like to get there, knowing what factors help in indexing your website on Google is crucial.
Below are the 11 Rules on getting your site ranked on Google:
- Building a functional, adaptive and structurally strong website design
- Registering your business information with Google properly
- Adding the analytical applications to be able to study your web visitors
- Accurately registering your business information on third party company directories
- Creating and registering your business in different influential social media platforms
- Doing proper Keyword research
- Narrowing down your top competitors and their market share
- Developing a marketing strategy that emphasizes on engagement
- Get mentioned on other websites based on your industry
- Constantly ensuring that your website gets updated regularly
- Focusing on Branding your business so that your clients search you up on Google
It’s important to understand each rule thoroughly as a great deal of factors go into ensuring that they are fully compliant and up to standard when it comes to Google’s requirements.
Let’s begin reviewing them independently.
Rule #1: The Website Design
When it comes to the actual website design itself, it’s mandatory that it serves multiple purposes at the same time.
The first of which is that the website be fully functional all the time. Meaning, from every element whether it be buttons to the navigational menu, must function at its fullest.
Also, your website must be able to adapt to the many screens of the users who are browsing it. If they are on their IPad or IPhone, the site should be laid out systematically without giving the user any difficulty in terms of being able to navigate through it.
Being adaptable to multiple devices makes it dynamic and responsive, which is a common thing especially now. Your potential customers need to know that you’re up to date and that you’ve taken reasonable measures to accommodate the essential best practices.
Another thing that you will need to focus on is to provide content, tools and information that is relevant to your business.
This may sound obvious and blunt, but I’ve seen many businesses derail from their core business offering into a lot of other things aside from what is needed.
This in turn drives away customers and increases your website’s bounce rate, which basically indicates to Google that the web users are not staying on your website long enough.
Let’s assume that you are a restaurant and are looking to drive customers through to your physical location where they can make a reservation or call to book a spot. If your website does not have a functional component which aids in reaching your objective of booking a reservation, the primary purpose would not be served.
To help in facilitating that, you may want to add a button or a calendar functionality where they can directly book on your website or press a button to call, if they are on their mobile devices.
Having these functional components that are readily accessible on your site will help you convert your customers better and Google will observe these trends gradually giving you a certain trust factor which ultimately helps in ranking your website.
Also, your entire website design itself must be modern, friendly and have all the right designs such as buttons, images and of course other branding elements such as your Logo. Having done so, your customers will get used to the layout every time they visit and it will be embedded in them to remember your brand due to how they were introduced to your website.
Rule #2: The Google Registration Process
Just like the way you registered your business legally, it’s important that you register it on the biggest platform on the internet, Google.
When it comes to registering your business with Google, you can visit this link.
Once there, you’ll be prompted to register. It’s important to have all the business information at hand before filling out the forms. Another thing you want to be careful with is to ensure that the information being placed there is 100% accurate.
I’ve seen certain businesses not registering their correct phone numbers at which, when their customers attempt to reach them, it gives an error or just dials somewhere else. This is a big problem and you want to avoid that at all costs.
Other details such as business hours, location and the type of business you are needs to be entered without error.
If possible, and if you have the tools, it’s important to upload a few decent and visually appealing pictures. Why? Because your customers may want to take a first glimpse at how your business or products look like. Imagine a restaurant profile that has no pictures of any dishes that they serve, how bland and boring that would look.
Once you have successfully registered all your business credentials, Google will send you a PIN # by delivering a postcard through mail. This process may take a bit of time, in most cases one to two weeks, but it’s well worth the wait. This is done for verification purposes and to ensure that the authorized individual is registering the business details to enhance credibility.
Rule #3: The Analytical Tools
The best and most recommended tool is to use Google Tag Manager.
You can find this tool by going here.
What is Google tag manager?
In essence, Google tag manager handles all your third-party authentication scripts, tools that help connect your website to various applications and provides you with the necessary data to make informed and analytical decisions about your website.
The information that is collected will solely depend on how you set it up. Tag manager easily integrates with multiple third-party service providers such as Mailchimp (which helps collect emails and send regular campaigns to your subscribers), Hotjar (which helps visualize and analyze where your target audience is clicking on your website and for how long they are staying there), Segment (which helps in collecting specific and all relevant data in regards to the customers that are going through your website) among many other tools.
Commonly, a lot of businesses prefer using Google Analytics to help in understanding their website traffic more thoroughly. However, if you set up Google Tag Manager correctly, you can easily integrate it so that the information collected from your website be easily sent off to Google’s other platforms to make it a streamlined process of information collection.
What’s amazing about Google Tag Manager is that it runs on a simple script that must be installed on your website. If in the future you need to integrate additional tools to help make your website more functional or for it to serve a specific purpose, you can integrate those scripts within the Tag Manager saving you and your developer a whole lot of time.
Rule #4: The Online Business Directories
There may be some disagreement with this concept with a lot of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) consultants, as business directories were known as a “SPAM” tactic in the past when it came to ranking a business’s website on the internet.
However, what I want you to focus on is placing your business in the directories that are both Local and have High Authority at the same time. For example, if you register with 411 or Yellow Pages (in Canada), it would be considered appropriate. Whereas, if you registered on a website that has no real relevance to the jurisdiction of your business and is just a random non-authoritative site, you’re most likely to get a penalty from Google.
Other sites you can look at in terms of registering your business are; Yelp (a great place for customers to view your business and leave feedback), Trip Advisor (works good especially for hotels, restaurants and touristic destinations), and BING Places (which is essentially owned by Microsoft and is considered a reputable search engine itself).
Why is it important to register in these business directories?
Google has a tendency of scrapping the web and finding relevance as close to and as accurate as possible to provide the customers who are searching the web with results that customers would typically want.
If you have taken the time to register your business to relevant directories, there is a chance that when customers search for a term such as “restaurant” or “bike shop” that you show up as one of the results.
Rule #5: Setting Up with Social Media
You obviously know how important Social Media is to your potential customers. It’s equally as important for your business to utilize these platforms to the best of your ability so that you can participate in promoting yourself effectively online.
When it comes to cross channel promoting, Social Media has been known to deliver outstanding engagement if the business can utilize the platforms efficiently. In effect, when user engagement happens, there is a tendency of a “viral” movement that can potentially happen, depending on the type of business you are.
In their respective orders, below are some Social Media channels that you may want to consider registering for, especially if you’re a local business:
- Facebook for businesses: This is in fact, the largest Social Media platform now. It’s important to take advantage of it and be registered for more exposure for your business.
- Twitter for businesses: Twitter has been known to engage audiences in the moment of. Meaning, if you’re in business to captivate dynamic audiences, this is something that you want to consider registering. Regardless of whether you plan on advertising or not, it’s essential that you register to take advantage.
- YouTube videos: Some businesses don’t necessarily have a video channel, but I can’t emphasize enough on its importance. Video has become a very high-engagement tool to acquire and educate potential audiences. If you’re in business to serve your clients locally, no matter what types of service or product you offer, having a series of Videos, even in the forms video tutorials to generate leads, it’s important that you consider this medium.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is one of the major marketing platforms out there. With more than 400 Million users, their is a lot of potential lead generation possibility right there in each and every niche. Create your own group, join other company's groups and share valuable content.
There are, of course, other Social Media platforms such as Instagram (most engaging picture sharing platform on the net) and Google Plus pages (which is like Facebook but has all active Googler’s who are participating daily to share news, insights, reviews and their thoughts about things around the web).
Once you’ve set up the necessary Social Media channels for your business, the next step would obviously be to start building an audience to start engaging with you. At first, it’s always difficult as you’ve just started to explore the platform, however you can achieve it if you regularly post updates that are “share” worthy and if it entices your potential audiences to engage.
It’s important to remember that Social Media platforms are not “advertising” space, but rather, a place where your potential customers come to enjoy reading feeds about their friends, families and associates, as well as to share their stories and updates with the rest of the world.
Is your business Social proof?
Rule #6: Keyword Research
Probably not the most common thing you’ll hear when it comes to marketing your business online, but Keyword Research is a life saver.
Most internet marketers know this term all too well.
What does it mean to do effective keyword research?
Why is important for your business?
How will Google look at this?
I am going to break down the answers below in elaborate detail for you to better understand the significance and the importance of doing proper Keyword Research.
STEP 1: Doing effective keyword research
Doing effective keyword research means to be able to identify exactly how much volume in terms of “search” your potential audiences are doing on Google. By understanding the patterns of the most commonly searched words or phrases, you can optimize your website so that it shows up when these customers search on Google.
Your first step would be to start by going to Google Keyword Planner. Once there, you will need to either sign in or register if you don’t have an already existing Google account.
The platform looks like the image below, if you’ve successfully logged in:
What’s important for you to understand is that the Keyword Planner is mostly used for advertising on the Google platform using Google AdWords. However, the essence of doing this and understanding the search volume is to create web content that would reflect the trending topics that your audiences are interested in.
After all, you don’t to build and optimize a website based on what customers are not looking for are you?
STEP 2: The importance of Keyword Research for your business
You know by now that doing Keyword Research helps you identify search patterns that can get you in front of your potential customers in a meaningful way. Although it demonstrates the ideal volume, you also need to know why it can help you grow your list or business.
Customers love authority! Which means, that if they are searching for something on Google, they are expecting to see top quality results. What does this mean for your business?
The answer is obvious. If you show up on one of the main search results based on what they typed, it gives your business a sense of authority based on their perception. This matters because it helps in branding, especially if the search results remain consistent, meaning that your site does not drop off to page 2, 3, 4, etc.
STEP 3: Understanding Google’s Patterns
Google loves to rank websites based on the following top parameters:
- Site structure, which we mentioned as the first rule
- Click through rate, which derives from how frequently clients click on your website based on the search results presented
- Engagement, which means whether clients are staying and engaging on your website properly
- Brand searches, meaning how frequently and how often clients are looking for your business name or brand on Google
- Site authority, which basically means how many other credible websites are linking and referencing your business website online. (Look at Rule #9 for more details)
There are additional factors but they are not as important and as relevant as the ones mentioned above. Now that you understand how Google ranks websites, it’s important that you optimize your business around these elements so that you get the best out of Google’s searches.
Take note that the elements that Google considers to be important are equally as important for your business. When it comes to online business management, Google pushes the boundaries for companies to adapt to, which ultimately leads to better online presence.
Rule #7: Your Competitors
It’s important that you don’t ignore this rule. When it comes to understanding your competitors, analyzing them online is the most important action you can take.
If you’re competitors are dominating online, it’s important that you know how they are doing it to achieve success. There are quite a few variables to take into consideration when doing a thorough competition analysis. Due to the fact that it’ll take a whole other post to describe in-depth the aspect on how to analyze your competitors, the points below are a brief to help you get a basic understanding.
- Study their market share. When it comes to looking at how dominant your competitors are, you can simply have a look at places like Facebook or Google to see if you can spot any trends that they’re participating in.
- Check out review sites. Customer testimonials are essential to any business’s growth. Your competitors may be doing certain things that your potential customers can identify. By reading some testimonials, you can validate on whether your competitors are staying ahead of the curve and if so, how they are doing it.
- Look at their website design structure and analyze it. Having a look at your competitors site will give you an idea on how it is structured and what they are doing differently to stand out.
Keep in mind that your competitors are most probably looking at top tier content and how they are structured when it comes to following their website design concept. Even more reason why it’s important for you to analyze your competitors and for you to build a strategic plan to stay on top of it all.
Rule #8: Marketing with Engagement
Now that you’ve gotten the basic steps in competition analysis, you need to develop a lucrative marketing plan that focuses on engaging your potential customers. The question is, how do you do that and where do you go to get help in creating a strong marketing plan?
Sites like Gartner provides insights on Customer Experience Marketing.
What does that mean?
In simple terms, it’s the idea of building your marketing plan around user and customer experience. By doing so, your marketing efforts will have more meaning and you would have allocated your marketing budget based on structures that actually matter.
When it comes to engagement, customers need to feel a deep and profound reason to share your content or to engage with your brand. This does not come easily. Most startups are having a hard time coping with already existing great content that is out there, especially from their competitors.
When it comes to being up to date and delivering content through marketing that matters, it’s important that you try to make it user friendly as possible.
Here’re are few things that you need to consider for your marketing plan:
- Your Marketing Budget: it’s important to have an idea of what you will be spending online so that you can analyze, optimize and create a plan for allocating your budget efficiently.
- The Paid Platforms that you will use: This means that you will need to break down the costs that you are willing to segregate when it comes to your advertising dollars. It’s important to know this because you need to have a defined ratio to better analyze your spending and what you’re getting for it in terms of ROI.
- Creating a Content Strategy: A lot of businesses are now relying on content strategy to engage their potential customers. This means putting up informative posts that explain a certain product or even service in-depth. Having content will also help your customers familiarize themselves with your brand and its potential.
- Branding and Reputation Management: When developing a marketing plan, having a branding and reputation management strategy needs to be one of the top priorities. Your customers will be able to recognize a good brand from a bad one. If your message and products or services remain congruent, consistently providing top quality, your reputation as a brand will stand out without much effort.
It's important that you master these strategies and know how to properly engage your customers through your creative marketing strategies.
Rule #9: Brand Mentions and References
Captivating audiences will become second nature once you master the idea of referral and brand mention concepts. Although a lot of businesses rely on paid publications and online advertising to place their brands in different places, it’s important that these mentions look genuine and natural.
How can businesses get mentioned online without paying?
The concept derives from value based content. If your business has something to offer to your potential audiences, and it does not cost you out of pocket to get that information across your market, think of a newsworthy way of delivering it.
Over the years, press releases have been a go to medium when it came to information search. Moreover, a large amount of audiences will have a tendency of reading information about a business through third party trusted sites, such as news sites or top bloggers before going to the business’s main website.
The trust factor is extremely important. When your target market reads about your brand somewhere and visits your website afterwards, there is a higher chance that the mindset of that potential customer already be somewhat convinced that your company is credible.
There are many great benefits of using a press release concept to distribute your brand. You can find more relevant information by going here.
Furthermore, when it comes to getting press, it’s important that you be able to find journalists, bloggers and influencers in your industry who have an appetite of sharing content that relates to your business and industry.
Twitter is a great medium to search for topics or ideas that has been shared that relates to your brand by other bloggers, writers and content distributors. The search feature of Twitter is a pretty cool tool to use for that.
Here’s how it should typically look like.
You can also visit Google Alerts to get regular updates on a particular subject or keyword that relates to your brand to see if there are any content syndicators or distributors that you can connect with in order to create a share and newsworthy story about your business.
Aside those two main concepts, you can always Google search your relevant topics and identify the top pages there so that you can connect with those influential media channel and individuals. It’s important to make a habit out of this as it will come in handy in the future.
Rule #10: Update Your Website Regularly
A lot of small business owners feel that this does not relate to them. I’m here to tell you that they are far from the truth. Since when is not having access to free advertising through Google Search not relevant?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant, carpenter, plumber or a dentist, you are an expert in your industry and thus the reason why you opened for business in the first place, right?
Mastering your craft doesn’t necessarily mean to keep running your business in the real world. The virtual world is also important for your business to make an impact. It’s a place where you can share insights, information and on top of it all, educate your potential clients on the things that matter most to you and to them.
When it comes to building a large group of audience for your brand, content is important. Sometimes, it’s just a few videos, articles or podcasts that make all the difference. Sure, at the beginning you won’t see much engagement or visitors to your website, but it time, I can assure you, that you will start seeing engagement gradually.
As your audiences build an interest towards your brand and business, ideas will flow through and you can take feedback from your visitors to create truly meaningful content that is guaranteed to deliver.
You can use tools like Qualaroo to take surveys from your web visitors at a certain point to identify trends, get some feedback and most importantly, recommendations to help improve your business for the long haul.
Why is this important?
Think of it as building authority. Once you’ve mastered the concept of value based content creation and distribution, it’ll be much easier for you to stand out from your competitors and have a more thorough conversation with your potential audiences.
Rule #11: Google Searching Your Brand
Now that you’ve pretty much stuck around until this point, you know what it takes to have a strong impact on Google’s eyes. More importantly, the audiences that you’ve built through the grueling effort of strategic marketing are now, most probably, your loyal customers.
At this stage, getting searched on Google using your brand name won’t be that complicated. As you start seeing your web traffic increase, your customers leaving positive feedback on different third party sites, and your revenues go up, it’s important to keep a sharp eye on what Google is indexing about you on the first page, when your customers search you up by name.
Google suggests are a common thing when searches happen. An example can be found below by using McDonalds as an example:
Why is it relevant?
Simply because when your customers start typing out certain words, Google has a tendency of completing sentences that are commonly used. Imagine if your business name came up with something negative, how would that impact your business, or more importantly, your brand?
While it’s true that you can’t necessarily control what Google shows your potential customers, you can definitely influence it. There are many different ways in which that can happen.
Here’re some strategies and tips on influencing your brand searches on Google:
- Brand a search term in your industry: Think of this as an innovation stage. If you came up with a dish for your restaurant for example, what would you call it so that it’s catchy and can influence your potential customers to search it up on Google?
- When creating content, create links with keywords that influence your brand: A lot of online marketers focus on this concept as it helps increase the relevance in Google’s eyes about your brand, in relation to a set or series of keywords. This can drastically help increase your search rankings.
- When being mentioned by third party sites, focus on keywords: Same concept as having links formed through keywords, it’s equally as important for other sites, such as reviews, bloggers or journalists to reference your sites using keywords that relate to your brand, using your company name.
It won’t come easy when you first start off, but eventually, you’ll start noticing some positive results. More importantly, if you can influence the searches that are happening on Google about your brand genuinely, imagine the possibilities for your business and how far you can go?
In Conclusion, if you follow the 11 Rules mentioned throughout this post, there are great chances that your business’s website will rank on Google. And, you also will need to constantly strive to provide your potential markets with invaluable content that they can easily share, talk about and engage with so that your brand ultimately gets recognized as trustworthy and credible.
No matter what, if you keep trying the strategies mentioned in this post, you will achieve results, slowly but surely. Patience and focus is the number one rule when it comes to online marketing. Nothing is achieved over night!