You’ve finally made it to page 1 of Google but…
Imagine your dream client is looking for the services that your business offers. They decide to perform a Google search and the first company listed is yours (nicely done). The client excitedly clicks on your website only to come to a mess of words on a page. The website is unorganized, obnoxious, and difficult to read. They can’t find your contact page or the other information they need. Then to make matters worse, they are using a mobile device so what they do find, is almost impossible to navigate. Disappointed, the client leaves your page, goes back to Google and proceeds to result #2. Hopefully this scenario would never actually happen, but we want to point out some of the dangers that come from only focusing on your Google page rank in your marketing efforts.
1. Earn your page rank by improving user experience
Search Engine Optimization or SEO means a lot more than getting a higher ranking on Google. It means making sure your potential customer has a great user experience so they will become a current customer. SEO is a great start to growing your online presence but it’s just a start. You can spend a lot of money hiring SEO companies to get you to the first page but what many SEO companies won’t tell you is that less than 15% of search engine rank is based on your on-page keyword targeting and placement. Search engines are quickly evolving to the point where solely focusing on keywords doesn’t cut it anymore. In fact, having keyword heavy content (known as keyword stuffing) can actually count against you and bring your rankings down.
You have to earn your front-page status which means you have to keep your client interested after they click your page’s link. This can be done through blog posts, research findings, case studies, testimonials etc.. The bottom line is that you need to produce content that people will find useful. The following tips will help you optimize your website and in turn, your rankings.
Optimize your site for the client, not Google
Have you ever clicked the first result of a Google search only to be disappointed? Maybe the site was poorly designed and didn’t read well. Or it was irrelevant to what you needed. Either way you went back to Google and revised your search to find what you wanted. This may have been because the company was so focused on making it to the first page that they didn’t spend enough time on what their site actually looked like. According to Google’s SEO Starter Guide, “Designing your site around your visitors’ needs while making sure your site is easily accessible to search engines usually produces better results.” Make sure your website is easily accessible even for the simplest of users. This will make both your clients and Google happy.
It only takes 3 clicks
Before you begin throwing away money into a costly SEO campaign, why not first use your funds to make sure your website is easy to use. One way of making your website easily accessible is by following the 3-click rule of web design. Basically this rule means that your client should be able to find all content on your website, such as product and contact information, in no more than 3 clicks.
Use testimonials to enhance your brand
Stand out from other companies by developing a strong and consistent brand your clients will recognize. Add credibility to your site by having customer testimonials. Let your clients know that your product has been tested by the public and they love it. Another way to help brand your company online is by linking or featuring any third party publications that have mentioned your company. This will serve as social proof and let your customers know that your brand is on the radar.
Publish consistently or perish
Both Google and WordPress’s 2014 SEO guides emphasize the importance of content. The content on your website should be well organized, on topic, easy to read and preferably contain headings and subheadings. Blogs are a great way to keep Google’s attention since Google likes websites that are creating and contributing to the online community. Make sure what you’re publishing is relevant and important to your readers so you can establish yourself as not just another company but a resource for those seeking information about your specialty. So get out there and start sharing your ideas, research and observations through consistent blogging.
2. Consider social media as part of your SEO campaign
If you do happen to spend a lot of time and money optimizing your website, don’t expect to have clients flock to you. Unless your site can actually convert visits into sales, getting to page 1 on search engines won’t increase your bottom line. To spend time on SEO before you have a good platform to work with is like getting dressed up on a Friday night, making sure every hair and crease is perfect, then waiting by the phone for someone to call and take you out.
Both your clients and Google are looking for more than just keywords and catchy titles. They want a connection with your product or service that your competitors cannot offer. One way to do this is by properly integrating social media platforms into your SEO efforts. Social media is a great way to show that your brand is worth talking about and it serves as a convenient way to spread content published to your blog.
Let’s take a look at how we can use a few social media platforms into your campaign.
Make Google Places a priority
When you search for a local keyword term like “Coffee in Salt Lake City” Google no longer immediately displays the organic or typical Google listings. Instead the first things it displays are Google Places links.
Google Places links are profiles for companies that list convenient information such as their address, phone number and business hours. Google loves to list these profiles first in search results because it provides the information that the majority of its customers are seeking without them having to leave the search page. While these listings are very helpful, they also push the visibility for high-ranking organic (links that are not advertisements or profiles) pages down the list. In fact the first 3 listings on Google Pages aren’t necessarily the same top 3 for the standard listing. Notice in the example above: Google Places lists 3 specific coffee shops but on the standard listing, none of those companies are listed.
Facebook and Twitter let Google know you’re authentic
Google verifies and judges your site by how many other sites link back to it. It can also speed up how quickly you get ranked. Google loves relevant, popular information. Achieve this by sharing your website and content on your Facebook page and Twitter profiles. The more “shares” and “retweets” you get the more links you build. The more “shares” and “retweets” you have, the higher your visibility and popularity is. And as a result, Google will be more willing to share your content with its users. Facebook and Twitter are great ways to market your company while helping your website rank higher. Just be sure to only share your most eye-catching, well-written and relevant content.
Build recognition and expand your client base through email marketing
Reach out to people. Let them know you are not a stagnant, old-fashioned company by sending out weekly or monthly email newsletters with useful relevant information. Link them to your blogs, special promotions and social media pages. Make your clients look forward to receiving your emails and build hits on your site through targeted emailing. Learn more from our blog post on .
3. SEO takes time and effort
Unless you create pay per click advertisements (PPC), it may take anywhere between 3-6 months to begin seeing tangible results through your SEO efforts. Depending on what kind of online competition your business has it could even take up to a year before seeing any substantial progress on Google.
Breaking the bank through pay per click
Some companies think it’s worthwhile to use Google’s Pay Per Click option located at the top of the first page. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Google charges you each time someone uses that link to enter your site. Unfortunately it can get expensive. For popular and competitive keywords you could be paying anywhere from $20-$40 per click. While in some cases we do believe PPC ads can be effective, many times buying these ads will most certainly come back to bite you. For example, many internet users have plugins installed to prevent ads from showing up in their search results. If your ideal client is one of those users, then they will never see your ads and you will be essentially tossing money out the window!
Be careful of SEO traps
If a company guarantees you first page results in a few weeks or a couple of months, they may be using
black hat or unethical ways to get you up the search engine ladder. When it comes to black hat SEO, the cost is greater than a one time hefty payment to the black hat company; Google will penalize you for using unethical strategies and you could be removed from search results all together. The only way to get your company ranking up again is by changing your name and building a new website.
If you have any questions about which tools should be included in your marketing strategy to not only increase your page rank on Google but to convert potential clients into current clients, feel free to contact us! While no company can guarantee a first page ranking when it comes to search engine listings, we have a pretty good track record and are confident that working with you won’t be any different.