Climbing the ranks on Google doesn’t have to be this mercurial thing that only SEO gurus now how to manage. Upping your Google ranking is a lot easier than you think, when you follow these steps.
1. Set up your Google My Business profile
Not only is this exceptionally easy—and free—it is critical to establishing your brand’s presence on the search engine nearly all web users flock to. Every business that is ‘any’ business has verified their business on Google; if you haven’t, it likely has an automated Google listing where people could already be leaving reviews. By “claiming” your business listing on Google, you can add your professionally-shot photos, hours, contact info, and respond directly to reviews. The Google Business listing is the first thing that comes up when people search your business name. Giving Google the information you provide in the My Business profile helps them pair your listing with your website and social media accounts, creating a more complete experience for the consumer when they search you. Again, this is all free! You can only claim ignorance as the reason you hadn’t done it thus far. You can’t anymore! Here’s Google’s brief How-To on it.
2. Make sure your content is search-engine optimized
Before you say “I’ve heard that before,” hold your horses. People make SEO out to be a lot harder than it is, and this prevents them from taking the very easy steps that would do wonders for their business’ Google ranking. SEO certainly has untold depths and complexities, but we’ll leave that to the experts. For your purposes, there are just a few simple, yet fundamental things you need to know about SEO.
- Remember this formula: (Geographic location of your business) (Type of service you offer) (Your name/Your business name), i.e. Los Angeles Financial Planner Jesse Simmons; Minneapolis Criminal Defense Wilson Law Offices; Inwood Orthodontist Kathy Petersen.
- The prevailing theory here is that when people are searching for whatever service you offer, they look up your local areafollowed by the type of service they want. Take this couplet, and tack on your name or business name. Now lace it through your website text. For the location portion, think of every nearby area and neighborhood close to where to practice, and use those too. Let’s look at some examples.
A non-SEO-optimized ‘About Us’ page: “I’m passionate about serving clients with my suite of world-class financial planning products, plans, and services. Having graduated from Northwestern, I believe I am uniquely suited to provide…”
While that all sounds lovely, it won’t serve this business owner in the SEO department. The only thing he did right was mention ‘financial planning,’ which his target audience will be searching for and Google bots can grab so they can index the site accordingly. But, this web copy completely misses an opportunity to attract its target clients, which we will say are Los Angeles area wealthy people who need a financial planner. They will be searching things like “LA financial planner” or “Santa Monica CFP.” Those are the kinds of targeted search terms this example lacks.
An SEO-optimized About Us page: “As a Palatine orthodontist and Barrington orthodontist, I don’t think there is anything better than seeing our patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles. Our orthodontists and orthodontics team at Verbic Orthodontics have used braces and Invisalign to transform 1,000s of smiles and lives of patients in and around South Barrington, Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, North Barrington, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, and Lake Zurich Illinois (IL).”
What this page does right is naturally include location-specific product and service keywords into a paragraph that also name drops a swath of locations from which the business could draw clients. People Google-searching an orthodontist in any one of those areas may see this orthodontist’s page. They rank on the first page for Palatine Orthodontist, which is exactly what they’re trying to do!
- If you use WordPress, install the Yoast plugin and scroll down to the SEO section at the bottom of each web page on the backend. Toy with the SEO title, keywords, meta description, and page copy until you get a “green bubble” from Yoast, indicating your site is SEO optimized. They provide tips and suggestions right below, explaining why you’re in the red, orange, or green for the page’s SEO.
- Good rules of thumb include:
- Putting your business or brand name at the end of SEO titles after a hyphen
- When you choose a keyword, lead with it in your meta description and SEO title if possible, and apply it generously throughout your copy, so long as it still feels natural (Unhinged keyword stuffing doesn’t work anymore)
- Good rules of thumb include:
3. Mobile is king – No ifs ands or buts
Don’t bother doing this one yourself – just hire someone whose job it is to make sure you look good on mobile. Today, the majority of consumers will make their first point of contact with your business on its mobile website. A non-mobile friendly layout is the easiest way to shoot yourself in the foot. Users will be put off by a cumbersome, hard-to-maneuver layout and ditch your site in a heartbeat. This increases your “bounce rate” and hurts your SEO, thereby stunting your Google ranking. This one’s important! Don’t skip it.
Who could have predicted the astronomical importance of search engines 20 years ago? These simple tips will help shoot you to the top of Google rankings in your niche. Return to ForbesBooks weekly for more Best In Business tips, and apply now to become a ForbesBooks author.