Consistently ranking on the first page of Google can be complex for most businesses, however there are some simple steps you can make to help increase your rank. Here’s a list of some of the easier steps available in boosting your page rank:
- Have a Mobile-Friendly Website
As mobile internet now exceeds desktop usage, your business must start implementing mobile optimised local search strategies to compete on the search engine results. In addition, when someone enters a query into a search engine from a mobile device, the location is automatically picked up and factored into the search, and the users are then given results based on their location Google gives preference to websites that are mobile-friendly. This means that if your website is not optimised for mobile usage, it will be penalised in the Google rankings. Unsure how mobile-friendly your website is? Google provides a simple test to help analyse your website for you through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Standardise Your Business Branding and Naming
The name of your business is arguably the biggest factor that will determine how well your website ranks in the search engines, and because people will look to find your business through an online search, it is essential to keep the name of your business uniform on all platforms.
For example, don’t use the title ‘Pancake Kitchen’ on Trip Adviser and ‘The Pancake Kitchen’ on your Facebook page. Not only does this impact with the search engine’s rankings, but it also confuses potential customers. Make sure to choose only one name that you will enter into all directories, both online and in print.
In most cases, your business name will be unique enough to stand apart from other businesses. However, if your restaurant is named ‘Jamie’s’ you may find yourself competing with a plethora of other ‘Jamie’s’ out there. To differentiate your business, you should use ‘descriptors’, which are additional tags used to identify your business. For example, your restaurant could be entered in databases as ‘Jamie’s Italian Wood Oven Pizza Adelaide. Not only will this differentiate your business, but when people search for ‘Wood Oven Pizza Adelaide’, your site will be at the top of the rankings.
- Create Directory Listings
One primary focus of a local search strategy should be the creation of local listings for your business. This is a virtual profile of your business which contains key details such as the name of your business, phone number, address, website, and any other pertinent information. Listings on major directories such as Google My Business and Yelp are essential, and will help your business to show up in smaller niche directories. The more directories your business is consistently listed under, the more Google will trust you and the higher you will rank in local search results.
The use of directory citations helps build a general profile of your business – however it needs to be used as part of a greater strategy to maximise its effectiveness in ranking you higher in Google searches.
- Use Keywords Based on Search Queries
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer in your businesses particular niche. Ask yourself what their biggest priorities are, and what they would likely search for. Knowing your customer is the best way to market your business to customers online. This can seem difficult, but with a number of online tools you can find out exactly what keywords are being searched such as Soovle, Google Trends and Adwords. While these free tools do have a certain level of value, there are a number of paid subscription services your SEO professional can use to drill down the best keywords for your niche and how to capture the most customers from using the right keywords.
- Optimise Content for Search Engines…and Potential Customers
Creating unique and valuable content is the foundation for online marketing success. A website’s content will determine how many visitors it gets, how long they stay, how well they engage, and how often they return—which are all factors Google takes into consideration when ranking. The higher the quality your content is for the keywords you are targeting, the higher you will rank. This is why content marketing is such an important aspect of online marketing. In comparison repetitive, thin content will be penalised in its rankings compared to well thought out pieces.
- Write Relevant Content
When creating your articles or blog posts, make sure that your content is relevant to your business. It should be helpful information that anyone across the industry should find helpful. Building a catalogue of relevant unique blog posts on your website helps to build trust with your brand as an authority on the topics discussed – helping Google to rank you higher in related keyword searches and assisting customers to trust your brand when they contact to use your services or buy your products.
- Use Geographically Targeted Keywords
Relevant keywords should be included in your content that pertain to your industry, but also what will be typed into search engines. If you have a bakery, then use relevant keywords as it pertains to the general industry (e.g. bakery, wedding cake, cupcake shop, etc) and for local search (e.g. Adelaide bakery, East End cakes, South Australian bakery, etc.)
- Build Links
Include relevant links to previous content that you have published on your website or blog (also known as internal link building). For example, if you write a blog about a wedding that you made a cake for, link to the wedding cake section on your Products Page or link it from ‘Specialty Cakes’ on your products page to a blog post about all of the specialty cakes you have made.
- Perform On-Site SEO
Once you have taken the proper steps to maximise the effectiveness of your content, there are a few more techniques to implement before you publish your work for the world to see in terms of on-site SEO:
- Title Tags: When creating pages and posts on your website, make sure that the title and <title> tag includes relevant keywords for each blog post. Do not go overboard however – less is more with keywords so remain relevant, but not spammy.
- Headings: Just as with the title, headings also play a role in search engines. Just make sure that these headings such as <h2> and <h3> fit within the context of the article.
- Optimise Images through File Names & Alt Tags
An often overlooked technique for SEO is correctly naming images. The purpose of optimising images is so that they can get found online in Google Image Search, as well as providing additional data to Google on the topical relevance of each website page. This is done by including relevant keywords in the file name and the alt text or alt tags of the image. For example, if you upload a picture of a burrito at your Mexican restaurant in Adelaide, change the title of the image to ‘Local Adelaide burrito’. Use these terms for Alt Tags in your images.
- Leverage Social Media
Not only is social media a great way to market your business, but it is also a key factor used in the search engine ranking. Your business should have several social media pages, including a Facebook Business Page, Instagram business account, LinkedIn Company Profile, and if applicable, a Twitter, Snapchat, or Pinterest account.
Social media pages help your business rank higher on Google searches because of their domain and page authority to a degree, but also through the increased traffic to your website. The greater the traffic to your website, the higher the trust Google assigns your website and rankings will improve accordingly.