Many businesses want to attract more interested visitors to their websites and this can be done in many ways, such as through social media, using online adverts, referrals from elsewhere or, of course, through Google and the other search engines.
But that's only half the story. Once you bring these visitors on to the website, the aim is to get them to buy your products or contact the business or signup for a trial etc.
It's important to distinguish the two - first bring people to your site, second encourage them to take the action you want.
In this post, I want to offer some suggestions for
- getting your business website found in Google and other search engines
- encouraging searchers to click on your page in the search results.
Tips to get your site found in Google etc.
Writing some posts/pages about your business and the products/services it offers is not going to be enough to get your site to rank well in Google. The first step towards being successful in the search engines is keyword research.
This really is essential, so that you know what phrases people are searching for online when they are looking for what you offer. Without this understanding, it's just guesswork and much of the time and effort you put into writing pages for your site will not yield much in the way of results in search.
So keyword research gives you
- a better understanding of your clients/customers and how they search for your products/services.
- information about how many people are searching for a given phrase
- data on how competitive that phrase is, i.e. how many other businesses are targeting people search for it.
Just to be clear, when you read about keyword research, keyword is used to mean a single word or a phrase that people search for, so don't just think of it as one word. It is misleading, I'm afraid.
Armed with this information about keywords, you can write content for your website which better matches with what people are actually looking for and you won't waste effort on targeting phrases which are too competitive or which have very few searches.
Keyword research really is fundamental if you want to rank well in Google, Bing, YouTube, Amazon and other search engines.
Once you've got your prioritised list of keywords, you need to make use of them. For each page on your site, chose one or more keywords and target those. It's much better not to target multiple pages with the same keyword as you are then effectively competing with yourself in the search engines (known as "keyword cannibalisation" in the jargon!).
Where to use keywords
Make sure the main header on the page uses a keyword. Use subheadings to structure written content and, where possible, include keywords in these subheads.
If you're using images on your page (and you probably should be), use keywords in the file name and the alt text of the image. This alt text has several purposes
- it is displayed on the page if the image can't load for some reason
- Google and other search engines 'read' this text and it can help your page (and the picture itself) to rank better in search results
- people with reduced vision who can't see the image and who have software to speak the page content, are read the alt text as a description of the image.
Make sure that Google can make a reasonable assessment of what your page/post is about by writing a decent amount of content including references to your chosen keywords and related phrases. Aim for at least 300 words. If the content is insufficient, Google won't be confident about ranking the page in the search engines. you don't need to repeat your keyword - instead, chose closely related phrases. Repeating the same phrases multiple times is bad practice and will have the opposite effect to the one intended, i.e. your site is likely to go down in the search results.
Another useful technique is to add more internal links, i.e. links between your existing pages. If you write a new blog post, for instance, link to other posts and pages on your site where appropriate. Also, go back to older posts and other pages and link to the new post. Google likes these internal links and it helps them to find more pages of your site more easily.
Talking of earlier content, it can also be helpful to update older posts with new information. Don't create a new post or page for this, just update the existing one.
Finally in this section, do what you can to get other relevant sites to link to your posts and pages. This can often be difficult but having good links really can boost your ranking in Google. Don't ever be tempted to buy links as this is likely to get your site banned from the search engines.
You can read more about this on our post about Improving Google search ranking. It was written a few years ago, but it's still relevant today.
Encouraging searchers to click
Once a searcher is on a search results page that includes a reference to your site, there are 3 ways you can encourage them to click on your results rather than another one.
Below is a result from Google UK for the search 'Solicitor in Oxford' carried out on a mobile device.
I'm sure you've seen results like this but I've labelled up three of the parts, as I will be referring to them below.
Title - It's good to include a keyword in the title, especially at the start. The remainder of the title should include your business name and any other useful information. Bear in mind there is a limit to the amount of text you can include. If you exceed the limit, Google will truncate your text.
Meta description - having attracted the searcher's attention with the title, the meta description is where you have the opportunity to convince them to click on your results as opposed to others. The meta description in the results above is not ideal - it's too bland. Instead it should promote the experience of the firm and how they can help.
Favicon - this small image is shown in mobile search results but on desktop. It attracts attention and gives a chance to show your brand colours. It's a small benefit, perhaps, but easy to implement.
If you would like to get more visitors to your website, please do some keywords research. It can reveal a great deal of useful information which can then be used to write content for your site, for social media, for adverts etc. Without this, you are depriving yourself of vital data that can help your website achieve higher positions in Google and the other search engines.
There are other factors which influence how Google ranks your pages in the search results. We recently wrote about website speed, accessibility and security and how these can affect your position in Google