“The Best Money You Never Spent:
Getting on Page One of Google Without Spending a Dime”
By Ben Cash, BlueKey Web Solutions
Thank you to all who came out to Clementine’s for the first of three workshops in the Lunch & Lecture Internet Marketing Series. This blog post is a brief recap of just a few of the topics discussed and will hopefully provide a few tips for those who were not able to attend.
Forest vs Trees…
Let me start by putting this topic in context. While getting on the first page of Google is important for successful search engine marketing, it is only a piece of the larger process that produces results. The following steps represent an ongoing cyclical approach that will not only improve your ranking, but help you learn about your site visitors and create a better online experience.
- Create fresh, relevant content
- Generate a buzz and drive traffic
- Collect data about your site and web traffic
- Analyze data to find actionable insights*
- Make adjustments and repeat the process
*Actionable insights might include fixing problems with your site, finding opportunities with new keywords and new geographic markets, making adjustments to your content and website structure to improve your conversion rate, and more.
Organic Search Results
The organic search results are the primary results in the main body of the page and where most searchers click first. As such, it is where most search marketers focus their efforts. There are numerous factors that contribute to search engine optimization (SEO), but to keep it simple, we focused on two important ones, keywords and linking.
You Say Tomato…
When creating copy for your website, it is important to include keywords and key phrases that match those that your potential customers use. The best way to find out the right words are with the Google Keyword Tool. It gives you a comprehensive list of associated keywords in order of popularity. Use this tool to create a palette of common keywords and phrases that you and your organization will consistently use when writing copy for your website and social media channels.
Location, Location, Location…
Once you have the right keywords, it is important to put them in the most Google-friendly places. These are your page title, main body copy and headers, meta description tag, and a few other places your webmaster can tell you about. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that more keywords = better ranking. Just deliver meaningful, well-written copy that is intended for humans, not the Googlebot.
Word of Mouth…
Getting noticed is often a popularity contest. The same old word of mouth concept applies to how Google ranks your site. If you were to poll your friends on the best place to go for dinner and 9 out of 10 recommended the same one, then its popularity would make your decision easy. By the same token, if more sites on the web link to your website, then Google may see it as more popular and rank it higher. Google will also give more weight to links that come from sites who are themselves highly ranked and contain information relevant to yours. In other words, quality is just as important as quantity. So how do you get other sites to link to yours? Ask them. A great place to start is industry partners, the Chamber of Commerce, and social media channels.
While getting ranked within the top ten organic search results can be challenging, an easier free way to get on page one is through Google Places. Places is Google’s way of listing your business via Google Maps and provides potential customers with details such as your address, contact information, photos, customer feedback, hours of operation, and more. It even gives you the option to create coupons and special offers. Best of all, claiming your listing is free and only takes a few simple steps.
Google Base and Merchant Center
Google is hungry for your content and provides tools for free submission to their database. Two portals for posting information to Google’s database are Google Base and Google Merchant Center. The Merchant Center is for products, while Base is for everything else such as events/activities, real estate, jobs, and vehicles. Submitting your “data feed” can sometimes be challenging for a novice, but once accepted, your content may appear in Google’s Search, Maps, Product Search, and more.
Track & Measure
Whether you’re trying to get on page one or maintain your ranking, it’s important to track and measure your efforts. In other words, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Google offers two great free tools to assist; Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Analytics shows you how people found your site, where they came from, how they explored it, and how you can enhance their visitor experience. WebmasterTools provides detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google, diagnostic tools, traffic information, and even allows you to submit a Site Map of your website. These tools are paramount for anyone serious about getting on page one of Google. Setup is easy and your webmaster can help. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com with questions or comments.
Don’t have time to put in the effort to get ranked? Then try Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising and get on page one instantly. Learn more at our next Lunch & Lecture Seminar “From Machete to Scalpel: Using Pay-Per-Click Advertising to Target and Convert Your Ideal Customers” on February 8th from 11:30 to 1:00 at Clementine Cafe.