Category Tips for Small Business

Google Search in 200 Words

Google Search in 200 Words

The internet is driven by search engines (in the UK almost exclusively Google) either on a desktop, laptop, tablet or (most commonly) on a phone. Search result are based on a number of factors, the most important of which are:

  • The term being searched for.
  • The location of the searcher.
  • The relevance of a website to the search term.
  • The perceived (by Google) importance of a site.

In order for a site to rank well it must address each of these. There are a great number of factors involved in this but the most important are:

  • Search Engine Optimization – This means that the site has been written in the correct way to rank for search.
  • Local signals – Meaning it is clear that a site which is relevant to a specific geographical location.
  • The content of the site – A site that talks a lot about widgets is likely to rank well for the search term ‘widgets’.
  • The number of quality and relevant other sites linking to the site. A link to your site from the BBC will make you rank highly as would a link from a barber’s forum to a barber’s shop.

As you might imagine, this process is time consuming. It is also hit-and-miss as Google is secretive and fickle. There is no (free) silver bullet!

Got a question? Leave a comment or get in touch here. 

The Top 5 Most Important Places to Optimize for Search

Keyword Tips

Websites appear in search engine results based on key phrases (known as keywords). An example keyword might be ‘barbers matlock’ or ‘barbers near me’. Keywords can be used in different places throughout a website. Using keywords effectively is one of the key factors in Search Engine Optimization.

So how and where do you use keywords on your site. Here are the 5 most important places.

  • Use the exact keyword in the the webpage at least one. It sounds obvious but Google will look at a page and return results where the exact phrase appears on page. So, a page is likely to rank better for ‘barbers matlock’ if it contains the exact text ‘barbers matlock’ rather than say ‘we are a great barbers located in the centre of matlock’. In addition to body text, header tags (particularly H1 and H2) are a good place to introduce keywords.
  • In the page title tag.com say: When search engines rank your page for a keyword, the <title> tag is the most important place for the keyword to appear. Use the exact keyword or phrase in your title to help search engines associate the page with a topic and/or set of terms.
  • Use keywords in your URL. Pages found at www.thegoodbarber.co.uk/about-us are fine but URLs like www.thegoodbarber.co.uk/barbers-matlock will rank better for the search term.
  • Keyword in the meta description tag. com say: If your keywords are in the meta description tag, it is more likely search engines will use it as the snippet that describes your page. Potential visitors see the keyword bolded in the snippet, which increases your page’s prominence and visibility. Be careful not to over do it, including your keyword twice is enough.
  • Use keywords in image Alt attributes. Images on a website have a number of text attributes not seen by most users but which indicate to search engines what the image relates to. Setting the alt attributes of images to your keywords is a good way to help your site rank better. It’s also a useful way of covering a number of different keywords without making your site look stuffed.
  • But Don’t…
    • Stuff your site with two many keywords, it is likely to have a negative effect.
    • Try to hide keywords by making them invisible. Google don’t like it.

    Summary

    Overall Google are looking for sites which are well written and provide a good user experience. A site should be easy to navigate and should not sacrifice usability and relevance for the sake of repeating keywords over and over.

    Also, keep in mind that effective use of keywords on your site is only one part of SEO. Other factors like links to yore website, citations and reviews are important too. It’s safe to say though, that if you don’t get your onsite keywords right, the other factors will be less effective.

Stay ahead in the Google Pack

Google+ never really worked for Google and it finally breathed its last a few days ago. It’s no surprise that – as Google+ was wound down – Google My Business became more important.

Why there are two types of local search

When we search for things on Google or Bing, we are given results based on our location. When I’m in Bakewell and search for ‘barbers’ I get results of barbers in Bakewell. I can override this by searching for something + a place, let’s say ‘barbers matlock’. Often, I might search for things a long way away, say if I’m going to visit. My cousin lives in London so when she holidays near Bakewell she googles ‘things to do in bakewell’ and finds out what to do in and around Bakewell. So there are two types of local search;

  1. Supplying results for people in the area. Great for businesses who want to attract passing trade.
  2. Supplying results for people with an interest in an area. Great for businesses who want to attract tourists or business travellers. Good for link building too.

The two types of (free) local search result and how to come top

Google and Bing return many different types of search result depending on many factors. As far as local business is concerned these break down into two groups:

  1. The Local Pack – The map and 3 or 4 results which (often) appear above the normal search results but often below the paid (AdWords) results.
  2. The organic results – Unpaid ‘normal’ listings appearing beneath the ads and local listings.

Google ranks these listings based on different factors (or signals). So, what are they?

Well last year – according to the hardworking guys at moz.com and brightlocal.com – inbound links remain very important in ranking across both types of search result. Google My Business is important for both as well but has sky rocketed over 2018 for governing what ranks in local search results.

These results come from the Moz/BrightLocal survey done at the end of 2018. It’s difficult to say for sure but – with the end of Google + a couple of weeks ago – it seems likely that the importance of Google My Business will only increase.

Before you get a website.

Five things new businesses should do before getting a website, all for £0.
  1. Get a Google My Business page. 90% of UK searches are through Google and Google lists businesses Google My Business page higher than actual local businesses websites. A Google my business page is free and easy to setup so long as you’re a bonified business.
  2. Get on Bing too. If 90% of searchers are through Google, then the rest are through Bing and Yahoo, so it makes sense to have a free Bing listing too (Bing powers Yahoo search). To make it even easier, you can import your info from Google my Business.
  3. Get a Facebook page and make sure it’s a page (not a profile or group). Facebook might not seem like the right place for your business, but it’s used by 2 billion people, many of whom don’t use any other method of communicating online. Connect to your friends and ask them to share details about your business to reach a wider audience.
  4. Claim or add your company to Apple Maps. Not everyone has the good sense to trust Google. Let the unfortunates using Apple Maps know where you are. Here’s a handy link: https://mapsconnect.apple.com/ GOOD FOR BUSINESSES WITH A WALK IN SERVICE
  5. Get people to review you. Google and Facebook allow users to review businesses and both types of review appear in Google search. Ask your customers to leave a review. Ask your friends too but don’t try and cheat. Fake reviews are easy to spot and you may get banned from the platform.