With over 6.5 billion searches every day, search engines have drastically revolutionised not only the way we look for information, but also the information we are presented with. Results on websites such as Google, Bing or Yahoo are far from randomly presented, and if your business reaches the top results you could almost be forgiven for sitting back and relaxing as more and more new visitors access your website pretty much organically. Getting there is tougher based on the type of business you own, but there are some easy tricks to get you closer to the coveted top spot.
Arguably one of the most helpful tools to ensure your business is discovered by potential customers, local listings are easy to set up and can create new opportunities for your business you may have missed before the days of online searches.
Many sites offer free local listings, including the big search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. To create a local listing, you will need to provide the name of your business, its address and phone number. This means that if you own a bakery on any street, nearby searchers can simply look for “bakery near me” and your business would appear alongside other bakeries in a small radius.
Local listings also offer you the opportunity to display your opening hours, photos, methods of payment you accept, reviews from previous customers, directions and links to your websites. It is important to note that you do not need to own a website to create a local listing, making it the best opportunity to get your business online quickly and effortlessly.
Each term searched on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc is called a keyword. Through algorithms, the search engines look for those keywords across all web pages and display the most relevant results in an organised manner (the best results coming in first). To ensure your website shows up in the top results, make sure that its description and content include relevant keywords that users are susceptible to search for. For example, if you own the same bakery as in the previous example, people are likely to search for phrases such as “bakery”, “baker”, “bread”, “pastries”, etc. An easy experiment is to search for keywords you would personally look up if you were trying to find your own website and study the results. What other keywords do the top results use that you could include on your own site to get closer to the top?
It is important to bear in mind that quality usually prevails over quantity when it comes to keywords, and mistakes can cost you several places in the results ranking. Search engines could end up considering your site as “spam” if you use keywords recklessly. For example, “London baking baker’s bakery where London bakers bake” could earn you the title of “search spammer” and take your ranking down. Use keywords smartly and always try to put yourself in the mind of customers who are likely to search for your business.
Once you have your local listings and keywords out there, analytics tools are the best way to help you find out what works and what doesn’t. You can track which keywords users looked for to find your website and get rid of the ones that are rarely used, and you can also get incredibly relevant data to analyse who your customers are. All of the data your site collects from its visitors will help you tailor your content to the recurring customers, but also enable you to increase your audience by knowing exactly who to target.
Once you know your targeted customer base, you can even invest in paid adverts to ensure the people likely to benefit from your business know about it. These adverts can be displayed in several places on the web, such as other websites, social media platforms but also in mobile apps! Depending on how you decide to use them, adverts can generate traffic quickly and efficiently.
There is a vast number of tutorials and help pages on the web to learn more about how to best use search engines to grow your business online. There is one sure way to find answers to any questions you may have: a quick online search.