We all understand that one day in the gym isn’t going to make us a size zero and that we’re never going to be able to beat Usain Bolt in a 100m race…
So why do we place unreasonable expectations on Google?
We get asked questions about SEO (search engine optimisation) all the time and so we have decided to make it the subject of this week’s article.
Search engine optimisation concerns the placing of your website in the page results returned by Google when a new search request is made (your Google ranking). Everyone wants their website to be displayed on page one because it will be much more likely to be clicked on by the searcher than if it was buried on page 26… or even page 2. But because everybody wants to appear on page 1, Google uses a super-secret algorithm to decide what order to display pages in. The act of trying to beat the algorithm and rank higher is known as search engine optimisation. Still with me?
First, let’s start with some common misconceptions about SEO:
- As soon as my website is launched it will appear on page 1 of Google. Wrong.
- I need to buy Google AdWords if I want to improve my ranking. Wrong.
- My website will instantly be as popular as my competitor’s website which has been live for 5 years. Wrong.
- If I buy ‘likes’ Google will improve my ranking. VERY Wrong.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Google has a complex ranking system which is difficult to follow but even harder to manipulate. It uses a secret algorithm which you might think you can figure out… but don’t bother. It changes over 500 times per year. Google’s number one job is to answer the question that the user has asked and therefore it only wants to promote and display websites that it knows will provide the best information to its user. Makes sense right? So what does it want from you?
It is looking for websites with genuinely helpful content which is always evolving. It wants to be able to quickly and easily understand what your business is and it wants to see that your business is active. The best things you can do to please Google are:
- Update your website regularly with new and helpful content. By doing this you are introducing new keywords regularly which will be picked up by Google. They begin to anticipate that you will update again soon and will then actively look for your newest update.
- Use strong, clear keywords. You don’t want Google to be in any doubt as to what your business is. Use wording that clearly depicts your business. They key here is to think “what would a new customer type into Google to find my business?” That’s what you want to put on your website.
- If your website receive lots of visitors that have been driven to your website via advertising, it will automatically rise in the rankings due to popularity alone. You don’t have to spend money to advertise – use Facebook and Twitter to get your message out there or check out our article on how to advertise your business on a budget
- Make sure your website pages are clear and organised. If you want Google (essentially a machine) to be able to find you, make yourself obvious. A page called ‘testimonials’ is easy to understand. A page called ‘Miscellaneous’ will get lost and ignored by Google because it won’t have a clue what you are trying to do.
- If you can get other good websites to link back to your website in the form of a testimonial, you’re on to a winner. For example if you are a painter who has purchased materials from a paint supplier, ask if you can leave a positive review on their website which links back to yours. “Review from yourpaintwebsite.com” for example. If other established sites are linking to you, that can only be a good thing.
Just like a good bottle of wine, your Google ranking will improve with time. You cannot expect to launch a site that immediately knocks all competitors off of the front page leaving you as the number one search result – that makes absolutely no sense.
Follow the tips above and you will gradually move up in the rankings, get more exposure and hopefully, more sales.
At the risk of quoting a cheesy 90’s boy-band, have a little patience.
Do you have any stories of how you have improved your ranking? Let us know in the comments below.