Ever wondered what magical spell is required to get Google to find your small business website? It’s not down to luck. And it’s not a magical spell either. It’s time, dedication, research, and much more. Getting your small business found on Google will take time. Don’t expect miracles over night because you could be inviting disappointment. But, let’s make life easy and put it into bite size chunks!
Let’s start at the start: your domain name
Choosing your domain name is often completely underestimated in it’s importance when it comes to being found on Google. Including keywords and locations in your domain name can be of great benefit. For example, melbournepugs.com.au, it is pretty clear that the website is about pugs and is based in Melbourne, Australia! Our own domain name, getonlineaustralia.com.au makes it clear that we are about getting your business online and that we support Australian businesses. We talk about this a little more here.
Choose a strong CMS (website platform)
There are a myriad of website builders and platforms that you can use to build a website, from WordPress to Wix, SquareSpace to Shopify and everything in between. However, they all have a variety of strengths and weaknesses, particularly when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Not only does it come down to your commitment to SEO, but also your platform’s ability to support that commitment with appropriate functions such as the ability to update meta descriptions, alt tags and the like. Whilst this might all sound like absolute jibberish, it is important that you get your head around it all. Take a look at our SEO Guide for Small Business as a great starting point.
Move onto the easiest stuff
Once you have your website set up, it’s time to start letting Google (and Bing) know that you exist. To do this, setup your Google My Business listing, setup Google Analytics and also Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools). Whilst these last two may sound a bit intimidating, they’re not as tricky as they sound! In fact, there here are a couple of really good articles to help you out:
Keywords and keyphrases
This topic is often where people start to go cross-eyed or their eyes glaze over! Let’s not overcomplicate it in this article, remember you can always download our SEO Guide for Small Business if you want a bit more information.
If you want to get straight to the heart of it, think about what people are likely to type into Google to find the solution you are offering. For example:
Problem: I’m hungry
Google Search: Food near me
Solution: local cafe, bakery, restaurant, etc
Problem: I want to lose weight
Google Search: Best weight loss program
Solution: weight loss providers, gyms, personal trainers, dieticians, etc.
Now, head over to google and type in a phrase that you think your customers (or target audience) are likely to use. Before you hit “enter” or “search”, check out the list of options that Google shows you, again here is an example:
As you can see, Google has automatically given you a heap of the most popular google searches relevant to your first phrase!
Now let’s try another one;
The important thing to note here, is that the above method is only as good as the information that you put in. Google won’t change the order of the words you type in, so be careful about how you approach this.
The other factor is that this method does not give you any indication of the quantity of people searching these phrases, nor whether they actively click through to websites in the search results. Google’s Keyword Planner will give you this information.
Improving your website’s SEO
Now that you have an idea about the phrases your customers are likely to be searching for, look to add these to your website in the form of blog posts, FAQs, features, and other website content. What you are aiming for is that your website becomes the “go to” website for solutions and answers to your target audience’s problems. Your business should ALWAYS be trying to solve someone’s problem, whether it is hunger, needing fuel, wanting to lose weight, or trying to find a photographer, everyone has their respective problem.
Having the content on your site is one thing, but you also need to take the time and make the effort to let people know about your content via social media, emails, etc, but also by doing the more complex stuff like meta descriptions and alt tags etc. If you are using WordPress, Yoast SEO is a great tool to help guide you on this journey, better yet, the basic version is free and is often more than enough to get your SEO journey started.
The more technical stuff
Next up is the more technical stuff such as image optimisation, CSS and JS minification, caching, the list goes on! You can find out how your site is performing by running a FREE SEO AUDIT on your website. Whilst there are a variety of plugins that offer this functionality, BE WARNED that when changing these settings your website can be broken! If you do want to attempt to do this work yourself, make sure to run a full backup of your site first, that way you can restore your backup if anything goes wrong!
There is a heap of things you can do yourself to get your small business found on Google. Some of it is common sense, some requires a little technical knowledge and some requires a lot. Most of all, SEO requires time, patience, diligence and consistency. If you would like help with your SEO, feel free to get in touch.