Although it might seem like wizardry that certain keywords yield specific Google results every time, the truth is that there is no magic involved. Yes, Google is the place that you go when you need information quickly, but there is a science to getting your business to “float” to the top of the Google search page. If you’re an entrepreneur and you are trying to use Google to your small business’s advantage, what are some clever strategies that you can employ to ensure that the most people find you through search engines?
Using Ads to Show Off Your Products
Pop-ups and ads online are nothing new; donuts to ten the page that you’re reading right now has ads along the margins, and that these ads are inspired by your recent browsing history. For example, say you were recently checking out the benefits of red superfood powder and looking up how it can help your body. More likely than not, that same superfood powder will appear in ads later on as you browse online, trying to encourage you to go through with the purchase. You were, after all, researching the item recently!
Wizardry yet? Still no. Actually this is a clever marketing campaign inspired by Google Shopping. You’ve seen the tab up there: Generally the fifth one from the left, the Shopping tab allows you to search for items based on keywords you’ve entered. You can filter your search results by price, color and whatever else you want, but how can Google ads help your business?
Easy: When customers are searching on an engine and your item is one of the search results, Google will generate a picture, the merchant name (that would be you), the price and sometimes a little description blip. This is something that you have to opt-in for though; link your Google Adwords and Google Merchant Center and Google will do the rest. Your ad will show up when consumers search for various keywords.
Speaking of Keywords
Do you know what search engine optimization (or SEO) is? If you’ve been in business for a hot minute then chances are you’ve heard the term tossed around, but what does SEO actually do? As it turns out, an awful lot.
As the name suggests, SEO is the practice of using search terms that are entered into search engines like Google, then optimizing them to drive in traffic to your website. Are you confused? It’s really not so difficult. For example:
- Pretend you run a custom cupcake bakery. If you were trying to find it on Google, what are some terms you might use? “Best local cupcakes near me,” perhaps, or “custom cupcakes for the best price.” You can download special widgets online that can help you log specific keywords and keep track of what people are looking for.
- Keeping these search terms in mind, remember that Google will search the whole internet looking for them. By including those specific words in that order on your website, they will fall under the search term blanket and Google will fetch them for you.
- The more times you use the keywords, the more likely it will be that Google will find them and your website will be one of the top results.
The practice of SEO can be a delicate balancing act. On one hand, it’s tempting to stuff the keywords as many times as possible into your content to ensure that you are a top result, but on the other hand it shows when you overuse keywords. Imagine if your keyword was “top cupcake bakery” and you tried to use it more than once:
“You’re looking for the top cupcake bakery, and the top cupcake bakery is right down the road! Check out the top cupcake bakery near you for the best cupcakes. We are the top cupcake bakery you will ever find!”
Ugh, it sounds clunky and awkward, doesn’t it? Worse, if it sounds terrible when you read it then it sounds even more terrible when consumers read it. There is a strong chance that you will come off looking pretty bad and people are less likely to take you seriously. Rather than overuse the SEO keyword until it becomes meaningless, be creative in how and where you use it. Proper placement is everything in the world of SEO.
Google My Business To Help Customers (And You!)
Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you Google a location, there is a handy little tag that gives you the name of the business, its hours, most active times and other valuable information? Again, the curtain is being pulled back a little from Google’s magic; this is something that business owners do themselves.
Google My Business is a free, yet endlessly valuable tool available to business owners. All the information that you could ever want is right there: Reviews and star ratings, hours, location and link to Google Maps, related businesses and so much more. Not only is this an ideal way for customers to quickly find information and make it more convenient for them, but it also gives a snapshot of your business to many, many sets of eyes.
Best of all, the more information that you enter the better that Google can refine the results for people looking; consumers are more likely to take the company that has more information and customer reviews more seriously than the one with only hours of operation and nothing else listed. Think of it as a “get to know you” card. You want clients to know all about you so that they feel comfortable coming in and doing business with you.
Learning how to use Google to help you advertise your business can seem a little scary and intimidating, but there are so many resources and helpful tutorials around the internet to help you get started and hit the ground running. Google is a fantastic resource for all businesses, big or small. Learn to take advantage of the tips and tricks that the search engine giant has shared with entrepreneurs and watch your internet traffic — and hopefully foot traffic — increase as time goes on.
Also published on Medium.