Getting to the top of search results has become more about content and inbound links
getting found on Google
I have previously written about getting your business into Google’s indexes in our Tips & Tricks book. It’s a fairly painless task that takes about an hour to set up on all three of their free, business website related products: Google MyBusiness; Analytics; and Search Console.
Once that’s done, your chances of being found in a Google search vastly improves, but there are still some tricks you can use to further improve your search results. Foremost is simple SEO, with targeted linking on certain keyword phrases you choose to represent your business. Google’s Snippets is a new feature to try out, too. And, as always, you should heed their advice and comply with their goal to improve the web in general: security, mobility, and speed.
At its core, SEO is a just method of writing your website content to make it easier for people to find your site when using a search engine. Techniques include identifying what’s called the “long-tail key phrases” people may use when searching for products or services you offer.
With the launch of Google’s Search Console a few years ago, which provides such a list, this task has become a little easier. Thus, it’s now easier to increase your “natural” (non-paid) ranking by focusing on a short list of key phrases, and using them frequently on your website, both in the title tags of important pages, and in the text of those pages, weaving them in so your content doesn’t seem contrived.
As an experiment to prove this point, Montague WebWorks has decided to try to improve our performance on the key phrase “website design western Massachusetts.”
Currently, if you search for that phrase, Montague WebWorks comes up as the first natural link (not an ad) on the second page of results. Additionally, when we logged in to Google’s Search Console, we saw that sixty people did a search for our key phrase in our area in the last three months, though only one person actually clicked the link to get to our website. We assume they never made it to the second page to see our link.
So, we have changed our homepage title tag to “Website Design Western Massachusetts | Montague WebWorks” to see if putting the exact phrase we are targeting at the beginning of the title tag will improve our search results performance.
A second tactic of this experiment is to ask friends and customers to search using our chosen main key phrase, and then click our link when they find our website in the result list. Google will eventually learn that *we* are what people in our area are searching for when they type in that key phrase, and that will bring us closer to the top of the natural results.
A new technique to raise your rank in Google searches is to create articles that answer questions. You’ll notice if you type a question into Google nowadays there is a short list of “snippets,” which you can click on to reveal a short, two-sentence answer to the question you typed. These results come from pages and articles that have the question asked in the title of the page. Writing a series of FAQ articles on your site could result in yours answers coming up in search results.
Whether or not you use any of these techniques, it is still critical that your website has an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate (the https:// thing), which tells search engines and searchers that your website will encrypt user's information while in transit for an added level of security. You want a site that works well on mobile devices, including clear and easy to use navigation and readable text. Your site should also load quickly, within two seconds or less; you don’t want folks hitting the back button and moving on to another website. If you are lacking in any of these areas, Google *will* demote your website down the search results list to the second, third or even fourth page.
Some say Google is exerting too much control over how people design and build their websites. We feel Google’s ranking practices prioritize active businesses and ensure a quicker, more secure browsing experience on the web, all of which is a good thing.
If you need help setting up Google’s MyBusiness, Analytics, and Search Console, give us a call; we can get you set up quickly. To learn more you can also download the latest version of our annual MWW Tips & Tricks book at https://MontagueWebWorks.com/tips-and-tricks-book
Posted: to WebWorks News on Mon, Apr 15, 2019
Updated: Mon, Jun 22, 2020