So you’ve got yourself a brand new website, or perhaps you’ve had one for a while now but not much is happening?
The Internet is one of the easiest methods of connecting with your target group of customers, and is the method through which many of your potential and future customers will do their research on you. However, a website is not a magic wand that will instantly create business and sales. You have to work at it, build onto it, promote it and work to increase its ranking in the Google search system.
Having a well-designed website (both in appearance and functionality) used to be enough on its own to get top ranking websites but over the years google algorithms have changed, become more sophisticated and a lot more demanding. So be prepared to be patient, especially if you have lots of competition as climbing up the google ranks can take time, from weeks to months, even longer depending on your niche.
Here are some steps help you climb the google ladder:
1. Build Your SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the way in which online search engines such as Google decide what sites to show people when they search for something on the Internet. As your website is already complete I won’t discuss in-page SEO but there are things you can do to help improve your website’s online presence.
Backlinks – You must add relevant links back to your page throughout the web; these are called “backlinks.”
“www” stands for World Wide Web – Web being the operative word. No website was meant to be an island, but rather a part of a much larger interconnected “web” which is why google favours sites that advocate this. Plus, the number of backlinks your site has is an indication of it’s popularity and importance. Think about it, if another website links to you they obviously see your site as valuable and relevant, so google will recognise that also. Keep in mind, that backlinks need to be quality backlinks, that is, they are relevant and from reputable websites themselves. So don’t fall for shoddy backlink campaigns or link exchange scams! – Poor quality backlinks can actually do more harm than good, so be selective!
Where can you get backlinks from?
- Guest posts – A common method for getting backlinks is by writing guests posts on other reputable websites in your niche. This method has been quite abused of late but done correctly can give your site a boost, as well as make you an authority in your niche and hopefully get targeted referral traffic too. Here’s a fantastic article on writing guests posts to help guide you – The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging by Brian Dean
- Directories – There’s heaps that are available that have both free and paid options but these are to be used with caution; like backlinks from poorly ranked sites, directory listings can sometimes be harmful too so try to stick to those that are well known with good page ranks. You also need to check if these links from directories (and all websites) are actually counted too as some add what is called a nofollow link which means google doesn’t even count it as a backlink. If you can find locally based directories obviously that’s a big bonus too, if you’re a Tradie for example, you should be listed on Riverina Tradies (shameless plug I know!). You could also consider local business chambers, council business directories and so on.
- Provide Testimonials – All businesses love displaying testimonials on their website and will often include a link to the providers website to prove that it is genuine, so take the time to write some. In doing so they will probably write a testimonial for you in return also which has extra valuable benefits in itself!
- Blog Reviews – Find quality blogs within your niche and contact them about what product or service you provide. Offer them a freebie product or service in exchange for a mention on their blog or better still, perhaps even writing a review about it. Don’t just straight out ask for a link though as that’s spammy and could violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
- Google+ Profile – You’ll need a google+ profile to set up your google+ business page (I will discuss further down) so it’s worth setting one up. Within the about section of your profile you can write about yourself and what you do… and guess what, include links to your website!
There’s a lot more methods you can use to get backlinks but personally I find the above the quickest and simplest, so get on it!
2. Get your Social Media Sorted
Social media activity can be used as an indicator to search engines for a sites credibility and popularity as well as help determine which sites are relevant based on the given keyword search. That combined with the popularity of social media sites these days highlight the importance of having a social media presence. Which platforms (i.e. Facebook, instagram, Pinterest etc.) you use will depend on your business type, but google+ is one I would strongly recommend.
Google+ may not be as popular as other social media platforms, however having a google+ page will help your google ranking and is a lot more important than most people realise. I have another article which discusses Google+ and it’s importance here, but in the meantime here’s some quick steps to get you started:
If you don’t have a physical location (i.e. you work from home or just operate online) you can still claim a page and simply select “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location.” You will still need to fill in your address, but only your suburb will be displayed to the public. Do this as soon as you can as Google will actually send you an validation code via snail mail to verify your business and this can take a couple of weeks.
3. Ask for Reviews
An online review is equally important as a personal recommendation these days and when people are looking for information about your business, finding reviews can not only be a great marketing tool but it can help boost your SEO as well. The more online content that is written about your business, the more relevant it will appear to search engines, so don’t be shy about asking for reviews!
4. Google Adwords
AdWords is the name of Google’s advertising platform. In general most people will click on the organic results over paid results and running an adwords campaign won’t boost your online rankings.
However, if you have room in your budget, AdWords can be a helpful option to use, particularly in the early stages of your website’s launch. Firstly, it can help drive traffic to your site that you might not have had if you page isn’t ranking well yet. And second, it helps build your brand because even if someone doesn’t click on an Ad, they may see it and remember you next time they search for your particular product or service.
You can also completely control your budget with Adwords, by setting a limit to your daily spend and then adjusting as you go.
When Can You Begin to See Results?
Again, be patient. Climbing up the google ladder takes time. Follow the above steps, build your presence on social media and keep an eye on how people interact with your website, and make changes as necessary.
Here are some related articles you might find useful: