This guide is aimed at helping owners of new websites that have only just been made live or existing websites that are not performing well on Google. If you feel you are unable to complete these stages yourself, please get in touch and I will be happy to quote for doing the work for you.
First of all, if your website is new; its important to remember a new website wont jump straight to page one of Google the day it goes live. Google scores websites on a number of factors when it shows search results; your competition, the age of a website, the size and content of a website, the quality of a website and how well promoted a website is. It can take anywhere from a day to several months to start getting hits on Google, depending on how much work you put in to promoting your website.
So, what can YOU do to help your website get found online when people search for your keywords on Google?
The process of helping your website get found online is called Search Engine Optimisation, or ‘SEO’ for short. For SEO to have any benefit, you will need to know what keywords you hope to be found for. ‘Keywords’ are the words or phrases you want your website to show for when someone searches online. You can’t just list a string of keywords on a single page and expect to show up. A well optimised website will have keywords on specific pages and within descriptions and links from other websites, directories and social media posts.
Check your content
The most important thing about being found online is making sure the words you expect to be found for are visible on your website. For example, there is no point hoping to be found for ‘Gardener in Poole’ or ‘Laser Hair Removal in Bournemouth’ if you don’t mention this within the text on your website. Depending on your budget and/or size of your website, you should ideally have a page for each service or product you offer. These pages can then be optimised for relevant keywords to help Google score you higher for applicable searches.
Good search results often depend on how many keywords you have against the number of pages on your website. For example, if you only offer one service in a single area you may well get away with one or two pages. But if you offer several services to a wider area, its no good thinking you can squeeze all your keywords onto a single page and be the top result.
List your website and business on Google Maps
This is one of the first things I advise all customers to do. Once verified, your business should appear when people search for services locally and encourage more people to get in touch or visit your website. To list your website on Google Maps, click here .
Note that Google Maps shows results based on how near a business is to the location of the person searching. It also takes other factors into account such as other website directories your (same) contact details are listed on and Google reviews. So its still important to consider the other steps on this page.
Submit your website to local and nationwide websites and directories
Its really important to get other websites and directories to link to you. Google counts the links from other websites and directories and uses this to help rank it higher in search results. It will consider a website with 10 others linking to it must be better than one with less.
There are three types of websites you should get to link to yours.
- Local Website Directories – Search Google for Website and Business Directories in your town and county
- Nationwide Website Directories – Such as Yell.com
- Specialist Websites – that are applicable to your business such as trade organisations or memberships
Using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be a great free way to promote your website. Create a profile for your business on social media platforms and ensure you include a description of your business with keywords and website link in any bio or introduction. Post as often as you can with eye catching pictures, offers and news that will encourage people to like, share and comment.
Ask for reviews
Reviews are also very important. Obviously, potential new customers will be inspired to get in touch if they read positive comments from your previous customers but also this can help improve your Google results too. Once you have a Google Maps listing, customers will be able to leave ratings and comments about your service. Encourage them to do so. If you have a Facebook page for your business, people can also leave reviews there too. The more positive reviews you get, will contribute towards more enquiries.
Don’t neglect your website. Google knows how often a website has been updated and will begin to score it lower if you haven’t updated it in a while. Try to update content on your website once a month. If you can’t do this yourself, ask your website designer to do for you. Also consider a Blog or News section that you can use to post interesting articles. If you don’t have this facility, ask your website designer about adding one for you.
Are you mobile friendly?
Most new websites should be designed to be mobile compatible as standard. However, some older websites will not be compatible with browsing on Mobile Phones and Tablets. This can make it very hard for a visitor to read and navigate, and may leave as quickly as they came. You can check if your website is mobile compatible by clicking here.
Not that its a requirement for all types of websites to be secure, it can be a worry for your website visitors to see a warning that your website isn’t. Getting a secure website usually involves buying an SSL Certificate from your hosting company which then needs setting up on your website. Some hosting companies offer a free option. Check with your website designer or hosting company if unsure.
Need for speed
Not everyone will be viewing your website on a powerful laptop with ultra fast fibre broadband. If your website is slow to load, people on a slow connection or mobile internet may give up waiting or get a time out message. Check your website on different devices and connections to see how fast it loads. You can run a speed test by clicking here . It will rarely be possible to have a website that scores a top result for speed – but changes can usually be made to help improve its load time. For example, keep page content to a minimum and don’t use large, high resolution images or unnecessary effects.
Pay for results
If you need to get your website to the top of Google quickly or just can’t achieve the results you would like organically, you can pay Google to show a ‘sponsored result’ for your website. This requires creating an advert for your website and bidding a pay-per click fee for each time someone clicks on your website. The higher you bid will depict how often and how high up your advert appears. Costs will depend on your competition and you can set a daily budget to keep track of your spending. To find out more, click here.