10 Ways to Improve Your Google Presence
At the 2016 NAMM Show, Chrissy Hansen, director of marketing for Reverb.com, shared how you can improve your store’s Google presence. Her company, an online marketplace for selling and buying musical equipment, gets 6 million unique visitors monthly, according to Hansen. She said a huge chunk of that traffic is coming from organic search results versus paid advertising.
“As a small business, you can compete with larger companies who spend a lot in the advertising space by having a great organic presence,” Hansen said.
Here are her 10 steps for improving your Google presence. (Watch the video for the full session.)
1. Think of your website as an ecosystem.
If someone explores your website, it tells Google that you’re probably giving the user a good experience. Consider the following:
• Categorization. You have different types of pages on your website, such as product and about/staff. Create a categorization structure for these pages.
• Hierarchy. Your website should be set up so it’s easy to navigate and flows like a family tree.
• Accessibility. Make things intuitive and easy to find.
• Don’t create backdoors and silos. These are pages that have a single purpose, exist on their own and don’t lead anywhere within your site. Google penalizes this type of activity. For example, when you create a promotional campaign page, make sure you can get to it from other places.
• Don’t duplicate content. Create original content for your website, and never steal content.
• Do repurpose existing pages with new content. It’s better to repurpose a page rather than create a new page, especially if the page has existed for some time. Gift guide pages with updates are a good example of this.
2. Optimize your metadata.
Watch the PowerPoint slides in the video for examples.
• Root domain. Your website domain (e.g., https://reverb.com).
• Page URL. What appears after the / (e.g., https://reverb.com/blog/a-brief-history-of-the-stratocaster). Make it simple and clean.
• H1 tag. Title or headline on your page (e.g., “A Brief History of the Stratocaster”).
• Meta title. A piece of data you can put in the content management system (CMS) for both Google and users. This is what shows up on the tab at the top on your website, and it’s also the headline for the organic search result.
• Meta description. The little paragraph following the meta title under the organic results. You should provide this copy.
• Image alt tags. Put an alt tag around images. It lets Google identify what the image is.
3. Create great content.
There’s a lot of great content on the web, but it’s not always optimized for SEO. Make sure your website content is not only interesting but also well-written with SEO in mind, so the user can find it.
4. Do your keyword research.
When you’re writing an article or adding content, don’t leave it to chance. Look at search results through the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. You can see what people are searching for ranked by popularity and number of searches. Think about how we search on Google and what we type in, and use those words in your content.
5. Link content internally.
Get creative and strategic. Encourage users to explore your site, and link products to brands and blog articles to products. Make page views a key metric. You can use Google Analytics to see how users are getting around your site and if page views are up or down.
6. Acquire backlinks.
This takes a little more legwork. Start by looking for domain authority. Ideally, find someone with a better website and more traffic than yours. Hansen cited a shared link on her company’s site with a Rolling Stone magazine article as a good example. Also, partner with bloggers and other content websites, but only if it makes sense and is relevant.
7. Be patient.
It may get worse before it gets better, especially if you’re tweaking your site. Don’t panic. It’s common for numbers to go down before they shoot back up. And remember: With SEO, a lot of little things add up over time. SEO comes with constant tweaks, and these small changes can have a big impact.
8. Make frequent updates.
“If your website hasn’t been updated in six months, then you’re dead to Google,” Hansen said. She recommended hosting a blog. It’s an effective way to update your website and shows Google you’re providing new content. Also, regularly revisit page copy and images. Make sure you’re updating your general pages and keeping your content accurate. Plus, keep your homepage fresh. A homepage is like another storefront. If you have a promotion or new product releases, put it on your homepage.
9. Use Google-supplied SEO tools.
Consider taking advantage of Google Analytics, Google Alerts, Google Keyword Planner and Google Search Console. Seek out SEO software. You’ll want to track what you’re doing, so you can monitor your progress.
10. Manage your web presence.
As a whole, manage your web presence, including your website (your highest priority), social media, YouTube, Google Places, Yelp, review sites and forums.
And finally, create great content!