3 Places Your Business Should Appear on Google
Google dominates the UK search engine market place with 85% of the share. This article looks at the 3 places your business must appear on Google if you want to boost your bottom line by maximising traffic and enquiries.
With an 85% share of the search engine marketplace in the UK it's highly likely that your prospects will turn to Google to make a search for your products and services.
In the ideal world your business would appear in 3 places on a Google search engine results page. This would give your business maximum exposure with the resulting benefit of a steady stream of enquiries. Obviously this is exactly what all SMEs would want but how do you go about it?
To begin with, let's make sure that you and I are singing off the same hymn sheet and have a crystal clear understanding of the different types of listings that Google offers.
You can do this by carrying out a basic search for your business on Google by typing in what you do and the town you are based in eg “internet marketing Lincoln”.
Google will return a page of search engine listings which hopefully will feature your business at least once and hopefully twice. If you see your business appear three times on the first page of Google then read no more as you have cracked it!
The Google page you see on your screen will look like this:
It might appear a little bewildering but this page can be split into three discreet types of listings which are:
- pay per click
- organic (sometimes called natural)
Pay per click
These listings are "paid for" adverts known as AdWords. The obvious advantage of doing pay per click is that your adverts appear above both the mapped and organic listings. You can always identify an AdWords pay per click advert as the listing has a small green box in it which contains the word "Ad".
If you click on an AdWords advert you will be taken to a page on the advertiser's website. Advertiser's pay Google every time their paid adverts are clicked on.
The order of pay per click adverts on Google is determined by the amount you are prepared to bid and the quality score of your advert. Part of the quality score formula is relevancy of the advert to the web page that it points at so bear this in mind. In terms of pay per click it's much better to have a dedicated web page all about one of your products/services rather than just mentioning a product/service in a "laundry list". Google wants to give its users the best possible search experience.
You pay the cost of clicks directly to Google each month on a post pay system by direct debit or credit/debit card. The cost of clicks is controlled by a pre-determined budget. Once the daily budget runs out your pay per click ads no longer appear.
It's very easy to set up a starter pay per click package but it's also very easy to burn a lot of money inadvertently on pay per click with little return. It's always a good idea to seek the advice of experienced Google AdWords professionals who will have had to sit Google's online exams every year with a stringent pass rate. They will help you avoid the pay per click pitfalls and squeeze very last drop from your budget. A good digital agency will be very much focussed on conversion rates to find the most profitable way to spend your budget.
Mapped local listings
Mapped or "local" listings appear below pay per click and above organic listings. Your business needs a Google My Business page to be set up properly in order to appear in the mapped listings section.
The mapped listings are very prominent and you will definitely miss out on enquiries if your business is not displayed in this section.
Google compiles the mapped listings from information that it scrapes from key directory websites. Your business needs to ensure that it features in these key directories and, importantly, that exactly the same contact details are shown in each directory.
If you haven't got a Google My Business page then you definitely need to set one up. You may find that Google has created a Google My Business listing for your business all ready using information that it has scraped from key directories. It's not uncommon to find that Google holds inaccurate information about your business. This may be due to the fact that the information that key directories hold about your business is incorrect or inconsistent.
Google has a verification process in place when you claim a Google My Business listing. Google sends a postcard to your physical address that contains a PIN code.
In the "Golden Days" of SEO, organic listings appeared at the top of the page. If you had a high natural ranking then you had it made. Organic listings have now been shunted down the page by pay per click and mapped listings.
Although you may have to spend time and effort into improving organic rankings, after the initial investment you don't have to pay to get visitor to your website. Organic rankings are therefore still very important. Organic rankings are affected by several factors including the ones below:
- meta data
- social media activity
- mobile friendliness
- page load speed
This article will concentrate on meta data as we find this is often the quickest fix for organic ranking issues. Meta data refers to some of the coding that sits behind the pages of your website and the actual words on your web pages. It makes sense to carry out thorough keyword research to ensure that your meta data reflects what people actually type into search engines (and not what you just think they do). If you are feeling brave then go to one of the pages on your website using Chrome or Firefox and hold down the control button(Ctrl) and at the same time the letter U. This will open up your meta data in a new window which will look a bit like this:
There are probably a dozen or so places in your meta data that you can optimise for the words and phrases that your keyword research has yielded.
In order of importance the two most vital pieces of meta data are your page title and page description. Meta data quickly tells Google what your web pages are all about when its spider comes round to crawl your website. Google crawls (reads) your meta data and web pages and stores this information so that it can bring your web pages up for search queries that relate to you. It’s pretty obvious that if your meta data doesn’t have the relevant keywords for you then you don’t stand much chance of appearing on page one of Google’s search engine results. If you’re not on page one you’ve pretty much had it. Sorry.
If you still have the page open that displays your meta data you should be able to fairly easily pick out your page title. It begins with and looks like this:
The page title is the most influential piece of meta data and should contain the most important keywords for that particular page. If you craft your page title correctly it will also appear as the top line of search engine results so it’s very important to get it right.
It’s vital to get your page description right because it tells Google more about a particular page. Also, if written correctly the page description will form the two lines in search engine results that appear under the headline. In a couple or so of well-crafted sentences good page descriptions should mention your keywords (in much the same way that your page title does) and also can include a call to action.
Remember that websites are made by web developers. We often see two howlers in terms of meta data as no consideration has been given to SEO.
Page titles that are allocated without the benefit of thorough keyword research. A page title that reads:
Welcome to ABC Company
…is perfectly optimised for search engines for one key phrase. Unfortunately that key phrase is “Welcome to ABC Company”. If ABC Company sells widgets in Lincolnshire then the page title should, as a bare minimum, include the words “widgets” and “Lincolnshire”.
The power of unique page descriptions is often overlooked and it’s not uncommon for us to see every page on a website having the same page description. If, in the eyes of Google you’re not bothering to make it clear to Google what each of your pages is about then Google probably won’t be too bothered with it either.
Imagine being at an airport and deciding to go into a book shop to pick out a paperback for your well-deserved holiday read. If you picked up 20 books and looked at the description of the novels on each of the back covers and found they were all identical, then you would probably walk away from the shop. Guess what folks – Google will probably do the same thing if you don’t give each of your web pages a unique page description.
Like it or not, nowadays your customers and prospects are making their buying decisions online. The first port of call for many will be Google so it makes great sense to address and fix pay per click, mapped and organic listings.