I guess this post is simply the by-product of trying to run my business well; we all want to be seen and get found on Google, rank high on Google and get our website found online, especially as a service provider. It goes without saying that it’s a must to stand out in a crowded market place when your business relies on a steady stream of customers and clients. As a new business owner, I wanted to stop spending money on pay per click which is what I was doing at first, (and that can get really costly when your click through rate is nowhere near the rate of clicks! Although as a high end business with a premium product, I was making pay per click ‘pay’ with one decent sized order.
But that’s not the point.
I didn’t want to rely on paid for advertising. If other business were and are getting found online organically, and didn’t have a brand and USP anywhere near the standard of Blooming Lovely Cake, I knew that I could do it, with some patience, diligence and time. So, I slowed down (yes, I know this sounds counter-intuitive) and really knuckled down to think about the ranking and SEO of my site and how to really improve this.
Firstly, my business has had a listing on Google My Business (GMB) since it launched on 26 April 2018, with a very basic one page landing page as a website. No, I didn’t have a big old fancy website back then so here’s tip: start before the conditions are ‘right’. And start before you THINK you’re ready. Us creatives can faff around way too much waiting for perfect conditions, the perfect logo, the perfect site. Better an imperfect plan executed than perfection laid on ice. That’s another blog for another time.
Getting back to Google my Business (GMB for short): I’d recommend for ANY service based business to do this. If you’re a local service provider who relies on a steady stream of clients and customers, you NEED people to be able to find you easily. Having a listing will put your business on the Google map! If you work from home and feel a bit unsure about having your full address on Google Maps, worry not: you don’t have to. A postcode will allow users to know where you’re situated.
One of the most important things about having a GMB listing allows users to leave reviews and this was my #No.1 priority to get my listing seen. I noticed on other businesses’ local listings that the the users with reviews that had the right keywords (of what customers in your niche are searching for) were ranking high. In the beginning, my listing on GMB was nowhere to be seen! So I got to work building my reviews, working hard with customer orders and ensuring they were pleased enough to leave a good review for me. Slowly but surely, the reviews began to build up and now, at the time of writing, I have 49 reviews with a 5 star Google rating, bearing in mind my business is only 7 months old (right at this moment in time). This helps my listing REALLY stand out and build trust with prospective customers. My listing often appears at the top of local searches on my target key phrases (it’s really important to know what key phrases you are targeting which I’ve covered in 5 Top Tips to Get to the Top of Google) and out ranks businesses that have been around MUCH longer than me.
Diligence and attention to detail REALLY pays.
Secondly, I was looking at where I was ranking on organic Google listing and I wasn’t ranking high on Google at all as opposed to other businesses within my niche. One of the first things I noticed my site title (the line of writing that is highlighted in blue on Google search results). It wasn’t quite right and didn’t look like the title of others’ sites who were ranking higher than me. I examined what other sites had in their title so I set about changing my site title. You simply need to log into the dashboard of your WordPress website, click on ‘Settings’, then on ‘General’ and you’ll easily be able to change the site title to fit what your niche are looking for,
My next pit stop was to ensure that my target keywords featured as much as possible in my homepage, and on the copy on my site in general. So I set about (in the most human-and-reader-friendly way possible) to feature the keywords that users are searching for the most (and that are within my niche!) as much as I could into my home page. Do this as eloquently as you can rather than keyword stuffing every sentence. And don’t be fooled: Google ‘bots’ WILL pick up on this. The thing is I’ve looked at so many websites where you read the copy and just KNOW the person writing it has tried to keyword stuff the home page SO MUCH that it just sound like a puke-worthy load of drivel and seriously, it’s off-putting!
Next is the eternal bain of a web masters’ life: blogging. But, it’s something that needs to be done with the best of intentions. Don’t start with the mindset, “oh, I’ve really just got to get something out there no matter what it sounds like” with that feeling of dragging your heels through treacle, because then you really aren’t providing value to your website OR your audience. Plus, you’ll be creating a big old ugly frog that doesn’t want to be swallowed (ever read Eat That Frog?) Regular blogging (regular being the operative word) will no doubt start to get you seen. And the good thing about a blog is that you can share blog posts anywhere: other people will share them if they they find the content useful and most importantly, if you’re talking about your niche and focusing on the right keywords (no, please don’t keyword stuff!) then ultimately that will help your ranking immensely. Google also like to see a website that is fresh, up-to-date and active – i.e. it’s being updated on a regular basis. Blogging regularly shows that your site isn’t just sitting there online gathering online dust and cobwebs, but you, the owner, cares about your audience enough to talk about your business regularly.
One of the last things I looked at was my images. I’d heard about alt-texting my images but I had NO IDEA how to do this, I had NO IDEA what to write once I had figured it out and when I saw how many images I had to alt text, I went into panic overload thinking it would take at least a year and talked myself out of it just as quickly! Yes, it’s mundane as hell! And yes, you NEED to be strategic with it. But it’s necessary. So, I slowly but surely set about getting all my images alt-texted (if that’s correct English?).
Low and behold, doing just those few things over a period of time (and please note, these changes DON’T take effect overnight, they do take some time) means the listing for my website now ranks #No.1 in local listings for my chosen keywords within my niche. Of course, you must do the research FIRST and know what people are searching for. For instance you don’t want to rank high for ladies hairdressing if you’re a men’s barber! So be diligent enough and take the time to do the research! Yes, slow down to speed up….
So those are the most prominent things I did personally to get seen and get found on Google.
But, if, like me, (or should I say, like I was) you find this type of thing way too overwhelming and too much like walking in a dense forest blindfolded, not knowing which step to take next and how to get to the other side then simply download my free training, Get Found On Google which will cover in more detail the EXACT steps I took to get me ranking nowhere to the TOP of Google in my niche!