This blog was first posted in ‘The Meeting Room’, a blog dedicated to supporting small businesses.
Zeald contribute to The Meeting Room regularly as guest bloggers.
When looking at online marketing for your business, it’s hard to get past the online behemoth that is Google. With over 40,000 Google searches happening every second, it's easy to understand how even a minimal investment in the various Google platforms can still yield good results. If you are just starting out with an online business or are considering some form of digital marketing for your physical store, here are three things you should get onto ASAP.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, aka The quest to be at the top of Google Search results. SEO is all about your website visibility and making sure potential customers can find you online. To achieve better search results, you need to gain an in-depth understanding of how search engines work, and then change your website content and overall online approach to suit.
"But can’t I just pay them off?” Why of course you can! You can give Google money through AdWords (more on that later) in an attempt to list your website right at the very top of the search results. They will, however, inform everybody that you’ve done so by tagging it as an advertisement. You’ll also be competing with many other advertisers doing the same thing, which can get expensive.
Also, some consumers have an inherent distrust of advertisements as well, so unpaid (organic) search results tend to get better results. SEO focusses on improving the chances of being featured as an organic search result by investing time in your website.
There are too many aspects to SEO than we have room to list, but here are a few that you can implement yourself with minimal time and effort.
Unfortunately, we can’t explain how to do this on your website specifically, as it is a slightly different process depending on which platform you use. However, Zeald works with a range of platforms so we can help you manage your SEO if you need some expert help.
2. Google My Business
If you want your business to display like this (which you do), then you’ll need to sign up for Google My Business. It’s free, so unless you hate running a successful business, you should be registering right now. If you need further convincing, here is a brief overview of the product features:
- Google My Business puts your business info on Search, Maps and Google+
- Google My Business incorporates a review system where customers can share their experiences with your company.
As mentioned earlier, with the AdWords platform you can pay Google to serve ads to its users. When combined with good SEO, an effective AdWords strategy can mean your business appears twice in Google Search results. A paid advertisement, along with an organic result, both appearing on the first page of Google Search results, is effectively the holy grail of digital marketing. It makes your business very difficult to ignore.
AdWords is relatively quick to set up and usually works on a pay-per-click (PPC) model. With PPC, you pay a small amount every time a user clicks on your ad, rather than a one-time fee to list it. Alternatively, you can pay for impressions, which means you pay whenever your ad is served, no matter how many clicks you get on it.
Much like SEO, and Google in general, AdWords revolves around the use of keywords. After you’ve built your advertisement, you will choose a number of keywords that relate to your product. Then you will place a bid. When a user searches with these keywords, the advertiser with the highest bid has a higher chance of their ad being served.
Again, this is a very simple explanation and, in reality, there are many different factors which determine when your ad is displayed. Things like popularity of keywords, quality of website, location, and historical results all play a part.
To help you tackle AdWords yourself, here are the top three things to consider:
- Broad keywords: You don’t want to appear in every result for a specific keyword.
- Example: A mechanic doesn’t want to appear in searches for ‘rental car’ when using the keyword ‘car’.
- Negative keywords: There are certain words you don’t want your chosen keyword associated with.
- Example: A seafood restaurant doesn’t want to appear in searches for ‘seafood poisoning’ or be grouped with results about the overfishing of our oceans when using the keyword ‘seafood’
- Ad groups: These will help you organise your campaigns. Within each campaign you can separate your ads and keywords into ad groups. You need to have different ads for different keywords. Don’t just show the same ad for every search.
The range of services that Google offers, and the enormous reach and clout it has, make it the obvious place to start your digital marketing. The cost of such efforts can usually scale to the size of your business, and Google products are very user friendly.
If, however, you are eager to take your business to the next level with Google but are not up for experimenting, remember Zeald is a Premier Google Partner and our Google Certified experts are always happy to help.