SEO. We’ve all heard of it but not many of us are sure what it means. Search Engine Optimisation is the dark art of understanding the complex, ever-changing algorithm Google uses to rank websites. While Google loves to shift the playing field every now and then, there are some basics that will never change.
- Keep your site updated with blogs or latest news
- Link to other sites and have them link back to you
- Make sure your site is mobile friendly
- Use other Google services
Today, we’re going to be looking at how we can use SEO to improve local search rankings, all without changing anything on your current website. This is especially important if your business is looking to generate customers and visitors in your local area.
Google My Business
Google offers a range of tools to keep the world using their services, and businesses can use this to their advantage. Like most other Google products, this one is free!
Google My Business allows you to create a Google identity for your business. This is a sure-fire way to rank higher on Google search. Your business can be shown on Google Maps, will appear in local searches, can be reviewed, you can add opening hours, contact details, addresses, photos and get access to business analytics… If you don’t take anything else away from this post, use this.
Simply visit https://business.google.com/u/1/create to get started. Enter your business details and Google will send you a postcard with a verification code.
Google Search Console
Another free tool from Google. It’s almost like they’re making money from our data. Google Search Console is a must if you’re serious about SEO or PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. With this tool, you can see in real time if and how users are visiting your website.
Google Search Console will also let you know if there are issues with your site’s speed or mobile friendliness, if there are any pages with errors or if you’re being flagged up by Google SafeSearch. Google Search Console even offers suggestions for improvement. You can also submit your XML sitemap for even better search coverage.
First, visit https://search.google.com/search-console and add your domain name. The verification process is a little more complicated than Google My Business, but don’t be put off. You’ll need to sign in to your domain provider (ie 123reg.co.uk), navigate to your domain, and then go to DNS records. Simply create a new TXT record with the verification code from Google Search Console and your website name, and you’ll be able to verify your site usually within a day.
Once you’re on Google My Business, politely ask your customers if they will leave you a review on Google Maps. Search engines take ‘buzz’ into account – the more people are talking about your site and your products, the higher up you’ll appear. If you can generate a huge buzz in your local area, you’ll be more likely to appear on Maps and Search, without having to pay for ad space.
That’s all for today! I hope this post has been useful as a first step on your SEO journey. As ever, give me a shout if you’re looking for any web design or online marketing help.