Google SEO: make the most popular search engine work for your business
UPDATE: This Google SEO post was originally published on 24 October 2018 and updated on 20 May 2020 and 14 January 2021.
If your website hasn’t been optimised for Google SEO, to ensure your business appears high up in search engine results, then you are all but invisible to those Aussies who love to shop online.
These days the internet is the first port of call for most people looking to buy something, even things they plan to buy in a shop. In fact, 70 per cent of all purchasing decisions are influenced by an online search.
When you understand that almost 90 percent of Australian web searches flow through Google, it all becomes clear.
But with countless retail websites on the internet, all just a click away, how can you make yours stand out from the crowd? This is where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes into play.
The basics of Google SEO
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a well-defined sequence of steps that, when done properly, will increase the number of people coming to your website.
Determine the keywords for which you currently rank.
Decide which keywords you want to rank for.
Add those keywords to your website.
If you’re ready to get your share of digital traffic, keep reading.
Hey Google — over here!
Google can’t list any website it hasn’t scanned — or hasn’t scanned properly — on its search results pages. So the aim of SEO is to make it as easy as possible for the search engine to read and categorise your website.
At the same time, you must ensure your site ranks highly in the key search terms used by online shoppers who are looking for what you have to offer. So, your site must be relevant and legitimate in the eyes of Google.
If you’re not making an effort to boost your search ranking, then you’re surrendering a lot of business to your competitors.
When thinking about how people will find you, you need to think about keywords and search terms related to:
- Your industry.
- The products or services you offer.
- Your location.
- Your unique selling proposition.
It’s certainly worth making the effort, as the top result in a Google search receives about 30 percent of all clicks. The No. 2 result only sees 15 percent of all traffic, after which it tails off quickly. You really can’t afford to be further down the list; less than five percent of people even bothering to look at the Page 2 of search results.
Google SEO simplified
Thankfully there are a few simple things you can do to significantly increase the likelihood of potential customers finding you through Google. These changes can improve your ranking in organic (free) Google search results, apart from whatever you might accomplish with online advertising.
1. Determine the keywords for which you currently rank
Tools like SEMrush offer a quick and easy way to measure your website’s current Google SEO performance. Their free report reveals the top 10 keywords for which your site ranks highly, along with where you stand in search results compared to your competitors. This can show you where you need to improve.
2. Decide which keywords you want to rank for
Next, you should decide which keywords are actually most important for bringing in customers.
SEMrush can also suggest keywords that would help you bring in more traffic via Google, along with the number of monthly searches and the difficulty of ranking highly for that keyword.
Pro tip: If you’re just starting out, choose keywords that have under 10,000 in monthly traffic and medium or low competition.
Rather than just battle it out for rankings over the most prominent keywords in your industry, you might find it better to focus on longer keyword phrases likely to bring certain customers your way such as those:
- Searching for a business in your area.
- Looking for a niche product or service.
- Chasing seasonal products.
Google Trends offers great insight into what people in your geographic area or industry are currently searching for. Use what you learn from Google to select keywords or phrases for your website.
Related: Keyword research and content optimization tips
3. Add those keywords to your website
Armed with a list of the best keywords for your site, it’s time to start optimising.
You don’t need to throw away everything and start again from scratch. Rather it’s just a matter of tweaking the text and meta tags to ensure the keyword you’ve identified for each page appears often enough, and in the right places.
Start with your page title, as it’s a key factor in your website ranking. Make sure you incorporate the most important keyword in it while still ensuring it reads naturally. The goal is to let both human and search engines know what you have to offer.
Now polish the first paragraph on your website, adding the keywords there and to:
- At least one subhead
- All photo file names (learn how here)
- The page URL (make sure you create redirects)
All up, you want at least 750 words on each web page, weaving in your primary and secondary keywords if any. Read this terrific post for details on how to add keywords in all the right places on your web pages.
A word of caution
Make sure you don’t overdo it with keyword, as more is not better in this case. The text should still read well and not be overly repetitive.
Google frowns upon “keyword stuffing” where site owners eager for more traffic cram them in to the point where it feels too forced. If a person would find it awkward and stilted to read, that’s a good sign that it needs fewer keywords.
Not sure you want to DIY?
Don’t despair if this sounds like too much to accomplish on top of your real job. You can always hand it off to the pros on GoDaddy’s SEO Services team.
80 percent of GoDaddy clients who follow their SEO recommendations achieve a Page 1 ranking within six months.
For a small monthly fee you get:
- A complete audit of your website.
- Expert keyword research.
- Help adding keywords/phrases to your site.
- An auto-generated XML sitemap to help Google read your site.
- Ongoing monitoring and tweaking to keep your site on Page 1 of search results.
Best of all, you can monitor the results and track your Google ranking in real time via an easy-to-read dashboard.
Lead more people to your website
When you look at the big picture, SEO is more than simply spruiking your wares. It can actually help shape your offerings by revealing which goods and services are in demand. Using tools like SEMrush and Google Trends, you can also look at search patterns, seasonal trends and the actions of your competitors to help you make better short- and long-term decisions.
In summary, no business can afford to ignore Google SEO. It’s crucial that you take the time to assess the terms that people use when searching for a business like yours and then weave them naturally into your website to give potential customers the best chance of finding you. Best of luck!
Image by: Louis Maniquet on Unsplash