Google is one of the biggest, most successful and most universally known brands in history, which is a pretty impressive feat for a company that only rose to popularity in the last two decades. It should come as no surprise that Google is one of the most relevant brands you’ll have to understand in order to succeed online, especially when it comes to paid and organic search.
However, you might not realise the potential benefits to your business from many different services Google has acquired and developed over the years. Here are just a few core services that could really boost your productivity and profits if used wisely.
1) Organic search
Cheap SEO packages like those offered here at 123 Ranking work best if you really get to grips with how Google Search works. If you want your website to rank locally, nationally or beyond, it needs to satisfy Google’s technical requirements as well as meet its standards for quality. The more you use Google Search, the better you should be able to understand what it looks for and how to take advantage of it. Of course, we’re here to help all our clients when it comes to organic search engine optimisation.
Notoriously confusing and constantly evolving, Google+ is a tricky platform to master even for SEO professionals. However, it offers a huge range of benefits that can actively improve your business, to such an extent that you’d be crazy to ignore them. Not only does it function as a social network to share updates with your customers personally, but the real benefits come from information that feeds through into search results.
This includes your Google reviews, which may be featured prominently on Maps as well as Search. Make sure you take the time to ensure your reviews are there and saying something positive to differentiate your brand from the rest.
Paid advertising can be a great way to help your visibility on search engines even before your organic optimisation has had time to kick in. AdWords is the most widely used platform, and although it can be complex to master, you can get started fairly easily. If you need to generate traffic to your site fast, AdWords can be an incredibly worthwhile investment and the near-instant results are a rare advantage when compared against alternative digital marketing strategies.
Once you have traffic coming to your site, it’s time to focus on conversions for most businesses. Whether your goal is to sell a product, get a customer to contact you about a service or just to get some information from visitors, Google Analytics is an invaluable tool that will tell you how to optimise your site for users once you understand its interface. It provides a huge amount of insightful information; you just need to spend some time learning how to interpret the data in a way that’s relevant for your business.
Do you use an email client for work which everyone in the business accesses? If you do, and you’re not using Gmail, you may be missing a trick. Google offers some reasonably priced options for small businesses looking to smoothly integrate their own email systems with other Google services, which can be a great time-saver. Gmail itself functions perfectly as a straightforward email client, so you probably won’t lose any functionality by switching to it from other systems.
Google Drive is a great cloud storage solution for businesses, especially when integrated with Gmail. It makes it very quick and simple to share files and organise folders which can all be accessed by everyone in your team. There are many alternatives out there, but if you’re already using Google and everyone is set up with an account from the beginning, it’s an ideal add-on that many businesses don’t take advantage of. You can even use it to work on documents and spreadsheets simultaneously with colleagues, which can be hugely convenient.
There are just a few of the Google services we use on a daily basis at 123 Ranking, and we’d recommend them all to anyone looking to understand Google better or take advantage of their many tools, both free and paid. If you have any questions about Google search services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’ll do what we can to help!
Search engine optimisation is all about making your website visible to the people who you want to find you. For businesses, that means reaching customers. For charities, that means finding people who are interested in supporting the same cause as you, and willing to make donations to support your work. SEO can be a great way to connect with these people, with benefits including…
1) Increase donations – Of course, when more people find you online, you will hopefully be able to collect more money through your website. Online donations are still increasing in popularity as its quick and easy to make a contribution. Your website just needs to persuade that person, and to do that, they need to be able to find it.
2) Increase awareness – Even if people don’t directly donate through your website, or you don’t have the facility to do so, SEO is still essential for increasing your visibility. This isn’t just on a national basis, but also locally, as local SEO is a massive element of some charities’ success. More awareness of your brand in general will help spread the word both online and offline.
3) Increase trust – The third main benefit of SEO for charities is building up a stronger reputation. When you’re easy to find online, people will have more confidence in you. This will help inspire people to work with you and make donations, knowing that you’re an established and respected organisation.
Putting yourself out there for these people to find you may require more technical knowledge than you possess, which is where we usually come in. However, whether you’re working with professionals or not, there are some basic SEO elements to bear in mind with all your online promotion efforts.
- Choose target keywords carefully – Any kind of SEO strategy will revolve around your keywords. These are the terms you want to appear in search results for. Think about the people you need to engage with, and how they might express themselves when looking for information about your cause.
- Target the correct area – Most charities tend to be local, regional or at least UK-based. Make sure you specify on your website where you are and where you operate, to help the most relevant people find you online. Search results vary for everyone, and location is a big factor, so don’t waste your efforts trying to rank highly outside of your area.
- Create relevant, engaging content – Everyone needs great content on their website to get off the ground when it comes to SEO. This isn’t just written text, but also images, video and other media that will engage with your target audience, get across the right information and motivate people to support your charity. Search engines will reward sites with great content, because they can see that people stay on those websites for longer and interact with them more.
- Get ideas from other organisations – The best place to find new ideas is to look at similar charities’ websites, perhaps those that are already doing better than you. It should be easy to draw a comparison and find areas where you can improve your website.
When it comes to the more technical aspects of SEO and getting your website working the way search engines (and potential supporters) respond well to, you may need a little more help. At 123 Ranking we offer charity SEO options and always do our best to support as many great causes as we can. Just let us know if you’re interested in working with us to promote your website.
1. Increase your audience by millions.
2. Improve your chances of ranking for keywords.
3. Get reviews that show up on Search and Maps.
4. Discover new resources and content.
5. Strengthen your brand on all social platforms.
That’s it in a nutshell. Do any of these five main reasons sound attractive to you? If the answer is yes (and if you’re a rational businessperson, we assume it is!), then you should consider these reasons to start using Google+ more. To understand this logic, first we have to establish the basic facts: Google+ is Google’s own social network, originally intended as a rival for Facebook and even Twitter. It’s notable for not being embraced by the general public was warmly as Google might have liked, but for businesses, it’s a unique and incredibly useful platform.
Let’s quickly look in more detail at those reasons once more, and exactly how it works:
1) Google+ has an active user base pushing 4 million. That’s not even the total number of users, that’s just the ones that log in regularly and see updates from brands like yours. An audience like this needs to be utilised if you want maximum reach for your social posts.
2) Optimising your Google+ business listing will help Google to identify what the focus of your business is. By tying in the same SEO keywords you use on your website with Google+ information and social updates, you’re sending a clear message that can help you rank more highly on search engines.
3) Your reviews on Google+ will appear in numerous places, which is helpful if you’re building up a good reputation. Not only do they appear on your Google+ page, but they will be visible next to your business name on Google Maps, and also on a widget that appears when your business name is at the top of the organic search results!
4) If you’re active on Google+ you’re also going to see the posts other people and brands put on there. There’s tons of useful and exclusive content available on there to incentivise people to interact and make more use of the network as a productive tool. Get involved and see what useful tools and information you can find.
5) Google links your local business page to your YouTube channel. This is either done automatically or manually, depending on what order you set up your accounts in and whether you created one or more of them a long time ago. Once linked, your YouTube videos will automatically be pushed not only to Google+ but also to Google Search results.
If you’ve dealt with any SEO company before, including ourselves at 123 Ranking, you will actually have been told already about the benefits of Google+. For many people it’s not a case of not being interested in all the great benefits, but perhaps a lack of time. We’re always here to help, so just let us know if you’re considering having us take on the responsibility of branding and promoting your Google+ page. We can do everything from optimisation to posting regular updates for you – just get in touch to discuss your options.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years about local business, it’s that people still value it – customers as much as business owners. However, that doesn’t mean that online marketing and even local SEO has nothing to do with traditional local business, and in fact the opposite is true.
Shopping locally and finding new places to spend leisure time has become fashionable again, if you’re savvy enough to combine your digital strategy with your local promotion. Your local reputation helps your broader online efforts, and vice versa. Here are a few tips that will help you build up both simultaneously.
1) Get local publicity
Anything you can do to connect with your local audience through respected publications will work wonders for your brand awareness. Most local newspapers have online versions too, so landing a feature in one of these can kill two birds with one stone.
2) Get reviews from locals
If your business isn’t listed on Google+ Local, what are you waiting for? You can also get on Yelp, Facebook and other sites depending on your niche. Once you’re listed, positive reviews can help strengthen your reputation and even show up alongside your name in search results. People near your geographical location will value other locals’ opinions extremely highly. Read our article for more tips on how to get more positive online reviews.
3) Engage both online and offline
If you have a good experience with customers in your shop, encourage them to leave a review or get in touch on social media. If someone expresses an interest online, invite them to come and visit you. You should also update all your social media, blog sections and so on to keep up that engagement once you have some. Keeping all lines of communication open will help to build trust!
4) Create valuable experiences
Another way to follow up on a successful transaction is to turn it into shareable content for your digital channels. Share photos and stories with your customers online so they have something positive to remember you by, and this will also help you get seen by their personal networks. Participating in local events and getting involved in the community can really strengthen this.
5) Branding is the key
Don’t get too bogged down with facts and figures if your goal is to create an impression and build up your reputation. It’s good to have measurable goals, but you may not be able to quantify the impact your branding efforts are having straight away. As long as you show consistency across all your marketing channels, however, the long term effects can be great.
All these factors will help you to build up an online brand, and this naturally leads onto better SEO in your local area, even though most of these don’t directly contribute towards rankings. If you sow the seeds wisely, your happy customers will support you and give you that much needed boost online as well as in the local area.
We’ve already established that online reviews are highly relevant for potential customers looking to make a decision about whether to choose your brand or one of your competitors. In fact, research has shown that online feedback from other users has three times as much impact on an individual’s choice than the brand’s own marketing efforts. Since Google+ reviews can appear directly alongside your local business details on Google’s first page of results, including negative ones, it should be a vital part of your SEO strategy to keep these under control.
We’re already looked at different ways of dealing with negative reviews, but how do you encourage more people to leave positive feedback to balance out the bad ones and boost your average rating? Well, it’s not just about bugging your favourite customers over and over again until they give in and agree to leave you feedback on Google+ or Facebook. In fact, you might not want to ask at all – people may appreciate it if you give them some space and avoid asking them for favours. However, if you’re smart with your website design and plan your customer journey correctly, you can make it very easy for someone to choose to leave you feedback without having to persuade them at all. People are usually most keen to do this after completing a successful purchase smoothly, so you might want to consider having the option to write a review presented to them at that exact point.
If you want to improve the rate at which you’ve getting these reviews, the first thing to focus on is fixing any issues that you have already identified. Negative reviews can actually be valuable because they provide an indication of what your customers feel strongly about. Any problems that have been brought to your attention should be addressed as soon as possible, whether it’s an issue with your products themselves or a customer service problem. Once you’ve fixed the problem, you have a chance to go back to that review and tell people that it’s all sorted, which really shows you take your customers’ feedback seriously and will encourage people to air their positive comments, knowing that someone will read them. If you truly offer an amazing service to people, they’re probably going to be willing to do you a favour and leave a review.
Once you have some good reviews, it’s easier to get them to multiply. You should reply publicly to every review you receive, good or bad, and thank everyone for their feedback. Consider adding a section on your website to display some of your best reviews, or even include more detailed testimonials to provide more background information about success stories. If possible, use social media to share any good feedback you get so you’re showing your appreciation and spreading the word simultaneously. The most important thing to remember is there are no shortcuts to getting great reviews – you need to back it up with great products and outstanding service. If you get this right, however, there are plenty of benefits for you to enjoy later.
At 123 Ranking we offer we can help you more with online reviews by providing our specialist business help guides. These are included in our Rank 3 SEO package for free, along with a range of other services to help improve your online marketing efforts. Just let us know if you’re considering some of our services and we’ll be able to discuss your options in more detail.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]