With the rise of mobile search and social media, optimizing local web-presence is becoming paramount to small businesses. Understanding how Google can drive awareness and traffic and recognizing the critical role that search-engine results play in competition are critical to the success of any business in today’s market.
Consumers are more likely to click on search engine results that appear on the first page, according to research. When consumers hear of a local business that is not well known, it is only natural to conduct research before making a purchase. Therefore “owning” the first page of the search engine results page (SERP) is an important part of web-presence optimization for any local business.
Here are 10 effective ways businesses can own the first page of search results.
1. Search Engine Advertising Google search ads can appear at the very top of the SERPs, creating instant visibility regardless of what results appear on the rest of the page so bidding on a business name is important. For any business keyword, search engine advertising is the quickest and most cost-effective way to secure top billing on a SERP when consumers search for a type of business or business name online.
2. Website A business website is important for ranking well on search engines, especially if the domain contains an exact business name. By creating a search-optimized site with a front page that strategically lists the business name, address, phone number, and other important details, it can help the site rank well for searches that use business names.
3. Optimized Website Pages Create keyword-optimized pages throughout the website (e.g., the About, Products, Contacts, and Press Releases pages) to increase the chances of getting a business website ranked for business name and getting individual pages from a site to rank high on SERPs. Typically, up to four additional pages can rank on SERPs before Google displays a “Show more results from [website URL]” link.
4. Blog Search engines thrive on relevant, fresh, dynamic, and regularly published content about business, industry, and community. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to dominate the first page of SERPs. In addition, social “likes” and “shares” are becoming important signals to search engines. People tend to share timely, informative, or entertaining content from blogs, rather than static pages from websites. This can create search-friendly links and social authority via the blog.
Creating and hosting a blog is possible in several ways. For example, try integrating the blog with the business website, or create a blog on a different Web address and cross-link the blog with the website. The latter will enable the blog—with its unique Web address—to rank on its own. Moreover, the blog will be deemed a unique site, which means multiple pages from the blog could rank individually on SERPs for business name.
5. Google Place Page Claiming a Google Place page is an absolute must for any local business. Optimize the Place page for search around the business name and business keywords, and then the listing can also appear in Google Maps and at the top of the SERPs.
6. Google Profiles The launch of Google+, Google’s social network, along with the recent decision to open up the network to businesses as well is good for those seeking attention from search engines. Those profiles can rank high on SERPs for business name. Include business-name keywords in Google Profiles or Google+ About pages.
7. Online Directories and Listings List the business on digital directories and listing sites, such as Citysearch. Think of such sites as the “Yellow Pages” of the Web. By making sure that those listings are accurate and the information on all the sites is identical down to the details, one can help search engines such as Google pull listings data higher in search mode.
8. Social Profiles Claiming, optimizing, and using social profiles are important ways to own more real estate on page one of SERPs. The four most popular social networks used for ad campaigns are Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Company profiles on those social sites will often rank high for business name, especially if profiles including official business name in the content, are optimized.
9. Review Sites Listing a business on local review sites, such as Yelp, is another way to own more territory in search. Customers may already be leaving reviews about a business online, so it is important to claim business profiles on review sites to monitor and manage a sound online reputation.
10. Syndicated Press Releases Creating search-optimized press releases when major news occurs and syndicating them via a wire service can spread news about a business and help to own more SERP territory. Major news sites can pick up press releases off the wire and run them, word-for-word, on their sites—which would pack a lot of authority with search engines.
To add more authority to overall Web presence: optimize press-release content like on a website page, and include links to the business website, pertinent blog posts, and social profiles.