Top 5 things to do to get found on Google
As the owner of a new small business, you're going to worry about this one - how will people find my website?
There are over 1.5 BILLION websites out there. Landing on the first page of Google results can feel like finding the Holy Grail. There are myriad people, websites, and books spouting advice on this topic, but a lot of it seems directed at established firms, or investor-funded start-ups.
You are a one-woman show and you'll have to weed through it all to find the combination of effective and do-able that works for your business. With enough money and time, any website can get itself on page one, but you probably have a finite amount of both. What should you do?
1. Do or sell something unique. If you have your heart set on opening a pizza place in New York City, hats off to you, but you are going to struggle to distinguish yourself from the hundreds if not thousands that are already there. How about gluten-free vegan Moroccan pizza? That niche is probably pretty open.
2. Conduct your business in a finite geographic location. In other words, being a physical kind of business, that operates in a specific area instead of on the internet, gives you a leg up in searches. Moroccan pizza in NYC is a smaller pool of competition that Moroccan pizza anywhere in the US or the world. "Near me" in searches really reduces the amount of competition.
If you want to sell a widget online to the world, you can. You've got the entire planet as a potential customer, right? Yes, but you've also got the entire planet as potential competition. Try starting out selling your widgets in your hometown in order to make a name for yourself.
3. Blog at least once a week. Don't obsess over keywords, but get some new, relevant-to-your-business content onto your page on a regular basis. It doesn't need to be a PhD thesis. But find something to say about the arena in which you're operating.
4. Get a Google business page - those boxes that pop up on the right side of the page when you search. Not only is this a great way for customers to leave reviews of you, but it stands to reason that Google will take you more seriously as a business if you . . . tell them you are a business.
5. Have a well-written, easily navigable website. If Google can't figure out how to get around your site because it's poorly organized and seems written by a three year old, it's not going to suggest it to searchers as a site they'd want to visit. Is that the kind of site you'd want shown if you were the one doing the searching? No.
6. Ok, I know I said 5 in the title, so consider this a free extra. You know how people find Amazon on the website? Because they sit down at the computer and type in "Amazon." If people sit down and type in "YourBusinessName," odds are excellent that Google will show them your site, and a given if you've already done numbers 1 thru 5. Get out there and get yourself known. NETWORK with REAL PEOPLE.
That last one? Pretty old school. But still the #1 most effective way for people to find you on the internet - they already know your name.