Google can be a tremendous resource for small businesses. It can help you get out there and get known by people that are looking for and need your products or services. In a world where many people go to Google first when they have a problem, having a business presence there is extremely important. For many businesses, their Google presence is their primary source of customers, clients, and patients. But many think it is some kind of confusing black box and it takes magic to show up. Some think it is impossible to get Googled without spending thousands of dollars a month, while others think there is a secret button you can push to show up right away. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. But there are a few things that the average small business owner can do for themself to help increase their visibility on Google. They aren’t too complicated.
Keep in mind that Google is trying to provide the best answer to searchers’ questions or problems. In many ways, you just have to let Google know that you are the best answer.
Simple Tactics to Increase Small Business Visibility on Google
- Google Business Profile: Up until recently referred to as Google My Business, this is Google’s representation of y0ur business directly in the search engines. You should make sure you have one for your business. You can go to business.google.com and walk through the process of setting it up for your business. This is free and a good entry into the online visibility world. Fill out all of the information you can about your business. Be as thorough as you can. Include your primary business category and any others that are relevant to your business. Add images that represent your business and participate in interacting with the page (or your potential customers) in as many ways as you can. Check for questions, answer reviews (and ask for them), update with posts each week, etc. Most of this can be done in a few minutes, especially once you get things set up.
- Ask everyone for reviews. Reviews are a growing, and important factor in showing up in Google searches. The more legitimate reviews you have the better. Of course, make sure you are doing a good job and you don’t have to worry about too many negatives, but everyone gets one on occasion, so don’t let it stop you from asking. Just handle complaints professionally.
- Get a Website: I would recommend buying your own domain and getting a full website that you own. Costs can vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars for a website, depending on what you want it to do. Many small business owners will start with a site builder like Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix. In the past, they had limited functionality for some advanced things, so many would eventually switch to a WordPress or other platform, but these tools are getting better and better at handling more advanced tactics.
- Create Content that Meets Your Customers Needs: Think about having a page of content for any need a customer might have. It starts with having a page for each of your individual products or services. One that explains the product or service, the process, and why someone should choose you at the very least. These are for the searchers that already know they want your service. Then, over time, create content for other customer questions around your services. The more quality supplemental content you have around your offerings, the more your website is trusted by Google as an authority on the topic. If a customer or prospect has asked you a question, then others have likely Googled that same question. Put your answer down as a blog post or an FAQ on your website. It helps your users and your presence.
- Get Involved (Build Relationships and Links): Google still gives more value to pages that have links to them from other pages. You should bake “link-building” into your business plan. Any relationship you have as a business is a potential link, and legitimate links are extremely valuable to your online presence. That chamber of commerce or industry association you joined typically comes with a link to your website. That link tells Google information about you. You are relevant to that geographic market that the chamber serves, or to the industry the association serves. Local sponsorships also tend to have link opportunities and tell Google and others that you are active and involved in your community. Of course links from news articles and blogs that are legitimate help boost your online reputation as well. Think of each link to your site as an online referral of business.
These are the bare nuts and bolts to get you started with your own small business SEO. These all make sense for the most part if you think about it. You need to make Google and the internet aware of who you are, where you are, and what you offer. These are the first steps to make that happen. When you need help or are ready to take it to the next level you can hire someone like me to give you a boost.