Don’t ignore Bing and Yahoo! As of last month, Americans conducted 64% of their searches on Google, 22% on Bing, at 12% on Yahoo. That comes to 98% of all the searches done in the US, so there’s no need to worry about any other search engines. But don’t dismiss Bing and Yahoo. Even at only 12%, Yahoo handles more than 4 billion searches a second in the US.
Fortunately, the things you need to do to get listed on Google are pretty much the same things that Yahoo and Bing need.
How do I submit my site to Google?
You don’t. It’s worth repeating: you don’t need to submit your site to Google, Yahoo, Bing, or anywhere else. Submitting to search engines is kind of a scam from the past and a persistent myth. It’s not necessary as long as you have links to your website from other websites the search engines already know about. We explain that here.
6 Steps to Get on Google
Figure out what keywords you need to be found for. These are the phrases your customers will use to find what you do or what you sell. Think in specifics. The best keywords are probably not the one or two word basic searches like limousine. That’s too broad. Better would be limousine service in San Diego or car service to O’Hare airport.
Make sure your website is search engine friendly. That means your pages download quickly, your site works well on a phone, navigation is easy to follow, you have a site map the search engines can follow to get to all your pages, and so forth.
Block search engine spiders until your site is ready for prime time. Important note: this applies only to brand new websites, not a redesign of an older website. You never want an existing site to become invisible to search engines.
Create lots of content. Make your pages about specific, narrow topics. Focus them on the keywords you determined in step 1, and use logical variations on those phrases. If you do or sell more than one specific thing don’t try to cover all of it in one or two pages; flesh out your site with rich, engaging and helpful content.
Keep creating content. Don’t feel you need to constantly tweak your pages or freshen them up, instead add new pages. The most natural way to do that is with a blog. Be sure your blog is on your domain and not hosted separately someplace like WordPress.com or Blogspot.com.
Promote your content across the web. The easiest way to do this may be with social media: write posts on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, mention (and link to) your content on Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Each one of these gets the word out to a different population, and each adds a new link to your website.
Search Engine Journal has an excellent article on this topic with good explanations about each of these six steps.
These things will get your website into the indexes for Google, Yahoo & Bing, an essential first step to being found easily by customers. Once in the index, you should show up when people search for your keyword phrases. But if you’re showing up on page seven or eight, that’s probably not good enough. We have lots of ideas in this blog on how search engine optimization works to get you near the top of the rankings. If that’s a concern for you, this is a good place to start.
Local Listings in Google Are Now Easier to Maintain
Our PowerListings subscription service for local businesses has been expanded to include Google My Business, Google+ and Google Reviews. You can now make changes to your listings in PowerListings that will be instantly reflected across Google search, Google My Business, maps and ads.
You can even indicate which photo from Google My Business should show up with your listing in Google search and Google maps. And you can respond to Google and Facebook reviews directly from the PowerListings dashboard.
PowerListings is important to locally focused businesses because how widely and consistently your business is mentioned in citations directly impacts the likelihood of showing up in local searches and the Local Stack. If you’d like to check how well you’re cited across local listings, you can run a free scan here.
If you’re not currently a subscriber to PowerListings, you can learn more about it here. Or contact us to discuss your concerns.
We’re interested in what you think. Start or join the conversation in the comments below.
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Our readership closely reflects our target market: small and very small businesses. While most of our readers hire us or someone else to manage their SEO and online visibility, a few choose to do it themselves. They often find the subject daunting.
This may help
Whether you want to try to do it yourself or just want to better understand the things we and other SEO companies may be doing for you, we hope you find this infographic helpful and informative.
[Thanks to Nirav Dave for all the work that went into this. He is the co-founder of Capsicum Mediaworks, a digital marketing agency based out of Mumbai, India, that specializes in all things WordPress & SEO. For some elaboration on the points above, Nirav has explanations beneath the infographic on his website.]
There’s a lot here. If you find yourself overwhelmed trying to implement these techniques for your own website, Rank Magic can help.
If you have comments, observations or questions, please join the conversation in the comments below.
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Google recently published some advice for local businesses on how to be more visible when people do a local search for what you do. Proper SEO for your website is essential of course, but there are some other specific things you can do to make sure people find you easily when they do a local search on Google.
Start with Google My Business
Google relies pretty heavily on your listing in Google My Business and offers some suggestions on how to make sure your listing there is optimized for local search. These suggestions will help you show up higher in the organic listings and will also improve your odds of showing up in the Local Stack.
According to Google, there are three main factors controlling whether you show up near the top in local searches:
We’re talking about keywords here; the search terms your customers are using to find what you offer. Keyword research, analysis and selection should always be an integral part of any SEO program. Make sure there are pages on your website that are clearly about the most common and most important search terms. Also make sure your pages include your location address. Be sure to use them in your listing on Google My Business and any other local sites.
The Local Stack on Google
In a local search, distance is very important; we are talking about localsearch, after all. Always specify your location, and be sure it’s consistent every place you’re listed. If you don’t see customers at your location but provide your services at their locations, you can specify that so your street address doesn’t display and send unwanted visitors to your home or private office.
This has to do with how well known your business is. Google bases this on your organic rankings from SEO and on information Google has about your business from all across the web: reviews, links, and local directory listings.
One approach we recommend to our own clients is a PowerListings subscription. That provides a convenient dashboard where you can enter all of the kinds of information Google says is important and synchronizes it across about 70 local search engines, directories and apps, including the essential Google My Business. It also presents you with all your reviews so you can effectively manage them.
All small business owners want the same things: profitability, growth, and customer satisfaction. Regardless of the type of business you own or the current size of your company, you can probably agree on this. In today’s world, it’s not enough to have a local business with an office; you need to have an online presence and rank higher on Google, Yahoo & Bing.
Consider these issues for your small business web site
Creating a search engine friendly website for your business is the first and most essential way to accomplish that.
With the growing popularity of social media, it’s also a good idea to create business profiles on the most important outlets, link them to your website and maintain an active presence there.
You need compelling calls to action, proper heading tags, and contact forms to increase conversion, make it more search engine friendly, and make it easier for your potential customers to contact you.
Your website should have an appropriate sitemap and clean and easy main navigation. These things are important because they’ll make it easier for the search engine to index your website’s pages and for your customers to easily find what they need on your site.
Contact and feedback forms are important to maintain customer satisfaction and often lead to return business or referrals.
There are several other aspects to consider; things that are not required but may still be a positive addition to your website. Features like a search function, FAQ page, and social media sharing buttons are just a few examples.