Making sure you’re listed on Google is really important and an easy enough thing to do. If you are using a web design agency, they should be doing this for you as a matter of course. If you are doing it yourself, when you finish reading the article, follow this link;
The first step is to tell Google that your web address exists.. At the time of writing, the page I linked to above looks like this.
On the right hand side of the page - the yellow box titled “here’s how to start” contains two links. Click the top one to submit your URL. A URL is your web address. Fill in the address field and the recaptcha form (this just proves you’re human) and you’re all done.
Over the course of the coming days / weeks your web site will be indexed on Google’s search engine. They don’t promise to index your web site, or offer guarantees over how long it takes, but normally you’ll begin to see your web site in searches after a few days, and we’ve never known a web site we have made not to be indexed at all.
If your location is important to your business, then you should also fill in a Google Local profile. In our business, we might want to be found as “web designers in Birmingham” or “graphic design agency in the West Midlands”. Google Local allows you to advertise your business with a comprehensive listing including photographs, a description of your business, your opening hours, directions etc. It also allows for reviews, so you could consider asking customers to review your business for you too. To get started with Local, just follow the Local link that is shown on the screen shot as “Local” or the one which says “list your business in Google Places”
Getting your listing on Google local is a little more involved, but still not difficult. Google will send you a physical letter to verify your address and the process can take some weeks. However it is worth doing, as conversion rates from Local searches are excellent.
Improving your search engine positioning is more involved. Too involved to tackle in this article in any depth but there are a few tips to get you started listed here.
1. Keep your web site up to date with fresh, original content.
2. If you have a face book page, or twitter account, use them to link back to your web site.
3. Swap links with customers and friends. Sites that have relevant links back to them are seen as more important. Don’t abuse this tip, as that will get you marked down. Google is getting better and better at tackling spam.
4. Make sure your web site follows best practice guidelines, that it is usable, readable and doesn’t contain lots of broken links and duplicate content.
5. Ask people who enjoy working with you to talk about you and link to you. This helps with the search engines and is also the basis of “social marketing”
Your web site rankings will also improve simply because your web site has been around for a while and is trusted. If you keep on top of your “house keeping” by following those really basic tips, you will see a gradual increase in the number of people finding you through the search engines.
Google also provide a free tool to help you check how many in Analytics.
You can sign up for an account by following this link http://www.google.com/analytics/ or again, if you are using a web design agency, they should be doing this, or using something similar as a matter of course. If they aren’t, then you’re probably using the wrong people. I believe that if you can’t see the results of what you are doing, then there’s little point in doing it! Nothing to do with search engines is an exact science and if you are doing a lot of online marketing, you need to be sure that you’re spending your time and money in the right places.
For most web sites, an hour or two a week of writing content, checking your stats and your progress and planning what to do next is absolutely plenty. It’s a day per working month and done properly, it will be the cheapest and most effective marketing you can do.
If you have any queries about what I’ve written here, or you need help with your online marketing, then please feel free to contact me with any questions.