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Search Engine Optimisation
Your website is up and running, now you can finally sit back and enjoy your free visitors from Google. Right?

Wrong!

To get ranked in Google you will need to make sure that your website is ‘worthy’ enough. For the visitor AND for Google.

In this article, I am going to explain the basics of how you can get ranked in Google.


What does Google want?


Before we get started, you will need to understand Google’s mission.

Meme to explain what Google wants.

From their 2013’s mission statement:

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”


They want users to find the information they are looking for as efficient as possible so that they can get on with their life’s.

So as a business, you will need to understand that your website:

  • will have to provide content that is valuable to your visitors, and

  • will have to present this content in a form that is understandable for Google.


So, you will have to create content that is easy to digest for both people and machines.


Now, the basics of SEO can be divided into 3 parts:

  1. The creation of content,

  2. The technique used to present this content, and

  3. The online reputation of your website.


Part #1: Create valuable content


Users are looking for content that fulfils the need that they have. This could either be a search for information, or a search for a product/service.

As a website owner, you will need to fulfil this need by providing valuable content.

So to get ranked in Google, you will need to create content that is valuable to your potential customers. The more, the better.

Your homepage and product page will be to most important pages you want to get ranked for. So you should prioritise these. For each of these pages pick a search term you want to focus for, and expand your content based on this search term.

Then, you can create new pages for other search terms you might want to rank for. You can either expand your product pages or create a blog. Being ranked on long term search queries is the main reason why people start blogging. You can create valuable content for your potential customers without having to worry too much about your site structure.

Now, the most important thing for content is that you create it with the user in mind.


Part #2: Technique of your website


Once you created some content on your website, you will have to start thinking about the technique of how to present this to Google.


Remember, you want your content to be picked up by Google’s crawlers so that they can analyse it and rank it. You want to make it Google as easy as possible, by following the guidelines.

Things you can consider to get better rankings:


And there’s much, much more.


Too much? No need to be scared away. The key takeaway is that once you created great content, you will need to make sure the Google crawlers will be able to read it as well.

It is easy for a user to see paragraphs. However, as the Google crawlers don’t have eyes you will need to instruct them by adding header tags.


Part #3: Building links


Google’s crawlers find their way across the web by following links. It is how the world wide web is connected.

Now if a lot of links are pointing to a similar URL, Google is likely to rank that URL higher in search results. After all, if that many websites are endorsing that URL, it must have some great content on it, right?

Now, wait! Don’t leave and start asking other websites for a link to your site straight away. There’s no point. Think about it: if someone endorses you for your work, wouldn’t it be better if it comes from your boss directly rather than from 10 random people you found on the street?

The same works for link building. There’s no point in building links from sites that don’t have a good reputation. Google won’t value them. Also, when there are a lot of invaluable links linking to your website you risk being black-listed by Google.

So, the key is to build valuable links from websites with a good reputation. Thinks about being interviewed as an expert on a news site, or being endorsed by one of your top clients.


Conclusion


To get your site ranked by Google, you will have to worry about three parts:

  • The creation of valuable content

  • The technique you use to present this content, and

  • Links (endorsements) from other websites to your content.


If you execute these parts correctly, you will notice that your content will be ranked higher by Google over time.

Meme to describe SEO long term planning.


Search Engine Optimisation is a long term process. Especially when you just launched a new website it can take weeks or even months to build up. Google is all about presenting valuable content to its users. It doesn’t want to rank invaluable content as it will mean the user won’t be using Google to find the information in the future.

So, you will have to build up the reputation of your website first. Google is able to see if a website provides valuable content. If a user clicks on one of the results and re-does the search a few minutes later, Google knows the website didn’t provide valuable information.

Getting ranked in Google is all about creating valuable content for both the user and the search engine.

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Other Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation
Whether you are a freelancer, SME or a large enterprise, every business should have Google My Business (GMB) listing.

A listing on Google My Business is free and can give you lots of benefits. You will be able to collect reviews, give your customers valuable information and new customers will be able to find you more easily.

Screenshot of a Google My Business listing on Google Search.


How to get started


When you go to Google My Business website, you can sign up with your business details.


Google will then need to verify your address. You will receive a postcard in the mail with a verification code that you will need enter in your account. It can take several weeks before this card can arrive in the mail (Google is busy..).


Based on experience, it often happens that the card doesn’t arrive. Just keep an eye on it and re-apply for the card if you haven’t received it within a few months. Be patient, eventually, you will get it.


Now here are some tips about how you can get everything out of your listing.


Tip #1: Create the account with a company email address


So you hired a marketing manager to do this kind of stuff for you? They might leave your business and what’s left? An account that no one can access anymore, as you don’t have the login details.


This type of accounts should be owned by the business. Best is to create them with a company account, like info@ or contact@ to prevent any issues in the future.


GMB allows you to add different users to each location, so you the marketing manager can still access the account with her/his own details.


If you have multiple locations you can even give location managers access to just the location they’re working in.


Tip #2: Add all of your locations


Which brings us to our next tip: make sure you add all of your locations. This includes your head office and any other locations you might have (like shops).


Adding all of your locations will give you more exposure on Google Search. Business listings can appear on generic search terms, based on the locations users are. So adding more business listings will expand your reach.


Tip #3: Add all of your details


Make sure you add all the details that are relevant to your business.


The more details you add, the more likely Google is to show your listing in the search results.


You can add your business phone number, opening hours, order information, any promotions you might run and much more. Add as much information as you can, including pictures.


Visitors will be able to make suggestions if any details are missing or incorrect. So, make sure that all the details are up-to-date to keep in full control of your listings.


Also, make sure that you interact and periodically post any updates on what is happening in your company. As always, Google will reward businesses that are frequently posting up-to-date content. So this will lead to your listing being shown more often.


Tip #4: Link GMB with your Google Ads account


An absolute must if you are a Google Ads advertiser.


Linking your Google My Business account to your Google Ads account will enable you to use the location extensions.


These ad extensions will give you the ability to show your business address with your Google text ads. This will make local businesses stand out, which potentially will increase the click-through rate (CTR) of your campaigns. This will also have a positive impact on your Quality Score.


By adding the location extensions you will also be able to promote your business on Google search partners, which include Google Maps.


Tip #5: Start collecting reviews


Now, once you have your business listing up and running it’s the perfect time to start collecting reviews.


Reviews have a positive impact on how often Google shows your business listing. It will also help you to stand out versus your competitors.


Once you start collecting reviews you will also have to ability to write a comment, which will give you the opportunity to thank your reviewer.


Extra: help, you are getting fake reviews


O shit, you received a negative review and think it might be fake.


Now, the first step would be to investigate if this is really a fake review or just an unhappy customer. First, go to Google’s policy to see if this review is really in violation of the policy.


Then, if the review IS a violation of the policy, you can take further action. There are 2 ways to flag an inappropriate review. The first one is within the search results and the second one is from within the GMB. Make sure you use the second option. It is far more powerful, as it shows Google that you are the person that owns the review.


When you scroll to the reviews in the dashboard there are 3 dots in the top right of the negative review. When you click this you get a menu and you can click ‘Flag as inappropriate’.


Now, you will have to wait. It can take around 3 days for Google to follow up and once you received an email you can respond with additional details of why you believe the review is fake.

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Search Engine Optimisation
Since the beginning of (search engine) times, meta tags have been a big part of SEO.

Back in the days, they were one of the most important factors to influence search engines rankings.

Until… people started to abuse them to get these higher rankings.

After that, Google made the meta tags less important. However, they should still play a role in your SEO strategy and they can also help you improve your Google Ads Quality Score.


What are meta tags?


Meta tags are hidden within the source code of your website. Normal website visitors won’t = be able to see them on the page. They give more information about the page, which is being used when search engine bots are scanning your page.


Google can also pick up information from the meta tags to show within the Google search results. Remember those clickable headlines and the description when searching for your site on Google? Quite possibly the content of these is being pulled from your meta tags.


In a way, you can use the meta tags to improve the click-through rate of your organic listings. By tweaking your meta tags you might be able to make your organic listing more appealing so that more people will visit your site.


Optimising your meta tags to improve your Google rankings.

Let’s have a look at the most common and important meta tags:


1. Title tag


The title tag is the headline that shows up on your organic listing. It’s the part that is clickable. When you visit your web page it will also show up as the name of the page in the browser window.


Within Google the space for the headline is limited, so make sure you limit the number of characters that you use for the title tag as well. Make sure you stay within 60 characters.


Within your source code the title tag looks as follow:

<title>Your title tag</title>


2. Description tag


The description tag is the part where you write down what the page is about. In Google, this will pop up just underneath your title tag. If you compare SEO to Google Ads this would be the description line.


Make sure you write this for the user. It’s not necessary to put keyword spam in here. Weirdly written descriptions can have a negative impact on your organic rankings, as it’s less likely that people will click on your listing. You can also use a call to action in here (as in “read more”).


As 
recommended by Moz.com, your description tag should not exceed 300 characters.


Within your source code the description tag looks as follow:

<meta name=”description” content=”Your description of the page.”/>


3. Keyword tag


Of the three this is the less important one. None of the content in the keyword tag will be shown in Google, and Google barely the value of these tags. Reason for this is that (as said before) back in the day’s people filled these keyword tags with spam in order to try and improve their rankings.


By filling these correctly you might give Google a bit of a better understanding of what your page is about. Limit yourself to the most important keywords tho.


The keyword tag looks as follow:

<meta name=”keywords” content=”keyword1, keyword2, keyword3, etc.”/>

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Google Ads, Search Engine Optimisation

First of all, this article does not intend to give the impression that there’s a direct link between your organic rankings and AdWords Google Ads.

Google keeps paid and organic completely separated from each other. This means that advertising on Google Ads will not give you a higher organic listing.

However, here are 3 ways how Google Ads could indirectly influence your organic rankings.

1. Using Google Ads data as a guide to improve your SEO


Since the moment that Google Analytics stopped showing search query data for Google organic, it became a lot harder for SEO specialists to find guidance to boost their organic rankings.

SEO drowning asking Google to help him.

If you’re running Google Ads campaigns you have a access to a great deal of keyword data. You can use this for your SEO strategy. Keywords that are performing well for Google Ads (decent search volume, high conversion rate) are likely to perform well for organic as well.

Also, if you enable and use the paid & organic report in Google Ads you’ll be able to see which keywords you’re organically listed for (alongside your text ads).


2. More visits from Google Ads lead to more mentions


Not just limited to Google AdWords, but also all other sources that send traffic to your site.

The more visitors you get to your site, the more likely these visitors will share your content across the web.

This can potentially help your link building and grow your online authority. This can then help you to improve your organic rankings.


3. Higher CTR from previous visitors


Once people visited your site through Google Ads they’re (hopefully) familiar with your brand.

If they continue to search for terms that are related to your website and see your organic listing, they’re more likely to click. This will improve your CTR for that search query.  This is one of the (many) factors that Google take into account to decide the organic rankings.

The inspiration for this article came from Rand Fishin’s whiteboard Friday about How Google AdWords (PPC) Does and Doesn’t Affect Organic Results. I highly recommend watching as well.

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