Getting out there on Google

Businesses with a clear SEO strategy are most likely to succeed at optimising their presence on Google. 

Google is a ubiquitous presence in our daily lives. It’s the top website in Australia and has achieved a level of worldwide word-of-mouth promotion other corporations can only dream of – ‘Google’ is even listed as a verb in the Oxford Dictionary.

Most in business will be aware that they need to practice the art of search engine optimisation (SEO) to gain any traction for their website on Google.

Getting onto page one of Google for your keyword search terms is the ultimate goal for any business.

Being on page one means you will get in front of potential customers right at the purchase research and decision making stage of the process.

With Google constantly changing its algorithms, for most businesses it is an elusive process. As a business, what can you do to make sure you’re in the best position to climb the way to the top? For 2014, it’s going to be all about the content and making sure you are across social media.

Content is king

The development of quality content is vital. Your content needs to be in-depth, diverse, and updated on a regular basis. It’s not about cramming keywords into the copy; it’s about writing organically about your business, with value and purpose.

Don’t forget that user experience is key. Writing for the user experience will not only assist your search engine rankings, it will increase your website engagement.

Add a news section to your website, and ideally update this once a week with content of value such as industry news, staff news and case studies. Every business has something to say – make the time to develop content that people will love to read.

Get social

Ensuring you have a solid spread across your social media activities, and driving comments, likers, retweets and so on, helps to show Google you are a legitimate business. It’s like a tick of approval in Google’s eyes.

Developing your Facebook page and LinkedIn company page is a great start. If you are more advanced, then ensuring you are across Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram will also be highly beneficial.

Think about your social media strategy, and which social media platforms align with your business. Make sure you have a solid growth strategy in place, as the more activity you have across your social media, the better your SEO profile will become.

SEO for mobile devices

There has been a surge in search engine usage across mobile devices this year, and this will only increase in 2014. Google has recently released new ranking guidelines for search results via mobile devices.

Google supports three mobile SEO options:

  • responsive sites (recommended);
  • separate mobile and desktop sites; and
  • websites serving different html depending on device type across the same set of URLs.

As long as your mobile site is in one of these three formats then Google will look favourable upon your business. If your mobile website is not, then it’s time to review your website structure to avoid missing out on valuable mobile device traffic.

White hat practices

Google isn’t a fan of sneaky techniques to get to the top of search engines. The term ‘white hat’ simply refers to the use of SEO techniques that abide by Google’s guidelines.

The opposite of these are ‘black hat’ techniques which, while effective in the short term, will at some point get your website penalised or blacklisted.

The whole premise of Google is that it’s a level playing field, and those businesses that spend time building their profile will be rewarded. In 2012 and 2013 there were massive changes in the way that Google views the links built to business websites, and a number of websites dropped down Google’s rankings overnight by not sticking to the rules.

Moving in 2014, Google’s algorithm will become more sophisticated. It’s vital to make sure you work with a reputable SEO company if you are utilising one to build your links, or it could damage your business.

Prepare now for 2014

One important word to remember when it comes to SEO is ‘diversification’.

Don’t put you eggs into one basket – just having the content alone won’t get you to the top. You need to diversify across the range of techniques to show the search engines you mean business.

Renae Lunjevich is the managing director for Bang Online Marketing.