If you own a successful small business and want to grow even faster online, then what you are about to read could change the way you look at online marketing forever.
If you have been head down – bum up working on your business, then up to now, you can be forgiven for waiving off the need for online marketing.
Here’s is an interesting story that might shed some light on this.
My mother-in-law called me the other day. Her ducted heater died. It was in the middle of winter.
She needed someone to go over there and repair it.
God bless her, she is not technically savvy, doesn’t have a computer let alone any form of Internet connection. Imagine a gorgeous little Italian lady, more interested in what she can cook for you, than how to find a heating repairer.
She found an old Yellow Pages book. Yup, she still has one.
The problem was, she rang a few, but the listings were so old, many were no longer in business.
So she asked me if I knew anyone. I didn’t. So she asked.
“… canna you founda somabody to fixa for mi”. (pls read in an Italian accent 😉 )
This highlighted an interesting change in how we all find product and services these days. It is so NORMAL for us to jump on Google and search up anything we want.
In the old days, it was all about that gigantic Yellow Pages book.
If you had a business, your livelihood depended on not only having your ad listed in the Yellow book but also how prominent your ad was.
To get your phone to ring, all you had to do was place your add in the Yellow Pages.
I still recall actively using it when renovating my first house. You could easily flip through all the pages for “Bathroom Supplies”. I’d then call the business that looked the best, was closest to me, or even just to price shop. It wasn’t uncommon for me to review dozens and dozens of listings.
Did you ever do that too?
Anyway, back to my sweet mother-in-law. After I got off the phone, I hit up Google for Heater repairers.
I visited the first four websites, checked their reviews, their pricing and called each of them.
Finally, I booked one of them, who eventually repaired her heater.
So what’s the point of this story?
We all have similar experiences when looking for products or service providers online. But it is still interesting to recall how things have changed, particularly for business owners.
If you own a business today, your entire client acquisition process has changed.
Allow me to explain.
Take a minute to think about your current client acquisition process. Somewhere along the way, people enter your funnel, which steers them toward becoming your customer.
Perhaps they are referred to you via word of mouth.
Or you are paying for advertising
Whatever your current process is, it is working – to a certain extent. But what if you want to grow and get MORE customers. Where are you going to get more customers from?
To answer this, you need to consider where your potential customers are.
If you offer a heating repair service, your customers will most likely behave in much the same way I did.
The service provider who got the job to help my mother-in-law was ranked #3 in Google.
So if your business is already doing well, but you want more, you need to be on page one of Google.
Did you know that according to Chitika https://chitika.com/google-positioning-value page one of Google accounts for over 91% of the traffic, and the top three positions account for 61.5%.
This means, your target audience is on page one of Google and very rarely do they stray onto page two or beyond.
Where does your website rank? Have you checked lately?
Try searching up the main keyword your customers would use when looking for your service or product.
If your website is not listed within the top 3, then read on.
How to increase your website rank in Google
The traffic on page one of Google is much like a huger river. Within this river, there are fish that want what you are offering.
The closer you are to the river, the more fish you will attract. The further away you are, the harder it will be for your fish to see your offer (bait).
So again, if you want to grow your business to the next level, you need to get to the best fishing spot. In the world of Google, you need a top three ranking for your keyword.
It may surprise you to know, that the websites that already hold those positions in Google, didn’t achieve it through luck or simple coincidence.
Ranking well in Google requires a highly optimized online presence. This is achieved through Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short.
SEO is a strategic marketing process, which signals to Google that you are an Authority and an Expert in your marketplace that Trusts you.
Google upon learning this, will respond by increasing your rank accordingly. How high you rank will depend on many factors – including how effective your competitors SEO strategy has been.
What is SEO and Why Should you care
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a discipline and methodology that technically combines your content with your target audience as they search online for the best solution to their problem.
Okay – that was the formal definition.
Essentially, SEO handles three important aspects of your online presence.
- Your Website
- Content on your Website
- What others do with and say about your content
All SEO begins with your website. Yes, this is the technical part.
Your website needs to be technically optimized for search engines. Not only that, it needs to be fast, and work really well across all devices.
Your website must be structured and set up well. I’m not talking about how pretty and fancy it is – yes that does help a bit.
Google uses a specific criterion for assessing your website and the user experience it can deliver from a technical perspective.
Slow websites or those that don’t render well on mobile devices are not very user-friendly.
Also, websites that make it hard for Google to know what it is about, decreases the likelihood of being ranked well.
Your website needs to offer content that is truly helpful to your target audience.
This makes sense when you think about it.
If your target audience is searching online for a solution to their problem, the more you can help them, the higher their perception will be of you.
Believe it or not. Google does have the technology to recognize the level of quality that your content offers your target audience.
The content you provide your marketplace is a very important factor in how Google ranks your website.
The same applies to your website/brand.
Google can see who is talking about who online. But from an Internet perspective, this comes down to how many other websites are linking to, discussing, or sharing your content.
Each one of these electronic signals, count like votes. If many within your marketplace are talking about you in a positive manner, this will directly impact on your ranking within Google.
Although, this was a very brief, THIS is how to rank well in Google. If you want to grow your business, SEO is the modern form of marketing.
Gone are those days where all you needed to do was pop an add in the Yellow Pages book. Now it is all about SEO.
Can you carry on without optimizing your online presence?
SEO is NOT essential – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
You can also do it yourself!
Search Engine Optimization is simply another form of advertising to expose your brand to your marketplace.
I have come across many business owners, where I have advised that they didn’t need SEO. Many have heard all about it, and almost felt is was another thing they HAD to do. But that is not the case.
SEO is a long-term marketing strategy for businesses that are already doing well but are determined to do better.
If you are completely satisfied with your business position and have more business than you can handle, then you don’t need SEO.
If you have a very successful business but you want to grow faster, then SEO can deliver incredible value to your bottom line
Search Engine Optimization is a Race
Search engine optimization is a discipline that not only has a technical aspect to it, but also one that aims to constantly improve the online sentiment toward your brand.
Once you have fully optimized your website from a technical point of view, your focus is then all about your content, how it spreads online, and how your marketplace responds to it.
This takes time – it’s a marathon and not a sprint
Those websites that are enjoying higher rankings than you, have been and most likely still are actively involved in SEO.
If your competitors are outranking you, it just means they are a little further along in the race. You just need to step up your efforts to catch up.
The thing is, eventually all of page one and page two will comprise of websites that have ongoing SEO campaigns. Mark my words – in a few years time it will become harder and harder to enter in this race let alone catch up.
When you sit back and think about it, page one is simply a list of ten websites that Google is recommending to be the best for a users search query.
Their entire reputation is based on the quality of websites they serve up to users when they search.
As users, we have all learned to trust and assign credibility to the websites listed on the first page. If Google recommends these websites then they must be the best.
Getting back to the Yellow Pages comparison, imagine looking for “Bathroom Supplies”, and ONLY ten companies being listed.
It’d be like someone in Yellow Pages deciding for you which 10 businesses will be listed.
Yes, I know one could flip to the next page – but on Google, we have established that over 91% of people don’t.
They stay on Page one
While people would happily flip pages within the big Yellow book to find you, they don’t on Google. This means if you are not on page one – you are essentially not seen!
Should you want to increase your online presence in Google, you really need to rank on page one.
To get there, you need to consider employing a digital marketing strategy with SEO.