As a business, one of your biggest concerns is getting noticed. If no one notices your business, then you can’t possibly hope to build a network of customers that will buy your products and use your services. Just like an empty store on the high street, your business is going to be forgotten if you don’t promote it to people and get them to take a look at what you offer. This is why making friends with Google (the search engine, not the actual company!) can be a huge boon to your business. This is because Google ranks websites based on their relevancy and popularity, meaning that a high rating directly translates into popularity.
Friends with benefits
Many people don’t understand the benefits of ranking highly on Google until they learn how search engine optimisation actually works. Google is, you guessed it, a search engine. It is used roughly 3.5 billion times in a single day by internet users—that’s a lot of searches! You probably use Google at least once a day if you’re tech-savvy or even if you just use the internet now and then. So when you search something on Google, it will look through its database of websites and little snippets of information it gathers from them. For instance, if you type in a common search term such as “new music”, it will give you results based on the most relevant music websites that are popular right now.
Not only that, but Google will personalise your results based on your current location and the language you’re using. This makes Google’s search results relevant to the user who made the search, increasing the chances that the user finds something useful among the results. If Google likes your website and your content, then you have a higher chance of appearing at the top or even on the first page of a search result, thus increasing your exposure dramatically.
As you might expect, this has a massive effect on your business’s success rate. With just a bit of optimisation on your website, you could potentially become one of the top 10 results when people search specific terms related to your website. For instance, if you specialise in reviewing bottled water, then every time someone types a search term like “best bottled water” or “cheapest bottled water” your results will appear and give you a lot of exposure.
Don’t upset Google
As with most friends, if you upset them, annoy them or abuse their benefits, then they’re going to hate you and they won’t speak to you ever again. In Google’s case, if you violate the rules or do something they don’t like, you’ll be blacklisted and your site will cease to appear in search results. Even if you’re the number one website for a specific keyword, upsetting Google could completely remove you from their search engine results.
This is because Google doesn’t take kindly to people who try to abuse the system. There are many ways to game the system and appear higher than you normally would by using what’s called black hat methods. These aren’t illegal (most of the time) but they are frowned upon because it artificially inflates your search ranking. Google’s role is to provide users with the best internet experience they possibly can. This means giving search results that are fun, interesting and informative, so if they find that a low-quality website has jumped up the rankings using black hat methods, they will instantly blacklist that website.
For a long time, keywords and linking were major factors in determining what a good website was. As a result, one black hat method people used was to spam keywords all across their websites. Some websites were blatant about it, but other websites were far more subtle, using invisible text hidden in the website and dropping thousands of keywords and links in order to bump up their search relevancy. As Google continues to refine its algorithms, these methods will eventually phase out and Google will manually blacklist websites that try to abuse its friendship.
In short, don’t annoy Google if you plan to create a solid relationship with the search giant. There are, of course, some situations where your site will be blacklisted due to an accident or a slanderous report from a rival website owner. Don’t be discouraged by this and contact Google as soon as possible to remedy the problem.
Knowing friends of friends
Of course, getting to know Google is difficult if you don’t have any connections with them or if you don’t know what Google likes. There are many experienced companies such as Digitalico who offer turnkey solutions for all of your search engine optimisation needs. Not only will they help you optimise your website, they’ll also help you build links for a marketing campaign and even give you an analysis of how your website is doing.
Third-party services are a great way to get your website started and become listed on Google. However, that’s a costly option that might not be available to small business owners that are just getting started. The other method of getting to know Google is actually through social media. Google’s search algorithms are smart and they will scour through every single social media post and message that is made publically available. They also automatically connect your website with your business name, meaning that anytime someone mentions your company name or social media handle, you’ll get a few points in Google’s database to bump up your search ranking.
In other words, get on social media and start using it to promote your company, write messages about your latest products or services, and get involved with different communities. The more people talk about your business, the more attention Google will give you.
There’s no fast lane
Becoming good friends with Google depends on a number of factors. However, unless you’re willing to risk getting blacklisted for using black hat methods to improve your ranking, it’s going to be a long time before Google notices you and gives you the attention you want. It all comes down to how quickly you grow your website. If you suddenly get a surge of popularity and you’re providing fantastic products, great service and original content, then Google will love you forever and you’ll always be at the top of the search rankings because you are helping to improve the internet.
It’s important to remember that Google’s algorithms and search bots are constantly being updated, improved and fixed. Perhaps you hear from someone that Google is giving priority to websites that are mobile-friendly. You might rush off to utilise the new SEO trick and speak to your web designer about making your website fit on mobile devices. However, you shouldn’t be doing this because Google likes it. Instead, you should make your website mobile-friendly for the sake of the user. Anything you do that benefits the user and gives them a better experience on your website will contribute to your success on Google’s search listings.
When focusing on search engine optimisation, just keep in mind that everything you do has to benefit the user in some way. If you stray too far and only update your website whenever an article is released that details new SEO tricks, then you won’t get very far and you’ll constantly be a mid-tier website. You don’t need to research new tricks, you don’t need to study how Google works and you don’t need to utilise underhanded methods to get its attention. All you need to do is focus on providing the best website you can.