You’ve built (or had built) a shiny new website and you’re excited about getting it out there in front of people who may want to buy your products, avail your services or simply read what you’ve got to say. But after a few weeks or months of it being live, you’ve still had nobody visit it other than the people you’ve promoted it to directly.
Concerned that your website could be missing out on vital organic traffic from Google and other search engines, you decide to look for it yourself using some of the search terms you think it may appear under.
And that’s when it hits you, you can’t find your website for love nor money and apparently, it doesn’t appear in Google anywhere.
There are many reasons why this could happen and you shouldn’t despair because I’m about to give you a few pointers, which will help get your website featuring in Google search results going forward.
Google Webmaster Tools
Search engine spiders crawl the Internet and look for new websites all the time. However, they can sometimes take their time discovering them, so it’s always best to tell Google directly that your new site exists.
The best way to do this is via Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) – a suite of tools designed for webmasters, like you and I. As well as allowing you to inform Google of your website’s existence, it also boasts a plethora of features to help boost your site’s search engine optimisation (SEO).
Here’s what you need to do as a minimum:
1. Go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools and login using your Google account. If you don’t already have one then you’ll need to register one.
2. Once logged in you’ll need to add your website. Click ‘Add Site’ and enter the full URL as shown below. Be sure to do this twice: with and without the ‘www’ prefix
3. Now you’ll need to verify your site and prove that you actually own it. You can do this in one of several ways and GWT will give you a recommended method and several alternative methods. They all achieve the same purpose, so choose whichever you feel most comfortable with.
4. Open your newly added and verified site from the main dashboard and down the left hand side look for ‘Crawl’. Under this submenu you’ll see ‘Sitemaps’ and this is where you can submit your own website’s sitemap to Google, so that its spiders know exactly how your site is laid out. My own sitemap was created using a WordPress plugin, but there are many other online resources to help you make one.
Search Engine Optimisation
When the search engine spiders crawl your site they are looking for meta content, keywords and other relevant information, so they can report back to the main Google database what they’ve found. If your site is lacking in any of these then its database entry may not reflect its content or purpose.
While littering your site with keywords is definitely not best practice, it absolutely has to have some. Otherwise, how can you expect Google to rank it in searches? As a rough guideline, try and have your keywords in the title of your page, subheadings and naturally and evenly distributed throughout.
Whatever you do don’t try and shoehorn keywords in where they don’t look right. It’ll not just annoy your readers, but Google won’t appreciate it either. We keep hearing that ‘content is king’ and that’s never been more true than today.
Google doesn’t always discover the latest and greatest content and sometimes has to rely on signals from social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. If a particular article or piece of content is getting a lot of attention in terms of shares, likes comments, etc. Google may choose to rank it more favourably.
In a similar vein, content that attracts a high bounce rate i.e. a visitor clicks through to it and then leaves almost immediately may be frowned upon by Google. This is because the visitor obviously didn’t find what they were expecting when they reached the content and so Google may decide that it shouldn’t be ranked so highly for that particular keyword or phrase.
Providing your readers with high-quality content and information, which makes them want to come back again and again, is fundamental for improving your site’s chances of appearing in the Google results pages.
If you hire me to set-up and design your WordPress website, then this step is included, free of charge – get in touch for more information.
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
December’s here and that means you should be focussing on one thing: your social media strategy for 2015, of course! Okay, so there’s the small matter of Christmas to get out of the way first, but that shouldn’t stop you from thinking about where your social media marketing efforts are going to be focussed next year.
But with so many social media platforms available, how can you be sure which one is right for your business?
Facebook is the largest, Twitter is the timeliest and Google+ (whether you believe it or not) is thought to have an impact on search rankings. Then there’s Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Tumblr to consider. And you should really consider them; especially, for example, as Tumblr has just been revealed as the fastest-growing social platform at present.
So with all that in mind, and to prevent you wasting your time on platforms that perhaps aren’t the right fit for your business, we’ve broken them down to help you decide which ones you’ll leverage.
It may no longer be the fastest-growing social network but it’s still the biggest (by quite a margin). Therefore, Facebook should definitely still be a part of your marketing mix in 2015.
Facebook is great for engaging with your audience and building a community presence, but you need to ensure that you offer real value in your posts. A mistake that some businesses make is to use Facebook as a one-way advertising platform – something that will see your page ‘unliked’ in a heartbeat.
Despite its simplicity, people still love Twitter. There’s something alluring, almost exciting, about expressing yourself in 140-characters or less.
Similar to Facebook, Twitter affords the best results when it’s utilised for two-way communications. If you want people to retweet your updates, comment on them and actively follow you then you need to engage them and reciprocate.
Twitter works best when you post timely updates that contain topic-based news and/or up to the minute insights.
Can you afford not to use a social network that’s associated with the world’s largest search engine? After all, if the other social networks have the ability to impact search engine rankings then Google+ must surely be the king.
Furthermore, the fact that Google also own Youtube means that integration between the two is absolutely seamless. So if your business lends itself nicely to video-based content, Google+ could be the social network you’ve been looking for.
LinkedIn is probably the most business-focussed of all the social networks we’ll talk about and the fact that your contacts are referred to as ‘connections’ shows the importance it places on professional networking.
Perhaps best suited for B2B, LinkedIn provides a great platform on which you can discuss and share industry insights. Don’t, however, expect to see amusing cat videos though as LinkedIn is all about peer networking and industry insights.
Defining your message for your LinkedIn audience will be the key to your success and brazen self-promotion won’t go down as well as posts that provide real value.
The Best of the Rest
Tumblr, as we’ve already mentioned, is growing fast and tends to attract a much younger audience than most other social networks. Bear this in mind if you’re thinking of using it and ensure your posts appeal to the demographics that you’re targeting.
Pinterest and Instagram are almost completely visual networks and so if your business expresses itself effectively through images, these two could be for you. Pinterest is also very popular among women, so if they’re your target market, you could be missing a trick by not having a Pinterest presence. Instagram, on the other hand, tends to appeal more to urbanites who like to share their daily experiences through photos.
The key to social media marketing is achieving the perfect campaign mix. That means the perfect mix of networks, posts and audiences. Adapt your style according to the platform and the people you’re trying to reach.
Also, remember that the best results will be realised from genuine two-way interactions. Therefore, if you’re looking to capitalise, be prepared to engage with your audience and provide them with genuinely valuable updates.
I wrote a post on my blog about things a blogger must be, and my first point is that a blogger must be an ‘imperfect info conduit’. That is, a blogger is not required to know everything about his niche. He’s only expected to be able to make in-depth research and deliver quality information to his/her audience.
Google plus is one social networking site I really had problems with. I had been on Google plus just as any normal person would. Not until I learned that a business person has to always tweak his/her G+ profile until it is perfectly ‘marketing-optimized’.
I challenged myself and decided I was going to study Google+ hard, and thus become an expert!
I’ve therefore decided to share my experience with others like my former self, who are not really utilizing the networking and marketing potentials of Google plus to the fullest, and also to G+ pros who might still learn one or two things.
Everything about Google plus/+1 cannot be fully exhausted in just one post – I can write a 30-page eBook on it. So I’ve decided to pick on the aspects of Google+ that are salient, and vital to a business person’s marketing and networking success.
Your Google Plus profile page is the one place you can easily and conveniently manage your entire internet networking and marketing. It’s a big time-saver; give it your best shot.
In your profile page, you’ll be able to include detailed information about yourself.
We have sub-categories under the ‘Profile’ tab such as ‘Posts’, ‘About’, ‘Photos’, ‘Videos’ and ‘+1’.
I believe the ‘About’ page should be concentrated on mostly.
Here you can add everything you want to be known about yourself, but when it comes to business, details should be kept professional and not too personal.
- Tagline: include your tagline. A headline that describes who you exactly are and what your page is all about.
My G+ tagline reads; “I produce fresh content; hire me for any kind of writing. Stick around to learn more.”
- Introduction: this is where you put a little about yourself so people know they’ve found the correct you.
You can also add links here. I put two links here; one linking to my home page, and another to my ‘about me’ page.
- Occupation: this is where you include what you do in your profile. Visitors should easily and readily know what you do.
- Education: include your formal education. It’s also very important even for a business person.
- Employment: just as it sounds, fill in your employment details.
- Bragging rights: may include feats achieved; awards won, certificates earned, etc. You should include things that portray you as a professional.
- Links: include your links here. Add more than one link – probably your home page and any other page you would like to showcase.
You should also add other ways people can recognize and find you and your business online; links to your twitter acct, your Facebook page, LinkedIn ID, etc. This can be done in the ‘Other Profiles’ tab.
- Add other personal information as you deem fit, and as much as is allowed on G+. Stuffs like marital status and phone number.
In the ‘Photos’ tab, you should upload photos of yourself and your business – your products and services. As many as you can.
Few adjustments can be made here to suit your needs. For example, you can allow your circles to tag you in a picture.
Tip: Upload very detailed photos about your business; your business team and other behind the scene photos. It gives your customers a sense of familiarity with your business, and in turn, earns you their trusts.
Plus only few people have the patience to read a whole post, but everyone can see a photo – needs just a single view by the way. No wonder Pinterest grows at such rapid rate.
You should also employ a professional cover photo for your G+ profile; one that is so detailed and explanatory of your business.
The ‘Videos’ section allows you to upload as many videos as you can. You should include information videos about your products and services; saves non-readers much trouble.
Tip: uploading photos and videos keeps people engaged and will result in more time on your profile and more visitors on your website. Make sure the tab is visible on your profile.
The ‘+1’s’ tab shows posts that have been +1’d (or recommended) by you.
You can allow this tab to be visible on your profile too.
The +1 button is the most important internet marketing tool on the G+ profile page. Proper usage will drive traffic to your website.
Google +1 Button
This is one button you must have and utilize very well on your website. It’s a no brainer!
I won’t be going into the details of how to configure the +1 button, or how to install it on your website. Let’s leave that to the web designers.
I’ll only be highlighting few uses and benefits;
- It is used for public recommendation and sharing, and it is not confined to G+ alone.
- Users who +1 your content are indirectly recommending them to their followers, who might in turn +1 it, and so on. A great networking potential and more traffic there!
- Can be tracked and managed. Your +1’d posts can always be tracked and managed; edited or even deleted.
- Can be used to monitor how your reputation builds up, as you can use it to get metrics from Google Analytics and Google webmaster tools.
This will also help you understand your audience better; as you’ll be able to see which of your posts are +1’d the most. You’ll also b able to compare the +1’s you get on your page with that of other websites – or other pages on your website.
As you can now see, if you never knew; a site without the ‘+1’ button these days is like a marathon race participant taking a three times longer route than usual – that might even lead to a dead end.
Google Plus Page
Apart from having a Google+ profile, if you have a business you really want to promote online, then you should consider having a G+ page. A page dedicated to your business or your brand, just as on Facebook.
Pages interact in the Google+ world much as regular Google+ profile owners do—they can add people to circles (once those people have added them), edit their profile, share things in Google+, +1 stuffs on the web, and create and join Hangouts.
Your page can be marketing-optimized in the same way as described above for the personal Google+ profile, with only few differences.
The most important aspects here are the ‘tagline’, ‘profile photo’ and ‘links’ – and other tabs you feel are important to you.
The steps to getting a Google+ business page will be described below, and really, it’s very easy to set up.
- Go to http://www.google.com/+/business/ to sign up.
- Click on ‘Create your Google+ page’.
- Login with your personal Google account if you haven’t already.
- Pick out of the four categories in the next page.
- Enter all information asked for.
- Make a tagline and a profile photo, and go ahead with adding all other necessary info.
Google plus has so many advantages for users, especially marketers and other business persons – benefits that surpass that of any other social media and networking sites.
It is naturally SEO-endowed and it easily gets all your online networking and marketing covered.
It also gives a ready-made format for a great online resume, and allows one to be easily found too.
Its recommendation and sharing button can be easily used around the web without necessarily logging in. And +1’d posts are better picked up by search engines.
Kindly share other Google plus optimization tips you know with us in the comments box, or your experience with Google plus so far.
Yomi-Alliyu Oludami is a freelance writer and a blogger in the writing niche. He is the founder of www.lucrativepen.com. You can hire him for fresh and quality contents via the ‘Hire Me’ page on his blog, or via his email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also follow him on twitter @oludami_LP.
How many of you have put your name into Google?
I admit it, I have and I’m not embarrassed about saying so… it’s a good thing, and I am going to tell you why now!
If you run your own business, or even if you’re an employee you need to know what’s out there about you on the world wide web. One way of finding out what’s out there is to do a search of your name. It’s not vain, it’s sensible!
I have been using the Internet since the late 1990’s (I know, I don’t look that old…) so the amount of information someone could possibly find about me online that might still be hanging around since I was 18 years old is worrying. Not only because at 18 years old I wasn’t quite as careful about what information I shared online, it was new, I didn’t know what I know now.
When I grew up and realised the error of my ways (posting in forums, chatting to random people in chat rooms etc…) I decided it was a good idea to regularly Google my name and check that all the information about me online wasn’t going to land me in some awkward situations. So go on, Google my name and see what you come up with?
I expect the first thing which will come up is Jo Harrison the tattooist… but I don’t think there will be anything incriminating, if there is please let me know?
The good things that I expect to find when Googling myself is my website, my Facebook page, my Google+ page, my Twitter account, my LinkedIn profile… I can’t really stop these from showing up in the results, but other things like personal forum posts if deleted will soon disappear out of the Google cache hopefully.
The Internet is a great place to find out what someone is like, and if you want to make sure your online profile is free of skeletons then you need to Google your name, your business and anything else related to you to see what information can be found about you. It’s the sensible thing to do, as well as checking your privacy settings on social networking sites such as Facebook.
A good way of controlling what is said about you online is to be more conscious about what you’re putting online in the first place… so when you update Facebook from your smartphone while you’re out drinking with friends, maybe a bit worse for wear, remember it might not just be your friends who will see your updates, especially if your privacy settings aren’t quite up to scratch. It’s all about thinking before you post… Now go and search your name and see what’s in your Google closet!