More than 1.6 billion websites are out there, and more than a 100,000 new domain names are registered each day. Most of those websites aren’t that important: Many lie dormant, having not been updated in years, and others are niche sites that are visited by few, if any, people. But a few sites stand out from the rest by nature of their popularity and importance. And no site is as important as Google.
Google’s incredible power
Google wasn’t the first website; in fact, it couldn’t have been. Google set out to solve the fact that there were so many websites and so few ways for internet users to find what they were looking for. Google, along with other early search engines, solved that by letting users input search terms or ask questions in its search box. Google would then generate a list of links to sites that it thought the user would want to see. Google wasn’t the only site doing this, but it was the best: It left ads off of its simple homepage and gained a reputation for accurate and efficient searching.
Eventually, Google’s competition began to crumble. Today, Google has a stranglehold on the search engine market. By some reports, Google has as much as 90 percent of the search engine market. Its closest competitor, Microsoft’s Bing, has only about 3 percent.
And Google has only grown more powerful over time. Its progress in local search, along with the rise of smartphones, has made Google search results extremely important even to the local institutions and businesses that could once safely ignore the big, international internet. Today, local search results are the new Yellow Pages. Businesses can’t afford to ignore their rankings with Google.
Making Google work for your business
Even the most local of businesses must have a presence in Google search results to keep bringing in customers. With smartphone use as widespread as it is, bad rankings could mean that your customers will drive or walk right by you as they follow Google Maps directions to a better-ranking competitor. You need Google to work for you, not against you. But how can you do that?
The answer is something called “search engine optimization,” or “SEO” for short. You have probably heard of SEO, even if you’re not quite sure what it is or what it entails. Ultimately, say the SEO experts at LinkGraph, SEO is a conceptually simple thing that is hard to do in practice. The simple idea is this: You want Google and the other search engines to like your business’ website as much as possible, so you should make sure that you’re doing whatever you can to optimize your web presence for Google’s consumption.
In practice, this means everything from link-building tactics to careful copywriting that strikes the perfect keyword density for every relevant search phrase (and all of their alternately worded permutations) that potential customers might use to find businesses like yours. It means getting into your website’s HTML code and making sure that your links are properly set up (and, when necessary, hidden from Google), your metadata and file names worded properly, and your site map readily accessible to search engines’ web crawlers.
Naturally, these aren’t things that most small business owners instinctively know how to do. It takes years of training and practice to master the art and the science of search engine optimization, which is why you should consider outsourcing the job to experts in digital marketing and SEO.
With the right professionals helping you out, you can rest assured that your rank with Google will rise and your customer base will expand. Meanwhile, you’ll have time to focus on what you do best. Hire the right team, and make Google work for you.