Like most business owners, you probably would like to see your business grow by bringing in more paying customers. Thankfully, you can leverage the power of big companies like Google to help you do that.
As the world’s most popular search engine, Google offers many opportunities for people to find exactly what they are looking for. For business owners, this means that when people in your area search for products or services you offer, you can use Google to showcase your business above your competitors.
Here are four ways you can use the power of Google’s engine to bring your business to the top of the ranks:
1. Paid Listings
It is probably no surprise to you that you can pay to have your business listed in prime areas of the Google search results page.
Take a look at the image below and you’ll notice under the title of these websites is a row of green text that begins with the word “Ad”.
How it Works
These law firms pay Google for the privilege of showing up in these prime positions whenever someone searches for a personal injury lawyer. Different firms will show up depending on the searcher’s location as Google wants to bring up the most relevant results.
At this point the user has not even scrolled down the page. Not all search results or searches for every industry will have this many ads. Law is a particularly competitive industry which has many firms competing for prime online real estate.
In competitive industries, there is more online real estate that can be claimed through paid listings, however, they can also cost a substantial amount.
In this example, anytime someone clicks on an ad, that firm will be paying approximately $136 (regardless of whether they win the business or not)
- Prime real estate on the Google search results page
- The Google Ad network is also featured in the sidebars of other people’s websites and your ad can show up there at no additional cost
- Fantastic way to generate quick sales and increase your brand exposure
- Can very quickly target thousands of people
- Mistakes made when setting up your campaigns can cost you more than your budget allows
- Small budgets can be used quickly, especially if in a competitive niche
- There is no guarantee of a sale
- People who visit your website after clicking on an ad are more likely to leave without engaging any further than those who visit your site after clicking on an unpaid listing
- Many people use adblocking extensions or skip paid results when searching, so your ads may not reach as many of your desired audience
- Make sure you combine any paid campaign with an unpaid, organic campaign as well.
- Make sure you know what you are paying for. Are you paying when Google simply displays your ads or when someone clicks through to your website?
- In most cases it saves you money to have an expert set up and run your campaign
- Keep track of how your ads perform though make sure to give them at least a week or so to settle before making adjustments
If you would like to leverage paid listings as part of your digital strategy,
2. YouTube & videos that rank
Posting videos on YouTube is a strategy that can work very well for leveraging Google’s search algorithm. As Google owns YouTube, it makes sense they would promote videos on their platform rather than other platforms, like Vimeo.
How it works:
There are a few ways in which YouTube videos can appear on search pages though, you have no control over which Google chooses to use. In any case, it is a handy way to have your content appear in search results, and this method is free.
The ideal scenario is that your video shows up in full, right under all the paid ads, like the above example. Here, Google has even suggested a snippet of the video that might answer the search query “how to make a video”.
This type of result is rather rare though might become more frequent for instructional type of content. If your business operates in a niche where your customers often search for how to do things, this could be a strategy to consider.
A more frequent examples of how video appears in search results is in the videos panel as below. For the “how to make a video search” this panel appeared further down the page though it features the same video first.
Stephen Mills, the creator of this video, essentially has 2 listings on the first page of Google in highly prominent sections, for free.
Another common way videos appear in search are as regular listings. For example, here we have three video search results appearing after each other. This format is often seen for news clips, entertainment videos and other searches where the user is specifically searching for video content.
If Google finds videos that are relevant to a search, it is likely you’ll see a combination of these formats appear on the search page. It’s a wasted opportunity if videos frequently appear for your niche but you’re not producing content of this kind.
- Can be very quick and easy to produce simple videos using most types of smartphones and built-in microphones
- If you optimise your video listing, you can get two, or even up to three, opportunities to appear on the first page of Google results
- Video listings in search results are usually positioned as prime real estate and draw more attention than regular listings
- This strategy is not suitable for every type of business
- Video production and editing can take time to learn, especially if you are not too comfortable with using technology
- To produce higher quality videos, you are likely going to need to outlay some cash to pay for a quality microphone, tripod and perhaps some editing software
- Make sure you research available opportunities for content your audience will value rather than creating videos just for the sake of it
- Optimise your videos using search engine optimisation strategies to make them more likely to appear in search results
- Treat videos as another part of your content strategy by embedding them in your blog posts and sharing on social media
Start leveraging the power of video as part of your digital marketing strategy today!
3. Google Maps and Local Search
An emerging, and highly lucrative, opportunity for local business owners is what’s currently known as Google My Business. If someone is searching for a product or service they intend on using offline, Google will often display a panel including a few local businesses and their locations on a map. Google will also allow a searcher to call your business directly from the search results.
How it Works
You might have seen a box like the above when you search for services in your area. There is indeed a strategy involved in having your business show up as one of these top results. It’s known as local search engine optimisation (Local SEO) and focuses on improving your ranks in this box.
Ideally, you want your business showing here since most people will call or visit the website of one of the top 3 businesses rather than clicking on “More Places”. You can test this out for your business right now to see if an interested customer can find you easily or not. Just run a Google search for your main service and location.
Is your business showing up?
If it’s not showing up in the box, click more places and see if your business is showing up at all. You’ll see the following:
If your business is further down the list, it is likely that not many people are finding your business with so many other options above you.
Luckily, using Local SEO tactics, you can change this and start using the power of Google to send you qualified and interested customers.
- People searching on their mobile will be able to call your business directly from Google
- You don’t need a website to show up on the map or as a listing in the box
- If you know how local SEO works, you can see your business rank in this box much quicker than with regular Google listings
- You can rank in this box without paying for Google Ads
- Even though you don’t need a website to have a place on the map, customers often choose to call businesses that have a site
- Your business must have a physical premise in order to show up in this box (though they don’t need to be shown if it is a home-based business)
- You will be better off engaging digital marketing experts to help you rank for local searches if you are unfamiliar with SEO
- If your industry allows, encourage your clients to leave reviews on your Google Business listing
- Include a link to your Google Business listing on your website so people can view your location, existing reviews and also leave a new review for you
Need help with putting your business on the map or have it showing up in the top 3 results in the box?
4. Organic Search Results (aka Unpaid Search Results)
This last method is one of the best long-term marketing strategies for most businesses. From online content-driven businesses to e-commerce stores to local businesses. When implemented successfully, you can leverage the power of Google’s unpaid listings to showcase your business.
These listings are lower down in the search results, under any paid listings, panels or local business maps results. These are the good old results we all know and love.
How it Works
In these results, Google will rank the pages it considers to be the most useful in answering someone’s search query. There are over 200 factors Google uses to determine which pages are the most relevant. While it can be hard to know all these factors, it is definitely worth applying at least the basic ones to your website.
These factors are all driven by good website experiences that help users find exactly what they were looking for. As such, Google considers how user-friendly a website is along with the quality of its content among some of the most important factors.
The process of helping your website be found in these search results is known as search engine optimisation (SEO) and it reaps greater ROI when compared to using paid ads. This is because, as a strategy, SEO efforts compound over time. You also don’t pay for the clicks or impressions they generate.
- The effects of SEO efforts compound over time and build on each other
- You don’t pay anything for the clicks or impressions
- Often yields higher ROI than paid ads
- Can establish your business as a leader in your industry
- Can be complicated to understand how SEO works
- This is a long-term strategy and can require ongoing effort for ongoing results (especially at the beginning)
- Often requires some technical understanding to execute properly
- Hyperlocal businesses, like cafes and gyms, or others that rely on foot traffic from a 20km radius generally have greater success using Local SEO strategies
- Make sure you submit your site to Google so your business can be found
- It always pays to engage experts to help you craft a campaign that can help you reap higher ROIs
- Good SEO and content marketing go hand in hand so make sure to use them in tandem
- Avoid any spammy techniques as this can have your website penalised, or worse, blocked by Google altogether
If you are interested in using Google to drive more search traffic to your site, let’s start a conversation.
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