Google My Business – why you need to use it NOW!

Google My Business – why you need to use it NOW!

One of the most common questions I get asked when it comes to SEO is:

What can I do to get found on Google?

I would love to answer ‘How long is a piece of string?’ as there really is not ONE answer to that question. But there is a tool that if used correctly can immediately boost your visibility on Google.

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

Now, you may have heard of Google My Business and even listed your business on there, but chances are you are not making the most of this powerful free resource.

So, first things first. If you don’t already have a Google My Business Listing – GET ONE HERE!

They are free to apply for, you just have to confirm that you are at the address where you say you are. This is usually done via postcard that Google will send to you in the mail. Verify using the code and you’re set to go.

THEN WHAT?

Once you have verified that your business is at your address, it’s time to ensure that you set up your account correctly.

LOCATION OR SERVICE AREA

It is really important that Google My Business lists your business correctly. If you work from home but visit customers (e.g. heating engineer, locksmith, gardener, etc) setting a service area rather than a single location for your business is vital. You want to ensure that people can find you and know the areas that you service.

COMPANY INFORMATION

Ensure that you fill in all the relevant details about your business including office hours, your website, your products (if you have them) and your services. The more information you can include here the better. Remember, not everyone has social media so you need to use your listing to advertise your business as fully as possible.

Top Tip: Don’t simply copy and paste details from your website. Write unique content for Google My Business and for any other listing on the internet – search engines hate duplicates!

BRANDING

Spend some time uploading your company logo, cover image and some images of your brand. It is important to make your brand consistent across the web.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

Now, this is where most people stop. They believe that simply adding a listing to Google My Business is sufficient to be found. While it is better than nothing, you can really ensure that you are the first person someone calls when they need you by doing the following…

REGULARLY ADD POSTS & PHOTOS

Just like a social network, Google My Business allows you to add Posts and Photos to your profile and encourages you to do so. In fact, Google estimates that businesses with photos receive ten times more visits than those without.

However, unlike social media, users do not need an account to see your listing, so adding regular posts (one a week is ideal) is a great way to reach those who detest social platforms.

ADD PRODUCTS & SERVICES

You can add listings for your individual products and services to Google My Business and include prices (either exact or in a price range). Not only does this help with transparency from a business point of view, it also weeds out those prospective customers who may already have a price in mind that you don’t match.

USE KEYWORDS

When describing your business in the general section or adding posts, ensure that you use the keywords and phrases that you would like to be found for. This ensures that people searching for those keywords in your area find you more easily.

COLLECT REVIEWS

It’s no good having all your reviews stuck on Facebook if people can’t see them. So, actively ask your customers for a Google My Business review. You can share the link straight from your dashboard on both PC and mobile and the more reviews you have, the higher your listing will appear on Google Maps.

YOUR GOAL

GET IN THE 3 PACK

The Google My Business 3 Pack is the Top 3 listings that appear for a local business search on Google Maps. This is ultimately where you want your business to appear.

As you can see below, Web Goddess currently sits at the top of that 3 Pack when you search for Web Design Uttoxeter. Not only that, but with 21 reviews AND actual links to my website (unlike one of the web design listings below) I am more likely to receive clicks through to my listing and website.

 

Google My Business - Web design Uttoxeter 3 Pack

This is the whole point of listing your business on Google My Business – to make it easier for people to find you. And when people can find you and they visit your website, you are improving your ranking through more visits, longer visitor time spent on your site and appearing for more relevant keywords.

It’s a Win-Win-Win!!

If you need help with your Google My Business Profile, check out the Web Goddess Academy, my monthly membership for newbie entrepreneurs and small businesses to help you get ahead online.

Web Goddess

 

 

SE’NO’ – 3 Things that SEO won’t do for your Business

SE’NO’ – 3 Things that SEO won’t do for your Business

SEO is not the magic bullet that a lot of business owners think it will be. Yes, it is important to optimise your website, but it will not ensure you get the business you are seeking – at least not instantly anyway.

Search engine optimisation is a long game and it takes consistent effort to improve your ranking on Google and the like. But is is also something that so many new businesses falsely believe is a quick and simple fix.

Here are 3 things that SEO won’t do for your business…

1. Get you to No.1 on Google

It can – but not instantly! There are literally MILLIONS of websites online and the number is growing almost exponentially, so adding your new baby to the world wide web will not lead to instant fame or the top spot. It takes Google a while to even find your site, let alone start to rank it.

I often get contacted through the Wix Marketplace asking why they can’t see their websites on Google. Quite often it’s because they have only just listed their site that day (Google just isn’t that quick) or because when I ask what terms they want to be found for their site doesn’t contain any of them! Google is good, but not THAT good.

So you have to wait for it to show and then wait even longer for it to start to rank.

So, what will SEO do? It will help Google start to show your website in results by adding the correct keywords and phrases to your site (both in the content and metadata). You can help that along by ensuring your site contains all the words you want to be found for, blogging regularly and adding your website to Google My Business so you show up on Google Maps searches. Take an active interest in your site and make updates regularly.

2. Guarantee more business

I’ve been working for myself since 2003 and had my current Web Goddess business since 2014. In all of that time my number 1 source of business has been networking and referrals from past or existing clients – around 95% to be accurate.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth having a website, but it is still YOUR JOB to go out and find business rather than sit around and wait for your website to provide it for you. Get out there and shout about your business to everyone who will listen. Be consistent on social media and make sure you have solid products or services to offer when people do want to work with you.

I am always amazed by the number of business owners who don’t actually have any idea how many people ARE visiting their website. If your visitor numbers are high but they are not converting into buyers you will need to look at why that’s happening too.

So, what does your website do then? It acts as a checkpoint for would-be clients. If someone recommends you the first thing a new client will do is look you up online. No matter how glowing the recommendation, if they find a shoddy website or social presence then they are less likely to work with you. So your website and thus SEO are definitely still important to get right. They are just one piece of the puzzle.

Here is a quick graphic to show other places that your business will come from and as you can see, SEO is just ONE of those:

Finding business from different sources

3. Solve all your problems

“Build it and they will come” may have worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams* but it won’t work for your website. There seems to be a common misconception that just having a website will bring a flood of work to your door. In my experience that just doesn’t happen.

If you are sitting around waiting for customers to land in your inbox, just know that you may be waiting for a long time. In fact, it’s like your financial plan being based on winning the lottery. Yes, it is a possibility, but not exactly a workable plan. You need to look at all aspects of your business to find customers and keep them. If you luck out and get a helping hand to success then that’s great, but plan to put in the work.

So, what do I have to do then? You need to create a consistent marketing strategy that drives customers to your website and your website then needs to grab their attention and sell to them. From there your customer service has to be spot on so that those customers will shout about your business – for all the right reasons. Be consistent, be motivated and keep pushing on. That overnight success you see very rarely happened overnight.

In summary, just like any other part of your business, SEO is just that – a part of it. It is not the be-all and end-all of solutions to get you to that elusive first page of Google. Search Engine Optimisation takes time and effort and needs to be consistently looked at. Not only because of search engine changes but because your business will change. You may move into new areas of work and need to ensure your keywords reflect that.

Remember, if you need my help I’m just a message away!

Web Goddess

*The actual quote in Field of Dreams was “Build it and he will come” and we want more than one visitor to be honest. But if you never shout about it the original quote is probably quite accurate.

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding SEO

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding SEO

SEO – search engine optimisation – is often portrayed as a Dark Art. Something that a beginner or small business owner should simply leave to the professionals. But understanding SEO and how you can improve your own SEO on your website empowers you to make all of your marketing efforts more effective. So, this guide aims to change that!

 

What is SEO?

Put simply:

SEO is the process of improving the visibility of your website for relevant searches

So, if you are a website designer then you would probably want to appear in a search when someone types in ‘website design near me’. Right?

However, given that there are now 1,857,001,299 websites (at the time of writing this blog) online right at this moment, ranking well on a search is getting more difficult. Gone are the days when you could just build it and people would find you because there was little other competition.

So, knowing HOW to improve your on-site SEO and understanding what all of the terminology means is key.

 

Why isn’t all SEO automatic then?

When you build a website (or have one built for you) some of the features that improve SEO are included as standard, but most are not. Why? Because although related, they are NOT the same thing. Web design is the art of creating a website to look good and function well, but understanding SEO is another layer on top of that.

Whilst most web designers have some SEO knowledge, most are not specialists. Just as you have many different tradespeople involved in building a house, building a website is no different. So, cut your designer some slack – or you some slack if you’ve built it yourself!

The good news is that good SEO skills can be learned, just like any other skill.

 

Where to Start

I recommend starting by running your website through a free online SEO tool like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest which will give you a rundown of the key SEO issues associated with your current website.

I love using his tool because it not only flags areas for improvement but gives you tooltips to help explain HOW to improve them on your own site.

As each and every website builder is slightly different this tool cannot tell you exactly where to go to make the amendments but it’s a start!

 

SEO Terminology – what it all means

Once you run an SEO report you’ll get all of these errors and advice notifications so what do they all mean.

Let’s have a look at each piece of information separately to improve your SEO ranking:

<Title> Tag

These are the title of your page that is read by search engines and also by people. It’s what they see in search results and also in the browser tab when on your site. So, it needs to be carefully considered. This can make them a little tricky as they have to make sense rather than being a heap of keywords, but get them right and you’re on a winner. You should also aim to keep them no longer than 60 characters (including spaces).

Why Canva is the best graphic tool out there - Web Goddess opinion

As you can see in this example from my own site, the Title Tag is highlighted in Blue and gives visitors a reason to visit – because they will find out 10 reasons to use Canva.

It’s actually one of my most popular blog posts as lots of people want to know about Canva who haven’t already heard of it.

URL

The Uniform Resource Locator (better known as the web address that you see in the address bar of your browser) can sometimes appear as ‘poorly formatted’ when running SEO reviews. This is because in an attempt to make page addresses shorter, people have strung together words rather than separating them.

For example: weddings.com/perfectweddingvenues will not perform as well as weddings.com/perfect-wedding-venues. Although longer, each word is discernable by search engine bots and so will show up as more relevant in a search. Just be aware of this when creating new pages and make sure that you format URLs correctly.

Meta Description

This is the short blurb of text that appears directly under the Title Tag in search results. Whilst not strictly important in terms of what search engines like Google use to rank your site, they are important. Why? Because Google does include user data in their algorithm so if you have a well-crafted meta description that compels people to click and read more you’ll get noticed.

The key with adding a meta description is to keep it short (around 150 characters is ideal) and include a compelling call to action. Make people want to click on it!

H1 Headings

Behind every web page sits the HTML (hypertext markup language) code that controls it – whether you see it or not. Within this code sits a number of heading levels which tell the site, and therefore search engines, the relative importance of each heading title on a page.

As with any written publication, H1 headings are the most important and should only be used for the main title of a page. If you need headings further down the page (which I definitely recommend) then use H2 or H3 as you break your content into sub-headings and sub-subheading respectively. Just like I’ve done in this post.

On the front of the website this will not be apparent, but behind the scenes these headings tell search engines whether your text is well formatted so are very important. Even the simplest of website builders (like Wix) has the ability to add heading tags so make sure you are using them correctly on your website.

Alt Tags

Another HTML code, Alt Tags are simply text that sits behind images to describe what the image contains and helps visually impaired users to understand the content of a website as well.

What is Alt Text?Unfortunately, when you load an image onto a website, quite often you will miss this important step. As you can see here, this is the little box that asks you to add Alt Text in WordPress but even here it says it is not necessary if the image is just decorative.

However, I disgree and recommend that you add an Alt Tag to any image and ensure that the tag contains keywords that are relevant to your page or post.

Featured Image

Again, not necessarily an SEO ranking factor, a Featured Image is simply the image that will be brought up by default when a page is shown in a search (if the search engine displays these) or shared on social media.

I always recommend taking the time to choose an image for this and include keywords in the Alt tag for it so that you are in control of exactly what people see when your pages get shared online. A few minutes spent as you set up your site will ensure you reach further in terms of image searches as well as just text.

Backlinks

Arguably one of the more difficult bits of SEO to sort, backlinks refers to the links from OTHER websites back to yours. Hence the term.

So, how do you get other people to link to your site? Consider writing guest blog posts for other people which link back to your website. Add your website to online directories. Comment on forums and share your web address when allowed. Donate to local charities or small community groups and see if they will feature your website in return for a donation (check out the RAOK website that we built completely from donations and now link to all of those lovely small businesses as a thank you).

This process takes time and you need to make the most of every opportunity to get your website out there.

 

Now What?

Well, now that you know what each of these terms means, you will need to find out where to update this information on your website. Because this differs for each platform you’ll need to do a little research into where that is for yours.

I recommend you take some time to update just some of the errors that an SEO review flags, leave it a week and then run the report again to see the difference. Then repeat the process and fix more of the issues as they arise.

No website will ever be perfect, but these SEO tips will help you go from being a beginner to a proficient user with an understanding of SEO and the purpose of continually updating the key areas of your website to improve your search engine ranking.

Web Goddess

3 reasons why writing a Blog will help your Business

3 reasons why writing a Blog will help your Business

As you’ve probably gathered, I love a good blog – both reading them and writing them (I do hope mine are considered this way). Learning new things and sharing what I know with others is just second nature to me and I’m far keener on reading than on watching something, so blogs are the perfect vehicle for me.

You’ve probably already heard advice about blogging and perhaps even considered it, but this isn’t often shared with much other information. So, are there any real benefits to writing a blog and what are they?

Here are my top 3 reasons why blogging should be part of your business strategy:

 

1. BLOGGING SHOWCASES YOUR EXPERTISE

Your website is a great place to share your knowledge and writing a blog allows you to categorise and share that information as a resource for clients to read at their leisure.

By giving your readers an understanding of what you know, it will help build your reputation as the go-to person for that topic. It means that you can also share your opinion on topics and lead potential clients to a solution that will benefit their specific requirements.

As you write more blog posts you will also build a library of content that you can share to social media again and again. This is called evergreen content and saves you a huge amount of time. Instead of constantly creating new content you can simply recycle and re-post an existing blog post on your social channels.

Which leads to the second reason to blog…

 

2. GIVES SOCIAL MEDIA A PURPOSE

So often I see small businesses spending all of their time sharing amazing content on social media with no clear link back to what they sell. All those likes are really wonderful but not only do you NOT own the platform so cannot control what happens to your social channels, you will also struggle to re-use that content again further down the line.

The purpose of social media is to share information and drive customers back to your website where they can engage with your content and then buy from you. Blogs are an efficient way of doing this (especially if your blog post then contains a call to action to make it easy to buy directly from the post).

Don’t fall into the trap of just posting on social for the sake of it – give people something to read and make sure that it’s on your website…

 

3. IT HELPS IMPROVE WEBSITE seo 

SEO (search engine optimisation) is a way of driving traffic to your website organically. The more relevant content and keywords you have on your website, the better your website will rank on search engines such as Google and the higher you will be placed in the results.

Writing informative and educational blog posts that people read and engage with are a great way of ensuring that your site is always a place that people will return to learn more. The huge benefit of blog posts is that you can write them with this in mind and each and every one can be optimised to encourage more traffic.

Awesome isn’t it?!

 

IN SUMMARY

Writing a blog has so many benefits for your business, but the top three of these are definitely the demonstration of your expertise, giving your social media posts a purpose and call to action and improving your website SEO. 

So, what’s stopping you from writing a blog?

If you’re not sure where to start, then why not join us in the Web Goddess Academy where we look at the WHAT and HOW parts of blogging as well as the WHY.

Web Goddess
Google My Business – why you need to use it NOW!

How the new Google algorithm will affect your website

If you have had a website for any length of time, you will know that Google often updates its algorithm and that can affect how your website ranks online which in turn affects the number of visitors and, ultimately, customers who find your website. Often these changes are small and don’t really mean a great deal for website users – as long as your site continues to meet normal SEO requirements you’re good to go.

However, in May 2021, Google is launching a change that is definitely for the better AND they are giving website owners a heads up before it happens so you have a chance to ensure your website complies.

 

So, what is this big update?

Here it is in Google’s own words:

The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.

So, what does that mean in plain English. Well, simply put it means that your website has to be easy for a visitor to use. It’s all about user experience.

The update is divided into three rather long and techie elements which I have translated below:

1. Largest Contentful Paint – how long it takes for your website to load when someone first visits your site. This needs to be decent for both desktop AND mobile but will usually differ.

2. First Input Delay – how long does a user have to wait to interact with your website once loaded. Can they click a button straight away or is there a delay in how long they have to wait to actually move around the site?

3. Cumulative Layout Shift – how many popups/chatboxes and ads pop up to make it difficult to do what you want. Think of those annoying blog posts you read that keep interupting your scroll with multiple adverts, or trying to click a button and a chatbox is in the way!

I think you will agree that these updates (as a user) are important, even more so now that over 60% of all searches are carried out on mobile – so your website needs to perform well on mobile devices when visitors click through!

 

What can I do to make my Website compliant?

Take a look at your website from a user’s point of view and ask these questions:

  • Is it easy to navigate and find information?
  • Does it take a long time to load?
  • Do pop-ups and chatbots get in the way when scrolling and moving around?
  • Does it work as well on mobile as it does on desktop?

If the answer to any of these is not what you want to hear then make time to redesign your website with your user in mind. Strip out the fancy long-loading images and make it faster. Think about the placement of newsletter sign-ups and ad boxes. There are ways of keeping these items without annoying your users in the process.

 

TOOLS TO HELP

If you’re not already clear on how many people are looking at your website, then assessing the impact of Google’s algorithm change isn’t going to be possible. So make sure you have Google Analytics installed as a minimum.

I also recommend running your website through a free site checker tool like the Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer. This will give you a report on errors and page speed with a list of changes you can make today.

Finally, I also love Hotjar – a website that lets you track how people actually interact with your website.

Tracking visitor clicks with Hotjar

The heatmap above is a snapshot of my website homepage over the past 30 days and as you can see, the greatest concentration of activity has been on my SEO link. This helps me to understand HOW visitors are interacting with my site and to make my layout clearer if I need to.

IN SUMMARY

The new Google algorithm update is not to be feared – in fact it is destined to make it EASIER for smaller businesses with less clutter and more value on their websites perform better. Just take some time to check out your own website and ensure that it is performing at its optimum for you AND your visitors.

And, if you get stuck along the way, remember that I offer an SEO Review service which addresses each of these elements to help you get started.

Web Goddess
A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding SEO

There is No Magic SEO Bullet

Sorry, I hate to burst your online bubble, but there is no magic bullet for improving your website SEO and getting you to the top spot on Google. There is no ‘trade secret’ and no way of paying someone to simply bump you up there in one day, or even one month.

Whilst I have not doubt that spending £500+ a month on an SEO service will see you rank higher and may even lead to some extra business (let’s hope it does), most small businesses simply don’t have that cash to throw at SEO. And even if you do pay for that service, do you actually know what your money is being spent on? I’m guessing the sales pitch was all a little vague…

How do I know that? Well, because I get pitched to all the time and so do my clients. No wonder it’s confusing.

You see, SEO is a really hot buzz word in the world of websites and online sales and ‘Experts’ are popping up all over the place. Why? Because everyone wants to be seen – why else would you have a website – and everyone has heard that SEO is the only way to go about it.

In a recent post I busted 5 SEO Myths and upset some of these ‘Experts’ charging HUGE amounts for SEO services in the process. I also took some of their prospective clients. Sorry, not sorry…

That’s all well and good you say, so what am I meant to do instead?

 

What’s the solution?

You need to get your business name out there and let people know what you do, but here’s the thing:

“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” – Wendy Piersall

Well said Wendy. Getting your name out there (in terms of backlinks from other sites, on social media and within your physical networks) leads to more site visitors and that makes Google sit up and notice.

So here are 3 things you can do to improve your business:

 

1. HAVE A STRATEGY

If you aren’t clear and focused about what you offer, how is anyone going to buy into what you offer too?

Get clear on what it is that you are actually selling so that when visitors find your website they are compelled to buy from you.

It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic.” – Jeff Eisenberg

Spend time creating a kick-ass strategy that converts visitors into customers. Create offers, opt-ins and deals they can’t refuse. Allocate time and money to this rather than just SEO and you’ll see results that SEO alone can’t replicate.

 

2. TALK, TALK, TALK

Then, talk to anyone and everyone who will listen to what you have to say.

  • Shout about what you do on social media
  • Join an awesome business network and turn up regularly
  • Share your expertise in online groups
  • Write blog posts about what you know
  • Do a great job for the customers you already have and ask for reviews
  • Tell your friends about your business

If you’re not shouting about your business, then you can’t expect anyone else to. Get out there and get seen.

 

3. Measure your impact

Do you actually know how your website is already performing? If you don’t then how do you know if the money or time you are spending on SEO or promotion are actually working in the first place?

“You can’t just ‘SEO’ your website and be done. It’s a forever moving goal post.” – Stoney deGeyter

Get involved. Learn what your metrics are actually telling you and keep working on your site. You have to know what’s working and what’s not in terms of all aspects of your business and SEO is no different.

Remember, there is no magic bullet to SEO, but with some SMART goals and smart thinking you can have a successful business both online and offline.

Web Goddess

Pin It on Pinterest