Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll just Yahoo that”? When you’re talking search engines, especially in the context of business, you’re talking Google. The Google search is the gold standard of the web-surfing environment, so the savvier you are on this engine, the better your results can be.
Why are Google search results important?
The goal of any business is to make it to the top of the Google page results after a user enters specific words or phrase (known as keywords) for SEO, or search engine optimization.
Survey after survey confirms that when it comes to “organic” (non-paid advertising) results, a user typically gives the most attention to the three or so top results; less attention to the results after that, and so on.
And if you don’t even make the first page of Google search results … game over!
So optimizing your web pages to attract Google’s attention and raising your results to the top, where people will find them. But here’s the catch: you can’t just “stuff” your site with keywords. Google has two algorithms (called Penguin and Panda) designed to authenticate each page and determine its place on the results list. Too much keyword-stuffing, too many outbound links, too much repetition, and your page may not be allowed in the results.
Three top considerations for optimizing your pages
Awesome content Today’s Google searchers are wise to the ways of advertising. When they get online, they want information, not a sales pitch. Your inbound marketing efforts – blogs, articles, videos, graphics and more – help build credibility in your business. When you integrate meaningful keywords into your content, it’s much easier for Google to rank your page.
Ideally, you provide a maximum of informative/helpful/entertaining content with a minimum of hard-sell. A call-to-action in your content can drive interested users to your website’s landing page, where they may exchange contact information for even additional or exclusive content they might find valuable. This is part of the lead-generation process of inbound marketing.
Short tail vs. long tail The “tail” refers to the number of words entered into a search engine for SEO purposes. A short tail is typically three words or fewer; a long tail is four or more words. Each has its advantages and disadvantages in a Google search.
- A short tail (used car parts) is one that many users will choose, so it gets many more monthly hits, but it will also net many more, diverse results that may bury your page.
- A long tail (used alternator 1988 Pontiac GTO) draws less traffic, but the results are less dense and more likely to put you at or near the top of the page.
Using Google Analytics to test the efficiency of your keywords will help you determine the long and the short of it.
Meta tags That short phrase that shows up in a Google search result of a particular page? That’s a meta tag. It’s designed to give both Google and the Google user a heads-up on the contents of the page.
To be most effective, your meta tag should briefly include relevant information about the page and an SEO keyword or two. It’s quite an art form: A good meta tag won’t necessarily boost you to the top, but a poor one will definitely sink your page to the bottom. Google may even substitute your meta tag data for words of its own!
The strategy works
Millions of small businesses have learned to use Google like a pro – and many millions more haven’t. To get into the “haves” category, hone your keyword strategy.
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