A search engine results page, SERP, lists web pages that best match the keywords in the users search topic or query. Google obviously places a huge emphasis on providing the most relevant paid and organic results for every search. (“Organic,” meaning “free and natural results,” with no paid advertisement or sponsored link.) The focus on your website to improve SERP’s is called search engine optimization. Considering the fact that nearly 70% of people select something from the first page of search results, and selection drives traffic to your website… it’s in your best business interest to ensure a solid position on page one. You’ll need to weigh the cost vs benefit of your chosen strategy. Example: Bidding on higher SERP position keywords using AdWords or AdSense means that you’re also going to pay a pretty penny for them, even if you have a decent Google quality score.
More times than not, people prefer to click on organic results over paid ones. Therefore, instead of emptying your bank account on paid ad campaigns, there’s often more benefit in improving your organic SERP’s first. In the same vision, focus on “local” SEO before worrying about anything else. See where your business stands in search results today; just “Google” it! (Be sure to ‘clear your browser history and cookies first.)
When you’re ready to put some strategies in place to improve SERP’s, Google offers a wide array of free business tools, including the keyword planner tool which is essential for anyone who intends to create online content. Take advantage of all the free Google tools, including some of my favorites noted below:
Google Places for Business: A fully populated and maintained Google Places listing is the best, and most critical starting point to position your company for local SEO.
- Blogger: Start a free company blog using keywords that you find using the keyword planner tool! You’ll need a gmail address and if it’s part of your goal; a good strategy to build followers.
- Google + Dashboard: The dashboard is where you can make changes and update all of your business information. Those updates automatically populate Google Maps, and your G+ brand page. PPC and other performance data is also found on dashboard.
- Google My Business: This is a newer Google product designed help local businesses promote their brand on Youtube by developing simple, short videos, which result in more search visibility and better search rankings. Find a simple guide to create “my business” video on Youtube.
- Google Analytics: It doesn’t get much more black and white than Google analytics. See how much traffic your website has received, where it came from and what happened when it got there. Small business owners can use analytics data to fine-tune strategies and plan better in the future.
- Google Multi-Screen Resources: To remain competitive, business web pages need to be fast and user-friendly on all devices. Try out this free analyzer tool from Google, to reveal page speed insights that measure your site performance on both mobile and desktop devices.
Final note: If and when you do decide to run a paid ad campaign with Google, use the Adwords preview tool to check your ad links…never click on your paid ad, or well…you’ll pay for it! Also, use the Google+ dashboard to find AdWords Express and offers campaigns, “at-a-glance.”