Leaning Tree Digital Marketing

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10 Free Tools to improve SERPS in 2016

Search results for small businessAvenues to encourage social interaction and communication are reaching across generations, demographics, psychographics, industries, and countries.  Social media platforms help businesses better understand their customers by monitoring the chatter.  They can interact, influence and even use the information to develop better, more insightful business strategies, services and products.  However, social media is only a small part of the big customer acquisition and relations picture and an even smaller part of improving search results.

A business must be what people want and need…this means that have to be what people are searching for at any given moment.  In order to be what people are searching for, your website or ecommerce site must also reflect this objective.  Unfortunately, Google doesn’t hand out search data on a platter.  (It’s a bit more challenging than that.)  Prepare yourself for constant monitoring and on-the-spot tweaks as the marketplace changes.  Arm yourself with knowledge and take advantage of free tools that produce insightful data.  No single tool will do.  Just as search results are due to a combination of factors, you must also use a combination of resources to improve your business search engine optimization and move up in the Google ranks.

 Tackling search optimization on your own 

If you’re brave enough to do this without a webmaster and/or digital consultant… start with your website by making sure it’s optimized for visibility on both desktop and mobile.   Be sure to have a cohesive brand and adhere to Google NAP.  Have a site audit and start monitoring Google Analytics to see how your site is performing.  Spend some time seeing where you rank currently in SERPS, do some keyword research.  Digest…and repeat!  (Don’t forget to be social and keep your web content fresh and relevant.)

Top 10 free tools to improve search engine results for your business

  1. Google: Analytics, Keyword Planner, Google Trends & Webmaster Tools
  2. GTmetrix
  3. Rank Checker
  4. Responsive Design Checker
  5. MOZ Local: Mozbar
  6. SEMrush
  7. Screaming Frog
  8. BuzzSumo
  9. Similar Web
  10. Copy Scape

(Good luck…this really does take a team to do effectively!)

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Free Google tools and better search engine results for business

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 websiteit’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.”

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