• How to Rank Higher on Google

It can be easy to overlook the importance of SEO when building your website and social media, but having strong SEO is vital to the success of your business. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what helps you get found online, get new local customers, and increase your sales. SEO is all about making sure that your business is showing up on search engines like Google when potential customers are searching for a business like yours. SEO can be tricky for new businesses to master because it encompasses your entire online footprint, from your Facebook business page to your Google My Business profile. In this article, we’ll provide a breakdown of what SEO is, how it works, and why your Google My Business profile is so important.

How to rank higher on google

How Do I Rank Higher on Google?

There is a term for the practices employed to rank higher on Google. It’s called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Search Engine Optimization is all about driving more organic traffic to your website, and ultimately, to your business through taking steps to improve your online presence. There are three main parts to building strong SEO—keywords, content quality, and backlinks.

How to Use Keywords to Rank Higher on Google

What Are Keywords?

Any time you plug a thought, question, or idea, into a search engine, the phrasing and important identifying words you use are known as keywords. Keywords are the most relevant pieces of information used when conducting a search and tell Google what to look for and how specific it should be in its results. Google will then rank results by relevance to your keywords, quality of content, and site format. Google likes websites that are easy to identify and require little work on their end, so make sure your website fits the bill. Research keywords, select a keyword, then write about that keyword—it’s that easy.

How Do Search Engines Use Keywords to Determine Rank?

Search engines use keywords to identify, categorize, and retrieve pages according to how people are searching. But what does this mean for you? As a business owner, it means a lot. What your potential customers are searching for that leads them to your business is extremely important for you to figure out. In order to drive more traffic to your website, and store, you should be regularly creating targeted, high-quality content on your social media, Google My Business profile, and website, continuously updating and improve your website design and layout, and weaving keywords in where you can, without stuffing your articles or posts. When you target keywords, you focus a given page on a specific topic so that it is able to rank in relevant search engine results.

For Which Keywords Should I Rank?

When harnessing the power of SEO, it’s important to know what appeals to your audience, and know how to reach them. Watch the language your target audience is using on social media, in emails, or in conversations, and take note. When producing content for your website or social pages, use the words your customers are using. If you use words on your website that people are searching for, you’ll be more likely to show up on search engine results. Appealing to your customers through a similar tone and voice will also help to build trust. When you target keywords, you focus a given page on a specific topic. You are trying to get that page to rank in search engine results pages for relevant searches. Since Google aims to deliver the most useful information to the searcher, your content will show as a top result for that query.

How to Use Quality Content to Rank Higher on Google

When creating content for your website, GMB profile, and social media accounts, it can be difficult to write relevant, quality content, while also including keywords and making sure it is optimized for search. When writing copy for your business, your content should serve to remind the reader of the products and services you offer, your competitive advantages, and draw the potential customer in. Your content should be well-written and spell checked, include both long- and short-tail phrases, and include relevant keywords without stuffing so that you can build and maintain strong SEO.

Focus on Sharability

In order to get your website seen by potential customers and build strong SEO, your content needs to have a catchy title or image, be clickable, and most importantly—shareable. One of the best ways to get new customers interested in your business, and improve your SEO, without lifting a finger is by making your articles something you, your friend, your mom, or your coworker may want to read on social media. If you are a massage therapist and you write an article titled “The Beauty of Massage”, that may not be the most enticing article to read while scrolling on Facebook. But if you publish a blog post entitled, “What Kind of Massage Do You Need? Take the Quiz Now!”, that would be an engaging article to most viewers. And the more shares you get, the stronger your SEO will be.

Concentrate on Niche Topics

Another way to make sure your content is high-quality is by choosing relevant, niche topics where you can have domain authority. While there are likely thousands of articles on Google about types of massages, if you wrote an article specifically targeting the benefits of Swedish massages for pregnant women, you will greatly limit your SEO competition. As a result, your content will be seen by more people, as it nears the top of Google search results.

How to Use Backlinks to Rank Higher on Google

Backlinking is an extremely powerful, but often forgotten, way to help improve your SEO. As a small business, you actually have a competitive advantage in this area over larger companies. A backlink is when another website links to your article from theirs, allowing a new range of customers to see your content and your website, and improving your SEO at the same time.

How to Build Backlinks

Building healthy backlink relationships with local businesses, such as getting your products featured in their virtual gift guide in exchange for adding their restaurant to the “local recommendations” section of your website, will not only improve your local communications, but also improve your ranking on Google.

Local newspapers, blogs, or other local avenues is another area to explore. These publishers love to work with local businesses and will often help to promote you, simply because you are a small business and that is the audience they serve. Such publications can also be a huge boost not just for some quality backlinking, but also for good press for your business and eyes on your website.

Using Google My Business to Rank Higher on Google

Google My Business and SEO may not seem like they have much in common, but it is actually the building of your GMB profile that will help to greatly strengthen your SEO. While your website is still a crucial ingredient to the success of your business, Google is making it easier for potential customers to get what they’re looking for directly in a search. Google My Business is helping to enhance this experience when it comes to local searches. More than ever, it is vital to make sure your Google My Business profile is created, claimed, optimized, and updated regularly in order to help build strong SEO for your business, and help get found by local customers.

Although not a traditional online business directory, Google My Business acts in a similar fashion to Yelp or Foursquare in the sense that it provides vital information and reviews about your business to consumers. Information on your GMB listing is public-facing, making it essential for this information to be accurate and fleshed out.

How Google My Business Impacts Ranking

Your business’s Google My Business listing impacts your ranking in Google search results as well as Google Maps. The more complete and accurate your listing is, the higher it will rank. Businesses with a complete and accurate Google My Business listing get 7x more clicks than those lacking and are 70% more likely to attract location visits. This is hard evidence that Google My Business not only improves your search ranking, but also your sales and chances of success. The impact of inaccurate or inconsistent listings is not one you can afford. A complete Google My Business listing will include:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Category
  • Website
  • Hours of Operation
  • Description
  • Photos
  • Q&A

In specific industries, there may be additional fields as well. When your Google My Business listing is complete, your business will be favored by Google search results, your website and foot traffic will increase, and potential customers will be able to find and contact your business faster and easier. Collecting reviews, updating information as it changes, and adding relevant details to your business will help to improve your ranking and get you more customers.

For more help with Google My Business, head to our GMB Knowledge Center with free help and how-to articles.

Checklist for Using Google My Business to Improve Your Rank

Overall SEO is impacted by a variety of factors. Google My Business is just one of them, but since Google is the largest search engine, it’s a great place to start. Unlike other SEO building tactics, setting up and optimizing your GMB profile is not only easy, but it’s quick, easy, and free. Google My Business also offers a strong competitive advantage that other SEO techniques may not, and due to its direct connection to Google Maps, can help you get seen and found by the most important customers of all—the ones in your area. The local SEO Google My Business can provide is invaluable to any other comparative service or strategy.

Google has many applications and features that integrate directly with Google My Business, such as Local Search results. Google Local Search will pull up a map of business that the potential customer has searched for in that industry, such as “spas near me”. The more complete and accurate your listing is compared to others in your area, the more likely your business is to be at the top of the list, helping to further build your local SEO. Businesses are synched and updated automatically along with GMB, so the more active you are on your GMB profile, the higher you will rank in results.

If your business isn’t appearing under local searches, or falling far down the line, then it may be time for a Google My Business renovation. Consider the following when updating your profile.

Do you have reviews, and are the reviews positive?

If you are lacking in this area, don’t be afraid to ask loyal customers to put in a good word for you on Google My Business, or offer a small incentive for reviews written. Many customers will be happy to spread the word about the excellent services you offer if they are pleased with their experiences. If you have negative reviews, make sure you are responding promptly and professionally.

If your information is updated, is your description complete?

If your description is too short, such as “electronic repairs”, you will leave customers wondering about the specific services you offer. Think of a short sentence that would accurately sum up the majority of your offerings, without getting too bogged down in details. Write a strong elevator pitch for your business and include it.

Do you have high-quality photos?

When you upload photos to your GMB profile, make sure they are both relevant and high quality. Pictures of in-store events, classes, or your storefront are all great options to include on your Google My Business profile. Make sure to update these photos regularly to get the best local results.

Are there Questions and Answers on your profile?

Google’s new Q&A section offers you the ability to answer customer questions directly in your business listing. The benefit of this is that you can preemptively answer questions that customers might otherwise not know the answer to which can impact their decision to use your business. For example, “Do you have parking? Yes, there is a parking lot for customers.” may be enough to turn a passive onlooker into your next customer. Use this section wisely and always respond to questions quickly. As a business owner, you can also publish frequently asked questions and answer them yourself.

Google My Business is an incredibly powerful free tool to help improve local SEO, get your business found by more people, and help generate new customers. By keeping your GMB profile up to date, professional, and fully completed, you will be giving your business a leg up on the competition. Now that you know how Google My Business impacts SEO, the next step is to see what you need to work on—click here to get a free assessment of your GMB profile with ThriveHive’s Grader.

Julia Belkin
Julia Belkin
Julia is the Content Marketing Specialist for ThriveHive. She comes from both a small business and startup background and specializes in social media and blogging. Oh, and she is an extreme couponing ninja.

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