Hacks For Building Visibility On Google For Your E-business
Aug 12, 2022 | Shudhi Patidar
If you are any of the above then this blog is for you. Your customers are there already looking for you, it’s just that they are not able to find your business when they try to and this blog solves the problem for your customers, essentially for you as an online business since more customers mean greater reach for you and thus bigger business.
To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors and signals, including the words of your query, relevance, and usability of pages, the expertise of sources, and your location and settings. The weight applied to each factor varies depending on the nature of your query. For example, the freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions.
Small business owners don’t have the luxury of their in-house marketing team or expert marketing consultant. For those of you who are working on a minimal to zero advertising budget, whether you make small soap or shawl manufacturer, own a small factory in Latin America that makes beautiful rugs and just started with selling your products online or a community of producers of lamps or masks and rely completely on online buyers for buying your products but do not get enough customers landing to your page or website, these hacks are relevant to you.
Get your business verified on Google My Business
It is by far the most important hack to increase your online visibility. Google My Business promotes important information about your business in front of the eyes of potential customers, who may be looking for your product, service, or your experience.
The benefits include:
potentially ranking higher on search results
integration with relevant Google Your Business services, and
the ability to draw in prospects by providing them with contact information, location, directions, and reviews directly on search pages.
The following image from Google Trends shows how the importance of Google my business has been increasing drastically in the past decade.
By having a Google My Business page, you can control the information Google has and presents to people searching about your business, including your opening hours, telephone number and web address, images, and basic business information.
Recently, Google changed the structure of Google My Business and pulled all previously set up Google+ business pages under the Google My Business dashboard. So you can now approach them as one item on your list.
With the removal of sidebar adverts, Google now shows your listing on the top right-hand side of all brand-related searches if you’re Google my business listing is verified. Follow this guide to get your business verified, and complete as many details as possible as these details will be shown on the search results.
Now let’s get into the basics of setting up a google my business listing step by step and with some optimization tips along the way.
Head over to Google.com. In the top right-hand side corner click on the sign-in button, you will be asked to sign in using a google account.
You can now create your free business profile by just clicking on the continue which will take you to the start of setting up a google my business listing. If you already have a Google account that you are happy to use for your business just log into google using your Gmail address and head over to google.com business then click on the manage button on the top right-hand side window which will also take you to the start of setting up a google my business listing.
The first step of the process is to enter your business name to check if a google listing already exists for it. If it does it should be suggested as part of the autocomplete function and you should select it. This will prevent creating and duplicating an existing listing which could be detrimental later on.
In the next step, you'll need to confirm the name of your business. According to google's policy, your name should reflect your business's real-world name and you shouldn't add additional details like address and or service area business hours, etc in this.
Click on next, you'll need to choose a category that best matches your business's primary activity. this is a very important field as it will have a significant impact on the keywords your listing ranks for in google search and google maps results.
You will then be asked if you want to add a physical location that customers can visit like a store or a factory. So if you have a store to showcase your products where people come to buy your stuff, you need to select yes and fill in your business address details. It will then get displayed on your listing and in the form of a red pin on google Maps showing where your business is.
Then click next, and you'll be given the option to specify the areas you're able to serve your customers. This will help visitors understand how far you're willing to go to deliver your products. It will be displayed on your listing the panel in the form of area coverage as opposed to a red pin. You can specify countries, cities, regions, and postcodes but note it will not help your listing rank in those areas so there is no need to add areas unnecessarily. It will just help google put the right area map on your listing.
Once you're done click on next. You'll then be asked to specify the region where your business is based. Just use the drop-down and scroll to find the appropriate country.
Then click next which is about adding information that will display on your panel so customers can get in touch with you. You have the option to add a phone number as well as a website address. I recommend you add both, if you don't have a website you can select the get a free website based on your info option, and google will automatically create a web page for you.
Once you're done just click on next you'll then be given the option to receive updates and recommendations for your business on google. Choosing yes here is recommended as it can be helpful.
Click on next. Just click on the finish button which will take you to the verification process. You now need to enter the physical mailing address of your business as google will send you a postcard that includes a code to verify your listing once you're done. Click on next. Here you can choose how to verify a business. Most of you will be given the option to verify your business only by mail and no other options will be available. You can choose to verify your listing later but I suggest you verify your business as soon as you can so add the contact name you want to appear on the postcard which should take up to four days to be delivered then click on mail, you'll be redirected to a screen confirming the card is on its way.
Congratulations your basic listing is now created. But you don't want just a basic listing, you should provide as much information as possible about your business to your visitors. So click on continue. Depending on the business category you have chosen Google will add services to your listing by default. You can remove each service by clicking on it. You can show more or remove them all and even add your very own if you feel none of the suggestions are suitable.
Once you're done click on save. The next step is very straightforward, just add your opening and closing hours, then click on save.
The following step will allow you to provide a short description of your business. No need to stuff your description with search terms you want to rank for as it has zero influence on google search results.
Once you're done just click on save. The next step is to add photos that illustrate the products you provide. It's important to add pictures because a lot of prospective customers will decide to do business with you based purely on those images. Use genuine images and not something you have downloaded from the internet. Google doesn't like stock images and neither will your visitors.
Once you're done click on next you'll then be offered a voucher you can use for some free advertising on google ads.
Click on continue, this will take you to your google my business dashboard. Click on Photos. The next step is to add a logo and a cover photo. The recommended cover photo size is 1024 pixels by 576 pixels. Your logo should be square and I recommend you make it at least 720 pixels by 720 pixels.
Once you've finished adding the images click on the home button on the left-hand side menu. Reload your page you'll find that your profile is hundred percent complete. In just a few days you will receive the postcards containing the code you'll need to use to verify your listing log into your google my business panel in the pending verification box. Click on enter verification code then enter the code and click on verify.
After this, your google listing will be live on google.
Setting up a google my business listing is a massive step in the right direction to get more customers through your doors but online competition is fierce so don't expect to see your listing at the top of search results as soon as it goes live.
Google tries to return the most relevant results first by using sophisticated algorithms. And they're so good at this, that most of us never have to click through to page 2 of the search results. Nobody knows exactly how these algorithms work or the exact factors it looks at to rank a webpage, but we do know a lot of the so-called "Google ranking factors," so we can make some optimizations.
Researching the keywords that people are searching for in Google, will give you a clue on the language you should use to let both Google and potential customers know what your page is about.
The first step is to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions. When you look at Google’s search results, you’ll see this part in blue and the text below. The top part is called your title tag and the other part is the meta description. The purpose of these is to entice someone to click through to your page. And if people are clicking through to your page, then that’s telling Google that your page is likely relevant to the reason why they had searched for the query in the first place.
And you would have often seen that Google even bolds these keywords and similar keywords within the search results making them stand out. For the meta description, you can explain in a couple of sentences what the page is about. But rather than putting a generic description that everyone else is doing and calling yourself the best, you can tell that you are an awesome provider of XYZ products and your customer reviews are a testimony to it. Now, this would make me as a consumer want to find out what this awesome website has in store for me.
The last part of on-page optimization is the most important and that’s the actual content on the page. And remember, your job is to help Google best identify your page as being relevant to the user’s search query.
The next part and arguably most important piece of ranking high on Google is off-page SEO. Off-page SEO often refers to link building. Link building is the practice of acquiring links to your website from other websites. In SEO, these links are called backlinks. Getting backlinks from high-quality sites can pass authority to your site, as well as help you rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). It works in a similar way that you would refer your friend to buy a product from whatever store because you’ve tried it, used it, and loved it.
According to Google, an important part of identifying what pages are relevant and trustworthy is “understanding if other prominent websites link or refer to the content.” Because of this, it’s important to consider link building when building an SEO strategy. In general, the more quality backlinks you can get from relevant pages, the higher you’ll rank in Google. Now the word “quality” is important here because there are a lot of different types of links you can get from like forums, directories, and editorial links to name a few. But if you think about it, a place like a forum where virtually anyone can place a link will likely hold less value than a link from someone else's blog.
Table 1: Ranking Factors for ranking on google
But to be clear, other types of links will still hold some kind of value, but probably not as much as links like editorials would. So if you’re focusing on quality, then you’ll probably want to prioritize editorial links. And the main way to get links from other people’s blogs is through something that SEOs often refer to as “outreach.” And outreach is exactly the way it sounds. You’re contacting people and asking them for a link. But you can’t just email someone and be like, Hey, I need a link.” It doesn't work that way. There are three things that you need to make your outreach campaigns more successful.
You need people who are interested in the stuff that you do.
You need a good reason to contact them.
You need a pitch that somehow benefits them.
Find a business that goes hand-in-hand with yours and you can pass on referrals to each other, you can link back to each other as a ‘preferred vendor’ or link to others’ content in guest posts where it's relevant. And this isn’t limited to just local businesses. This applies to everyone. So, find some solid partners who are on that same journey as you in a lateral niche and help each other out.
Inbound Links(Internal Links) and Outbound Links(External Links) Understanding the difference between Inbound and Outbound Links is important for Search Engine Optimization(SEO) now as Google, Yahoo and many other search engines like Bing ranks your website based on the number of links that you have and they typically crawl websites through the links. So for example, if you have a navigation structure or navigation menu on your website what they do is just go to every single link within that website and scan that page for links whether they're linking to your pages within your website or to external pages which is on another domain on another website and that happens while they do this.
Internal linking is an excellent way to create a great website experience for site visitors and search engines, leading to
improved search engine optimization (SEO)
great website navigation, and
amazing user experience.
Let's look at an example of Internal Linking. So this page/website represents Rural Handmade’s whole website.
Now, suppose, if we click on the furniture category we are directed to another page as can be seen below.
On this page as well we have links pointing to another part of the RHM’s website. So for example, if we click on the first image in the snapshot above(latest page), we are pointed to this part of the website that has products for the living room.
They are a hyperlink that direct the reader to a reputable page on a different website.
For example, here is a link to a blog on Rural Handmade’s page on the topic How To Package Goods In E-Commerce – Test And Procedures.
If we click on the term Corrugated bubble wrap, we are directed to another website like this.
Internal links within your website, make your pages and your content a lot easier to find, while what creates and builds your popularity are the external links. Thus both types of link building are essential for your online business.
There are some things to note while using links::
The more links pointing to a page, the more important a page seems to search engines.
Your site should have an organized hierarchy starting with your most important pages and inking out to other related content.
Just don’t go overboard and add links wherever there’s unlinked text. Use your links wisely.
A study looked at 23 million internal links across 1,800 websites, representing approximately 520,000 individual URLs. Then, these were compared to data from Google Search Console to determine search clicks for each URL.
As you might assume, pages with more incoming internal links tend to get more traffic. For example, in our dataset, URLs with 0-4 internal links only saw two clicks on average from Google Search, while URLs with 40-44 internal links saw four times that many.
Image Source: Zyppy
But then after a URL receives about 45-50 internal links, the effect reverses. Google traffic begins to decline as the number of internal links rises to a certain extent.
Diving into the numbers, the most obvious explanations seems to be explained by the existence of navigational/sitewide links vs. unique links in the body text. When a page has 50, 100, or 400+ internal links pointing at it, there’s a good chance these URLs are linked in the navigation from every page on the site. With sitewide links, the dataset often shows URLs with less traffic. As the number of links per URL increased, our dataset grew very spikey. Observationally, large, high-traffic sites tended to do very well with navigational links. At the same time, small-to-medium sites seemed to have less success.
Relevance of linking to small brand owners
Increased website traffic
If you are a small business owner and you want to get increased traffic from search engines, then focusing on link building is a must for you. You will rank higher and therefore, the chances of your target customers clicking on your website, whenever they generate a relevant search query on a search engine, will get increased. Also, whenever your target audience is browsing a website relevant to your business and finds your business website link on it, it creates a new source of getting traffic to your website. So, both ways result in increased website traffic for your business.
When your target audience is surfing the web and learns about your website from external links, they get to learn about your brand.
According to Harvard Business Review, 64% of people cite shared values as the main reason they have a relationship with a brand. Secondly, most links are built through blogs. If you research, write and publish informative material about a particular topic, you will gain a reputation of being an expert in that particular field. This also helps popularize your brand and make you renowned in your industry.
To get an external website to mention your website’s link on theirs, you need to communicate with them and build a rapport. This increased communication will help create an understanding and a bond between the parties that communicate with each other. If your supplier’s or retailer’s website mentions the link to your website, it will help create a stronger affiliation between you and your supplier and/or retailer. You will get to create a relationship with the website that links to your website since it will help generate more traffic to your website, increase brand awareness and result in the growth of your business.
Greater Visibility & Strengthening the Repute
Link building makes you stand out and become more visible in the eyes of your target audience. It helps build trust and reputation concerning your business, which in turn brings repeat traffic and business to your website. According to Circle Research, 77% of B2B marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth.
Get your business listed on free directories
Most people probably think of directories as just sites that list other sites. While that’s true, the reality is that they’re much more. In the very early days of the internet, only a few people had websites. Internet connections were uncommon and there wasn’t much profit to be made out of it. Still, different websites emerged, in different niches. some clever guys from Yahoo! had the brilliant idea to store the best website into something they called a web directory.
when the number of sites started getting way too high, people soon realized it wasn’t so convenient to browse through all those categories. It would take too much time and, ultimately, the best results were mixed up with the less good ones.
This is how search engines appeared. It was by far more convenient to type in a keyword and get a list of top results than to browse through categories trying to figure out which website is the best.
As can be seen from this image from Google Trends the popularity of Web directories has been decreasing for more than a decade. Even though web directories dropped dramatically in popularity, people still use them.
These days there are hundreds of reasons behind why your website does or doesn’t show on search listings, and there is research to support one theory in particular - that sites that have more citations or directory listings are likely to rank higher. Plus, from a searcher's point of view, the more places your business is, the more reputable you’re likely to be, which is why getting your business listed on the main business directories makes sense.
Here’s a list of popular local directories to save you hunting down the best ones. Ensure you get your business listed or if it’s already there, ensure you ‘claim’ it:
Also, importantly, don’t forget sector-specific directories – these are more targeted and are likely to yield more qualified prospects to your site. A great way to find these is by doing a local ‘generic’ search for your service. For example, if you offer services in the furniture industry, search “local furniture stores” or simply “furniture” and several directory listings are likely to show up amongst local businesses. It’s worth exploring these sites and seeing if there’s an option of a free listing or a listing with a cost only on job assignment.
In a world where everything is going digital, having a website is a need for any business. I’d suggest that a website, even a branded one pager with contact details is better than having no website at all. Here are a couple of small hacks that fall under website optimization:
Incorporate your business’ name, address, and contact information not only on the homepage or contact page but on each page of your website. I would suggest having contact details in the footer and header, depending on the length of most pages (whether you need to scroll).
Ensure your meta titles and meta descriptions reflect your business well and what people are likely to be looking for when searching for services like yours. Ultimately, these are what people will see when your website appears in the search results and be the deciding factor between whether they click on your site or click on your search listing competitors. Depending on what Content Management System (CMS) your website is built on, e.g. WordPress, you should be able to update all of these there.
As Google will be looking for clues about your site’s relevancy for local searches, it might be worth considering creating location-focused pages. This could be done by mentioning local landmarks, sports teams, locally relevant content, or news stories through your web copy of existing pages or if you have the time or resource, a local news section or dedicated pages to localized content may be worth investing in.
This hack can be the most influential to your business if you get it right. A recent study cited in entrepreneur.com carried out by Harvard School researcher Michael Luca, found that a 1-star improvement on Yelp translated to anywhere from a 5 to 9 percent swing in revenues.
Local businesses are even more affected by diner reviews and ratings than big businesses. Ask for reviews from real-life customers (people want to know they can trust your company). According to Moz, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Use E-A-T to your advantage
E-A-T means Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness and is part of Google’s algorithm and baked into Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Google search quality evaluators are instructed to pay attention to:
The expertise of the creator of the content.
The authoritativeness of the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website.
The trustworthiness of the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website.
E-A-T is a characteristic that indicates a page is high-quality, making it helpful to users. It is not technically a ranking factor, but it can impact your content’s rank. It is a guideline Google uses to determine what content is high-quality and should be ranked higher and part of several different aspects of its algorithm. So while it’s not a direct ranking factor, it can have an impact on your overall search rankings indirectly.
E-A-T guidelines tell real human reviewers, who evaluate hundreds of websites, exactly what type of content Google considers high-quality. According to their guidelines, great content should:
Be created by an expert.
Be posted on an authoritative site.
Be updated regularly.
Here’s Your E-A-T Checklist with Ways to Improve Your Website’s E-A-T
Here’s a seven-step checklist to help your site be more authoritative and trustworthy.
Tell Visitors about your brand/business
All three prongs of the E-A-T guidelines indicate Google wants to know who creates content and whether that person(s)/website is a legitimate source for that knowledge.
If you don’t already have an About Us page or a Team page that outlines who your team is – and who your content creators are – now is the time.
Author pages are a simple way to establish your team’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Hire Experts/Content Creators
Google doesn’t just want good content; it wants content from people who know what they are talking about.
Rather than hiring ghostwriters to produce half-baked content on high-click key terms, work with experts in the field to create content Google will trust.
This might mean interviewing an expert from your niche, hiring an expert to guest post, or working with another company to publish top-notch research.
State the purpose
Use titles and headings that make the purpose of your content extremely clear and use straightforward language.
For example, this blog from RHM has questions whose answers are covered in the blog, so that the readers know that they will have all their questions about YouTube answered.
Pay Attention to Your Online Reputation
Your online reputation can impact the trustworthiness of your site and your content.
Protect your brand reputation by keeping an eye out for negative press and responding to negative reviews promptly. Encourage customers to leave positive reviews about your brand. Answer any questions asked by your customers and have a FAQs section on your website.
The freshness of the content
Well, if Google thinks content is outdated, how is it supposed to trust that the information is accurate? If the search engine sees that your article hasn’t been updated in five years while competitors have more recent content, that might be a signal that their content is more trustworthy than yours.
For example, for the term “best jute rugs”, would you want to read an article last updated two years ago? For that matter, would you even want an article last updated six months ago?
Google is only ranking pages that have been updated within the last one or two months. That’s because the technology changes so rapidly in this space that, unless you’re updating your articles every couple of months or so, you’re dramatically behind the curve.
Use Google Map Citations, Driving Directions, and other ways to manipulate and increase your presence on maps. There are plenty of ways being advertised out there. Here’s a video describing using Google custom maps to rank higher on Google maps.
Reach out to websites and blogs that have already been noticed by Google
Look for bloggers and influencers in your industry who have already captured the attention of a large audience. For example,
Invite them to do a guest blog post on your blog. They will promote the post to their audience, which will help get your website noticed by a whole host of net new prospects.
Ask to get featured in one of their round-up, review, or social media posts with a link to your website.
Offer to write a guest post for their blog, with a link to your website in the post or the author bio.
Now let’s talk about the last SEO tip that a lot of beginners avoid. If you have something to sell, setting up your homepage and product/services pages is probably the first thing that you’ll do. These are the pages that will directly generate leads and revenue for your business.
But here’s the final tip: start blogging. In the blogs you can provide practical content that can and will help your prospective customers solve problems just like we at, Rural Handmade do, helping small and medium businesses solve their problems. In Dr. Jonah Berger’s book, Contagious: "Why Things Catch On," he shares his research on why content gains popularity and even goes viral.
Content that provides practical value was one of the key factors to success. People don’t just share funny cat videos or emotional stories. They share things that help others. And the same goes for gaining links. People are more likely to link to your content if it’s helpful, actionable, and solves a problem.
A blog can help you boost your SEO efforts tremendously. It’s a great way to get ahead of your competitors who have been in the game for longer than you, but they've been targeting only these ‘obvious’ keywords. From here, you can just rinse and repeat the keyword research process, the on-page optimization tips, and continually build links to your content and articles and start climbing the Google search rankings.
SEO audit template is designed to let you quickly see how well-optimized a website is. You can spot opportunities for improvement through it and make the critical adjustments that are most likely to increase its search traffic.
Bringing your website to top search results on Google, especially the process of link-building is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to build links. In summary, strive to create a good user experience, and build high-quality links that go into your website. Build those external links that are coming in and pointing to your website. Sometimes you have to do the additional work whether that's listing your business on Google My Business, getting it listed on online directories, writing a blog, requesting similar businesses to write guest blogs for them, doing some other form of promotion, or creating a win-win relationship but that way you're creating a good network, a better user interface, and building constant links to your website to help it rank higher in the search engines.
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