Working your way to the top of Google search results is in your control
In order to understand why optimizing your online marketing strategy is important, you have to understand the main methods of advertising. Because most of the world uses Google, it’s necessary for you to become familiar what the different portions of the search results page mean, where those links came from, and how they got to where they are now.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is the primary source of income for Google. Its AdWords or “Sponsored Links,” earns Google billions of dollars in profit and helps propel small businesses at a seemingly regulated cost. On top of that, for every click on the link to the website, the owner of the website has to pay a certain fee to Google.
To use PPC, you first pay an account fee and then start bidding on positions on the sponsored links bar located usually on the right side of the screen. You can also bid on keywords which guide Google users to your business’s website. The higher your bid, the more keywords you can use and the higher position on the Sponsored Links column you will be. Businesses can also “geo-target” using PPC advertising. This means, your ad will only show up to a geographically assigned audience. This is to help keep only local traffic going to the website and cut down on the cost-per-click.
A PPC advertising campaign can be profitable if used correctly. You are able to pay a somewhat constant cost for advertising which can help your profits increase. And if the ads are working, you won’t have to worry too much about marketing. But if done improperly, it can backfire. You can end up spending a large amount of money in competing for the prime spots on the Sponsored Links food chain. And as we will see wtih organic search results, people don’t pay too much attention to the Sponsored Links tabs.
Local listings appear when users search for a certain service in a specific location, for example “Mexican restaurants Salt Lake City.” You will usually see a listing of different businesses with addresses and additional information. Their locations will also be posted on a Google map.
In order to put your organization on the map, you have to submit your organization’s information to the Google Local Business Center. You’ll be asked to fill out a list of information including your email, business hours, payment options, coupons, and even photos and videos. The more information you list, the more alive your business will look to Google. Google wants to give the best information to its users and the more information you give Google, the more Google will use you.
You can even optimize these local listings by duplicating the same information that you entered into the form across other sites or directories such as Yellow Pages or Linkedin. Reviews from satisfied customers on Tripadvisor or Yelp can also help your relevance. Just make sure you’re not posting any fake reviews; Google will pick up on that and these fake reviews will drive traffic away from your site.
Google provides you tools on its Local Business Center dashboard to check how your business is doing on the listing. You can monitor which keywords are bringing people to your website and even where driving direction requests are coming from. You can also use Google Analytics to track how well local listings are working for your business. Tracking how well your links are working is very helpful and since Google Local Listings are free, you have nothing to lose in sprucing up your organization’s profile. These listings are vital to maximize your exposure among your local community. For most businesses, this is where a large amount of customers are going to come from.
We’ve explained what organic search results are in an earlier blog but we’ll review briefly how they work.
Google and other search engines send search bots called “spiders” that crawl and read through thousands of websites regularly looking for relevant, quality, and credible websites. However high your website ranks will determine the position of the site on the search results hierarchy. The organic search results comprise the main portion of the Google search results page. Organic search results have nothing to do with how much money you pay or even necessarily the amount of information about your company you post about your company or website.
While PPC can get you instant visitors and gives you some control over where your links are positioned, you sacrifice the prime positioning that is offered with the organic search listing. Organic listings receive 60% of all the clicks on search results pages and the top three of those links render about 70% of those clicks. This shows your focus should primarily be on improving your organic search results. By using a good SEO service, you can adjust your website to adhere to the standards of Google and get the results you want. Check out our blog about how SEO services work to find out more on what you can do to work your way to the top of the organic search results page.