When was the last time you whipped out a phone book to look up information on a local business?
Chances are that big yellow book doesn’t get much use anymore.
These days, you’re more likely to get your answer from a quick online search.
And so are your customers. With 81 percent of consumers conducting online research before making a purchase, having a healthy relationship with Google will improve your chances of being found by your next great customer.
How can you make your website show up on Google?
Like you, Google provides a service to a customer base.
Their goal is to provide the best possible content to the people searching on their site.
There are things you can do to help Google achieve this goal. By doing so, you’ll build a stronger relationship and have a better chance of showing up in search results.
And the good news is you don’t need technical expertise or a big budget to do it.
Learn how to influence Google search results during our FREE webinar: How to Show Up on the First Page of Google (And Get More Business from Your Website)
In the meantime, here are a few simple steps you can take:
1. Make your website easy to navigate
When someone lands on your site, they should be able to tell: Who you are, What you do, and How you can help them.
Your website should allow them to easily navigate from your homepage to your About Us page to your Blog in a couple easy clicks. They should also be able to move through your website easily whether they’re using a desktop or mobile device.
The easier it is for people to find relevant information through your site, the more likely Google will be to pull your content into search results.
2. Regularly publish new content
By consistently publishing new content that’s relevant and helpful to your target audience, you can begin to build authority.
And as your content starts to generate more traffic and engagement from your readers, Google will feature your content more prominently.
What should you write about?
Write content that directly addresses the problems, interests, and questions of your customers.
Make sure to use the right keywords that are relevant to your audience. Keywords are the same words people are typing into search engines.
3. Be social
Google recognizes the size of your social media following and the number of people sharing your content.
These are reliable factors to consider when determining your credibility.
By maintaining an active social presence, sharing content on a regular basis, and engaging with your audience online, you’ll not only grow your community but will strengthen your relationship with Google as well.
Not sure which social media channels your business should focus on? Take our new quiz to find out which network is right for you!
In addition to sharing your content on social media, promote your new content in your email newsletter for added engagement.
4. Take control of your online listings
From online review sites like Yelp, mobile apps like Foursquare, and various online city guides, it can be difficult to keep track of all the places your business is listed online.
As a result, the information that’s being found can differ from site to site.
This will confuse potential customers and could make it difficult for Google to identify your business and recognize the right information as well.
The most important first step it to set up a Google My Business listing. Google My Business is free and easy to set up. Setting up a listing will make sure you show up — especially for a local audience.
If you own a business, like a restaurant, that regularly changes its business information, you can also look into services like SinglePlatform that will update your online listings in multiple locations for you.
Don’t wait to build credibility with Google — and your potential customers.
Start to map out the places where you have room for improvement.
You don’t have to do everything at once, but you should identify a few initial places where you can make strides.
Get more tips during our FREE webinar: How to Show Up on the First Page of Google (And Get More Business from Your Website) Can’t attend live? Register anyway and we’ll send you a recording!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2014 and has been updated for relevancy and accuracy.