So, you want to come up first on Google?
That’s great! And it’s definitely possible. But first there is a lot of spring cleaning and forward planning that needs to be done.
Old social media pages
Remember that Bebo page? And your Myspace account? So does Google. But if you don’t want to associate with them any more, they need to go.
Let’s call these your social media ghosts. Any old social profiles, any spammy links you might have bulk-purchased back in the day when companies sold you links to boost your SEO, and any rogue URLs. Delete, delete, delete.
Google Webmaster has some great tools to determine the quality of your site and flag any duplicate content – sign yourself up and then use these to do a clean up. Do that now, and don’t come back to this blog post until you’re done.
For a free website audit with Mutant, click here!
Look and feel
Ok! Next step – UPDATE. Just as we update our wardrobe for a new season, we need to update our sites for search (and look and feel – get rid of any nasty 90s WordArt or strobe-like flashy ads while you’re at it).
It sounds technical but it’s really not. Ensure every page is pushed as much as it can – we call this optimisation – to boost your search rankings. You may have seen the fields in the back-end of your website – now’s the time to fill them in. The most important ones to keep in mind:
- Meta description:
- ALT Tag:
Check the basics first – is your contact information, services page and client list up-to-date? Do you need to take some fresh pics of your team?
Now look at the copy on your pages, and your blog. You might have laid out your top predictions for 2013 – go back and evaluate those predictions. Were you on the mark or not? If your “latest trends” piece was published back in 2007, change the headline to something a little more retrospective, then write a new post bringing you into the new age of 2014.
Then set about creating internal links between your old blogs and the pages on your site. The more of a web you create, the more likely you are to keep readers on your site. So, if we go back to that Latest Trends piece, update your commentary to 2014, compare and link to your 2007 blog, and make sure you also create links throughout your site, perhaps to your Services, Contact, or home page.
You are likely to feel a wave of nostalgia as you read through your old blogs. Use it! This is your chance to use the #throwbackthursday #TBT hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and share it on Google+.
Now, that you’ve had your website spring clean, it’s time to LEVERAGE all the tools and connections in your arsenal.
There are actually a lot of free tools out there that have a big impact on your searchability. You should have an updated profile on Google Places, your details should be correct in the Yellow Pages, and you should set yourselves up on business review site Yelp.
Having an active Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google + account will also boost you up the rankings – again, it goes back to building that rich web in which to trap searches.
You should also leverage existing relationships you have with clients, clubs, chambers of commerce and tradeshows.
Customer stories are excellent “social proof” of your quality. Ask your clients if they can write a testimonial for you to display on your site, and offer to do the same in return for a link. If anyone mentions your brand or displays your logo on their page, encourage them to link to your website, and if you can write something for them – like a guest blog – make sure it links back to your business.
Now you can set about LURING your audience in with exciting content that will entertain and enrich anyone who comes across. Remember, the ultimate goal is to get people to your site, and to keep them there.
Take some time to sit down with your team and map out your audience profile to determine who you are talking to, what they are looking for, and what content you can create that will attract and engage them. Then start blogging!
N.B: A point to note on guest blogging:
Guest blogging should not replicate text on your own blog as you can risk compete for authority, meaning, their site might trump yours in search, and Google might then punish you for “copying” their content. Also make sure the site you are submitting to is authoritative, relevant and trustworthy – you don’t want your guest blogging to be detrimental your brand.