Google is by far the most popular Search Engine. Chances are that your potential customers are already using Google to search for products and services that you can offer them: the goal is to capture these leads and translate them into sales.
There are several ways to harness Google to draw in more customers and get more sales!
Organic Search Results
When you do a search on Google you’ll generally see two different types of results.“Organic” or “Natural” search results are the main list of search results.
Google decides which sites appear in the Organic search listings and the algorithm they use to determine the order of results is not known to the public. We do know that Google is trying to provide searchers with quality links. The process of improving your website in the eyes of Google is referred to as Search Engine Optimisation.
Once your website is appearing in the listings for keywords related to your business, products or services the next step is to make sure that people are visiting your website. Before a visitor clicks through to your site they’ll have an opportunity to view a preview of your site. If you’re using a Web123 website you’ll already know that your website looks attractive and professional, but if you’re not a Web123 customer (yet) take a look at the preview of your website in Google and make sure that you look good compared to your competitors.
How to Get There
Techniques to boost your position are called Search Engine Optimisation. Some simple SEO techniques you may be able to do yourself, or you can engage the services of a Search Engine Optimisation specialist.
How much it Costs
If you do SEO yourself, you won’t pay anything – but it will take up time that may be better spent making sales! SEO Consultants vary in price and there’s a large amount of Snake Oil out there – be very careful when engaging SEO services. Do your research carefully to make sure that you’re dealing with some reputable, or ask for a recommendation.
What to watch out for
Never engage the services of someone who approaches you by email, website enquiry or phone. Almost all of these people are just trying to rip you off!
Dodgy SEO “experts” will generally use “Black Hat” techniques. Watch out! Google will penalise (or even ban!) you for using underhand techniques.
Paid Search Results
As well as the organic search results, Google provides paid results at the top and side of the organic links. These can be distinguished from the Organic Search Results by the background colour, size and placement of the results.
Your listing in paid search results is an advertisement and your position in paid search results is based on how much you’re willing to pay. You’ll pay “per click” which means that you’ll only be charged when visitors actually click through from Google to your website. (This is different to some other advertising schemes where you pay “per impression” – for “per impression” advertising you pay (usually only a very small amount) each time that your advertisement is viewed).
How to get there
In order to start appearing in the paid results for Google you’ll set up (or have someone set up and manage for you) a Google Adwords account. You can do it yourself, but you can save yourself a lot of time by engaging the services of a specialist.
How much it costs
The cost per click for Google Adwords depends on the popularity of your chosen keywords. Generally you’ll specify how much you’re willing to spend on clicks in a month and your ad will stop appearing once you’ve used up your monthly quota.
If you’re not managing your Adwords yourself make sure that you know exactly what you’re paying and what for. Ensure you know what you’re paying for the listings and what you’re paying as a management fee.
What to watch out for
I’ve heard of so-called experts claiming that they have a “Special Arrangement” with Google and promising better results for a monthly fee – nobody has a special arrangement with Google and you’ll always pay for Google Adwords on a per-click basis (not a monthly fee).
Additional Google Services
As well as appearing in the organic and paid search results, there are a number of other Google services you can sign up to to get more traffic from Google. Google doesn’t charge for Google Places or their coupon service.
If you’ve got a physical shop or showroom make sure that you set up with Google Places.Google Places are used for local business listings to show potential visitors businesses within their local area. As well as marking your physical location you’ll be able to specify your phone number and your opening hours.
Once you’ve submitted your listing to Google Places you can create “coupons” or vouchers to be redeemed in store. (Note: these types of coupons can’t currently be redeemed on your Web123 website but if this is something you’re interested in let us know so that we can build it!). Customers can either print the coupon out, or display it in store on their mobile phone.
[Update: Google Places are now called Google Local and they’re part of Google+. Your existing Google Place page should be updated automatically. Coupons are no longer part of google places/local.]
Need a hand growing your business with Google?
If you need help with SEO, check out Web123’s Affordable SEO Packages for small business.