The days are gone, when companies published an advertisement in the Yellow Pages to grab customers’ attention. Now, people search for products, restaurants and companies by searching online. Who runs the world? All together now: Google.
According to Adweek, When the internet influences 64 percent of all in-store sales, according to Hosting Facts, and search engines, are the research method of choice for 81 percent of consumers prior to purchasing any product, service or business, startups can’t ignore the state of their search results.
If a company’s website shows up at the bottom or worse, doesn’t show up at all -- during a customer search, the business is in dire straits.
Why Google rankings matter
Companies try to stand out from competitors with bolder fonts or bigger listings in an annual paper directory. Now they do so by climbing to the top of a user’s online search indexing results. For new entrepreneurs crafting their brands and businesses from ground, how their websites rank in Google’s search results affects their bottom line, as much as a solid product and excellent customer service.
At the heart of that ranking is search engine optimization, or SEO.
Google uses more than 200 algorithms, to rate a website’s SEO results, or computer programs that look for clues or ideas, such as keywords, to return search results that are in line with what users seek.
In September, Penguin, a specific algorithm was revamped to be part of Google’s core algorithm, and it may very well change how some sites appear in search rankings.
Rather than updating its list periodically, The Penguin algo, now runs in real time, filtering out spam signals as it goes. Coming with its new real-time refreshment and page-specific focus, Penguin should prod companies to keep all pages on their websites current.
Make sure your domain name is clean.
Business domains are tricky to manage. The new ones who are looking to purchase a domain name befitting their companies need to make sure the domain hasn’t had any past negative SEO issues, isn’t the past home of spammers and isn’t on Google’s blacklist.
With any of those issues a domain will depict a waste of the money spent to purchase the domain, because new owners won't be able to advertise in Google, and based on prior usage, the domain's natural search rankings could be tanked beyond repair.
So, what does an entrepreneur do to make his or her website content appear at the top of those rankings?
Here are three ways to make sure a startup’s domain is poised for good search results:
1. Google it.
Search for every potential name on Google for a particular business could have, and see if a relevant domain name is either currently registered or available get registered. You can do this by conducting a comprehensive trademark search. If the domain desired is currently registered with someone, research for its rankings and any site issues before reaching out to the current owner about purchasing it.
If it is available, make sure to immediately register the domain name. Not only will this save the business money in the long run, but it will also strengthen the business’s online position. Go into this process as you would go about buying a home. Just as you would do running a title search on a home or property, make an effort to research who really owns the desired domain.
And never send a payment to purchase a domain without consulting a legitimate agency to conduct the transaction and safeguard against fraud.
2. Revamp your site.
Conduct a full audit on the site’s content to comply with Google’s search rules, especially with that updated Penguin algorithm. Realize that any alterations made to eliminate spam or poorly written content on the site can now be reflected more quickly, improving the chances of reaching the top of search rankings. And, if necessary, refresh the site’s appearance.
You must also analyze the content on your site, and remove quite a few outdated and unnecessary pages. If information is no longer relevant, remove it. Update articles, product descriptions and purchase information to make these factors current, as well. Leave customers with the impression that they're getting a complete package of information. If the customer experience is first-rate, Google will rank associated keywords highly, thereby increasing the odds of better search results rankings.
3. Produce quality content.
Never post to a site with quick pieces of content just because you have to post and make something visible online. Content should be quality from the start. Even for a simple pizza restaurant’s website, there are things users will expect to be able to find: a menu, the ability to order online, hours of operation and so on.
Domino’s, for example, has used content like its Domino’s Tracker to boost business. In fact, 50 percent of the company’s sales come from online. Every business should strive to be the premier resource for what it provides, and that starts with a customer’s online experience.
But not every business domain provides quality content. Fewer than half of businesses surveyed in CMI’s B2B 2016 content marketing report claimed to have a clear, effective content marketing strategy. They knew they had work to do.
Part of that work is to provide high-quality articles and content that benefit the site’s visitors in some way. At the end of the day, everything is about brand authority. The Google will have a better view experience to the user, if your website has an authoritative domain and its content. That’s why the centerpiece of SEO, relevant keywords, are one of Google’s 200 considerations for higher rankings.
So, that's it:
The “Google It” paradigm is here to stay, and entrepreneurs must pay attention to their search rankings to stay successful. Establishing and researching the right domain and creating quality content may take some time and effort, but
It’ll pay off in the long run with a lot more pizzas or your product, in particular, sold.