No, we’re not talking about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That’s another topic for another day. We’re talking about tackling the biggest search engine (Google), establishing your business’s presence through the different tools that they provide, and giving it a steady smorgasbord of content to feed on.
Yes, we used the “chum in the water” metaphor.
Take a quick look at your statistics for your site; what percentage of your visitors come from search engine results, and what percentage of them come from Googe properties? Chances are a sizable percentage for both, and that in both cases they’re significantly higher than the next-highest source, so focusing on the top (Google) makes the most sense.
A Google Places page for your business establishes the new equivalent of a Yellow Pages page for your business, complete with hours, a map, online reviews, specials, photographs, and contact information. Google Places pages are displayed for location-based searches (such as “restaurants in Northampton, MA”), but also often display for generic searches such as “restaurant” when Google is able to get your location and assumes you meant to do a local search.
Importantly these search results are often at the top of the search result listings. More importantly are statistics showing that at least 20% of Google searches are local and increases to over 40% on mobile devices. Even more importantly is the fact that ~43% of mobile searches convert to a person walking through the door of the result they found through the local search, and some report this as even higher.
If you rely on local traffic a complete Google Places page is a must.
Google+ for Business
Think of this like a Facebook Page for your business, but factor in the updates into searches. Unlike Facebook page updates, your Google+ for Business updates will show up in searches, especially location searches. It can also help you connect with your customers and fans, helping promote your business. If anyone that you are connected to in your Google-sphere has left a review or recommended a result in a location-based search that you’re doing that result will show up higher in the results.
Google Webmaster and Google Analytics
Curious how your site(s) show up in Google searches, what position it’s in for different searches, the volume of that search traffic, and the percentage that have clicked through to your site? Google Webmaster gives you the answers. Your Webmaster account can also be integrated with your Google Analytics to give you more information such as the pages/visit, length of visit, location, etc. for those searches and more. The purpose of this information is not to turn you into a data junky, but instead to enable you to make informed decisions regarding changes you might want to make to your site to get placed more highly in the right searches, but also decisions regarding the types of content you need to be publishing to get into searches that you’re currently not ranking for.
Blogger should be your blog platform of choice; not only can you customize its appearance to match the rest of your branding and extend its functionality however needed, but your new blog will be added to Google’s search index within 24 hours and new content that you publish will be found shortly after publishing in searches. Google has also started integrating Blogger and Google+, providing yet another content dissemination point that ties into searches, both generic and location-based. This, coupled with the advanced search engine optimization features that Blogger has added (permalinks, location, and additional custom search descriptions), provides an ideal platform for getting more quality content in front of more people via searches.
Blogger becomes the originator of your new content, your continual source of fresh chum in the water that feeds into the traps and fishing lines that you’ve put in place through the other services. It is the initiator of your digital engagement strategy. It enables you to put out content that your customers are using to find you (and your competitors), enables you to get key words and phrases into your content,
Using the tools above you can fairly quickly, and for little/no cost to your business, position your business more effectively within the most commanding search engine, while creating a content distribution system to target new customers.