With so much information out there – and with the landscape constantly shifting – it can be difficult to know where to start when trying to climb Google’s rankings.
Should you stock your website full of keywords, concentrate on getting backlinks, or do something else entirely?
The answer may depend on who you ask. To make things less intimidating, we’ve gathered five practical tips you can use right now.
Get a Google Maps listing
“When your [Google] Maps listing is online, encourage customers to rate and review your business,” says Wells. “You can do this by adding a link in your email signature, including a card in your deliveries or placing a sign on your counter or shop window.”
Google looks for consistent mentions of your business name, address and phone to verify you're an established business.
Consistency is key
Ensure citations of your name, address and phone number are consistent across the web.
“Google looks for consistent mentions of your business name, address and phone to verify you're an established business,” says Wells, who suggests searching the web for outdated or incomplete listings.
Audit your content
Google wants content to be frequently updated, original, relevant and substantial, says Wells.
“For any page on your site that you want to rank, especially the homepage, you want at least 50-100 words of text,” he says, noting that it’s important to mention some keywords without overdoing it.
For any page on your site that you want to rank, especially the homepage, you want at least 50-100 words of text.
Pick the right keywords
Don Milne, director at community giveaway website Ziilch, suggests being realistic about your keywords.
“For example, if you’re starting a new hardware store, chances are the keyword ‘hardware’ is dominated by Bunnings and Mitre 10,” says Milne. “So forget about that keyword and focus on another one, or better yet, cultivate effective long-tail keywords that relate to your business.”
A small hardware store might use a long-tail keyword such as “local hardware stores”, whereas Ziilch uses “free furniture” or “find free stuff online”.
Think outside the square
Getting a Wikipedia page created, as Ziilch did, can be a clever way to get noticed. However, your business must be eligible, and the Wikipedia copy will be written and submitted by a third party.
“Once it was done, it took just a few weeks for Google to realise, and now we’re enjoying its success,” says Milne.
Larissa Ham is a Melbourne-based freelancer. She write for publications including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The New Daily and Forge magazine, and also shares money saving tips at Hey, Little Spender!