We hate to say it, but if you were thinking you’d publish your first website today and start showing up on the first page of Google search results tomorrow… well, we’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn we’d like to sell you.
Ok, we’re kidding - about the Brooklyn Bridge - but not about how hard it is for new websites to get found on Google. There are a few reasons for this. First, it just takes time for Google’s software to find new websites - somewhere between 4 days and 4 weeks, unfortunately.
Also, you may be competing against a lot of other, more established websites that are already ranking high in Google searches.
Finally, you may need to make some content or technical changes to your website to improve your search ranking and make it easier for Google to find and rank your site.
But don’t worry, there are a few easy things you can do to show up sooner - and higher - in search engine results.
A Beginner’s Guide to Search
First, let’s go over a couple of the most basic aspects of search and search engines.
Why do I need to be online at all? You probably know this already, but consumers look for products and services online. In fact, some research shows that 87% of consumers now begin their product search online, and all indications are that number will only go up. If you want customers to find you, you need to be online. Tip: Need help with a domain and website? Startomatic has you covered with a Domain Name Finder and a Coming Soon Page Creator.
Ok, once I’m online, how do I get found? This is a trickier question.
Let’s start with the fact that, when we’re talking about search, we’re really talking about Google. Yes, there are other search engines (big boys like Yahoo or Microsoft’s Bing, and specialty search engines like DuckDuckGo), but the simple fact is that Google handles more than 88% of internet searches. So at first, your time is definitely best spent figuring out how to get found on Google.
How exactly Google comes up with its rankings is a secret they guard as closely as those Coca-Cola folks guard their recipe (hint: it's mostly sugar).
It’s enough to know that Google uses powerful algorithms to sort through billions of web pages and find the most relevant and useful results in just fractions of a second. Those algorithms get their information from “Googlebots” that “crawl” the internet, simulating real users and collecting information about websites. It’s those Googlebots that you want your website to give the right information to, so that the algorithms rank your site high on Google.
How exactly do you do that? Read on...
Building a Foundation for Getting Found Online
As promised, here are three easy steps to get your new company website on the right track for search engine success:
1. Claim Your Google My Business Account. Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your business on both Google search and - critical for companies with a physical location - on Google Maps. The most important step is to claim your account and make sure it has all of your business’s updated information. This is also key to getting noticed by the Googlebots and up your chances of showing up in searches. Additionally, Google My Business offers the ability to connect with your customers, and see how they’re interacting with your business’s profile.
Ready to claim your Google My Business account? Startomatic makes it easy - check out our Starter Post, here.
2. Use the right keywords on your website.Keywords are what people type into a search box to find something online. And they’re critical to getting found - and getting found by the right people. When a searcher hits “Enter”, Google looks at billions of websites for the keywords they’ve entered, returns thousands of results, and ranks those results according to the reliability of their content and their relevance to the keywords.
How to “game” Google’s system and get to the top of the rankings quickly is a multi-million dollar industry, and could fill hundreds of blog posts like this one. But in a nutshell, you need to know what keywords your customers are searching for, and then include those keywords on your website. Try to think what your ideal customer would search for. Are you a landscaping service in Akron? Your website should probably mention “Akron area lawn care” and “best landscaper near Cleveland”.
If you’re a piano teacher in Los Gatos, you probably want to say “Silicon Valley music teacher” and “best piano lessons near San Jose” in a few places in your website. You get the idea - and if you want to know more about using keywords effectively, keep an eye on our blog, we’ll be discussing that it detail soon.
3. Set Up Google Search Console on your Website. This one is a little more technical, but it’s worth it for the information you can get (for free!) about your website. By setting up Google Search Console, you’re also telling Google that you are actively promoting your website - and that’s a green light to the Googlebots that are looking for information about how to rank your site.
Google Search Console can tell you how well your website is performing (ranking) on Google, and give you free tools to improve your ranking. One of the best things it does is tell you if there are technical problems with your website that are preventing it from ranking higher in search results. Yes, it takes some time to get familiar with the tool and the vocabulary it uses, but once you do, it is almost guaranteed to result in higher search ranking - and that means more customers.
Ready to set up Google Search Console? Startomatic walks you through the process - click here to get started.
Extra Credit: Do you really want to geek out on SEO?
Then Google has created just the guide for you, check it out here. Tip: bring a water bottle and some snacks, you might be on that site reading for a while.
Startomatic makes it radically easier, faster, and less expensive for starters* to launch and run a company. Our Starter Guides, Starter Tools, and Starter Posts answer all your new business questions, automate tons of common tasks, and show you exactly what you need to do to set your company up for success. Learn more