As someone who has been in this industry for 15 years (and who has been a Certified Google Partner for many of them), I've seen the world's most popular search engine change a great deal during that time. The Google of today barely resembles the one that originally launched in the 1990s and much of that has been absolutely by design.
One truth that has always been present is that ranking highly on Google isn't just difficult: it is often downright confusing. This is particularly true if you are a business owner or Director of Marketing who is frustrated by seeing competitors (not to mention review sites like Yelp) rank higher than you for your desired keywords.
But do not forget: Google wants to provide the best possible search results to as many people as possible. That is their primary goal and once you understand that you will begin to realize that ranking is very much a two-way street. If you can PROVE to Google that YOUR site is the best for a particular query, Google WILL rank you higher because of it. At that point, the types of techniques you should be using can't help but reveal themselves.
We recently did a significant amount of work for several radon (testing, and/or mitigation) companies and these days, they're ranking higher (and are getting more customers) than ever. Below is a list of the exact solutions we leveraged to help get them there. Not only are they easy to do but they are practical, too. They will make a big, big impact on your business before you know it.
1. The Power of Google My Business
Again, Google's primary goal is to deliver the highest quality search results to people with no exceptions. As a way to better connect their users with local businesses they have created something called, “Google My Business”. It is an opportunity that far too many service related companies, fail to take advantage of.
Luckily this is an easy technique - and it’s totally free. Go to your Google My Business page and make sure that it is completely filled out with all relevant and accurate information. Be sure to check it at least once a month to see if any new information has been added. Google is constantly rolling out new updates and you don’t want to miss them.
Likewise, remember that reviews are the best friend you've ever had in terms of ranking in Google Maps. Whoever has the most reviews (and the best average) will show up on top so create a process for getting as many new reviews as you can. If you have an email subscription list for example send out an email blast asking for a review. You'll be surprised by how many you will get.
Pro Tip: if you participate in email marketing, set up an automation to request new subscribers to leave a review for your business. Have the request for a review be sent a few days after their product has arrived or service completed.
2. The Mobile Era is Upon Us. It’s Time to Act Like It.
In no uncertain terms, you MUST make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Not next week, not tomorrow, but today. The vast majority of all people who find your business will do so on a mobile device and if your site doesn't display perfectly on a phone, they're going to smash that "Back" button and chances are they will never return.
One of our clients receives most of their leads from mobile devices.
Plus, Google has come right out and said that you will NOT rank if you're not optimized for mobile devices. If the world's biggest and most popular search engine says something is important we need to listen.
You will also be more likely to rank for searches with specific items (like “Radon testing near me”) if you write out your key capabilities instead of listing them on a downloadable form or flyer such as in PDF format.
3. Using Multiple Locations to Your Advantage
Finally, if your business has multiple locations including franchises, be sure to create one unique page for each store. You can have a "Location Finder" utility on your main page, but that should direct people to a unique page for every location that you have.
Each of those individual pages should have a few key elements like:
- A unique title with the location name. For example, “Elite Radon Testers - Gurnee, Illinois”.
- Your hours of operation in an SEO-friendly format.
- Your phone number, address, and other relevant contact information.
- A link to your Google My Business page on Google Maps.
- A beautiful exterior photo of the location.
These are the core techniques that we used to boost around the online presence of the radon businesses I was referencing earlier. If you implement them for your own company, you can easily start seeing results right away.
Plus, SEO is an incredible asset in that you are not paying for each click you receive. Additionally, you get to keep your ranking for as long as your site is optimized.
In the end, the solution for overcoming search engine battles and attracting new clients is clear: optimize your website as soon as you can! If you're still curious about where to begin or aren't sure you can do it yourself, that's okay - don't be afraid to reach out. I or one of my colleagues would be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have.