If you're one of those small business proprietors who haven't figured why you and Google should be like two peas in a pod, you are not alone, and this blog post is definitely for you.
Website traffic is not as simple as having a website. There are a lot more components to being seen online than meets the eye. More about this in our blog post Why Your Website Matters More Than Ever.
You see, to be found by Google search engines and for your information to be shared with the user by Google, it is of vital importance to register - or CLAIM- your business with them.
In this process you will provide business information like your location, hours of operation, your website URL (address), links to interesting information on your site (e.g. a link to your food or drinks menu if you have a bar or restaurant) etc.
To claim your business with Google and get yourself on Google Maps, go here. Before you start, to do this you'll need to set up a gmail account. That's Google's email platform. When this task is performed, you can retrieve your Google API key to put the location map on your website.
This is the first step in Google's algorithms recognizing and sharing your information with the Internet user, but there is more:
- business information you have shared with Google when you claimed your business with them. Give them as much as you can including photography. Because photography is a highly competitive feature of the online world make sure it's good.
- your website will be mined by Google and the content will directly influence your appearance in search. This is your opportunity for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Your target is to increase the local search that finds your business. These are keywords that were built into your web text specifically for the purpose of being found by Google's algorithms.
- user-generated information e.g. when a customer leaves a review, or photos of your business, or reports a problem with Google. So you'll want to encourage clients or guests leaving a comment on Google. For the purpose of search engines, it's in your business' s best interest.
- information from 3rd party resources e.g. social media platforms such as Facebook, anything that could be useful to the user searching for information about your services is also mined. Remember that the Internet is a gigantic network where everything is interlinked.
The next important component of your business relationship with Google is that any and all information is kept up-to-date.
The moment a change is made, any change, take the time it is changed across your many platforms. This is state-of-the-art business practice. Keep a go-to list of the entities that might need an update and do it. We admit, this sort of tech administration is not the most pleasant of managing our online presence. But it will not take much time and the impact will be significant.
And last but not least, we recommend reinforcing your website with SSL (a cryptographic file issued by an authority, used to provide privacy and identity assurance.) While this is not yet a requirement of compliance with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, we feel this might be the next step of growth of online security.
In the meantime, Google (and social media) appreciates that all important little lock on your website. It shows them that the protection of data online is important to you. And this - unofficially- gives your website an extra edge in your business relationship with Google.
But there's more! Read up on Google Adwords and Analytics for your website traffic here.
Price & Bren