Have you heard the new joke referring to where the best place to *ahem bury a body is? The second page of Google search listings – because no one will find it there. While the joke may or may not make you chuckle – it is an accurate picture of searcher behaviour, and the struggle faced daily by small businesses trying to compete.
Think of your own search behaviour. I would bet it’s rare that you ever make it past the first page of a search result. And now that we search primarily from our phones, less than 5% of searchers ever view the second page of Google search results.
This makes it quite clear that ensuring your business shows on page one is critical to staying ahead of your competitors.
So what can you do?
First, we must quickly explain a Google result page, and what elements are involved in displaying a particular business.
There are three areas on the first page results of a Google search: Paid Ads, the Local Stack (including maps), and Organic Search results. In this post, we are going to focus on the free organic traffic Google gives away to those businesses that make an effort.
You have no doubt heard the term SEO (search engine optimization), and you have likely heard at least one pitch on the benefits of it. You may also know that it can be very time consuming, complicated, and expensive to do right.
There are two kinds of SEO: On-page SEO (optimizing your website so it can be found by Google), and Off-page SEO (optimization outside the boundaries of your website).
On-page SEO is all about your website construction and the content on your web pages. Basically, you need to make it easy for the Google bots to crawl your web pages and have the right keywords and categories to match the search queries of your future customers.
Off-page SEO (or sometimes described as ‘back-linking’) refers to techniques that can be used to improve the position of a business in Google results pages. Matching a consumer to a business that helps provide them with what they desire is the goal of a search engine such as Google – It’s really nothing more than a big matchmaking or introduction service.
Nothing annoys a consumer more than inaccurate information about a business. Driving to a business that is no longer there, or has moved to a new location, is very frustrating – and when that happens, we blame Google, not the business. So when considering who they can trust, Google scours the internet to see if other valid sites have a listing for a business, verifying if the information is the same across multiple sites, and displaying those with the most accurate, up-to-date information.