Having the ability to earn income wherever you are is in increasingly important in this fast changing world.
In today’s article our webmaster, David Cross, shares some ideas on gaining top placements in Google for your business…and what to do with the traffic this generates.
Of all the questions I am asked about online marketing perhaps the most common question over the years is how to gain a #1 placement on Google. My answer is in 2 parts – the second part of which is, “How to be number 1 on Google?”.
Getting to the first place in the search results on Google – or any search engine for that matter – isn’t that difficult. And even if you are targeting highly competitive terms, the principles are constant. There are a few core elements your site should have and, depending on what business you are in and what search terms you are trying to gain a placement for, it’s generally a matter of time and everyday spadework before the pages at your website start to feature as relevant in the search results for a particular search term.
Every online business wants to know about search engine optimization (SEO) because a #1 Google placement means people will see your website and hopefully click through to your web pages. But SEO is not the singularly most important aspect to running an online business, and in fact, it’s only part of the equation of SEO itself.
The mantra inside Kevin Costner’s head in the film Field of Dreams was, “If you build it, he will come.” Getting your #1 placement on Google may give you the best chance of their coming to your website but before we discuss how to get to #1…the secrets of how to get good placements in search engine results. We’ll share the more important aspect of when your prospect clicks through from Google, what happens next?
Assuming that you’re running a website for business purposes rather than as a hobby, getting someone to click your link from Google and driving them to your website is of little use if when they arrive they read your article and leave without taking any further action. You want people to do something…buy something…sign up for a newsletter or call your company.
The problem is that so many websites focus on getting that #1 Google placement that they overlook what to do with the increased traffic from these referrals.
Before showing you how to get the top spot, I’ll show you what to do with it.
This is what marketers refer to as conversion which simply mean moving your prospect along to the next step in the sales or business cycle from where they are at that point. (It can also refer to reducing refunds, but for this example we’re referring to making a sale).
You may run a virtual (wholly online) business or you may have a website to support your offline bricks and mortar business. A few examples may be:
- An electrician who wants to promote his business locally for home and business rewiring
- An online company promoting scuba diving holidays in the Mediterranean
- A horse trainer who wants to promote his services
- An interior designer
- A personal fitness trainer
This is a typical, fairly diverse bunch of businesses which may employ a website and SEO to build business exposure online.
Most websites have a “contact us” page. Perhaps they see that is the only thing required to generate business and that if someone is really interested they can use that as the means to get in touch. But experience and testing shows that people often need more than contact details and may not yet be ready to make contact, possibly fearing that they may be implying some sort of commitment before they are ready to make that commitment. Very often people don’t know what the next step is or fear they don’t know what questions to ask so are nervous about getting in touch.
Planning What You Want to Happen
Each of our sample businesses described above need to consider the action that they want their prospects to take. When the prospects visit their website, it is important to have planned for an action to occur. While it’s simple to simply say, “We want our prospect to make contact and book an appointment,” we know that a person may not be ready to do that. And if all we do is to ask for people to contact us, if they’re not ready to do that and we offer no other opportunity at that moment, it’s less likely that we’ll be able to convert the person’s interest into a sale down the road. Indeed, they may just bail from your website and perhaps forget which website they were looking at when it comes time for them to make a purchase.
I’ve observed this in many online and offline marketing campaigns where business and websites offer a product for sale with no other option if the person is not yet ready to purchase and hence no sale is made and the prospect is gone. You know it may take you a few visits to a website or some additional research before you are ready to make a purchase…especially a major purchase.
One thing each of our online businesses may wish to test is offering additional, free information on the same web page that traffic is driven to but that requires the visitor to exchange their contact info (normally their email address). This can often be in the format of a free report, a white paper, a sheet offering helpful pointers and next steps or questions to ask before you move ahead. All of these display further knowledge on a topic, portray you as an expert and offer something useful to website visitors without forcing them to make a major commitment at that moment.
If we consider our sample businesses and how this idea relates to them we may come up with something along the lines of:
- The electrician: A free guide, “Choosing an electrician. 10 questions to ask yourself about your next electrical project”
- The scuba diving company: A free report, “The top 10 diving spots in the Mediterranean” or “A guide to the sea-life beneath the Mediterranean”
- A horse trainer: A free guide on “10 gentle ways to make your horse more obedient”
- An interior designer: A guide, “You know you want to redecorate but are stuck for ideas…here’s how to get started.”
- A personal fitness trainer: “A Fast 5 Minute Workout to Get Started” (with video)
You could offer these guides as a free download which you’ll email people for leaving their email address. Write these yourself or if you dislike writing, you may wish to record, then transcribe, your answers to your customers’ questions. In the case of the scuba diving company, you may wish to find a fish biologist or conservationist to write part of the guide. You could let then provide their expert knowledge on the aquatic life of the Mediterranean. Many experts are more than happy to do this! As they share their knowledge and expertise, you gain the additional benefit of involving a credible third party to your website and to what you are offering.
Inside the guide you can add your contact details. Normally you’d want to follow-up with people who requested the guide, perhaps to see if they need any additional information or to add an 11th tip that didn’t (intentionally) make it into the guide.
These guides are one way of converting those who have an interest into customers. Over the years I’ve helped many businesses employ this idea of using free guides or reports. This has resulted in helping convert website traffic and subsequently converting that interest into sales.
The free guides help establish you as an expert and help convert what would otherwise be an anonymous website visitor onto the next step of the sales cycle.
Next Wednesday, we’ll look at how to get that elusive top spot on Google.