The majority of people use the Google search engine when they are looking for local businesses. Granted, there are still some people who will pick the phone book, but in most cases, these are people who are over 55 years old, and not as computer savvy as younger people. People who are computer savvy, and over 55, will still use the Internet ahead of the yellow pages, just like younger people.
If you have built a website for your business, you need to make sure it gets seen by the people who are searching for it. One might think it would be easy to be found on Google, but unfortunately, you have to compete with (what I call) the spam directories. Let’s look at an example.
Most people are recognized by Google, in that when you do a search for something, Google has pinpointed your location so it can serve up relevant advertising. Others are logged into their Gmail, or using one of their services on a mobile device. So when you do a search Google, it will try and provide you with the results it feels is likely what you’re searching for.
I am not associated with “Truro Heights Baptist Church” in Nova Scotia, but doing a search for them brings up the results shown on the left. At the top you will see where it says “About 22,900 results” — so if this was your business… and you had a website… you have to compete with these spam links to make sure your website gets shown ahead of these. However, you can see the block on the right, which is Google Plus guessing this is what you’re likely looking for.
Right underneath this block, there is a text link that says “Are you the business owner?” If that’s your business, you can claim it, fill out your profile and add your website address so even if your website doesn’t come up on the first page, your Google Plus page now tells your customers where they can find you on the Internet.
You will see this button (shown on the right) on a lot of articles and websites online. It allows you to share the content you are reading to your Google Plus account. Since the search engine like to return results that are relevant — even if you haven’t updated your website for a while — this shows it that you’re still active so the website address is still relevant. Being relevant helps get your website address moved higher up in the Google index.
You can’t rely on Google as a complete online marketing strategy. These tips are only offered to assist you. Watch the video as Mat Cutts from Google talks about How Google Search works:
If you hire us at SteveMacLellan.com, I can add a plugin to your WordPress websites to help get you indexed in the search engines, but this only increases your chances of being found by 15%. As you see, Matt explains that relevance is a major factor on where your website appears in their index, and in order to increase your relevance, you need other websites linking to your website. Sharing content to Google Plus helps a little, but basically just tells Google you’re still here.
On a more personal note, I’ve been sharing more content on Google Plus in just the last 2-3 weeks, and I’ve noticed my websites are moving up in the index. You can see mine here.
Update March 3rd, 2015: A steady use of these tactics now has me on the first page of google.ca — 3rd entry from the top. Before I started this, I was indexed on the 4th page of results, about half-way down the list.