18 Oct 2017
Google Search can be a valuable tool for lead generation, but how do you make sure your company performs well? We asked Vince Moran, Digital Director at Precept, a brand communications agency based in Newcastle, for his advice.
Picture a first date scenario; did she smile? Laugh at my jokes? Do I look good? Is it going well? Is there a connection? If I was a website (it’s easy...sit back, close your eyes, relax), looking for Google love, did the date go well?
We’re concentrating on Google as it’s the most popular search engine with over 80% market share on desktop and 97% of the mobile market.
It publishes hundreds of new webpages every second and more than three billion searches each day. It’s really useful to understand what drives Google, in particular what drives Google Search. From the beginning, Search has been guided by three core values.
Ultimately Google wants a user to get the right search results (in the right order) based on the text entered. Google states that ‘In 2016, after over 150,000 experiments, more than 1600 improvements were made to Search’. That’s an incredible amount of updates to make and emphasises their commitment to making improvements through rigorous testing and constantly evaluating their offering. The search engine results page (SERP) can look very different, all dependent on the search query and all those experiments. The results now include features for images, the Knowledge Graph, news, map, shopping, video, related questions, reviews and many more. There’s an excellent visual guide available here.
What does this mean for you? Build strong relationships.
Well, what are your customers looking for? Ask current customers what they searched for and how they found you. Experiment with different types of content on your website; publish popular questions and answers, support with a short video or infographic.
Essentially, Google wants to help you get discovered but they don’t reveal everything on how Search works. The aim is to ‘empower website owners to build sites that are great for users and show up well in Search’. Challenge accepted. Support is given via their Webmaster Portal, guidelines, forums, YouTube channel and a host of useful tools. It’s important to note that Google is working hard to identify deceptive or manipulative behaviour, so be good, stick to the guidelines.
What can you do? Look for the signals.
For a start, check that your website is mobile friendly. Open your website on a mobile phone or tablet; did you have a good user experience? Use the Mobile Friendly test (remember the mobile market share value from earlier?) and check how to make your website load faster by visiting PageSpeed Insights or run a free website speed test using Pingdom.
Google is committed to a free and open web, stating ‘our users are best served when they have access to a breadth of diverse content from a variety of sources’. This means content from a variety of locations, allowing the user to consider all views and differentiating opinions. It also means spam, fake news, offensive material and bias.
How do I stay on Google’s good side? Support your partner.
Google is working hard to address all negative issues and you can help by publishing quality content, promote good practice, stay within the rules, respect the laws, follow the guidelines, get involved in the debate and keep the web safe.
Google is the best space to advertise in the world, especially if you’re performing well in its search results. A good place to start is usually by completing an SEO audit of your website so positive and negative signals to Google can be identified.
Get some Google love and get a second date.