Have You Googled Yourself Lately?

Even though we have a website, we might not always be aware how Google portrays that website. Google is telling the world about you. It is important to know what it is saying. And it is also easy to then influence the results by telling Google what to tell the works about you.

There are four main types of searches:

  1. Your name
  2. Your business name
  3. Your industry/service name
  4. Specific questions around your offering

Before you Google yourself, check to ensure your website has been indexed.

To do this, simply do a site:search.

That is, site:DoesMyDomainExist.com is one example that does NOT have anything in the index. Therefore, the first thing to do is fix this. Otherwise all your searches below will not show your site in the results, which will not be a helpful exercise!

If you find this is the case then you probably have a setting that blocks search engines. You’ll need to do the REVERSE of this article to then unblock it: https://www.hostinger.com/tutorials/prevent-search-egnines-from-indexing-wordpress. And also resubmit your site to search engines.

Submitting your website to Google

The process has recently changed, so I’ll let Google themselves tell you how to do this: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url?pli=1

Whereas, when I search site:EastGosfordWebsites.com.au then I do see that there are pages that have been indexed. So I know that the insights I learn from searches below will be helpful.

I am often asked how to show up on the front page of Google. But the front page of Google is blank!

Front pages are contextual to a “Search Engine Results Page” (or SERP). So you need to define the searches you’d like to be on the front page for. And THEN ask the question again. Performing the search yourself for those phrases will be insightful (who does show up ahead of you? Are you on there at all yet? Are there directories you could list in? and so on).

The main takeaway – put those phrases onto your website!

The article below is showing the different types of searches, and each one has a SERP. Ultimately, if these is a phrase for which you’d like to rank in Google, ensure that phrase exists as text on your website.

1. Googling your own name

This can be difficult to face up to. But important to be aware. Publish & curate what you want to portray to dilute anything else.

  • Linkedin is likely at the top. This is good. Ensure you curate your profile.
  • Does your website show up with your name? If not, consider writing more about yourself. This is the place you can influence what Google says about you
  • Directories? If yes, good. If no, we look at them in the next point
  • Guest articles? I recently started this for my own business. And now the articles I wrote are starting to show up in the first few pages of search results
  • Is there any press about you? Is it good? That’s good. Amplify it by linking to it from your own website. Is it bad? Dilute it by writing more on your site and on other sites.
  • What to do if someone has the same name as you? If they are famous you won’t likely out rank them (at least at first). So add qualifier phrases. If someone is Googling you then they have some reason (met you at an event, heard about you from a friend). Anticipate their intent. Does it make sense to use place name qualifiers (“Central Coast”)? Or perhaps job title qualifiers (Lawyer, surveyor, business coach)?

2. Googling your business name

This may bring up an amplified listing – called Sitelinks. That is the goal.

There is no way to control which pages Google displays in the Sitelinks. Though you can influence it with some basic steps like:

  • Ensure the sitemap is working properly and clearly
  • Link internally to important pages from the footer, blurbs or CTAs
  • Enable breadcrumb navigation (which ensures a good hierarchical linking structure)
  • Get some backlinks pointing to important pages if natural

Your site may be hacked and you don’t even know!

“This site may have been hacked” is an actual phrase Google puts under some suspicious sites! You’d never know because only your customers Google you! It is a simple enough process to then perform a malware scan, and resubmit to Google. Google themselves have a well structured guide: https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/security/hacked/.

Examine the blue and grey text in your SERPs. Are they helpful?

Here is where the blue and grey text in Google really shines. Don’t use “Home” for your home page. It is often the default if you haven’t had it altered. But you are not trying to optimise or advertise the phrase Home (as in home page, different if you are home renovators or similar!). But space in the page title and description are in short supply. No need to put home page in the title.

Neil Patel has an excellent article about meta titles and meta descriptions (the blue and grey text in SERPs). I’ll let him explain what they are and how to edit them: https://neilpatel.com/blog/meta-description-magic/. (If you are using WordPress then I recommend the plugin called “Yoast“.

3. Googling your industry terms

  • Map Pack – the 3 map results (are you in it?)
  • Directories (consider listing in them?)
  • Competitors – what can you learn from their listings? Do they have better blue & grey text than yours?
  • Google’s suggested searches at bottom of search page (“Searches related to {keyword}”)
  • Do the ads have any good headlines to borrow from? (Ads can split test headlines over time. Few actually do it, but some ads get better and better with age because they keep improving)

Examples:

    • Gosford Pilates – searching Pilates Central Coast
    • The Coast Bar – searching Functions Gosford (looks like we should target function room next)
    • Fahrenheit Cafe – top in TripAdvisor for “Cafe Gosford” (highest reveiws), so they get Sydney visitors. TripAdvisor is the top Google result. They also are prominent in maps, and then 3rd in SERP! This is a classic case of reviews winning over.

4. Googling questions about your industry

Answer Cards

Clear and simple answers can sometimes get rewarded with “Answer Cards” in the top of the search results! Like this example. This is great for extra traffic.

Suggested Searches

In the drop down from the search bar as you type, but also at the bottom of the page, there might be up to 8 different suggestions titled “Searches related to {your keyword}”.

Question Cards

A combination of the two points above, sometimes Google shows extra questions in a card format partway down the search page. These are another helpful form of suggestions.

Essentially these give you article headline ideas. Create content to match these questions, because Google is telling you that people are asking them!

What to do with national rankings if I am a local business?

Why put effort into writing content that helps people outside of your service area? I’ve got 5 possible reasons:

  1. It boosts your domain authority. Search engines value the helpfulness of your site,and reward your other pages with improved rankings even for other searches!
  2. You could put an email magnet to build your mailing list. (This is perhaps less important for very location specific businesses, but it still helps to grow your profile and your authority in the space.)
  3. You could use Google Ads to then target visitors to that page who also have IP addresses in your service area. They were Googling around your industry, not yet ready to commit to an industry search, but now you can show them banner ads targeted to how you provide a service to address the exact question you know that they searched!
  4. Adding a Facebook Pixel tracking code to your site allows you to build a profile of the types of users who visit your site. So you can then advertise to “lookalike” groups. Facebook builds a database that finds similarities, and then you can send ads to lookalike profiles, again they can be location based, and it is using machine learning to get more and more targeted!
  5. For the bloggers among us you could actually display ads on your website and potentially earn revenue from those pages!

 

Appendix

  1. If you’re using WordPress, then one common way to edit meta titles and descriptions is with a free plugin called “Yoast
  2. Each web page has many places where you can add words. I’m writing a simple diagram to show the hierarchy of impact for each of those places, so you can choose how to prioritise. Watch this space.
  3. In order to make edits it is important to know if your website uses a Content Management System (like WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace, Joomla, etc). If you don’t know then you can scan for results here: https://www.wappalyzer.com/
  4. It is so important that you are tracking your website statistics. Do you have Google Anlytics installed so you can review your traffic and make ongoing content decisions? If you’re not sure, you can scan with this site to check: http://www.gachecker.com/.

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