The views included in this article are entirely the work and thoughts of the author, and may not always reflect the views and opinions of Regex SEO.
Small business owners often struggle to maintain high activity around their websites.
With everything that needs attention in your small business, your time needs to be spent wisely, especially if you are forced to take time away due to health or personal issues.
An absence usually means a reduction in publishing new content and updating old content and this usually means your website will drop significantly in search results pages. That means less traffic and less business.
Your website is a key component of your marketing and while you can outsource your SEO and Content Marketing to others, there are Google tools that are worthwhile learning about because for very little effort they can make a huge difference to your websites continued performance.
If you have had some time away from your business, there are a few considerations to make when you get back on board:
- What changes had been made in algorithms during your absence?
- What tactics had you used previously that are now considered “black hat”?
- What were the best tactics to use immediately to start getting some traffic?
Your first step should be to go to Google and check your site on Google Search Console.
GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
If you have used Google Search Console in the past, the first thing you will notice is the changes to the interface. You will have to become familiar with the new version. The first tool that stands out is the URL Inspection tool.
Google Search Console is an interesting tool because it allows you to enter a URL and Google will tell you if the page has been indexed. When you click the “Test Live URL” option, you can also select “view tested page” and it will list any errors on the page. Clicking through the other options, you’ll be able to see exactly what information Google gathers from the page, including whether it appears on the site map and if there is a referring page. It’s an excellent tool for the variety of information it provides, so it’s worth checking out.
This inspection tool isn’t only for new content, it can also be used for pages that you update significantly.
These days you would expect your content to be at least 1000 words long and for cornerstone content at least 2000 words long.
Just about 12 months ago you could write between 700 to 800 words in an article and see it get good traction in search results. Not so today. As more and more competition enters the market for your keywords, the length and quality of your content becomes a deciding factor on where you rank.
You can increase the length of your existing articles (check your competitors for that keyword first to get the word count right). You can then resubmit the URLs through the URL inspection tool to get them indexed. You will find that they get indexed quickly. One major benefit of getting your pages indexed quickly is that you can check their ranking within a few days. Prior to using this tool, you could wait weeks for that to occur.
BACKLINKS AND GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
The current trend in backlinking is getting links through blog outreach. This is where you get backlinks by contacting bloggers with high traffic and relevant content to see if they will backlink to one of your articles.
This type of backlinking is good in theory, especially if you have a high-ranking website.
However, if you have a low DA (domain authority) website you will generally have to pay for this service. As a small business owner who has had an absence from their business, this may not be achievable in the short term.
The other option is to create these backlinks yourself by utilizing Google My Business.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
Many small business owners ignore Google My Business. I suspect because in the past it wasn’t really very well developed, and it had a big emphasis on local business listings.
These days, the service has improved a lot plus it is an easy option to set up.
As with all Google tools you will need a google account to set it up. You can use a Gmail account if you prefer.
You will also need to verify your listing, and this can be done through phone or email. In previous versions of Google My Business, they sent you a postcard with the code and I see that this is no longer a verification option.
Once you have verified your listing you can set up a website and include posts, products, events and special offers. Interestingly they limit their blog content to 1500 characters which makes it an ideal platform for content curation. You can summarize your blog content on Google My Business and create a great backlink to your main website.
Some tips for you.
- Posts last 7 days, so the backlink isn’t permanent
- More permanent links can be generated through special offers with a forward date of 12 months.
- Events will automatically be removed after the date of the event
- Products are a quite recent addition, but they have no end date.
You will find that Google My Business links will boost traffic to your website.
In the image below you can see how my traffic increased following a strategy of cleaning up existing content and building up my own Google My Business listing.
This image from my Google Analytics account shows how traffic to my site went from nothing to a huge jump practically overnight.
The next Google tool worth mentioning is one of their oldest tools that is still available today.
Bookmarking was a successful backlink tactic in the past. Sites like Digg and Delicious probably led the way. These days most SEO experts will advise that bookmarking is dead but hey if Google keep this tool on its platform, I figure it won’t harm your backlinking profile.
This is such an easy tool to use. Just go to google.com/bookmarks and sign in with your google account. You will find a tool at the bottom of the page that you can drag on to your browser toolbar. Then when you visit an article you want to bookmark you can click the button.
It’s that easy and it’s simple and fast.
My final Google Tool that I recommend you look at is Google Digital Garage.
GOOGLE DIGITAL GARAGE
This is a free learning platform that includes not only Digital Marketing but a few other little hidden gems as well.
You can complete the course, do the tests along the way and get accredited.
The content is current and it’s a free and effective way to learn how to improve your online marketing.
The course covers good basic SEO tactics and strategies. For a totally free course it’s amazing yet very few small business owners know about it.
You may not want to do your own digital marketing which is completely understandable considering how much time it takes. However, the major benefit to you as a business owner is that you will understand what is involved and the time and accuracy that is required. Perhaps the next time your digital marketer presents his or her bill you will realise the value of what they bring to your business. This alone is worth investing the time to view the course.