If you’re a business owner, you need to know the exact direction your business needs to go to take it to the next level. Now you need to translate that into Google results. Taking ownership of your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is strongly encouraged, and there are more ways than ever to do just that.
Branded AdWords Campaign
The first step for any small business to clearly own the SERP is to start a branded AdWords campaign. By tightly controlling keyword choice with exact and phrase match types, a marketer keeps costs low, avoids brand squatters without filing for a trademark, and strengthens the brand’s appearance on the Google SERP.
Furthermore, by using phrase and exact match in your keyword set, you limit your ad from showing on less-related keywords, keeping your cost-per-clicks low and manageable.
Branded Organic Results
Slightly more difficult than showing ads for your brand is to ensure your site shows prominently in organic rankings. While domain name plays a role, the stronger signals come from, as you might expect, links. The easiest way to do this without trying is to get links from news sources and local blogs by doing newsworthy things as a business.
Short of getting natural links, posting press releases about truly meaningful company news can be picked up by news sources.
Google+ & Local Optimization
Authorship has been mentioned before, but Google+ pages have become so much more than a Facebook competitor. By merging Google+ with Local results, it’s become imperative that a marketer set up a Google+ page.
But Google+ isn’t a cure-all. Expanding a consistent business profile to Yelp and other, more mundane business directories helps ensure that your Google Maps listing is strong in its own right. Keeping a strong and consistent local presence also helps with the real Holy Grail: non-branded SERP domination.
The Real Win: Owning The Non-Branded SERP
Convincingly showing up on Google for your own brand name is great, and honestly not too difficult, but there is yet one more major hurdle for the intrepid internet marketer: non-branded search. Getting all these things right is hard enough, but to have to compete with others who have a reasonable reason to show for a given keyword forces you to take all the lessons from brand-level marketing and push it to the limit.
Making your social and local efforts relevant to unbranded search queries is the final piece to break Google. Accurately categorizing your business on Google+ Local and Facebook provides on-page factors that make it more likely to show up in SERPs.
In turn, review sites such as Yelp are further strengthened by the natural location and keyword data provided in organic reviews; these, when strengthened by links from your site and others, have a high chance of showing up for “money” keywords. The trick for the non-branded ranking domination is to scale your content and linking in a way that focuses not on your business name, but on your business’s services — a logical move to pull in customers who don’t know of your business’s existence.