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Everyone wants the number one spot on the first page of Google. Competition is hot to get to the top of Google search rankings. This is a tough ask for the small business owner. Around 91% of people do not click past the first page of Google results to find what they want. Being on the first page is crucial to capture the interest of more potential customers.

Getting your website to the top of the search results can be a complex equation to solve. Search engine optimization (SEO) and keywords are two key components but, to most business owners, this is a mystery. Here are some things you can do to get your business to show up first on Google.

Search engine optimisation

Have your website designed by a professional. Professional designers will structure it so it meets search engine criteria. When someone enters keywords as a query, the search engine searches for websites that match those keywords. You want to be one of those that makes it to Google’s front-page results. So, what do search engines look for? :

Geographical information

Too often websites leave out one of the most important things, their location. Make sure your website lists the city or at least your geographical area. Consumers are often looking for local businesses. To improve your Google ranking, it is vital your website lets people know where you are.

A user-friendly website

Google bots love a website that is user friendly. With so many mobile devices, your website needs to conform to any size device the consumer uses to gain access. Most people use handheld devices rather than a desk top or laptop, so your website needs to be mobile friendly to catch the attention of Google bots. This is another reason for having a professional designer create your website. They will ensure it functions across all digital devices.

Effective use of keywords

The single most effective thing you can do to catch Google bot attention is to use keywords. This will boost your website traffic. Using keywords effectively does not mean overstuffing your content with repetitive keywords. Google does not like this and will send you to the naughty chair. And, this will make it harder to climb the Google ladder to the top spot.

Think about these tips to use keywords for a positive impact on how Google bots view your website.

Meta titles attract attention

The meta title is crucial. It tells Google what each page is about in a few words. If you leave it blank, Google will either guess or give the page a title itself. This is not what you want. The best meta titles are no more than six words long or up to 65 characters, and can be different to your H1 Headline. Every page on your website should have its own separate title. These provide a convenient title to bring up in a Google search result.

Write meta descriptions

Meta descriptions appear in the source code. Google bots read these to see if your page or website is relevant to a search query. Keep meta descriptions to between 70 and 160 characters long using the most relevant keywords with a call to action to click on your page. It is important that every page has its own unique meta description. Google bots do not like duplicate content.

H1 Headline use

The H1 Headline is the title of the content or article on the page. It is usually different to the meta title you want to rank on Google’s front page. When you do not fill in a meta title, Google can use the H1 Headline in its place in its search results.

Tagging with H1 tells Google this is important information. Use other heading options such as H2 and H3, in descending order, to structure the importance of your content. Only use a H1 Heading once on every page and do not forget to use it. It is very important to your Google ranking so make sure you use good keywords in this title. It should be relevant, and be consistent with the keyword use in title tags and the content.

Determining keyword and Alt tag use

There are long and short tail keywords. These are words or sentences to accurately describe your website for search engines. A short tail keyword, for example, can be ‘accounting software’. This is not much use to you unless you are the only business this is relevant to. You will need to distinguish yourself from the rest. Long tail keywords can help you do this. ‘Smart accounting software for business’ is an example of a long tail keyword. Use them no more than four times in the content on your page.

Do not overdo your keywords. You want to use them naturally throughout the page and limit the amount of different repetitive terms to two or three at the most. Google bots do not like the overuse of keywords and will penalise you if they think you are keyword stuffing your pages.

These tips are just a very few simple things you can do to help your journey to the top of your competitors to hit the top spot on Google.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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