Blended Search Results: Maximizing Your Visibility
Google really, REALLY wants to give people what they’re looking for. So much so that they dump as much stuff on a single search results page as they can find for any given keyword: Website URLs, images, video, local listings…everything but the kitchen sink…unless you’re looking for kitchen sinks, of course.
There is debate out there on whether Google’s penchant for upturning its entire bucket of web content on you every time you search for something is actually useful, or if it is overkill. At any rate, from a business point of view, it means that the more stuff you give Google to play with, the more stuff people looking for your products and services are likely to see.
To improve your chances of being found in search, you should be sure to produce as much of the content Google loves to share as possible. In addition to your main website’s text, you should provide as many of these additional types of content as possible:
You may have images already. A website without them is boring as hell. But you should make sure that you use relevant images and tag them appropriately in your HTML. This is especially important if you’re an ecommerce site selling products. Naturally, you need images of your products so visitors know what you’re selling, but Google wants to know this too, and it can’t “see” that well. Make sure that your image alt tags are descriptive. If you have an image of a handmade blue widget, your image alt tag should be “handmade blue widget” and the surrounding content should be about your handmade blue widget as well.
Given a choice, people would much rather watch a video than read a bunch of text, especially if they are using a mobile device where text is the size of theoretical particles. Google knows this, which is why it does its best to index and rank video content. Video is very well suited to many markets. Service industries can explain their services or show happy clients giving testimonials. Ecommerce sites can offer demonstrations of their products. Software and app sites can show off the benefits of their products and how they are used.
If your website is the online face of your physical brick and mortar business, then you must ensure that you have official local listings available online as well. Local listings are like mini-websites for your business and there are many places where you can set them up. By all means, you should definitely list your business in Google Places. Other popular business listing websites you should be on are Yelp, Manta, and Merchant Circle. In addition to be loved by Google and often displayed in search results, the business listings also allow people to interact with your brand by leaving reviews and recommendations for others to see.
Social Media – or as we like to call it around the SCM offices: Word of Mouth 2.0 – is a space where every business should establish a presence. Google is paying more and more attention to what is being discussed in popular Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Not only does having a presence in Social Media give Google more to rank you for, but it is a great way to communicate and interact with your customers…and potential customers. One bit of advice: It’s a good idea to claim your brand on as many Social Media sites as you can. Not only does this prevent others from claiming your brand for nefarious means, but it gets you lots of juicy backlinks which are great for SEO. Learn more about Social Media Brand Security HERE.
Google Product Search
You gotta love Google…it just keeps on giving and giving! Google Product Search is a completely FREE service for ecommerce businesses that allows them to list their inventory for sale in Google. When your products are listed with Google, they will appear not just in Google shopping results, but in their normal blended results.
Being found in search is not only about ranking your website anymore. It’s about having a robust web presence with as much content about your business on- and off-site that you can provide. The more your business has to offer Google, the more Google has to offer searchers about your business.