Category: Tools to Use

Great social media and other communication tools you want to try.


Do You Need a Blog?

You are posting content for your small business on social media. Do you still need a blog? Simple answer: Yes.

There are so many benefits to having a business blog. Not having one can actually hurt your impact in this competitive digital media world.

4 Reasons Every Business Needs a Blog

Search Engine Ranking and General Visibility. There’s no better way to drive traffic to your website than via search engines. To get a good ranking (aka search engine optimization), you need to be constantly publishing fresh content. Publishing to a blog regularly and consistently will help you get ranked for the related keywords that people type into search engines. The more you publish, the more opportunities you’ll have to rank for those keywords.

Control over Owned Channel. When you post content on social media channels, you don’t actually own your profile or the channel. You are just along for the ride with little or no control. When you post content on a blog hosted on your own website, you are creating a central point for your social media presence in a place that you own and control. You’re providing a permanent place for your content and links.

Expertise and Thought Leadership. If you want to build thought leadership in your industry, publishing a blog is the best way to do it. You can use your blog to establish your authority and thought leadership on your topic of expertise.

Generate Connections. It is easy to add a subscription form to your blog to enable anyone to subscribe to your updates. Blog posts can also invite comments. Plus, a blog is a common place where people look to ask questions. All of these help to build your base of people who are interested in you and your business.

Bonus: Blogging Makes Web Updates Easy!

Here’s another reason you need a blog for your business website – it gives you a built-in, easy way to add news and other new content. Need to change hours – blog about it! Want to announce a new product or service? Write a post.

You can post text, videos, and images in a place where people are looking for your latest.

Blogs posts are inherently easy to add to a site. It’s a quick and easy place to share new things. You can later tackle the larger job of changing website pages or navigation.

Understanding Local Search Rank

Most people use search to find nearby businesses. Google, the most popular search platform by far, knows this and has implemented several factors to help local businesses rank highly in relevant searches.

The three main factors that determine local search rank, according to Google are:

  • Relevance: The business matches what the searcher is looking for.
  • Distance: The business is close to the user.
  • Prominence: The business is a good example of the search term.

Of these, prominence is the hardest to achieve, but the most important. When there are limited results that are a match for all three factors, Google continues to put the most weight on prominence when determining search results.

Factors in Google Local Prominence

So, what factors are considered when determining prominence?

Ratings and Reviews

Google considers reviews to be an indicator of how well regarded a business is in the eyes of fellow consumers. The average star rating for businesses that earn a rank in the top 20 is about 4.1 stars.

A higher than average volume of reviews is an indicator that a listing has the potential to achieve a top ranking.

Prominent Attributes

Google adds attributes to keep pace with features that searchers are looking for. These include things like woman-owned, pickup or delivery, and virtual appointments. Almost half of listings in high rank positions have at least one prominent attribute selected in their Google Business listing.

Photos

Google displays cover photos in the results for generic queries, as well as photos pulled from the gallery in the Google Business profile. Photos are used to demonstrate the relevance of the listing for a particular search.

Justifications

These are snippets of text pulled from a variety of places, including Google Posts, reviews, and the business website. They are displayed in search results and are a factor in determining the relevance of a listing to specific searches.

What You Can Do

While there is still no way to guarantee you will earn a top search rank for one or more searches, there are things you can do to help your chances.

  • Solicit Google reviews and respond to each one using keywords.
  • Select all attributes that apply to your business in your Google Business profile.
  • Upload great photos that represent your business and what you do.
  • Use all of the features of the Google Business listing to reinforce your most important keywords including posts, questions and answers, service attributes, and product/service listings.

 

Connect Your Site to Google Search Console

Google Search Console gives you an incredible amount of information about how your site is doing in search. It is a free tool that shows how your site is doing in the eyes of Google. You can also see how searchers see your site in the search results.

Every website owner should use Google Search Console to:

  • Get information on keywords and queries that bring traffic
  • Find out which rich results your content has earned
  • Discover how your mobile site is doing

How to Connect Your Site to Google Search Console

Adding your website to Google Search Console is generally quick and easy. Google outlines the 5 steps.

You must own the site or have permission granted by the owner in order to add a site to your Search Console account. You can have up to 1,000 properties in your Search Console account.

Using Google Search Console

After you’ve signed up for Search Console, you’ll receive emails if any unusual events occur with your website. These emails alert you if your website has been hacked and if there are problems indexing your site. Google will also email if your site violates any search quality guidelines. All of these emails have links that guide you on the issues as well as recommended corrective actions.

You can access your Search Console dashboard any time to:

  • Check for any technical issues or errors impacting your search visibility
  • Track your appearance in search results and clicks
  • Learn your searched keywords and ranks

Tools and Reports

Many reports and tools are available in Google Search Console. All of these give website owners good insight into how Google sees their sites, and therefore why their site may rank well, or poorly. While we still can’t know the ranking algorithm, search console gives pretty good insight.

These are some of the more useful reports and tools.

Performance Reports

Explore how many people saw and clicked on your site in Google Search, what queries showed your site in Search, and your average search position. Data includes clicks, impressions, click through rate (CTR), and position for your site, as well as query strings that users were searching for. Data can be grouped by page URL, country of query, or device type.

URL Inspection Tool

Use this report to troubleshoot any crawling errors that Google encountered on your site. You can reach this tool by clicking into a specific URL in the Coverage report. You can also use this report to fix and retest a page before resubmitting the page for indexing.

Page Indexing Report

Shows index status for all the pages in your site. Pages are grouped according to whether they are or can be indexed, and a description of why they could or could not be indexed.

Sitemaps Report

Check to see if Google could process your sitemaps, or use for debugging, if Google can’t seem to find new pages on your site.

Removals Tool

Allows you to temporarily block URLs on your site from appearing in Google Search, or to clear the search snippet until the next document crawl. Also shows a history of your block requests, as well as a history of user requests to mark pages on your site as adult-only.

Page Experience

See what percentage of URLs on your site Google considers to be a good page experience for your users. This is a combination of fast page availability, good mobile experience, and support for HTTPS.

Core Web Vitals Report

Check how well your pages perform for your users. This let’s you know what pages need to be fixed.