Every business wants to rank higher on Google, but how is it actually done? We explain just a few of the ways you can make changes to your site and your strategy to help push your brand to the top of Google’s search results.
Why Does Ranking Matter?
The purpose of having a business website isn’t just so people can find you online when they look for your brand, but also so they can find you when they’re looking for products or services you offer. 49% of Google users say they utilize Google to find new products, and when they do, 37% will click on the first result.
This means that to get more customers online, you need to rank in the top search results that Google provides its users for your products and services. To do this, you need to do SEO and improve your “organic” or natural ranking over time, as Google uses certain factors to determine which websites rank higher.
Here are a few ways to improve your organic ranking on Google.
Optimize your meta data.
Meta data for a website is the information that shows up on search engine results, i.e. the title, description, and url that Google shows to users. Meta data can not only influence a user to click or not, but also affect Google’s ranking of that page.
Some web builders don’t allow you to edit metadata, which will set back your SEO, but if your website is built on WordPress, you can easily edit your meta data for each page with an SEO plugin. You can find one here.
- For meta titles, include the keyword and the name of your business, and make sure it doesn’t go over 60 characters, including spaces.
For example, the meta title of this blog post is: How To Rank Better On Google | Hyvemark
- For meta descriptions, stick to 154-157 characters. Your description should say what the page is about, and should always include a call to action at the end, such as “Learn more,” “Call us,” or “Make an appointment.”
Example: Ranking at the top of Google results is key to your business’ success. Learn a few practical ways you can boost your search engine rankings from Hyvemark.
- For urls, make them fairly short and clean, using hyphens to separate words, and always include the keyword you’re targeting.
Write content for people first.
Even though you’re creating and improving a website so that Google “likes” it more, you should first and foremost write your website copy and your blogs so that the average person understands it and gains something from it. If your copy is Google-approved but it doesn’t engage your customer, you’re doing it wrong.
The truth is that Google actually wants content that’s very human and very unique. The best way to get that is to write for humans, and for your customers, instead of writing content by asking “what does Google want?” This way, you avoid pitfalls like keyword stuffing.
Improve your page loading speeds.
The slower a page loads, the lower Google will rank it — plus, a user will click out of a page if it takes more than 2 seconds to load. To avoid both of these, you can speed up your website’s loading times through several methods, here are some:
One great way is by improving your videos and images. Larger photos and videos make pages load much more slowly. To solve this, you can:
- Compress your images with a tool like Imagify.
- Host your videos on Vimeo.
- Use JPG for your images.
- Resize your images so they’re the right balance of quality and size.
Another way to improve your page’s loading time is to optimize your code. There are often extra characters, unused code, and more that are slowing your site down significantly. There are a few tools that can help you clean up your code.
You can evaluate and keep an eye on your website’s loading time with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
Add internal links.
Are the pages in your site linked to each other? Linking pages within your site can help Google understand the content and structure of your site better, and pinpoint which pages are more valuable. This in turn helps your SEO.
Adding internal links is easy to do yourself. Your homepage is a great place to include links to your service pages, your About Us page, and your Contact page. Your service pages could also link to other pages related to that service, or to a blog post, and vice versa.
Every time you create a new page, also make sure to link other pages from your site inside of the page. For example, on this blog post, we can link to Hyvemark’s services page.
This process of linking as you go will ensure that your internal linking strategy is happening consistently.
Create new content.
Google loves fresh content, so new content is often ranked higher. A great way to stay on top of rankings for your keywords is to constantly put out new content about it, or to update old content with new and more relevant information.
Starting a blog is an easy way to do this. Set yourself the goal to write a weekly or bi-weekly blog post about topics related to your product or service, and publish them regularly. (And of course, make sure to add optimized meta data to your post.)
Not only does this give your website a boost in ranking, but it answers your new and potential customers’ questions about your products. In fact, this is a great way to build your brand’s reputation and trustworthiness in your customers’ eyes.
Use Search Console to submit new content and disavow bad content.
Google Search Console is maybe your most essential tool for SEO. There are many actions you can use it for, and one is to submit new content to Google — and also let Google know to ignore other pages.
On Search Console, you can review which pages Google has been ranking, and either allow Google to continue this process on its own, or give it some help.
Submitting new content
You can submit new content that you want Google to rank by creating a list of urls called a sitemap, and submitting it through Search Console. Make sure to include new content and pages that Google will probably not be ranking on its own yet.
Excluding bad content
You can also exclude pages that you don’t want Google to rank. On WordPress, you can use the Yoast plugin to make pages private.
You might want to exclude pages that have repetitive URLs or page errors, fake links, and pages that are just images. These types of pages can hurt your SEO, so excluding them will keep your SEO strategy running smoothly.
Doing an annual content audit will also help you stay on top of bad content and decide whether to delete, consolidate, or update any content.
These are only a few of the actions you can take to improve your website’s SEO. Ultimately, a strategic and long-term approach to your site is the best way to improve rankings on Google and keep them.
Businesses love to think that anyone can and would use their product, and they famously say “my target audience is everyone.” However, this simply isn’t true, and honing in on the group that’s most likely to buy your product helps you sell more and sell better.
What is a Target Audience?
A target audience is a group of people at which you aim your product or service. Your business’ target audience will be determined by a variety of factors — essentially, by data — which you’ll use to create an ideal buyer.
The Factors of a Target Audience
A target audience is defined by factors such as age, gender, race, income, location, interests, lifestyle, education level, and more. But these factors alone are meaningless by themselves. Marketers need to understand the consumer behavior that’s born from these factors.
Consumer Behavior is Everything
Consumer behavior refers to how people of different groups use and buy certain products to fulfill their needs and desires. Defining a target audience means understanding those needs and desires, which vary according to demographics, which is where these factors of age, gender, and so on come in.
Before, people were more similar in their preferences, something experts call a Mass Culture. Now, our world is more diverse than ever — not only is it more obvious how different everyone is, but we have more choices and preferences than before. Understanding consumer behavior is key to finding your audience among a sea of unique buyers.
To make the most of your strategy, you should segment your audiences. This means that once you understand which consumers you’ll target based on their characteristics, you should divide them into groups with commonalities and then create an approach for each group.
Alongside data, you can segment audiences based on things like the stage of the buyer’s journey, the benefits your consumer’s looking for, how and why they use your product, the occasion, and more.
How Do You Choose A Target Audience?
Choosing a target audience requires data and research. In the US, data is being gathered constantly, about everything, giving marketers and businesses plenty to work with. However, knowing how to interpret the data and turn it into a marketing plan requires knowledge and training.
A target audience will depend largely on:
- What you’re selling
- Where you’re selling it
- How you are selling it
Your data will tell you how different people in different places respond to and choose to purchase your product, allowing for more successful marketing efforts.
Why Do Target Audiences Matter?
Target audiences are essential for understanding consumers and their behavior, specifically, how they purchase. While businesses used to believe that consumers would make rational decisions about their purchases, it’s been proven that consumers make irrational decisions based on emotions, and sensory stimuli, like colors.
This is important because each person, depending on their age, gender, race, etc, will make those irrational decisions differently. If we understand consumers, we can better understand how they come to purchase. This process allows businesses to maximize their return on investment by knowing the trajectory of a consumer’s journey to buy, and create better marketing strategies that fit that audience.
Defining an audience doesn’t limit it, but actually increases your sales and your return on investment. Instead of spreading your marketing budget too thin by trying to appeal to everyone, you’ll quickly gain the trust, attention, and dollars of those most likely to buy.
Marketing to Your Audience
The internet has created consumers that are much more informed than before. We will read reviews, watch videos, and do research before buying. We’re also influenced by packaging, colors, brand reputation, and more. Therefore, a marketing strategy requires an understanding of the factors that may influence your audience to target the right demographic and have a bigger ROI.
Once you’ve defined an audience, your marketing plan should take them into account every step of the way: what colors do they respond to positively? How will they relate to the product and your brand? Where will you target your ads? What approach will you implement in one city versus another?
Time and again in your marketing journey, you’ll find yourself going back to that audience to help define your strategy.
Many businesses are either designing a new website or refreshing their old one — a modern and functional site is key to marketing efforts because:
- You need a website to link to your paid ads
- More and more customers are searching for and buying products online
- A website is necessary to drive organic traffic through SEO
If you’re in or about to be in this design process, you may believe your website needs elements such as attractive images and up-to-date information about your business; you may even look for fast loading speeds and responsive design. However, there are several elements that often go overlooked, and that are key to your website’s success as a marketing tool.
An “attractive” website design may seem like enough to engage your audience, and it’s absolutely necessary, since users quickly form an opinion about your site by its appearance. A site with a modern and clean design will be more successful than an outdated and unattractive one.
But beyond the superficial design, what does it take to not just impress a user, but get them to take an action, such as buying a product or contacting you for a service? User experience and interface design (UX/UI) make this happen.
UX/UI involves many factors, but each one focuses on getting a user to act in a specific way, depending on what they’re looking for. Each user has a different purpose for being on your site, including:
- Looking for information on a topic
- Considering/researching a product that you’re offering
- Purchasing your product
Your website should consider these purposes, or stages of consumer behavior, and utilize UX/UI to facilitate the user into taking an action. For example, proper UX/UI will ensure that your customer can easily find a product, add it to their cart, and checkout successfully without too many steps in the way.
Consistency in Branding
More than before, online users will often encounter your business for the first time through your website, and it’s essential to present them with a consistent image of your brand.
Your website should match your brand in every way. When creating a website, take these brand elements into consideration:
The fonts you use in your site should be consistent with your brand, but also appropriate for a web browser. On a website, a font needs to be easy to read — and it should appear the same across operating systems and browsers. Make use of different font weights (bold, medium, regular, light) to highlight information and guide the reader through your content.
Make sure the font you choose has a web version that you can easily access. This is because there are web fonts and print or desktop fonts. Desktop fonts are meant to be used for print, and won’t work for your site without a web font version available.
A great way to maintain consistency in your branding is to choose a desktop font that can be optimized for the web, and make that your signature font. If you’ve already chosen a desktop font for your brand, and it’s not optimized for the web, then your web designer can recommend one that is web-safe and fits your brand. If you need some help finding the right web font, you can also search for open source fonts through Google fonts.
For your website, you’ll have to extend the color palette of your logo, as logos often have only 3-4 colors for printing purposes. Your website has many elements, including buttons, sections, menus, headings, and more, which will require this extended palette.
It’s important to remember that this extension of your colors should remain consistent with your original color palette and branding. The new colors should fit into your branding and feel like natural additions to it, not random splashes of color. A good rule is to use this extended palette in subtle ways, so that your users are introduced to them more slowly.
For your website’s images, it’s worth it to invest in a photographer and/or a graphic designer. Not only will they make sure your images match the tone and style of your brand, but they can ensure that all the technical aspects are on point.
For example, images should be clear and sharp, but not be too large or heavy, so your site will load quickly. Your designer can find the balance between the lowest possible file size, while not sacrificing too much quality.
Consistency will show that your business is reputable, trustworthy, and professional. Maintaining the same look while taking web requirements into consideration will help your customers recognize you the next time they encounter your brand, while retaining a positive experience.
A website is where you exist online, and today’s most basic digital fingerprint. You can leverage your website to get more customers and more sales by ranking higher on search engines through an SEO strategy.
But your website needs to be ready for your SEO efforts, and depending on the platform your website is created on, it may become difficult to do SEO. WordPress is your best option for an SEO-ready site.
How WordPress Primes Your Site For SEO
Creating your site on WordPress ensures that any SEO campaign to start afterwards is possible. Here are a few reasons why:
- WordPress allows you to edit your header tags and meta descriptions — and do it easily, without going into code. This kind of metadata is incredibly important, as it tells Google about your page, which helps Google rank it. Other web builders don’t allow for metadata optimization, which can hold back your SEO.
- Images are easily optimizable on WordPress. Just like metadata, optimizing an image’s tags and descriptions is vital for SEO, and WordPress allows you to make those changes based on your keywords and more.
- WordPress is very secure. If your site gets hacked, or it doesn’t have a proper SSL certificate, it can drop in rankings very quickly. WordPress has excellent security and their team stays on top of any issues.
- WordPress’ SEO plug-ins are top-notch. WordPress is well-known for its many helpful plugins, and their Yoast SEO and All-In-One SEO plugins are incredibly useful for various SEO tasks. And that’s not all: there are many useful SEO plugins to explore. Other web builders don’t offer these tools.
Growing your online presence is not just key to your marketing, but one of the top reasons to have a website at all. Make sure your website is ready to fulfill this purpose.
Create Your Website With Hyvemark
Hyvemark’s integrative approach to marketing includes effective website design and creation. We understand that for your business’ marketing strategies to succeed, you need a website that doesn’t just help them do so, but forms an essential part of that success. We ensure that your site is consistent with your branding and has all the elements needed to rank on Google and convert customers.
Many small business owners hesitate when it comes to investing in marketing, and doubt if dedicating a significant budget to marketing is the right choice. It might seem like another reason for cash to be leaving the company, but this is a common misconception.
Marketing has a cost, but it can determine business success and bring money back to you, when done correctly. Here are a few reasons why investing in marketing is worth it, and why you shouldn’t overlook the benefits of branding, digital marketing campaigns, and strategy.
It Puts You On The Map
Marketing is like introducing yourself to your customers, and the first step to building long-lasting relationships. It’s not just a visual first impression; it’s finding your customers and interacting with them in the right way. Marketing is a long-term investment, a cohesive interplay of different strategies that give you long-term results.
Today’s competitive landscape, online and offline, makes it undeniable that without marketing, it will be very difficult for anyone to know about your business. Marketing accomplishes this through a variety of complementary strategies, from design to targeted ads, that work together to help you reach your company’s goals.
It Gets You Through Crises
Marketing can weather many storms, even when production goes down, technology adapts, or other changes happen. Although marketing budgets are often the first thing to go in a crisis, studies show advertising can actually help in this time more than ever.
Marketing during a recession, when others are not, means less competition and more visibility for you. This has a huge positive effect on your business, not just to survive a recession, but to thrive even more afterwards. The key denominator here is making sure strategies maximize your return on investment and cumulatively work together to achieve the same goals across all marketing channels.
Any action that can help your business not just get through a crisis, but grow in one, is something to invest in.
You’re Already Doing It
To start any business, you have to do some level of marketing, even if you don’t realize it. The moment you name your business, create a logo, start an Instagram page, ask your friends to talk about your business, or choose packaging for your product, you’re marketing your business. You can’t do business without marketing on some basic level, which is why investing since the beginning is crucial to a consistent and successful marketing strategy.
What’s the difference when you invest in marketing instead of doing it passively? You give it the importance, time, and budget it deserves. Inadvertently, we all recognize that branding matters, and that advertising a business matters — we are just hesitant to put in the time or money it may take to make it great.
But that time and money will take the work you’re already doing to a new level, and actually make it profitable. You want people to hear about your business, and this should be achieved with trackable and measurable online ads and organic search strategies, functional designs, and consistent branding efforts.
You Are In Control
When a marketing budget surpases a business’s revenue it is clear why business owners and stakeholders are often dismissive of marketing and see it as a wasted investment. But an investment in marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune to bring in real and beneficial results. Creating a realistic budget can help you reach your goals without overspending.
You decide how much you want to spend on marketing services and for how long you want to spend it. Since you can target a specific audience with your strategies, you can spend on specific platforms that can increase your return on investment and minimize wasted efforts.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, businesses should spend 5-7% of their sales revenue on marketing — and new companies should spend even more. A budgeted and careful investment can bring in revenue strategically.
Hyvemark: The Agency Focused On Your Growth
At Hyvemark, our experts will discuss your marketing goals and provide you with strategic recommendations focused on your business’ goals and sustainability. We strive to provide you with services that fit your budget and provide you with quality results by offering ROI-driven marketing that makes your investment in marketing worth every cent.
Branding defines the way consumers perceive your company and products. It defines you as a business (visually and beyond) and makes you stand out and differentiate yourself from others. A consistent brand can drive new business and retain current customers.
The most common symbol associated with branding is a logo, a quick and very visual way to make an impression on a customer. But branding goes beyond just a logo: it includes colors, voice, name, style, and more. With the right branding strategy, your business can achieve real success. By ensuring all its channels accurately represent and are consistent with the brand identity, a business can foster loyalty, sales, and professionalism.
What Does a Consistent Brand Look Like?
A consistent brand is not thrown together in one day, but rather thought out and executed with the help of professionals. When you’re defining a brand, you should consider, and decide on:
- Color palette
- Value proposition
- What makes your brand different
Once it’s defined, your brand should extend beyond your logo to business cards, promotional items, social media, email communication, and your website. Your website, as the online representation of your business, should be created (or redesigned) with branding elements of color, font, and voice as well, while communicating your values and differentiators.
A brand that’s consistent has a branding guide to maintain it, leadership and employees committed to using it correctly, and the promise of time to help it grow stronger.
Why Branding Matters
1. Improves Recognition
A brand that’s both consistent and memorable can help your business grow loyalty. If a customer recognizes your business and can associate it with certain products, values, and feelings, they will be more likely to buy from you than from a brand that they don’t know.
Your logo is the face of your brand and what it represents, so they are usually the first tool for recognition. The right logos have the power to be simple but memorable and give the right impression of your company. Your logo should be carefully and professionally designed to make the desired impact and display what your brand is all about in the most simple way.
2. Generates Referrals
Customers tend to talk about brands they like, especially if they are continually exposed to and have excellent experiences with the brand. It’s difficult to share about a brand someone is unfamiliar with or one they can’t remember, but a recognizable logo is the first step to achieving recognition. With time and consistency, a memorable logo will go a long way.
3. Differentiates You From Competitors
With so much competition out there, it’s critical to stand out from everyone else, because chances are your product or service already exists. Find the ways your business stands out and how you add value, then transmit those through your branding. This is a more subtle and powerful way to express your uniqueness than by simply saying it — your customers will feel and believe it.
4. Creates Trust
Customers are much more likely to buy from a brand they know and, more importantly, one they trust. Branding can help you create that trust through consistency and recognition.
Also, when a company has an excellent branding strategy, they unconsciously communicate professionalism to consumers. Customers trust, and buy from, brands that are professional, so when you’re adequately branded, people will look to you as an industry expert and trust your product.
5. Aligns With Your Advertising Efforts
Advertising is part of branding, and your strategies will reflect how you want to portray your brand. When you advertise your products or services, you must keep branding consistent and appealing so that everything in your business aligns.
Brand manuals, for example, are created to ensure brand consistency exists whether your team or a third party creates marketing materials, for example. They serve as the guide to how the brand will be communicated through any marketing channel, so that when customers see your advertising efforts, they recognize your brand and its values.
6. Influences Purchasing Decisions
Your branding can have a huge effect on your consumer’s actions. A brand that’s consistent in everything can increase their revenue by up to 23%. Consequently, your logo can also influence consumers at first glance, from the font, shape, size, and color. When a product is both recognizable and attractive (both achievable with consistent branding), it generates more sales.
7. Motivates Employees
Employees who work for strongly branded companies are more satisfied and have a higher sense of pride in their work. Not only that, but they also represent the business better to others, providing even more referrals and trust. Superficially, branded items can instill more loyalty in your employees, give them a sense of belonging, and encourage professionalism.
Define Your Identity With Hyvemark
Hyvemark helps you make your mark as a business with beautiful and effective branding. From a memorable logo to an entire brand identity, we create materials that will make it impossible for customers to forget your business and what it does. Explore one of our branding projects for a new startup.
Choosing to do digital marketing for your business is a no-brainer — choosing the right agency to handle your digital marketing requires a little more time. Aside from being a reputable agency with proven strategies that focus on real results, there are other less obvious boxes that your choice of agency needs to tick off.
To have the best outcome with a digital marketing agency, you need:
An integrative approach.
The right agency will not just try to sell you a Facebook Ads service or convince you to spend your entire budget on pay-per-click ads, with no consideration for your marketing and business needs as a whole. An integrative approach will consider: What is the goal? Can market research help improve your digital campaigns? Can your website give the customer what they’re looking for?
This approach ensures:
- That you’re getting your money’s worth by targeting actual customers, and not just “anyone”
- That your agency is considering a comprehensive marketing strategy, beyond just digital marketing
- That you’ll see real return on investment (ROI)
- That your marketing efforts have a long-term impact on consumers