As an advocate of a holistic approach to your web presence, I’d like to stress the importance of the mundane and unsexy task of “housekeeping”.
For many people housekeeping is secondary to enjoying life. However, in the orderly environment of the World Wide Web, keeping the particulars about your business neat and tidy, will likely put you ahead of your local competitors when it comes to Google ranking.
What Does Google Rankings Have to Do With Housekeeping?
Google ranks search results based on trust and context. That trust is earned by Google verifying that your information is consistent, accurate, and valuable, relative to your query, location, and history. The information Google uses is not just your location, but EVERYTHING you generate digitally.
Here are the areas we evaluate to determine the health of a business’s web presence, or as my colleague John Follis of Big Idea Video says, your “G-Cred.”
What’s In A Domain Name
There are many factors that go into choosing a domain name, but these are the most important:
- Does the domain match the company name? Consistent branding is critical.
- Is the domain shorter than 20 characters? Keep it as simple, easy to remember, and type as possible.
- Are there abbreviations or characters? Unless you’re AT&T, NPR, or AFLCIO, steer clear of names where only the company president is likely to know the meaning.
- Is the domain using the best extension (.com, .net, .org, .edu, .biz, .us, .me)? You don’t have to use .org if you’re a non-profit, and if you can own the .com, that’s great. However, the .org will help set expectations, and minimize your bounce rate from visitors who thought they were going somewhere else.
- How long have you owned the domain? Google trusts longevity, so the longer you’re company has owned your domain the better.
Put Your Email Address To Work
Email is a great opportunity to promote your site and your brand name. Which is more professional? Marjorie @ littlefishstudios.com or littlefish113 @ yahoo.com? For the non-professional, an AOL or Yahoo address is fine; for a professional, it’s an indication that they haven’t had proper digital marketing help. LittleFishStudios @ gmail.com is somewhere in the middle – it shows that I’ve made an effort, since it does have my brand, and there may be extenuating circumstances for why I don’t have a domain email. You can Google the name, but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll reach my domain from looking at my email address.
Website: Liability or Asset?
Evaluating a website could be several articles on it’s own. However, these are the basic criteria that have to be met before you work on driving traffic to it:
- “Where am I, what can I do here, what should I do first?” Those three things have to be crystal clear in the first 3-7 seconds or I’m hitting the back button to return to my searches.
- Is the information useful and accurate?
- Is it visually appealing and engaging?
- Does the site fit the device I’m using to browse?
- Are the navigation, buttons, and forms easy to use?
- Is the language answering “what’s in it for ME?”?
Content is important, but user interface plays an equally important role in site popularity, conversions, and where it fits in your digital marketing strategy.
Just the Facts, Ma’am: NAP (Name Address Phone)
Have you Googled your business lately? Is the information accurate? If you’ve moved, changed your phone number (from land line to mobile), or maybe your business name has evolved over time (i.e. Little Fish Studios, LLC, Little Fish Studios Web Design, Little Fish Web Design, Little Fish Studios Web Design and Online Promotion), your business will be listed differently in different directories. Again, Google wants to know “Which one is the real Little Fish Studios?”
Social Media Minimums
In assessing your web presence we take note of the last time you posted to the channel, your NAP info, reviews, and the size of your audience.
Even if people don’t engage with your business on social media (anywhere from 65%-90% of people depending on which marketing firm you ask), they’re “lurking.” While they’re lurking they’re judging you by your attention to that social media channel: when’s the last time you posted, was the content informative, what can they get from adding you to their “likes”? Search engines have not directly said that they care about your social media channels, but we know they take the statistics into account, because those profiles are valuable backlinks. So even if people aren’t looking at your social media, machines are collecting data that affects your overall search ranking. And even if you’re not posting, the “about” information (NAP, web address and email) has to match all the other citations out on the Web.
Time to Clean Up Your Web Presence
If you haven’t done a local search for your company lately, you should. 80% of local searchers call or visit a business within 24 hours. The things that make a customer come to your business (and not your competitor’s) are the same things that bring you to the top of local search: consistent, accurate, and valuable information. It’s up to you whether or not you want to put on a sexy maid costume, but either way, the web presence housekeeping needs to be done.
And if you don’t like to get your hands dirty, call us – we get great satisfaction in cleaning.