How To Get Your Business On Google Using Free Google Tools

How to get your business on google

Engage With Customers On Google For Free

Getting your business on Google by leveraging Google’s own free tools is easier than you think! Whether you’re an established company or just starting up, the more visible you are on the internet, the easier it will be to improve your digital marketing and achieve your business goals.

Over 100 Billion searches are performed on Google every month. So, if your business is not discoverable on Google, you are losing out on a huge business opportunity. Fortunately, Google makes it easy for small business to list their business on Google products such as Maps, Google+, and on search engines.

Google My Business is a free tool that lets you list your local business easily. It’s a great way to build your web presence and generate more leads.

That helpful information box is what Google calls a “knowledge graph. ” it’s a block that’s generated from company details listed on Google’s business platform, google my business. This is the online portal many businesses bow to as the queen bee of local search. Google my business gives you tools to showcase your company’s information, engage with customers, and gain helpful insights on how users are interacting with your knowledge graph. The great part about it is— it’s all free. All you need to do is sign up for an account to start telling the world’s largest search engine about your business. After you’ve logged into the platform, it’s easy to add your site to Google by building your online profile.

How do customers engage with your listing once they find it? With google my business insights you can see if they visit your website, call your business, or request directions. Other Google My Business insights include:

    • Day of the week customers call
    • Photo views
    • Search query

These valuable insights allow you to learn about your business visibility on google and areas of improvement. Google my business insights is just one of the many free features you get with your listing.

Get Customers With A Great Business Profile

Photos and videos are a great way to stand out in search results. This feature allows both business owners and customers to add photos on your Google listing. Take advantage of this feature by showcasing your products and services. Also, customize your profile image, cover photo, and more to stand out.

How to get your business on google

But First Verify Your Business With Google

You need to verify your business with Google. Usually, they will require a postcard be sent out to the business address.  Most postcards arrive within 14 days. Sometimes Google doesn’t require postal verification. However, most of the time they do. The postcard includes a unique verification code that you must enter in google my business to confirm that your business is located at the listed address.

While you wait, you can prepare for online success:
First, visit your business website as if you’re a customer who found it through google search or maps. Take time to review and enhance your site and update any incorrect information. Take pictures of your business and the products and services it provides. These photos make great additions to your google my business profile. You can even take customers inside your space with a street view. For extra traction, GEO-tag your images to your location.

Make Your Google Profile Stand Out And Work For You

To add images including your logo, cover image, and other images of your business, go to your google my business dashboard and click on “photos” at the top of the page. You should also take every chance you get to encourage customers to rate and write a review for your business on google maps. Happy customers with great ratings and testimonials will help to attract more prospects to your business.

The Value Of Google My Business Websites

Don’t have a website yet? Don’t worry. With the Google My Business platform, you can build a free website. It’s easy to create and edit the site from your computer and phone. The feature is mostly free, although there is a cost to get a custom domain if needed. But what if you already have a site? Build your Google website as well. Every time you make a post on your GMB, it automatically updates your Google website. This is a great opportunity to add other links in the post to your other online web assets such as your map URL, YouTube channel, and other social properties.

Driving Organic Traffic With Google

For those in the business of trying to drive organic traffic, Google is all-powerful. It crawls the web, determining which pages are the most useful and relevant for its users for virtually any topic. We don’t just trust Google’s results, we rely on them. With such immense power and influence, getting your small business on the first page of Google might seem unrealistic, however, it this very power Google holds that makes it more possible than ever for small and local businesses to rank high in search results—for free! But it takes knowing how to accomplish this.

GMB Reviews Are Important!

85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Which is why online reviews are essential for customer acquisition and satisfaction. To deliver the most relevant and beneficial results for local searches, Google reviews not only want to know what your business does but how your business is perceived. Reviews offer an opportunity to get immediate customer feedback while building confidence in your business and increasing visibility on local results. Be sure to give your customers a review link, either through a link or a clever QR code. That makes it easy for the customer to leave a review.

More Solutions From Google

Local business owners, this one’s for you. Within the broader SEO world, there’s an area known as local SEO, where Google helps direct location-specific searchers to solutions in their geographic area. Why is this important? Essentially, most people will still first turn to Google’s search box to find the business they’re looking for before taking a stroll down main street. Google My Business is the response to this reality.

It is a directory of business listings that populates what appears on Google maps, as well as what’s displayed in the ‘local 3 pack’ (that highly coveted map and three business options that appear at the top of searches with a specified location).

So, let’s get this straight. How exactly does this local feature help your business get found more easily? In addition to keywords, it’s just one more way of hinting to Google that your business will be a quality result to suggest to its users.

How to Get to the Top of Google Search Results

Google’s search results are getting more robust— with knowledge panels, answer boxes, expandable related questions, local results, and more. With so many ways to stand out, working for top ranking is well worth the effort, especially considering that traffic and click-through rates fall off precipitously as one works their way down the search results. Traffic and engagement fall off precipitously after the first few results.

It’s a known fact that the first page of Google search captures the majority of traffic, but did you know that there are significant differences in click-through rates for the top vs bottom results? One study shows the following click-through rates by Google position:
• first result: 36. 4% clickthrough rate
• second result: 12. 5% clickthrough rate
• the third result: 9. 5% clickthrough rate

CTR continues to decline, down to 2. 2% for the 10th result (there are usually 10 organic results max per page, even less now with local results, ads, answer boxes, and other new features. If you’re not at the top of the search results, you are missing out on a lot of clicks.

How To Get To The Top Of Google Search With PPC Ads

Do you ever click through to the second page of Google’s search engine results? No. No one does. In fact, less than 3% of searchers make it to the second page. Understandably then, most business owners who come to us are wondering how to get to the top of Google search results.

There are several suggestions to get your business on page one of Google (even Wikihow has something to say about it)—but we have a tried-and-true method of making it happen. But first, you’ve got to understand that there are a few different areas of Google’s search results you can rank #1 for: rich snippets, PPC ads at the top, organic listings at the bottom, and local map listings in the middle.

That means you have four separate opportunities to rank your content on page one. One philosophy and strategy to get that spot on the first page and outrank competitors starts by breaking it down into solving four main questions, each one aimed at a different part of the search results page:

  1. What is a Google featured snippet and hoe does one get it?
  2. Can you get your pay per click (PPC) ads on page one of Google?
  3. Use search engine optimization (SEO) to get your website to the top of Google. How?
  4. How do you get into the 3-pack map?

Rich Snippets Are Great Value

Top results for google searches now also populate “position zero” answer boxes, otherwise known as featured snippets: earning a top spot on google could lead to getting featured in a featured snippet, granting your business immediate exposure and increasing your credibility.

Featured Snippets are short snippets of text that appear at the top of Google’s search results in order to quickly answer a searcher’s query. The content that appears inside of a Featured Snippet is automatically pulled from web pages in Google’s index. Common types of Featured Snippets include definitions, tables, steps, and lists.

The easiest way to earn a featured snippet spot is to produce quality content and format it in a way that Google will love. You have to make your content “snippable” so that Google will recognize your link. If you’ve already got some links with high rankings, you’re in luck.

Using Pay Per Click For Better Results

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically.

Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches on a keyword that is related to their business offering. For example, if we bid on the keyword “PPC software,” our ad might show up in the very top spot on the Google results page.

Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click model, in which users bid on keywords and pay for each click on their advertisements. Every time a search is initiated, Google digs into the pool of Ads advertisers and chooses a set of winners to appear in the valuable ad space on its search results page.

How to Get Your Website To The Top Of Google With SEO

You might think that Google is omniscient, but even the most powerful rulers need a little help sometimes. While your website will inevitably be found at some point by the google bots constantly crawling the web’s content, you can take a few actions to speed up this process. The first step is giving Google a quick heads up that you exist by submitting your site to Google. You can do this by sending over your sitemap to the Google search console. Not sure how? Google it! It’s the tech equivalent of waving hello and giving Google a little nudge to speed up the indexing of your website.

How to Get Your Business On Google Maps And Increase Local Leads From Local SEO

It is well known that getting into the 3-pack on Google maps can be really profitable for you and/or your client. In fact, it is often the key performance indicator that clients look for when they come to us for local SEO services or leads. That being said, many people struggle with this. If you do your due diligence and you properly optimize your listing, that is a very good first step. Be sure to have a consistent N.A.P. (Name, Address, and Phone Number) on all your online properties.

In a competitive niche, you may even have to do some authority backlinking to boost your GMB.  There are other simple ways to rank higher in Google maps for the city you are verified in. For example…using other Google properties to link back to your business page. Note: it is very hard to rank a competitive keyword in a city’s 3-pack if your GMB address is not listed in that city. Preferably, your listing will be near the city center.

How can local search engine optimization (lseo) help get your business on Google maps?

My Business is Google’s one-stop shop to manage how your business will look and perform in the search engine. It is an essential tool to find out and adjust how your site shows in Maps, the Knowledge Graph, Google+, and organic search results. According to the most recent edition of Moz’ Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, Google My Business continues to be the biggest driver of local SEO success, with quality links coming in at a close second.

Other Strategies For Getting To The Top Of Google Search Results

One of the most critical steps to ranking your site higher is by creating valuable, high-quality content that people will want to read and link to. 90% of the most successful content marketers in a Content Marketing Institute study put their audience’s information needs as a top priority.

When your content offers value to your audience, it will make them stay on your site for longer. This can positively affect your rankings. Be sure to do proper keyword research for your business niche.

Before we dive into how to get to the top of google search, you should know what the ranking factors are that google looks for:
“you want the answer, not billions of webpages, so Google ranking systems sort through the hundreds of billions of webpages in our search index to give you useful and relevant results in a fraction of a second. These ranking systems are made up of a series of algorithms that analyze what it is you are looking for and what information to return to you. And as we’ve evolved Search to make it more useful, we’ve refined our algorithms to assess your searches and the results in finer detail to make our services work better for you.

Here are some valuable tips on reaching the top of search:

  • Create content that adds value
  • Create more long-form content (3,000 words or more)
  • Optimize for Google Answer Box
  • Keep a close eye on the competition
  • Improve your internal structure
  • Optimize your anchor text
  • Display rich snippets in search
  • Optimize your URLs

Get Your Business To The Top of Google With Quality Digital Marketing Services

Through quality local search engine optimization (SEO) services, they can help your business achieve higher rankings in your local search results. No matter if you have a single location serving a local community or multiple locations across the state or country, they should have proven strategies and tactics to help you rise above your competition.

In order for your website to reach its full ranking potential, you must provide Google and other major search engines with the foundational elements of SEO. These include optimized title tags, URL structure, on-page keyword strategy, link-building, and more. Then, once this technical foundation is established it will be much easier to rank. For the average, busy, small business owner it often is better to engage the services of a professional.

Google Product Listing Ads

If your business operates an eCommerce site, google product listings ads represent another way to get your site (and products) featured on the first page of google.

A local search phrase includes keywords like “near me,” or a specific location like a city, district, or address. For local searches, google no longer gives websites the prime real estate. Right beneath the ads, at the top, you don’t see the top SERPs. You see the top local business listings. And that’s a big deal. Local searches have become a qualified step in the buyer’s journey. Most of the time, consumers that look for more product information on their phone end with a local google search.

Book Services Feature

When people find your business on Google, they can also book your services right from your business listing. And then, you can easily track all the bookings that come from your google local listing. To enable the booking button, sign in to your Google my business account and choose one of the scheduling partners. After you finish building your business listing, it’s time to optimize it for local search results.

According to Adweek, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying, and Google is the go-to for this. With answer boxes, the “people also ask” section, and local results showing contact information, maps, reviews, ratings, and descriptions, Google’s search engine results page alone enables consumers to learn about, compare, and engage with your business before even clicking on your result.

Now that you understand the features and importance of google my business in the local search results, don’t forget to optimize it for maximum performance. But first…you MUST claim and verify your business location: this ensures you have access to your business information and google will show it in the search results.  Then you can go on optimizing from there. And, foremost, respond to reviews! Ask and respond to reviews from every customer, whether they are negative or positive – this is what potential and current customers notice. And how you handle customer service can easily take you from a 3-star rating to a 5-star rating.

If you follow the steps in this guide you will be well on your way to succeeding with getting your business to show up on the first page. Good luck with your endeavors!


3 Nonprofit Marketing Tactics Every Business Can Learn From

It’s been one heck of a year, and we’re only halfway through. Businesses are struggling in the pandemic, and there’s no clear end in sight to this period of chaos. Companies big and small need to figure out how they’ll continue growing and generating income.

But typical approaches to marketing and advertising are just not going to work.

Why? Because people’s needs have shifted drastically, and people are used to personalized marketing. A look at actual search trends over the last few months, compared to previous years, shows that interests across the board have shifted. So even if you’re hitting up the right audience, you may not have a clear understanding of what they actually need right now.

So what can you do to market effectively with an audience that is harder to connect with now?

Draw inspiration from an unexpected source: nonprofits.

nonprofit marketing tactics intro image

I want to look at three staple nonprofit marketing channels that any business can adopt:

  1. Nonprofit storytelling methods
  2. Nonprofit email marketing
  3. Nonprofit social media marketing

But first, let’s talk more about what defines nonprofit marketing.

What makes nonprofit marketing so special?

Nonprofits marketing takes place with limited resources, small teams of individuals performing multiple roles, and lots of competition (every other nonprofit that needs donations).

In that way, nonprofits are very much like start-ups or small businesses. These organizations need to do a lot with very little.

COVID-19 ad example


On top of that, what they “sell” is immaterial: a social good. You can’t hold it, you can’t use it, and as a donor, there is usually no direct benefit to you.

So what makes nonprofits so effective at marketing? Their ability to connect on an emotional level. It’s arguably easier for nonprofits to connect with their audiences emotionally since these organizations serve a social good.

Still, every business has the ability to connect on a deeper level with their audiences, too. If that’s something your brand has struggled with before, now is definitely the time to take some notes!

Nonprofit storytelling

Storytelling is an effective way to communicate information. Data and statistics by themselves don’t evoke a lasting emotional response the way stories do. And winning people over emotionally is what makes them care about a cause. Or in the case of a business, its product or service.

Every product has a story behind it. A person who faced a problem, then discovered the product that was the perfect solution, and went on to experience oodles of success. Now, how do you tell a good story? Through visuals! I want to show you two very different examples. First, the World Bicycle Relief and its video on helping dairy farmers. Take a look.

Let’s break down the narrative to understand how World Bicycle Relief gets its message across.

A breakdown of the narrative

First, we are introduced to people who have a job to do. They face a challenge that they cannot overcome on their own. Then with the right tool—a bicycle—they succeed. With access to this bicycle, more things begin to fall in place. People can grow their cooperative, increase productivity and improve more lives. The initial benefit of the bicycle is compounded.

Why it works

Seeing real people describe this journey and their experiences moves us emotionally. We experience the feelings they do as they describe the impact a bike had on their lives. That sense of transformation and hope is something we enjoy as well, which is why the video sticks.

So how many bikes did World Bicycle Relief give out? In 2018 alone, World Bicycle Relief fund distributed 54,896 bikes around the world by raising over $15M! Not too shabby …

Videos are not the only storytelling medium out there. In some cases, they may be a little costly to produce or you just don’t have the team capable of doing it. Not a problem!

Nonprofit infographics are great examples of how data visualization can be used to narrate a story, too.

Just take a look at this infographic from The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN):

nonprofit infographic example


Personally, I love this infographic. The illustrated icons are great, the colors are warm and vibrant, the color palette itself is funky and creative. It’s a pleasure just to look at! It’s also easy to read and take in.

But it’s not just a gorgeous infographic, it’s packed with data and a clear narrative.

A breakdown of the narrative

First, you’re introduced to the amount of harm human activity is causing to oceans. The figures are just staggering. You’re sufficiently shocked and concerned.

Then, you’re presented with the value of oceans, their importance to our survival, our economy, and our way of life. These are things you may not have known before (I certainly didn’t). The ways oceans sustain us is tremendous and made undeniably relevant to anyone reading the infographic.

Then, a ray of light: The solution is presented to us. A major problem can be tackled through minor changes in habits. There is no call for donations or volunteers—just some new habits.

Why it works

The infographic takes on a problem so vast we can barely wrap our minds around it. But it frames the solution in a way that’s so simple, we can get behind it. That’s it!

How does this all relate to for-profit marketing?

Alright, so how does any of this carry over into marketing a product and generating revenue?

In the context of a business, storytelling needs to zero in on a problem pertinent to your target audience. There are problems that a majority of small-business executives face, that differ from the problems that start-up marketers face, or B2B sales executives face.

Storytelling in marketing is a three-step process:

  1. Identify the issues your target audiences deal with.
  2. Position your product as that solution.
  3. Illustrate life after discovering your product.

That’s the narrative you want to construct.

Being able to capture the experience of your target market lets you establish an emotional connection. You show that you really understand the problem your potential customer faces, and you have created a solution specifically for them.

Demonstrating that level of understanding of your audience does the two things I mentioned earlier. It acknowledges the shift in priorities that your target audience is facing now, and it continues to be personalized and relevant to just them.

2. Nonprofit email marketing

Many businesses can get complacent with their email marketing. It’s natural. There are a lot of channels that can be optimized to increase sales and revenue, but only enough resources to focus on a few. Marketing teams are often small and setting up effective email funnels or improving existing ones is difficult.

But the reward for your efforts is certainly there.

Oberlo’s email marketing stats post shares some insightful data on the topic. The global average email open rate is around 20%, which doesn’t seem too bad. However, optimized emails can get close to 50% open rates!

Open rates aren’t enough to make your business swim—you need to engage your customers and get them to take actions. Personally, I like the approach taken by St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit that funds pediatric cancer research.

What they do really well is prime me to expect more emails from them (genius!). Their emails typically mention that I can expect another email sharing more information.

Here’s an example of the first email I got from them.

nonprofit email marketing example

Simple but effective, and here’s why.

First, it’s considerate and human. This email is like a friendly neighbor saying hello as you’re moving into a new place. There’s nothing marketing-focused or sales-y about it.

The second thing it does? It primes me to expect more emails about their organization and the work they do.

That’s important.

Priming in marketing is key. It prepares your audience to see more content from you. You’ve planted a seed. They’re expecting something, they’re curious, and so they’re more likely to be receptive to what you share.

As an organization, this gives you the freedom to break up your emails, rather than being overly general or trying to address too many specific things all at once. Instead, you have the freedom to build out a specific campaign the way you want, and your audience is okay with it.

This is an approach carried throughout St. Baldrick’s emails. The subject lines tell you what to expect (while keeping things casual).

subject line example

That one sentence gives St. Baldrick’s the flexibility to educate me in small, bite-sized, digestible emails without overwhelming me. They prime me to see more emails in my inbox and generate anticipation by not telling me everything all at once.

The email copy also primes and nudges me in small, but important ways.

nonprofit email marketing copy

Something small, like letting me know they’re breaking up their emails “over the next few days” is also thoughtful. They don’t want to overwhelm me with information. They also don’t want to ask me for anything without educating me about their organization, the work they do, and the value of that work, first.

Basically, they want to win me over and in a way that’s not aggressive. Most importantly,everything about this email feels personable, human and genuine.

As a business, you can also craft email copy that helps you establish a human connection. Constantly selling is never a good idea. Being patient, sharing information, and providing value are what really matter.

Testing is an email marketing best practice and should be ongoing. With a number of different email marketing tools like Moosend or Mailshake, you can track open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates and compare the way campaigns perform.

On that note, I want to revisit an old marketing approach popularized by the ever-awesome Gary Vaynerchuk.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

As a business, you can make the mistake of constantly selling through email marketing. But with a thoughtfully constructed funnel, you’re also in a position to give.

This is an approach Gary Vaynerchuk outlines in his popular and still highly relevant book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. It’s forever-relevant as a marketing approach.

jab, jab, jab, right hook image

By giving things for free repeatedly, you accomplish the following:

  1. Demonstrate clear value to your business and product.
  2. Establish trust and credibility.
  3. Amplify the value of paid products or services.

Oh, and increase the chance of conversions! Can’t forget that.

As people get used to your content, your insights, your products or services, you ingratiate your business into people’s lives. They start using your stuff, they rely on your emails, they discover how helpful you are, and they get used to your content.

That’s when people will pay for more.

With a considerate, human approach to copywriting, paired with a habit of giving, your email marketing game will take off!

3. Nonprofit social media marketing

Social media for businesses is a great way to craft a brand voice and brand identity. It’s a space where you can highlight the real people powering your brand, encourage conversations, and share insights.It’s a space to share achievements, show off a little bit, and demonstrate your value.

Plenty of nonprofits rock at social media marketing, while keeping things simple. Let’s go through a few great examples.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Here’s a post from the ACLU’s Instagram account.

ACLU Instagram post

There’s so much to love in this post.

In honor of Pride, the ACLU chose to highlight their LGBTQ staff members. With just a simple post, we learn so much about one of the folks working at the ACLU. Gerardo Romo is far more relatable to us, than the ACLU is as an organization.

The post also encourages people to ask him questions. It’s a great way to drive engagement.

This gives people the opportunity to learn about Gerardo, ask him life questions, tough questions, technical questions, silly questions, everything. In this instance, Gerardo represents the ACLU brand, its culture, its values and its mission in all of his responses.

In the same way, your team members can humanize your brand and make it relatable. It’s also a way to position your team members as thought leaders in the space you own. Even if you’ve ran AMA sessions on Twitter or other platforms, consider chatting about topics that don’t tie directly into your business.

Girls Inc.

Take a look at this post.

Girls Inc. Instagram post

This post from Girls Inc. is simple, mission-focused, and authentic. Delaney shares her personal experience coping with this pandemic and social distancing. She highlights Girls Inc. as an invaluable support system throughout this time.

What’s important about this post?It validates the organization’s commitment to its mission.

For a lot of businesses, the mission statement is just that—a statement, and oftentimes a vague one. But your mission statement is an objective that goes beyond revenue and sales, it is an ideal that propels a company forward, defines its culture, the people behind it and more.

Highlighting how your brand upholds its commitment to its mission can win over new customers, especially if existing customers can speak to that for you.


At some point, you have to go in with the right hook! But there are smart ways to do it. Water4Mercy’s post is simple.

Water4Mercy Instagram post

It compares our level of privilege and entitlement on this side of the world, with the hardships of those in developing nations to elicit empathy.

And then it encourages you to donate.

Why compare those two types of experiences first?Well, we can relate to our own experiences more than we can with the experiences of others.And so what the post effectively communicates is the freedom you had at seven years old, these girls don’t. You can change that. Framing the ask with that kind of comparison helps people empathize.

In the same way, when you understand what your target audience experiences on a regular basis, you can use that to create comparisons. What they deal with right now, versus what they experience with your product or service.

Sharing statistics, data, trends, or just experiences that are unique to your target audience will get their attention. Framing the solution that your product or service provides in the context of their frustrating experiences has a greater impact.

Take these cues from nonprofit marketers

If there’s one thing to take away from these nonprofit marketing approaches, is that extra step many nonprofits take to really get a point across. Sometimes it’s through a compelling narrative that draws you in, at times it’s very genuine and personable copywriting, and other times it’s different ways to highlight the brand and its values (not just the work it does).

These are just a handful of nonprofit marketing examples that stood out to me, and I encourage you to start following nonprofit organizations on social media or subscribing to their email lists. If you already have, then start taking a closer look at how they position themselves and their marketing copy.

Remember, most nonprofits aren’t doing anything costly or complex. They don’t have the resources for that. They’re also not doing anything way out there, just typical content marketing approaches with a dash of ingenuity and authenticity.

About the author

Jeilan Devanesan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online graphic-design tool. He writes on nonprofit marketing, content marketing and visual communication. He has written for CMI, Clutch, Classy, Nonprofit Hub and other publications. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Keys to Researching Competitors And Keywords

Researching Competitors And Keywords

Keys To Researching Competitors And Keywords

When it comes to online business, search engine optimization, or SEO, can make or break you. It doesn’t matter how great your website is if your potential customers never see it. The key to being seen is knowing what keywords your customers are searching for and finding ways to rank highly on the major search engines so that potential customers are able to easily find you when they go looking.

First, you need to think like your customers. For example, if you run a carpet cleaning company in Austin, TX, your customers will likely search for terms such as “carpet cleaning Austin.” Tailoring your website so that you match the keywords that your potential customers search for is the key to getting seen by the right people.

Next, you need to take a look at your competition. Some keywords are more sought-after than others. This means that it can be hard to rank for some terms. In the previous example, trying to target the term “carpet cleaning” in general will be much more difficult, as you will be trying to compete with every other carpet cleaner that has a website online, as well as all of the websites offering tips and advice on cleaning your own carpets. The simple addition of “Austin” will target exactly who you are looking for – people in need of carpet cleaning in the city of Austin.

The Importance Of Researching Competitors And Keywords

Another thing to take a look at in addition to your keywords is the actual websites of your competition. How does their website compare to yours? When people are shopping around, looks do matter, and a website that is slick, easy to read and navigate, and loads quickly will be more likely to snag the business of a customer than one that is clunky or looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 1990s.

With internet access more prevalent than it has been in the past, it is more important than ever to take a good look at your website. Making a few simple changes to how you approach business online can make a huge difference in the amount of traffic your website sees. Since more traffic often equates to more sales, it is crucial that this element of your business is not neglected.

Why You Shouldn’t Rank Your Homepage (And What To Do Instead)

One of the most common mistakes we see in SEO is trying to optimize the homepage for every keyword you want to rank for.

This can dramatically reduce your ability to rank for what you want to – AND can even hurt your rankings.

Here are the top reasons why you shouldn’t try to rank your homepage, and what to do instead:

1. The Business Case For Not Optimizing The Homepage

Successful businesses often offer multiple services and products at some point, even if they don’t when they begin.

When you eventually add those services, your homepage won’t be able to rank for all of them.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say you start out selling 1 product, blue widgets, so you set up your site to be optimized for that:

homepage optimization

This is cool, until your business grows bigger, then later on down the road, you realize your customers want green widgets, red widgets, big widgets, and small widgets.

Then you start selling widget repair services, widget management, widget insurance, and more.

And then as you get bigger, you expand to have more locations. Now you have locations in Chicago, Los Angeles, and London.

But the problem is, your website is just structured to rank for 1 product, so now it doesn’t make sense.

There is no way that Google is going to rank your homepage for:

  • Blue widgets
  • Red widgets
  • Big widgets
  • Widget Insurance
  • Widget Repair
  • Widget Management
  • Los Angeles widgets
  • Chicago widgets
  • London widgets

Your title tag would have to look like this:

stuffing title tag

That’s not going to work. Plus, Google usually only displays 50-60 characters of your title tag anyway (this is a faked screenshot for demonstration!)

But that’s not the only problem with trying to rank the homepage….

2. Wrecking Your Rankings Because Of Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization is when you try to rank two pages for the same terms and topic.

This often happens when you try to rank your homepage and rank a subpage.

Google will see that you have 2 pages with the same topic and get confused about which one should actually rank… and many times ends up not ranking either one of them.

Alternatively, it can cause an undesirable page (your home page) to rank ahead of your service page — which actually is about the search query.

It can effectively drag down both rankings in the long-term.

Here’s an example of what that looks like:

This is a screenshot from Ahrefs (an SEO tracking tool). Each color graph represents a different page on the site.

You can see in this example that one page will start to rank, then Google will drop it and try to rank another one.

This cycle continues and none of the pages rank to their full potential because Google can’t figure out the correct one.

3. Usability: Get The User To The Right Page From The Beginning

When a user finds your website, it would be optimal for them to land on a page that talks specifically about what they were searching for, not a homepage that lists everything.

When users land on a specific page that is exactly what they are looking for – they get right to where they need to go without needing to browse.

4. Conversions On The Homepage

This is more of a personal preference, but I really like to use our homepage to focus on conversions vs rankings.

To me, our homepage gets hit more and more as our brand grows, and I want the freedom to do whatever I want with it vs. needing to put 2000 words of text on it to try and rank for a certain keyword.

Our homepage now is still very simple and encourages people to sign up. It works.

So, with all that said, how do you fix these issues?

What To Do Instead

The fix is pretty simple – just build out separate pages for each specific topic (product, service, category, location) that you want to rank for.

For instance, you would build out a page for each product:




..and rank each of these page for what they are actually about.

Essentially, you need a page on your site for every keyword topic you have in mind. If you don’t – you need to build it!

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to build out a page for every single variation of a keyword you have, Google often will rank 1 page for many variations.

If you need help building out new service pages, check out our copywriting product, HOTH Web Copy, where we craft pages to attract your target customer, explain the features, and drive customers towards a sale.

Optimizing The Homepage

For your homepage, optimize it for your brand and general category. Explain to users and Google what you do in a broad sense.

That can look something like this:

homepage onpage optimization

Most people should find your homepage because they are searching for your brand.

Your home page title should say what you do in general terms, but in general, you shouldn’t count on this to rank.

Your sub-pages are going to be what puts you on the map when a searcher enters the term.

Pass Link Juice From Your Homepage

Your home page is often one of the most powerful pages on your site – so you don’t want to waste it.

Use this to pass the link juice to your most important pages by linking to them.

Build quality links with CTAs (call to actions) from your home page to each of your service pages.

You’ll want to leverage that link power from your home page at the same time that you’re building external links to your inner pages.


There are lots of reasons to NOT rank your homepage – but that doesn’t mean you can’t rank. All you need to do is build up specific pages for each topic.

Want some hep building out pages for each of your services or areas? You’re going to love HOTH Web Copy.

The post Why You Shouldn’t Rank Your Homepage (And What To Do Instead) appeared first on The HOTH.

The Ultimate Free Business Directory List for the USA – Updated 2020

Growing your online visibility via local business directories (also known as building citations) is integral to your local marketing strategy. Using a business directory list like the one below helps to increase search rankings, build trust and authority with search engines, and gives potential customers a greater chance of finding you online.

There’s a wealth of free business directory lists out there (many of which we’ve published ourselves), but we’re confident that this list of the top 50 is the very best place to start if you’re working int the USA.

Not in the USA? Check out the top free international citation sites!

Top 50 Free Business Directories for the USA

The following local business directories have been selected based on Domain Authority (DA) gathered in June 2020.

Business Directory DA
Google My Business 100
Apple Maps 100
LinkedIn Company Directory 98
Facebook 96
Bing 94
Yelp 93
Foursquare 93
Better Business Bureau 91
Map Quest 90
YellowPages 88
AngiesList 85
Manta 80
NextDoor 77
JustLanded 76
Merchant Circle 73
SuperPages 68
n49 64
YellowBook 60
Local 59
Spoke 58
BrownBook 58
AmericanTowns 58
Infobel 58
CommunityWalk 57
ChamberOfCommerce 57
HotFrog 56
eLocal 56
EZLocal 54
StoreBoard 54
Tupalo 52
Cylex USA 52
Cybo 51
iBegin 50 50
ShowmeLocal 50
Lacartes 49
CitySquares 48
eBusinessPages 47
CallUpContact 47
Tuugo 47
A Greater Town 46
2FindLocal 45
GoLocal24/7 45
ExpressBusinessDirectory 45
Yellow.Place 45
ParkBench 45
Opendi US 42
iGlobal 42
MyHuckleberry 40

If you need further clarification of what an online directory or local business directory is, here’s a quick explanation:

A business directory is a website that indexes businesses based on their industry niche, location or category, similar to the Yellow Pages. Within the list, you’ll have the business Name, Address, and Phone number (known as NAP), along with a link back to the business website.

Submitting your business to local business directories with consistent information and links helps you build citations. Citations help search engines such as Google identify your business and can help to increase organic rankings in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Consistent NAP provides a trust signal to Google, whilst the backlink to the business’s homepage benefits SEO. If business directories rank above your website in SERPs, then it makes sense to be listed in those directories too, right?

Now that you’re clear on the importance of adding local businesses to online directories, don’t postpone it – work through the table and begin the process today.

Not enough time on your hands to sort it? Let BrightLocal build and fix your listings on top business directories – quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively.

The post The Ultimate Free Business Directory List for the USA – Updated 2020 appeared first on BrightLocal.

Top 100 Free International Citation Sites – Updated 2020

Top 100 Free International Citation Sites – Updated for 2020

Citation Builder has been nurtured and developed over the years to provide you with the best, most efficient service. However, whilst we’d love to achieve world domination, expanding our citation building service on an international level takes time.

That’s why we’ve set you up with the next best thing in the meantime: a comprehensive list of 100 international citation sites that can be used to build citations across nearly 200 countries.

We’ve conducted extensive research into both international citations and local seo citations for each country listed in the table, and while we found a few helpful blog posts and lists along the way, there was nothing very extensive or broad in its geographic coverage.

We know how helpful such lists can be when SEOs and marketers are conducting citation research, so we’ve updated our free resource of international citation sites for 2020.

What are international citations?

International citations are sites and mapping services that cater to business listings in multiple countries.

There are multiple national or local citation sites that cover one to two countries (e.g. the USA and Canada), but there are not as many sites available which have global coverage. However, these international sites are very useful for local SEOs and marketers who wish to work with businesses in different countries across the globe.

How to navigate the table

The table below displays 100 top citation sites and their Domain Authority. We have listed the exact number of countries per citation site in the table.

Some of these sites serve dozens of countries, which is obviously too many to show in a table, so we’ve hidden the countries served in this display.

It’s easy to see the sites that serve a particular country, though! Use the search box at the top right of the table to filter by country. The table will automatically filter the sites and remove any that are not applicable.

Click here to see the full list of countries included.

When searching, just enter the country name or standard abbreviation, e.g.

  • France – enter ‘France’
  • United Kingdom – enter ‘UK’ or ‘United Kingdom’
  • United States – enter ‘USA’ or ‘United States’

Search Help: Please note that you don’t have to press ‘Enter’ in the search box. The table will automatically update as you start typing, even if the change is a subtle one.

Please Note: Citation sites listed here aren’t necessarily ones we can submit to using Citation Builder. Click here for more information.

The post Top 100 Free International Citation Sites – Updated 2020 appeared first on BrightLocal.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020

search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the best ways to get visitors to your website and boost sales in 2020. That’s because more than half of trackable website traffic comes from organic search.

But you might be wondering how you’re supposed to stand out from the crowd now that everybody and their grandmother is optimizing their websites for search.

Unfortunately, Google’s frequent search algorithm updates make it difficult to keep up with the best tactics and strategies. And with SEO becoming a standard part of digital marketing strategies for most businesses, competition is fierce.

In this article, we’re going to help improve your SEO performance for 2020. You’ll learn several up-to-date best practices for crafting an effective SEO strategy for your business. Use these modern practices to reshape your SEO game and propel your business to the top of the search engine results page.

Improving Your SEO in 2020 #1: Publish High-Quality Content

Content is the backbone of a successful SEO campaign and the heart of on-page SEO. But you can’t just pop some content on your website and expect it to pay out SEO gold continuously.

You have to update it. Like, a lot.

The reason for that is simple. If you want to drive increased traffic, you have to drive repeat traffic (new and returning visitors). You have to give people a reason to come back.

And Google knows this. Regularly-updated content is essential to scoring big with the world’s largest search engine.

But the content also has to be good.

When we say quality content, we mean a few things:

  • Persuasive, engaging writing with no errors.
  • New and up-to-date information.
  • Copy that is relevant to your business.

It’s also a great idea to repurpose old content, updating it as things change in your business and your industry. Just make sure you’re updating and not repeating. Google hates duplicate content.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #2: Target Keywords People are Searching For

When marketing to your audience, you have to understand how they think, how they shop, and, most importantly, how they search.

You should be able to understand what your target demographic is searching for on Google. That way, you can optimize your pages for those specific key terms.

Using an SEO tool like Google’s Keyword Planner will show you a list of relevant and high-volume target keywords.

Of course, much like the quality content you’ll be writing, the terms that you chase have to be relevant to your business.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #3: Improve The User Experience

Stellar user experience is essential when trying to get your website ranked highly on Google.

Think of it this way. Google is one of the most trusted, known, and respected companies on the planet. When you type a search into Google’s search engine, you’re getting a series of recommendations from Google.

If Google’s number one recommendation was a site that was lacking in content and not user friendly, then Google’s reputation just took a small hit. That’s why Google vets the sites that it lists so thoroughly, taking user experience into account.

So, how do you improve your user experience in a way that will impress both Google and your potential customers?

  • Write short easy to read paragraphs
  • Include headers throughout your content to make it easier to skim
  • Provide images as a visual representation of your content
  • Increase the speed of your site. The faster it loads, the lower your bounce rate will be.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #4: Make Your Site Responsive

Your site has to work for mobile devices.

That’s not an opinion; it’s a fact in 2020.

To illustrate, in 2019, 63% of Google’s U.S. searches were done on a mobile device. That means the bulk of searches on the largest search engine in existence are done on phones, tablets, and other mobile-ready devices.

According to the social media tool HootSuite, mobile internet use has been steadily increasing over the last five years.

(Image Source)

As such, you must optimize your site for mobile users. Failure to do so will lose you some significant points with Google.

A lack of mobile functionality is a severe blow to the user experience, which we already covered in the previous section.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #5: Improve Click-Through Rate

You want to make sure that when someone stumbles upon your listing on Google, they’re going to click on your link and follow it to your site.

There are a few ways to ensure that your click-through rate improves.

For starters, you should be writing titles that stand out and make the user want to follow your link. A compelling description and meta description also go a long way toward making a user click on your link. You have to draw them in with compelling optimized copy.

The trick is writing compelling content with limited space. You only have 65 characters for your headline. To make it compelling, you need to:

  • Make sure it is optimized with keywords. You should have some of your more important keywords toward the front of your titles and descriptions as people tend to skim content.
  • Make sure that you’re painting a clear picture about what you do.
  • Try to appeal to some kind of customer pain point to elicit an emotional response.
  • You could also always use our CTR Grader which tells you what you need to improve to increase CTR.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #6: Build Backlinks to Your Site

A backlink is a link featured on another website that links back to yours. It is one of the most critical aspects of Search Engine Optimization, and it is where most SEO campaigns fall apart. Another term for backlinks is inbound links.

A backlink is only useful if it comes from a credible source with good standing on Google. But, it also has to be relevant to your industry. If you’re a plumber and you get a backlink from a video game review website, it’s not going to help you.

One of the best ways to create backlinks is to write blog articles about your industry that contain links back to your site and shop those articles around to different sites.

Another way to go about it would be to create linkable assets, something that a person would use as a source when writing an article on your subject. A great example of a linkable asset would be something like an infographic.

You also need to have several internal links on your site. These are links on your site that connect to other pages on your website.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #7: Demonstrate Expertise

Because Google is recommending you to its users, it wants to ensure that you are an expert and that your words have weight and legitimacy.

Google’s algorithm heavily focuses on an acronym called E-A-T. That stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

(Image Source)

You can demonstrate your expertise in a lot of ways. One of the most effective ways of showing that you’re an expert or an authority in your field is by creating blog content. If that blog ends up becoming a linkable resource for others, that works out even better in your favor because it shows Google that other movers and shakers in your industry value your opinion.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #8: Optimize Your Images

Google loves to see that you have images, but unfortunately, that’s all it can see.

By that, we mean that Google’s search bots can’t actually see the content of an image. They can see that an image exists, but they can’t look at a photo of a firetruck and say, “that’s a photo of a firetruck.”

It’s up to us to help them by optimizing images to tell Google’s bots precisely what is on your page. Every image should have a title tag and an alt tag. This is an opportunity for you to write a brief description of the image, featuring a target keyword or two.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #9: Incorporate Other Media

You’re going to need more than just fancy pictures if you want to improve your SEO ranking. There’s a ton of awesome media that you can incorporate onto your site. Google will reward you for it.

Video content should be a central focus of your site. A massive 92% of marketers who are using video on their website say that it is an important part of their overall strategy. What’s more, it’s estimated that by 2021, the average internet user will spend more than 100 minutes per day watching videos online.

(Image Source)

Google owns YouTube, which is the world’s most popular video sharing service. They make it very easy to incorporate YouTube videos onto your site and will reward you for doing so.

There’s also audio content. Consider starting a podcast and featuring it on your site. Podcasting is a valuable medium that people enjoy. Associating your product and page with a podcast will help your brand both with customers and with Google.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #10: Feature Outbound Links

When you use outbound links on your site, you’re able to increase your credibility because you’re citing sources.

It’s one thing to make claims on your site, but it’s another altogether to back them up with facts.

If you were just to say that Barry Bonds has the most career home runs in major league baseball, that’s all well and good. But, if you were to say that Barry Bonds is the all-time home run leader with 762 home runs, backed by a link, you’ve proven yourself more credible.

Google looks for outbound links in your content because they want to make sure that you’re double-checking all of your facts and offering valuable and accurate information to its users.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #11: Fix Broken Links

Google doesn’t like to see broken links. They can seriously hurt your SEO score.

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re featuring strong links is to only link out to authority websites. These don’t tend to go anywhere. However, it is still possible that an article or infographic you’ve linked out to might be taken down, leaving you with a broken link.

It’s important to do periodic link audits on your entire site to ensure that all of your links are live. But that doesn’t mean you have to go page by page clicking on every link.

The website Dead Link Checker works well to check either your entire site all at once or just a single page. What’s more, it’s a totally free service.

By keeping track of your links and making sure that they’re all in working order, you should have no problem avoiding a potentially disastrous SEO pitfall.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #12: Encourage Visitors to Share Content

Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to your website content.

You need a social media presence in the modern business world, and social media is built on the idea of content sharing.

However, social media can also be one of the most significant SEO ranking factors. If people share links to your site on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, your organic search traffic and SEO ranking will go up.

The content that you post, whether it be an infographic or a blog post, should have some kind of social sharing icon included.

It can also help to incentivize sharing. Do some kind of contest where entry requires each participant to share a link on their social media pages.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #13: Set Up a Google Business Page

If you’re trying to improve your local SEO, it’s important to set up a Google My Business page. This is especially true for businesses that have a physical brick and mortar location.

It only takes a few minutes to set up. You add information on your business, including contact info, images, and more. People can also leave reviews for you there.

How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 #14: Monitor Analytics

You need to know how your SEO ranking is doing if your campaign is going to succeed. That’s why we recommend performing an SEO audit and SEO analysis regularly.

It’s important to check your SEO analytics regularly because that’s the only way to know if your efforts are paying off.

If you check your analytics and you’re getting no movement, then your current strategy is not working, and it’s time to try something new.

If you see that you’re steadily rising through the ranks, it means that what you’re doing is the right thing and to stay the course.

One of the best ways to do this is by using Google Analytics. It can quickly become one of your best SEO tools.


By utilizing these proven modern SEO tips and best practices, your business will be able to compete more effectively on the SEO battlefield and drive more traffic onto your website from Google.

Search engines can be a powerful tool for a business, but in order to use this tool, you have to know how it works.

Spend some time implementing the action items on this list. These are proven strategies — ways that businesses like yours are already succeeding. When implemented correctly, they can help land your website at the top of search results. The first step is an SEO audit to understand where you currently are and how you can improve.

If you’re still unsure where to start or all of this sounds like a bit too much to handle on your own, take a look at some of the SEO services we have to offer at Higher Visibility and how we can help improve your website’s SEO.

The post How to Improve Your SEO in 2020 [14 Proven Tactics] appeared first on HigherVisibility.