Most small business owners are likely to be familiar with Google Analytics and how to set up an account as it’s likely to be one of the first things any business owner will do when they have a brand new website. They’re interested to see who’s visiting their website and users are doing right?
I’m also willing to be that most small business owners also neglect Google Search Console, either because they don’t know how to use it or really see its purpose but the truth is your small business website could be missing out on some key points that could easily improve your local search engine position.
Inside our Google Search Console guide, our Cheshire web agency will cover some of the essentials along with some of the more technical ways how every small business can improve their online search presence by simply having a FREE Google Search Console account…
Add, Test, And Submit Your Sitemap
In its simplest form, a Sitemap is a XML File made up from a list of web pages from your website that you submit to Google. You can tell and instruct Google, along with other search engines, about the content on each individual web page within your website so they can better understand and more intelligently crawl your website.
You use your sitemap to provide search engines with a little more information in the form of metadata where you can inform search engines with specific types of content such as images, videos and keywords along with instructing search engines when the web page was last updates and its importance to other web pages within your website.
If you have a professional Cheshire web agency, it’s very likely that they would have submitted a sitemap on your behalf. If not, there are free sitemap tools out there then once you have created it, simply test then submit your sitemap. Overtime, it’s worth monitoring the progress and to spot any potential errors such as a broken page to maintain a great user experience.
Chances are either you or your web agency are ignoring two extremely important pieces of copy for each individual web page within your website! Although it may not seem like much, the meta description and the title tags are essential for any small business, especially if you are jockeying for local search results!
The meta title and description tags are the text that appears in a search result. By adding these tags, Google will not only have a better understanding of that page, but users who are searching will also be better engaged with the products and services from your small business if you provide a clear meta title and description are more likely to click on your website.
What’s really cool with Search Console is by accessing ‘HTML Improvement’s, Google provide you with an overview on optimize these tags on your site by pointing out which pages may be missing these tags or have been submitted incorrectly.
Does your website list local events or reviews? Well the Data Highlighter tool can present your data in a much easier and attractive way in Google search results which will increase your chances of improving click-through rates. Let’s say for example your website is listing a local 10km run, by highlighting the event, Google will display more information such as where and when the event is taking place directly in the search results making your website much easier for the user to discover.
By using the ‘Point and Click’ tool, all you have to do is simply input a URL that contains structured data such as upcoming event within your website. Once the pages appears, you simply highlight the most important snippets of data and Google’s new understanding of that particular page will start to appear on the right-hand side of the screen. Once you are happy, Google will recommend similar pages with the data you previously highlighted already waiting for you. Once you have published each page, Google will apply these patterns to your website so your search results will start to display more information.
Have you ever searched for a particular recipe and found search results with instant ratings and images, well that’s thanks to the introduction of Rich Cards. Just like rich snippets, rich cards use schema.org structured markup to display content in an even more engaging and visual format, with a firm focus on providing a better mobile user experience.
For small businesses, Rich Cards provide a unique opportunity to stand out in search results and attract targeted users by building a richer preview of your web page content with a prominent image for your particular page. This visual format helps users find what they want right away, so you’re getting users who specifically want that especially delicious cookie recipe you have.
Although this only can only be applied to URL’s that focus on Recipes, Events, Products, Reviews and Educational Courses, you simply visit Google Search Gallery and choose which Rich Card applies to your web page. This may become a little bit technical so it may be worth engaging your Cheshire web agency to run through your create one on your behalf but you essentially click the ‘See Markup ‘button where Google will provide you with the HTML code you need to create your very own Rich Card. Simply grab a copy of then adjust the code to meet your web page needs. You can also use the live validate button where Google will present a live preview of how your Rich Card will look then once you are happy, simply save and submit your Rich Card to Google.
So What Happens Next?
As a professional Cheshire web agency, the most honest advice I would give to you take the time to spend to have a look around Google Search Console and try to get a better understanding of the various tools, some of which I haven’t even covered. If you would like any consultancy advice on how to improve your website or how you can gain access to your search console account, get in touch!