Social Media: Race to the top
Monday, October 19, 2015
Most settings now have websites, but do they stand out in the Google rankings? Kate Tyler demystifies the world of search engine optimisation.
Like it or not, Google dominates our time online. We may talk of other search engines, we may have some websites we head to directly, but the majority of regular web users search Google multiple times every day. This means that how you rank in online search has become a vital part of how parents find and choose you over your competitors.
Say you are a Birmingham nursery with a website. If a parent types 'nurseries in Birmingham' into Google, will you be up at the top of the list? Will you even be on the first page? If you think your rankings need some remedying, read the following guide.
1. When Google ranks your site, it looks for two things - authority and relevance.
Relevance is the most straightforward. It is all about understanding what words parents use to search for a nursery in your area. Google provides a free tool called 'Keyword Planner' (https://adwords.google.co.uk/keywordplanner) which helps you work out what the most common search words are. You can then make sure that your website and your social media content uses these words regularly. Google will see this and see that you are talking about the same things your prospective parents are talking about. It will give you a higher relevance score and, bingo - you're flying up the search rankings!
2. Google deems you to have more authority if your site has a lot of social interaction. If it is shared a lot on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, for example, this really helps - it is a bit like being cool by association. If lots of people are talking about you, retweeting, or sharing your pictures, Google knows this is a positive thing and rewards you accordingly. Google also assumes that people link to sites they trust, such as the BBC. If more people are posting links to your site than to your competitors - ie, they trust it more - your site will feature more highly. A good way to do this is via a blog. This way, you are creating a site yourself to link from.
If you use it to share regular comment and information, you show parents and Google that you are knowledgeable, expert and a trusted authority. You could add your website URL to pictures you put on Pinterest as well, which would do the same thing.
3. Make sure your setting has a local listing on Google+ and that you include your address and other pertinent information. This allows customers to review your company directly on Google. Google recommends businesses with the highest reviews first.
4. Finally, make sure you are signed up for Google Analytics. This is another free tool from Google (www.google.co.uk/analytics), and it is brilliant. It tells you how many people have visited your website, what they did when they got there and how they found you in the first place. It will even send you a handy summary every month.
Best of luck with everything - and let me know how you get on (see below).
Kate Tyler is managing director of Shake Social, a social media agency for the early years
- Let us know how you get on using the #nwsocial hashtag on Twitter.