There are four ways that people will find your business on Google search, and you need to be aware of all four.
Google Keyword Search
This is where someone types keywords into the Google search bar. Unless you’re selling a product or service that is very niche, you’re going to find it hard to get listed here without some major SEO work.
Your organic keyword search rank is your placement on search results for a specific keyword, without any advertising money paid to Google.
If you’re a lawyer and someone types “lawyer” into the Google search bar, don’t expect your site to be listed anywhere near the top.
Wherever you do fall on the list is your organic rank for the term “lawyer”.
The relevance of the content of your website to the keywords, as well as the provenance of your site, will affect your placement in this list.
Provenance is whether your website has been around awhile, has always been about those keywords, and whether there are other sites that cite your content for more information on those keywords.
Google Location-Based Search
This is when someone is on Google maps and is looking for “lawyers” near them, or if you just type “lawyers” in a regular Google search box, Google will often turn your keyword search into a location-based search if they can determine your location.
Your business must be registered in Google My Business to appear in location-based searches. Relevance and distance from the Google visitor drive your rank on this list.
The content of your site, the category, and the number of categories that your business is listed in will determine your business’s site relevancy.
This listing can also be considered an organic listing because it is not influenced by ad dollars.
If you’re primarily doing business locally, this is probably the most important thing to get right.
Trusted Third Parties
Google has a weird relationship with non-Google directory sites such as Yelp and HomeAdvisor.
Basically, if you type “lawn service” in a Google search box, you’ll see some sites about lawn service, and then you’ll see HomeAdvisor listed above any other organic rankings for a specific business.
Being listed on these trusted third-party directory sites is obviously important to help people find your business in organic searches.
To return to my “lawyer” example, Google lists Justia as a trusted third party site to find a lawyer.
Google allows you to rank high on a keyword search if you’re willing to bid high enough for a click. These results will show up above any organic listings.
You simply need to create a Google AdWords account and list the keyword searches that you want your ad to be displayed on, the text for the ad copy, and the most that you’re willing to pay.
You can also limit your ad placements to specific locations of Google visitors, when Google can determine the location of the visitor, of course.
Some keywords are quite competitive with some businesses paying over $100 a click.
You will have the best ROI if you target very specific keywords that you also rank high organically on.
There are four ways that your business can appear in a Google search. If you do things right, your business can be listed in all four places on the first page of results: Google AdWords would be at the top, location-based search next, followed by trusted third party directories, then finally by an organic listing.
This article is also posted on LinkedIn by Genevieve Adams, President of Fierce Geek.