Using Google to Tell Your Story
- There’s a negative article about my company that keeps appearing in Google search results. How do I get rid of it?
- My competitors are appearing in results when I search for my brand!
- Why are we bidding on keywords of my brand name when I’m already appearing as the first organic result?
These are all questions I’ve received from clients, and there’s a common theme with each — how do you fill the space Google offers to tell YOUR story?
You may have heard us say that Google is a real estate market. The space on your screen is like a plot of land to be occupied. Lucky for small companies, not every space requires payment. But, it’s also not as simple as telling Google exactly how you want search results to appear (don’t we wish).
Google works to help users find what they are looking for quickly. This means that to make things easier for your customers to find you, we have to play the game with Google and meet them where they are.
Here are a few ideas to help fill the space for both organic and paid Google search results:
- Update your Google My Business listing – Google wants users to get what they’re looking for directly in search result pages. That’s what Google My Business does. Did you know that “complete and accurate Google My Business listings get 7x more clicks than those missing information and are 70% more likely to attract location visits”? (Source) Ensure everything is accurate and up to date by adding your address, phone number, and images.
- Optimize your website so Google can pull in sitelinks – Sitelinks help users navigate your site by showing relevant subpages they can immediately visit. Sitelinks also consume more space on search results, pushing competitors and potential negative articles further down the page. “If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them.” – Google
- Be active on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram – Social media platforms provide better visibility for your brand, and these will show up in Google search results. For example, Google’s partnership with Twitter shows tweets in search, taking up more real estate.
- Feature public videos on YouTube – Google displays these videos in results when people search for your brand name. Have good titles and descriptions for these videos, and choose thumbnails that are enticing and engaging, because these will appear on Google search results.
- Bid on branded keywords – If competitors are appearing in your search results when you search for your brand, this is how you compete with them and take back the top spot. Even if you’re the top organic result and there are no competitors, bidding on branded keywords helps you dominate the search results for your brand and allows you to control the messaging in a way that captures the attention of the person searching.
- For eCommerce, leverage shopping ads – Shopping ads are dynamically built from your product catalog, allowing users to see images and product information that match their search query without even visiting your site. “More than one of your shopping ads can appear for a given user search and, if relevant, a shopping ad and a text ad can also appear at the same time. This means your reach with shoppers for a single search could double.” (source)
There’s not a silver bullet when it comes to controlling what appears in Google search results. On top of the ever-changing market, the elements of Google search results are a moving target. At the end of the day, Google is its own beast and the best you can do is a customized combination of the above. You may still see negative results or your competitors appear in results, but remember – we’re playing the long game here.