Building a website that Google likes – getting your SEO right!

Thursday, June 9th, 2016 at 6:39 pm

So what DOES Google like when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

This month we welcome guest blogger Matt Rider of Mongoose Web to bring you the best information on how to improve your local search results. In his two-part series, Matt pulls the covers back to explain how search engine optimization works and how you can improve your local listings on Google to bring in more business.

While most business owners have heard of search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, few have even a basic understanding of the processes and factors included in SEO.  Read on to demystify SEO by providing an overview of the basic processes and arming you with an understanding of the fundamentals.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization, on a basic level, is the process of increasing a website’s visibility in search engines such as Google.  Specifically, SEO targets what is known as the “unpaid” or “organic” results.

Generally speaking, the higher the ranking a website receives in a search engine, the more traffic will be sent to that site.  Since Google is currently the dominant player in search engines, most SEO strategies focus on increasing rankings in Google.  The other search engines tend to follow Google’s lead, so usually what works for SEO in Google will also be effective across Bing, Yahoo, and the other search engines.

How do I build a site that Google likes?

The ins and outs of building a fully optimized for SEO website are complex; in fact, they could be a whole series of articles in and of themselves.  Thankfully, the basic concepts are fairly simple:

  1. Good content:  Make sure that you have several pages of well written, fleshed out content on your site.  You should have articles for each type of client that you are looking for – for example, if you are an auto mechanic, you should have a page describing each service that you offer, which could be collision services, oil changes, tire servicing, etc.
  2. Mobile responsive:  Having a mobile responsive website simply means that it displays correctly across all devices that can access the Internet – smartphones, tablets, and computers.  In a world where more and more people are accessing the web using mobile devices, having a site that displays correctly is valued by Google and is important for user experience.
  3. User-friendly: You want your site to be organized well for your users, with a clear menu, and details like a contact phone number in the header, clean design, and font choices that are easily readable.
  4. Fast loading speed:  This is actually an important and often underestimated factor in SEO.  Make sure your hosting is fast enough and your site is structured for speed.  Google values fast loading speed, and it also makes your site more user friendly.

Why is SEO important for locally owned businesses?

Search engine optimization is of growing concern and importance for local business owners.  A few quick stats:

  • 54% of Americans have substituted local search for phone books
  • 97% of consumers use the internet when researching local products & services
  •  95% of smartphone users have looked for local business information
  • 77% of smartphone users contact a business after looking for local information
  • 98% of searchers choose a business on page one of the search results
  • 59% of smartphone users who search for local information visit the business on the same day

As the above stats reveal, increasing your business’ visibility in the search results of Google (and consequently the other search engines) can have a positive, measurable impact on your business.

Consumers are increasingly relying on the Internet and their smartphones to make purchase decisions for products and services.  While traditional marketing and advertising strategies can still be effective, it is of increasing importance to employ online and digital marketing to attract clients and customers so let’s take a look at the three types of local search results in Google.

Types of Local Search Results

Whenever somebody performs a local search in Google (a local search being one that Google recognizes as someone looking for products or services in their city or local area), Google presents the user with three types of results:

  • AdWords paid advertisements (circled in red)
  • The “Local Snack Pack” (circled in blue)
  • Organic listings (circled in green)

Screen shot showing ypes of search results.


The AdWords paid advertisements are businesses that pay Google money to advertise in that space.  Google’s AdWords program can be a highly effective form of advertising, but it is not the focus of this article.

The “Local Snack Pack” showcases a few businesses near to the user, and the organic listings show other websites that Google believes deserve to be shown in the results.

It is important to note that the businesses in the snack pack and the organic results don’t pay Google any money to show up there, unlike the businesses using AdWords.  They’ve set up their websites and online content in a way which helps them rank highly. As a business owner, you can do the same and cash in on that “organic” traffic to improve the number of customers coming to your website and using your business. Our next article will cover those steps, so stay tuned and keep reading!

Matt Rider
Mongoose Web Marketing


Trends Mobile and Web Solutions connects businesses with customers, and customers with the businesses they love through mobile websites, mobile apps and social media services. Our focus is small business – be seen, be connected, be profitable.