If you want your cake business to win on Google, you need to know what the game is and what the rules are. Like most businesses, Google’s game is making money. To make money, Google wants to sell our eyes (not literally!). It wants to sell our eyes to their advertisers. The advertisers are the ones who pay Google every time we click on one of their ads.
This is the important bit. Google can only sell advertising if we use their website, and most of us do. 86% of all searches in the UK were made on Google. 86%! So why do we use Google rather than another search engine? Because it gives us relevant responses. Relevant – remember that word… it makes Google happy.
Google is great at understanding us and what we want. That means despite our sometimes very vague searches, Google usually gives us what we’re looking for. For Google the game is about making money. They make money by selling advertising. They can sell it because we keep going back to use their site. We go back to their site because it is relevant. Simple.
Miss part one of the series? Go back for Phil and Christine’s 7 top tips on starting an online cake business from home.
Now you understand the game here are six ways to win on Google:
1. Get a website
It’s basic but true. You can’t win a game we’re not playing. You have to have a website. Awesome Facebook pages or stunning Instagram feeds will generally not show up in Google’s listings, but a website will.
Get a website, even if it’s just a one page website to start with. Then Google can tell people how awesome you are!
2. Set up ‘Google My Business’
If you search for cakes in our area on Google, a map will pop up with ‘pins’ on and businesses listed. Google knows about those businesses because of something called ‘Google My Business’. It’s like Google’s Yellow Pages and you can register by completing an online form. Fill the profile with amazing pictures, opening hours, the kind of cakes you make AND Google reviews from customers – we’ll come on to that next.
For more information on how to set up Google My Business… ‘Google’ it!
3. Get reviewed
Are reviews important? You better believe it. 83% of people say they read online reviews before purchasing. If you look up a business on Google it’ll have a star rating between one and five. Those are Google reviews. Our businesses can receive reviews as soon as they are registered with Google My Business.
Top tip! Email customers a link to click to encourage them to complete a review. A smart business would send happy customers a request for a review.
Reviews also tell Google that you’re an active business. Which makes you more… relevant. Ah, that beautiful word again!
4. Help Google understand your business
You’ve probably heard the acronym 'SEO'. It stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It means setting up a website in a way that helps search engines understand the website and why it’s relevant.
It used to be that to do this kind of work you needed to employ a web wizard but now most website providers (like Squarespace, Wordpress, Wix) have simple tools to help you fine tune your website.
Here are three simple things you can do:
- Use keywords in your website pages names, titles and content. Our business is in Cornwall and our website’s wedding cake page is called ‘Cornwall Wedding Cakes’. It’s pretty clear what we’re about.
- Give images names that help Google understand what they are. ‘image.jpg’ says nothing but ‘cornwall-buttercream-wedding-cake.jpg’ tells a story Google can understand.
- Encourage people to link to your website (these are called backlinks). People who have established websites linking to your sites tell Google ‘This site is important’. A simple way to do this is to write a useful blog that people can share and link to.
5. Keep updating your website
One way Google judges how relevant websites are is how often they’re updated. It makes sense – a website that’s not been touched in three years sounds like an inactive business. You can regularly update your website by linking in your Instagram or Facebook feeds, refreshing images, writing blogs… There’s lots you can be doing.
6. Jump to the front of the queue with Google Ads
So far we’ve just talked about how to be relevant for Google. Now let’s talk about the other thing Google is interested in… money.
Somebody’s searched for ‘wedding cakes’ in your area. Wouldn’t you like to be the first thing they see? Well, you can by becoming an advertiser on Google. If you’re are willing to pay enough, you can leapfrog all the search results and appear right at the top.
How does Google Ads work?
Google ads appear above the search results on Google, usually two or three of them. Don’t worry your adverts will only show when people type in a search you’re interested in. You pay each time someone clicks on your ad. When they click, you can send the person to your website where you can dazzle them with your cakes and then take their order.
How much do you pay for a click?
That depends a bit on how many other people want to show adverts for that search and also how relevant your website is. The important thing is you choose how much you pay and set your budget so you won’t spend more than you want. Based on how much you pay and how relevant you are, Google will decide who appears right at the top.
Advertising on Google is a big topic, but here are two things that can help a lot:
- Relevancy still matters – if the words in the search, your advert, and your web page all use the same words, Google will prefer your advert. Google want to serve up relevant ads because people will keep clicking, and they’ll make more money!
- Find a niche – often popular search terms, for example ‘wedding cake’, have lots of people bidding on them which makes them expensive. So, you can buy cheaper clicks if you can find a niche like ‘luxury wedding cakes’, or ‘floral wedding cake’ which are more niche and will likely cost less.
There you have it. Six ways to win on Google with your cake business. All the very best at playing the Google game.