Most people who are serious about their business have a website, but when in a pinch there are some ways to get your business appearing on Google quickly, even without the website.
Understanding the Purpose of Google Search
In order to understand how to appear on Google, you need to know the purpose it serves. Google is a search engine for online content. While we primarily think of it as a search engine for websites it also allows users to search video, images, e-commerce & more.
Your goal as a business owner is to have your business appear in search results when your target customers are searching for your services. The best way to do this is to have a website for your business, but not every business owner can afford to focus on their website in the near term.
In order for your business to appear on Google search results, you will need to appear on some form of media, whether it is a Google provided tool for local businesses or even appearing on a website you do not own.
Google My Business for Local Businesses
Google my Business is Google’s flagship tool for business owners trying to engage with their local customers via Google search and Google maps. Launched in June 2014, it has become increasingly important for business owners, whether they have a website or not.
The good news? Google my Business is absolutely free of charge (for now). The process of setting up and verifying a listing is non-technical and most business owners should be able to get it done on their own.
Check out our instructional video where you can follow along in the process of setting up a new listing in Google my Business.
Business Pages on Social Media Platforms
Don’t want to pay for the hosting costs of a website or bother with the trouble of design decisions? Any major social media platform, like Facebook or LinkedIn will allow you to create a free business page and immediately begin engaging for your customers.
In fact, many major brands or products will forego a website and rely solely on a social media page. Consider this, many major movie commercials will promote their Rotten Tomatoes audience score over their own website.
The benefits of social media pages are they are free, easy to manage, and display your most important business information prominently on the page. Communication with your potential customers is dead-simple and follows a format that people are comfortable with.
On the more technical side, the social media pages will rank much quicker than a stand alone website. This is because of the domain authority of the social media platforms and other SEO factors.
This approach makes sense for the small business owner without the time or expertise to manage a website. The platform you pick will depend on your business & goals, maybe you will want a page on every major platform. You won’t have the complete benefits afforded by having your own website, but you will have an online presence and be easily found by customers.
Local Business Directories
There is a plethora of websites online serving as business directories. Some of these directories specialize on a specific niche or type of business and some are more broad-purposed. In essence, the above-mentioned solutions are also business directories.
In this example, we are talking about business directories with high domain authority, typically serving in the top positions of organic search results. There are free options and paid options, but in this case it is almost always better to go with your free options.
The more directories you can submit your business information too, the better chance of your accurate business information ranking well in Google. This task can be a bit tedious, but for a small price you can submit your business to a high number of directories all at once with a solution like BrightLocal.
Picking the Right Solution for Your Business
In the long run, a website will always give you the most control over the way your business appears online. The solution that you pick when you make to fore-go a website will largely depend on the business itself. In many cases it will make sense to do all of the above.
Having a website will give you the most control over your online appearance, allowing for effective communication and engagement with customers. In this long-term you should always have the goal of getting your own website. In the short term, the solutions mentioned above are more than satisfactory for most businesses that are just getting started.