The Gospel of Google
It has been said that rules are meant to be broken… And while that may sound exciting, we all know that breaking the rules can have its consequences. For example, if you drive too fast, you’re likely to get a speeding ticket. Likewise, if you don’t eat your meat, you won’t get your pudding!
Pink Floyd references aside, websites also have rules – and if those rules are broken, there are consequences.
Google commands the internet and its gospel must be heeded if a website is to be successful in search. The “Gospel of Google” rules aren’t typically the easiest, fastest, or least expensive route, but the payoff is immense.
So, what exactly does the Gospel of Google proclaim?
A social “Band-Aid” must be present.
These are buttons on your site that link to all social media and review platforms. In order to build trust signals with search engines, there must be a relationship built between your social media / review locations and your website. Brand messaging and key information should be exactly the same in all locations, including business name, address, phone number, URL, industry vertical, and hours.
Schema markup must be accurate.
The social “Band-Aid” discussed above is vital on the front (visible) end of the website, but it is also vital that the back-end of the site reflects the identical information. The schema markup on your site communicates with search engine bots and social media platforms to match up key information including: name, address, phone number, URL, industry vertical, and hours.
Calls to action must be clear and directive.
A call to action is a directive clickable item. Examples would be a clickable phone number or a “Request an Appointment” button leading directly to a form to book an appointment. Calls to action should be useful for visitors and reflect where you’d most like to drive customers.
Site map must be present and submitted to Google.
The sitemap is the technical “road map” on your site that allows search engine bots to crawl the site and know where to find content. It is crucial that the sitemap is accurate and that it is submitted to Google for indexing.
Title tags and meta descriptions must be optimized.
Title tags appear in the top bar or tab of a search engine. They tell users and the search engine the vital information about a website page. Accurate and optimized title tags are essential for search engine optimization. Meta descriptions describe a website page and are visible in search results. They also play an integral role in search engine optimization.
Design must be mobile-friendly.
Mobile-friendliness is imperative. Google has substantial consequences for sites that fail their mobile-friendly test. Sites can be checked at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. Keep in mind that the pass/fail is crucial, but that a truly quality design will be fully responsive so that it intuitively adjusts its layout to all screen sizes. And, don’t forget to keep the navigation simple and straightforward so your information is easily accessible.
The Gospel of Google…
Like many rules in life, Google may seem too strict, and not in your “comfort zone,” but they’re there for a reason. Remember, the rules are different when you speak to your customers, treat your patients, or write a handout; but, in order for you to have customers to educate and patients to treat, you have to get found. And, if you want to get found, you have to follow the Gospel of Google.