Published by Jane Cirigliano, January 31st, 2017
Growing your website's organic traffic is one of the best ways to increase your leads and sales over time. However, Googling your business and your target keywords, even if you only want to know if your website is ranking, can hurt your overall search engine rankings.
Read on to learn what happens if you do not Google responsibly (and what you can do to avoid inadvertently penalizing your website).
- Local Search Skews Your Results. Often, especially on mobile devices, businesses that are physically close to you will pop up higher in your search results. Googling your business from a mobile device can skew your understanding of where you truly rank in comparison to your competitors. Make sure that your business and all locations are listed with Google so your profile is present on local search results.
- Your Page Rank Suffers. If you Google your business and either don't click on anything, or even worse, click on your competitors' links, you are signaling to Google that your own page is not relevant. If your page has a low quality score, it moves lower in the rankings.
- Ad Scores Decrease, and You Pay More for AdWords. If your page rank decreases, any advertising you do with Google is affected. Bid rates on Google AdWords are dependent on several factors, including how relevant Google deems the landing page you direct your ad traffic to. The less relevant Google thinks your website is, the more you pay for your ads.
- Google Learns Context. As search engine algorithms grow smarter, they work to give searchers the most valuable answers to their search queries. Similar to Page Rank, if you Google a keyword that is important to your business, but you don't click on your company's page in the search results, you are communicating to Google that your website is not a good match for that keyword: that showing your page at the top of the search results is not valuable to searchers.
- Your Search Terms Don't Align with Your Customer's Language. When you focus on general product or service terms (i.e. hood instead of biological safety hood), or internal company jargon (i.e. BSC instead of biosafety cabinet), you run the risk of targeting keywords and phrases that your customers don't understand and therefore do not search. This is when you should consult Google. Use Google's tools to find out what actual visitors to your website searched and adjust the way you speak to your customers accordingly.
So how can you get an unbiased view of search engine results? Use this safe tool to find out where you rank without damaging your search reputation.
Google's safe search link allows you to test searches from desktop and mobile views, showing how the search results change for different devices. If you choose to click on a competitor's website to see what information Google values, it does not affect your page rank or your ad scores.
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