How to get a 5-star rating on Google searches for YOUR Interior Design business.
Interior Designers and, indeed, smaller companies in general face a significant disadvantage in showing up and standing out in Google search results. You have a lot of bases to cover and, let’s face it, bigger companies like eBay may sell a similar (but inferior) product / service to you but it is VERY difficult for you to get ahead of them.
There are a few tricks that can help you. This post/article looks in a bit of detail at getting pretty STARS against stuff that you write. As shown in the image below.
Have a look at this screen shot of something I’ve worked on recently related to fabric searches for certain kinds of Mohair Velvet in one of the markets we are targeting.
1. Being on the first page! Yes that helps!! If you write a blog then Google give you bonus points for new content and that content ranks highly for a small period of time, say a couple of weeks.
2. Having a pretty mug shot of yourself. This is linked to ‘authorship’ of your page and is quite involved but can be achieved if you have time to spare. I can cover that in another article if anyone is interested. It’s quite important.
3. Images/Image Search Results at the top. That first product image at the top is one I took. I can’t remember whether it is on a blog page or a website page but I appropriately ‘tagged’ it with the ‘right’ keywords and voila! there it is.
4. Adverts. On the bottom right hand side one of my adverts is showing up. Cool!! but I have to pay for it 🙁
5. Brand/Company Results. These are not shown on the image above but if you properly set up a company or brand page in Google+ (or get a Wikipedia entry) then additional information about your company will appear on the right hand side where the shopping results and adverts currently are.
6. If you sell products OVER THE INTERNET then you can use Google Merchant and results will appear on the right hand side. I don’t really know how to do that as we do not sell products over the internet (that is a pre-requisite).
7. Ranking stars. You will see that on one of our website’s pages we have a ranking. 9.4/10 … how cool is that! This article/post is going to talk about how you can get those.
RANKING STARS – RATING STARS
OK. Here is where your problems start. (Don’t worry though if you keep reading I will tell you how to circumnavigate those problems).
To get a star ranking to show up then you have to have, from memory, at least 10 ‘proper rankings’ in ‘proper places’. The figure used to be higher but it has been lowered recently.
Now, if you are eBay or amazon then of course you could get hundreds of rankings every week from the myriad of customers you have and you can build trusted ranking systems into your online e-commerce package. Fair enough. Except, as an interior designer, you might only have 3 projects/customers a year and sometimes client’s don’t want to write a review even if they are super-happy with what you have done for them. So, if you can get one review per year, then you might have to wait 10 years for your reviews to filter through to Google’s rankings. You probably also do not have the same resources that Ebay or Amazon have to dedicate to their online e-commerce solution.
That is clearly not fair and clearly does not create a level playing field for small- to medium-sized organisations. Indeed it positively UNlevels the playing field in favour of larger firms. So, despite the internet giving smaller companies a chance, the nature of the search-engine-beast mitigates that chance considerably downwards.
And it’s worse than that. Because larger companies FOR SURE employ agencies to boost and create spurious/fake rankings. Cheating, basically. Google try and stop this and some of the companies that produce the rankings try and stop this but in reality the ranking companies are not going to stop their customers paying to use their ranking service.
Here’s what you can do:
1. TRUSTPILOT.com: This is one of the ranking companies. They all charge for their services as far as I know. Trustpilot are no different BUT do provide an initially free service where you can mail all your past customers asking for a review. Once the free service expires then your future customers can still leave a review but they have to create an account to log in and then leave the review. In reality that discourages customers from leaving a review. If you want to leave a review for KOTHEA then you can do it here: http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/kothea.com. I wouldn’t want you to leave a review about our products if you have not bought them, however it is ethical that you could leave a review about our blog and any value that adds to your efforts. The paid-for Trustpilot service might be appropriate for you if you have 50 sales transactions a month as there are other benefits to reviews rather than just getting pretty stars to appear on Google.
2. Google+: If you haven’t already got a personal Google+ page AND ALSO a Google+ page for your business then you should do. There are many google-related search benefits for having one. Once you have a Google+ page for your business then there is automatically a section created by Google+ for reviews. So you can invite your customers to leave a review. After you have finished a job or sold a product you should ALWAYS ask for a review to be left here. These reviews WILL count towards Google’s star ranking of you. The less honest amongst you will ask all your friends to leave reviews. Naughty.
3. Aggregate ranking code. You can look at all the rankings you have all over the internet and aggregate them together manually. You can then display the result on your website with a small piece of HTML. The less honest amongst you will just invent an aggregate ranking.
You might want to display this on each relevant page:
UK Interior Designer: April 2014
There you go, you star!! Go give yourself a gold star for reading this far. Oh yes and please thank me by clicking ‘like’ or leave a comment. I hope you found it useful….there’s lots more business tips for designers on this website and there will be lots more in the future.