As any owner of a small business will be aware, it is critical for customers to be able to find you online – as that is where the majority of them are now shopping. That being said however, small businesses often fail to create an online presence because they are either not taking the right steps or don’t even know where to begin. The truth is, it is not very hard to get found online; in fact, you don’t have to spend tons of money or even lots of time to achieve online domination. But like anything, a bit on knowledge goes a long way. So let me cover some of the main things you need to be aware of and can start doing. As long as you are consistent and committed with carrying out these various marketing tasks, you will soon find that you are leaving your competition behind.
Get Directory Listings
One of the best ways to improve local SEO is through directory listings, as this is where the majority of users find businesses in their local area. If you are not listed on sites such as Google+, Yelp, Yahoo and Bing then you are missing out on a big opportunity. Another form of listing that users are increasingly turning to is local commerce sites. Check for the ones that are used most in your area if and get listed there if you want to see more traffic on your site. This is a great source of directory listings which will get you going. Simply login to each site and enter your company details. The majority of these are free and will back link back to your website in just a few weeks.
Use The Right Keywords
You may have spent hours making sure you have entered all the best keywords in the content on your site, so spend a similar amount of time and effort ensuring that you have the relevant keywords on your directory listings as well. In the vast majority of cases, when users are searching for particular goods and services, they usually don’t type in the name of a specific business – instead, they will use keywords that they think will help them locate the business that they are looking for. So try to think broadly like your typical customer when it comes to keywords – make sure to include any that you think may likely be used to search for your business.
Make Sure Your On-site SEO Is Up To Date
It’s now very quick and easy to build a website – most small businesses manage to achieve that without any major problems. However, what they fail to do most of the time is to check that their website has been fully optimised for the search engines. Business owners must make sure that their on-page SEO is updated regularly. It’s blatantly obvious when a website hasn’t been optimised correctly, if at all. Things like post titles and content should have the main keyword(s) in them – but not too often. Google is very good at identifying and penalising websites that indulge in ‘keyword stuffing’. And always make sure that you have fresh, informative content on your site (and again, check that is optimised for the right keywords).
Social Media Profile Optimisation
Social media is a key driving force when it comes to online domination. Make sure that any profiles related to your business on all the social media sites are optimized correctly. For example, they should include your business name and brand as well as your location, address and any other identifier you may have.
Generate More Citations
Citations are comments or mentions about your business that are published on other sites. The most common and well-known of these are Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Bing Local and City Search. These are the most trusted sources of business opinions that you can find online. So the more people you can encourage to leave positive comments about your business, the more traffic you’ll see coming in to your website.
Increase The Number Of Positive Reviews
Similar to citations, reviews are a lot more detailed and are a powerful tool that consumers use to help make buy decisions. As a result, they can be a powerful tool for you to take advantage of as well. In fact, it is quite probable that one of the main reasons why your competitor is ahead of you is because they have more positive reviews about their business than you have with yours. You just have to get more people to review you online. You can ask them directly – if they liked their experience with your business and the level of customer service you provide, then encourage them to go online and write a review about it. Remember, old reviews are not particularly useful; the more recent the better.
Select The Right SEO Company To Help
Unfortunately, there are so many companies masquerading as SEO consultants these days that you can quite easily pick the wrong one. You should carefully consider the claims of any SEO company before you hire them to work for you. Look at their track record and testimonials – have they done SEO for businesses like yours and if yes, how well did they perform. Make sure that they use White Hat methods – any agencies using Black Hat link building methods should be avoided at all costs. They can do long term damage to your website and subsequently, your business. Any promises or guarantees that they will get you results in a week or two should be regarded with extreme suspicion. Good quality SEO that gives long term results is a lengthy process and it usually takes months before you get to see any first page rankings.
Always Create High Quality Content
Your content is your primary communication tool – once users get to your website they learn about what you are selling through the content that you give them. This means that you have to be very careful to generate content that is engaging and relevant. Also remember that Google doesn’t like to see out-of-date or inaccurate content sitting around on your website for long periods of time. Always try to update your content as frequently as possible with the latest content for your customers.
So follow these tips when you’re planning your local SEO strategy and your business will reap the benefits for years to come.