Operating a small to medium size business is difficult. Getting your promotional
message out there to both the consumer and the search engines requires some strategic planning and effective marketing. You may have established a loyal customer base and have prospered through customer recommendation but you realise that you have neglected an online marketing option which could deliver many more sales enquiries and conversions. So what steps do you need to take to compete more efficiently with and counteract the growing competition in your business sector? This is not something new or worrying for you but rather an aspect of your business that needs developing and resolution going forward. A solution can be garnered through implementing a successful online marketing campaign that will boost the search engines’ awareness of your business offering. It will enable them to rank you better in SERPS and so attract more targeted consumer attention.
If your competition is continually achieving higher rankings in Google than you then you should realise that affirmative action is required to redress the balance. You need to implement an effective local search engine optimisation strategy that will put your website among the top three listings in Google. It may sound expensive and complicated but you can dispense with both these issues by starting a predictable organic approach to building a strategy that is future proofed. It will take some time to achieve optimal results but by following a set procedure you can reach the top three ranked sites in Google in a sustainable fashion. The first thing to do is to ensure your website is compliant with Google’s algorithms so its spiders can elicit your business offering and credibility. Your site pages need to be optimised fully to facilitate the bots understanding of your business services and their authenticity when crawling your site pages. This demands a proactive approach on your behalf to ensure your website is valued by Google as a credible, effective and efficient sales channel for your potential customers. If you fulfil the algorithmic criteria then Google will reward your efforts and compliance with top SERPS listings.
The question on your lips is – what have I to do to optimise my site locally so it complies with Google search standards. On a local level you can start by setting up your chief local listings
such as Google My Business, Bing Place for Business and Yahoo Local. These are important elements that you can optimise by filling in all the available details including address and maps. Ensure you provide a full description deploying relevant high value keywords, meta titles and meta descriptions. You can also add videos and photos to provide a little more substance for the Google bots and so gain a march on your competitors. Local reviews are a very effective promotional tool and Google reviews are particularly good at helping improved rankings potential. To avail of reviews you simply ask and direct people to your Google listing. It is essential to get regular reviews over months rather than a glut all at once. This way it appears more natural and organic rather than forced and spammy. In Google’s eyes, artificially promoted listings and reviews are contrary to their algorithmic guidelines and could conceivably be penalised. Make sure you only list your website on reputable local listing websites that are trusted and worthy of providing an authentic trusted backlink to your website, which Google can approve. Listing your site to locally reputable listing websites can elevate your online presence and draw attention to your name address and phone citations each month. Again it should be done organically and naturally so it appears genuine and credible. Another local element is enlisting in an industry specific directory – being aware of where your competitors may also be listed. Many you can enlist for free or for a nominal charge, and they all send a relevant signal to Google about your services and their relation to that industry or business sector. You can often get listed on a relevant website through an entitlement arising from an industry specific accreditation or certification or being a paid member of a local trade or national association. This provides really credible authority links to you.
Check that you have Service specific pages which means you should have a separate page for each service that you offer. If you put all your services on a single page you are not providing Google with the standard they require. They prefer to send enquirers to the specific page for their specific enquiry to ensure they get an exact answer. If your competitors comply and you do not then they will appear in the results for that search. You will have missed out on a very important trick! Creating extra pages will win you kudos provided you fill them with relevant content. A recommended minimum page length of 500 words can be extended to 1000 words to impress the Google spiders, as they prefer longer pages – a signal of greater relevancy and authority in providing a more effective search response to your online customers’ searches. Before undertaking this task check your existing content as you probably have lots of sales enquiries, presentations, sales pitches and visual marketing imagery on your hard drive which is all relevant content.
For onpage optimisation SEO simply ensure that your website pages are set up in line with best practice. Every page requires a keyword and must have a meta title and meta description so the search engines can understand fully what services you are providing. H1 and H2 Headers are essential elements of each page and give the page structure so the bots can quickly recognise their significance in providing a synopsis of the page and paragraph content. Keywords must appear in the text with an average ratio of 3% of the full page content within a natural unforced flow of prose. They should also be used as the link text or anchor text to link to other pages. The value of backlinks is comparable to votes in an election and the greater the endorsement, the better the rankings for the website. Links from your suppliers or other relevant industrial or business partners are authentic testimonials of your credibility and are rewarded by the bots. Always avoid spammy link directories set up to jupe the search engines into recognising unethical links as they are heavily penalised by Google.
Whilst Google does not say what its algorithms are about, it has admitted two criteria that are critical to a site’s performance in the rankings – website speed and security. Working with your developers, ensure your website is fast and secure as these are ranking signals. To further impress Google with speed it is important to opt for SSD Hosting with electronic storage. For improved Google recognition of security, purchase SSL certificates for HTTPS Hosting. A protective website security shield will add further reassurance against malware or cyber threats and will give your site more credibility in Google’s eyes. Three other elements that will help onpage SEO are mobile friendliness which can be achieved either through switching to a responsive design or creating a separate mobile site. Whichever method you deploy it is essential that you future proof your website to draw more traffic. Google loves content and rewards sites with rich authentic engaging content. You can increase your content offering by writing blogs. Google recognises these as a great source of information about your services and credibility and rewards them accordingly. Through your regularly published blogs you can offer tips, and provide expert advice, creating content that stands out in the results.
Finally the most impactful media on customer behaviour is promotional videos. It is a wonderful way to get leverage and a distinct advantage over the local competition. As the most popular form of media connectivity the video screen shot can say in a few seconds what it takes the traditional written advert much longer to achieve. The visual advert or video presentation attracts total and immediate audience participation and endorsement and is recognised currently as the fastest and most effective method of media marketing..
You can achieve success in promoting local SEO with little technical skill and that possibility should enthuse the small business owner to embrace a local online SEO strategy that is easy to implement and works organically to sustain better rankings in SERPS. It requires no great outlay financially – just an effort on your part to pay dividends in the form of increased conversions and a return on investment.