SEO isn’t a marketing tool that only big businesses and corporations can use, small businesses can capitalize on the power of SEO too! There are many easy tips and tricks anyone can do to help increase organic online presence and local SEO so you can rise above your local competitors. If you’re interested in boosting your marketing efforts and strategy come this new year, here are our helpful tips for success.
Improve Your Rankings with Google Business Profile
If you love simple data entry, this tool is for you; Google’s online business directory is called Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business), and chances are, your business already exists on it. The process to claim your business listing is relatively straightforward and can bring about big improvements on people finding you online.
You have most likely seen a Google Business Profile listing before when searching for a shop or restaurant. On a desktop screen, a box will pop up on the right side of the search results, giving you a short but sweet synopsis of that business (ie; their hours, address, contact information, short description, etc). On a mobile device, these listings appear towards the top of your search results and highlight similar business information.
Because both claimed and unclaimed businesses are publicly visible on Google, it is imperative that all small businesses utilize this free tool to their advantage. Not only are you increasing your presence on Google, but you’re also promoting better visibility in which customers can access your business easier.
In fact, Google Business Profile is proven to be the leading tool in SEO for Google searches, more than Google reviews themselves. Once your profile is created or claimed, Google will be better able to present your information to potential new customers who are searching for your services and/or products and who are nearby.
Want more information on creating a Google Business Profile? Read more here.
Optimize Your Website With On-Page SEO-Friendly Content
You may have heard this before, but structuring your website in a way that is SEO-aware is incredibly important in boosting your rankings. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go in and completely rewrite your content; there are a few easy changes you can make that won’t massively disrupt your current content.
Create a Contact Page
If you haven’t already, create a contact page. This will also make your website more user-friendly by making it easy for visitors to reach out. With website navigation that is easy to use and organized, more people will be likely to click through. This decreases your bounce rate and overall improves your SEO. Don’t leave your current and potential customers questioning on how they can get a hold of you—make sure you clearly communicate your name, address, and phone number on this page, as well as making phone numbers clickable on mobile devices.
Add a Map
For an even better user experience, link a map to your business on your website. If your interface allows it, linking to a Google Map on your website or embedding a Google Map can improve your UX by making it that much easier for people to find you, thus increasing your search presence. When you embed a Google Map, it will not only add your Google Business Profile but will also highlight surrounding points of interest. When customers see those points of interest, they can get a better idea of where you’re located and even pull up directions directly from the map link.
Have you received a good review on Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, etc? Don’t let them go to waste! Brag about how well you’re doing by embedding these testimonials into your website straight from the source. When you do this, Google will crawl through your website and increase your credibility once it sees that you have customers who are raving about your business. The best part? You haven’t paid these people to review your business, so Google sees this as a sign of “trust”, increasing your organic search presence.
Claim Your Social Media Presence and Link Them
Do you use Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? If you haven’t already, make sure you claim those social media accounts. Claiming your social media accounts will ensure that no one else can use the same social media handle, creating more credibility for you as a business. Once you’ve done that, you should link them to your website. Vice versa, make sure you always have a link to your website in the bio of those accounts, making it easy to direct people who find you via social media.
With the big three out of the way, don’t forget to review other directory sites. If you have a profile on Yelp, TripAdvisor, or others, be sure to claim those profiles as well. This will boost your credibility across search engines and make your small business more official.
Create a Blog
When you make a blog page, this allows so much opportunity to create content that uses relevant keywords to your small business, while sharing your mission with others. To increase local SEO, make sure you incorporate names of local areas, neighborhoods, and towns. Maybe use this as an opportunity to respond to current happenings in your area, or promote a product, service or event.
Be thoughtful in your content by linking outside resources to your blogs. Not necessarily your direct competitors, but complementary or related businesses. The best thing about blog writing? It’s great for SEO, and you can make it entirely your own.
Things to Avoid
You may be thinking to yourself, “Wow, this seems like a lot of work just to increase my SEO. Why can’t I streamline this process and copy what other people have done?” While you may be tempted, don’t do it! Common mistakes people make are duplicating content and pages to increase keywords, copying and pasting content from other sites, keyword stuffing and clickbait. While these tactics look like they increase SEO on face value, they’re actually doing the complete opposite and could even penalize your site in the long run.
Google is smart, built on thousands of formulas and algorithms while constantly updating to improve its performance every single day. If it matches your content to another website, you’ll be flagged as an un-trustworthy source and your search presence will surely suffer the consequences.
Also, do not forget the importance of optimizing your content for mobile device use. If your content and website aren’t accessible for mobile, people will be deterred by your business and look elsewhere for products or services.
Staying On Top of Your Local Online Marketing Can Be Hard
This checklist was created and curated to help YOU as a local small business gain credibility, relevance, and traffic using organic SEO in the Greater Des Moines area. We know how important it is to support local businesses, and we want to do our part.
The Digital Marketing Team at Webspec has an opportunity in the works for local small businesses to come and learn about the best marketing practices and SEO strategies in a collaborative workshop environment. Sign-up for our newsletter to keep in touch, or contact us directly for questions about local marketing!