How many times have you heard “SEO is dead” or “SEO doesn’t work anymore”. No doubt search engine optimization has changed dramatically over the last few years. But it isn’t dead. If your local business is struggling to get more website traffic, more leads and ultimately more sales, read on.
Google has made significant changes to their search algorithm and how they connect users with the information they are looking for. If one thing is constant about Google – it will continue to change and evolve. So as a small business owner keeping up with these changes can be challenging. Here are a few important factors that will help you focus on the few things that will make the biggest impact to your local businesses website rankings.
Ensure your Website is Mobile Optimized
More and more people have smart phones and that number will continue to grow. According to a study by Pew Research Center “nearly two thirds of Americans are now Smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world”. Because user search has changed, Google changed too. Google announced earlier this year that on April 21, 2015 they were going to roll out a change to their algorithm that would negatively affect website rankings for non-mobile friendly sites. You can test your sites mobile friendliness by going to: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly
Have a Social Presence
Social media plays a role in website ranking but how much of a role and what you need to do has been a source of debate in the SEO community. If you think about it logically, popular websites are shared and linked to via social sites all over the web. If you have good content. Relevant and interesting content then it would be logical that people would engage with it by commenting, sharing and bookmarking the information to read later. So Google does look at social as part of their overall algorithm to a small degree. The key for your business is to include links back to your site periodically when posting on any social sites. You don’t want to link everything but aim for 20% -30% and you’ll help your websites rankings.
Have a Content Marketing Strategy
Most small business owners don’t have the time to sit down and write articles but I would bet that someone in the office or a family member could help out with one or two relevant articles a month. The key to content marketing for small business is to keep fresh content on your site so that the search engines have a reason to come back to your site regularly. Create simple blog and write 300+ word articles that are relevant to the business. Post once or twice a month and share these articles on your social sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest – be sure to link back to the article! The key to this strategy is consistency… if you miss a week, no problem just post as soon as you can.
Make Sure Your Sites Meta Data is Not Missing
This might sound complex but your web developer should know what you’re talking about. Your meta title and description are what appears in the search results but isn’t necessarily on the page of your website. Make sure the keyword or phrase you want to rank for are in the title or description… or both. But be careful not to over-optimize by using the keyword too much. For more information about meta tags, watch the video at the bottom of this article.
Get Listed In Local Directories
This is a huge opportunity for most small businesses. Getting your business listed in hundreds of directories like Yelp or Yellow pages is extremely important for local businesses. The key to this strategy is in the setup. You need to first get listed or claim your Google My Places listing which is also known as Google Maps. Once you are listed and verified copy the exact business name, address and phone number. So if your business address on Google Maps is “123 Main St”, you don’t want your directory listing or website to have the address as “123 Main Street, Suite 104”. The easiest way to avoid this common mistake is to copy and paste the information with every directory listing you build.
These are the easiest things you can do for your business that will make a big impact on your rankings and help you drive more traffic, leads and sales to your business. Remember you don’t have to do all of these at once or overnight. Make a plan to do something each day or every week and you’ll be moving your businesses website in the right direction.
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