A key component for any small business is their marketing strategy. Probably the most important part of this is how the business shows up in search engine results. So the first question that comes to mind is, is it possible to show up in the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing? Is it possible to be highly ranked with content that you control, or content that you’ve influenced? You might be surprised to know that the answer is a resounding “YES”! And not only is the answer yes, there are a multitude of simple and very effective methods to make your site visible to potential customers and reach people through various social media platforms, review sites, and media outlets.
If you take a look at my 5 tips for promoting your local business on Google and beyond, plus are willing to take action on these items – you’re likely to see increased rankings and visibility for your business and company’s website.
Tip # 1 – Optimize the information on your company’s website
What’s the most valuable, most important asset online that your company or business owns? That’s right – it’s your website. If you don’t already have a website, you need to get one set up immediately! Make sure that you have a domain name that closely matches what you’re all about. For example, haircutsformen.com tells you exactly what the service is – and likely matches up with what people are already searing for. Add articles and keywords that match the business – you don’t want to be posting cake recipes here – focus on men’s haircuts, hair products, etc. Make sure that you have the name, address phone number clearly listed on the front page – and any sub-pages. You also want to include information about the local area or city. If you’re in a large metropolitan area, talk about the neighborhood you’re in, what makes it different from other parts of the city, what points of interest there are, etc. Paint a picture of what it’s like to be where your business is – and watch the search engines reward you.
Tip #2 – Claim, build and keep up to date your business listing on websites local to your city or area
Wherever you have information about your business listed within third-party sites, you can be sure that search engines will take note, and identify business as being a real business. Using a process known as scanning, search engines look all through the Internet to develop and understanding of what’s going on locally with the Internet and your business. Part of the way it does this is to find commonality in directly listings for your site across various platforms and other websites. You need to make sure that the information being presented is accurate and up to date; otherwise your website may be penalized and drop in rankings as it becomes less favored due to inaccurate information existing. In addition to having correct text about your business, make sure you put up photographs, video content, and other pertinent information up. For an added bonus, create a listing on popular review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Thumbtack, FourSquare and the like. If your business has multiple sites and/or locations, take the time to do it right, and build out a listing for all of the locations separately. If you have any doubts about how to do this, give me a call. I specialize in helping local businesses get found, and get more customers.
Tip #3 Links, links, links
More and more with each passing year, your website is being judged on the quality of links it has to other sites, as well as links from other sites pointed to yours. Why is this the case? This shows the search engines that you have a real business, a real site, and that it is authentic. However, proceed with caution in this area – building low quality “spammy” links will actually cost you when it comes to ranking in the search engines. For this activity to be effective, you need to be consistent in how often you post to social media websites. Actively reach out to others and ask that they share your information with others. If you have a newsletter, it’s a great idea to make sure that you include the website URL, and an email address that you can be reached at. If you have the opportunity to be a host to local events, a kid’s baseball team, the local animal shelter or join the chamber of commerce, you should do so. When you sponsor these events, make sure that your website address is clearly presented, so that people can find you easily.
Tip#4 Reviews and social validation
Today, it’s more important than ever that you get your business out there online, get it visible, get it seen, and get people to interact. One of the best ways to do this is by making sure that your product or services always delivers the best it can. By doing this, and asking for your customers to provide reviews, you’re going to ensure that not only is your business or service seen in a positive light, so will Google, Yahoo and Bing. One tactic you may want to try is asking for a customer’s Email address so that you can follow up with them afterwards. Another effective method is to offer your customers a variety of ways to let others know about your business – some might be partial to Facebook; others to Instagram, Snapchat or Vine. You’ll have to experiment and see what resonates with your customer base, as every business is different. As part of this, put someone in charge of monitoring all the feedback your business is getting. You want to make sure that this process is two-way – thank your customers for posting reviews, follow up with an dissatisfied customers, offer resolution in a timely manner, or comment and let them know that you appreciate someone taking the time to let you know how their experience was – even if negative – and that you’ll work to improve their experience.
Tip # 5 Regular posting and interaction on social media
There’s no doubt that by now you’ve heard of the impact that Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest, FourSquare, TripAdvisor and other sites are having on modern business. All of these different avenues contribute to how well a local site is listed, so be sure to use them all, and use them effectively. The more followers you have, the more potential customers, and when those eyeballs are on your site, the won’t be on that of your competition. Think of social media being the “lots of little things that add up to a big thing” in your online strategy. Be sure to let your customers know about new products, deals, coupons or offerings. Tell a story that will resonate with your business that others can relate to. Make this a very proactive strategy as well – asking others for their input via social media can be a very powerful way to learn what your customers like, dislike, want or enjoy. The better you understand your customer base, and can give them what they want, the busier you’ll be. And who doesn’t want that?
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