As a small business owner, SEO (search engine optimization) may be the last thing on your mind, especially if you’re not a startup or a software company. However, increasing your Google search ranking is essential to grow your business and create new leads. Yellow pages are old news, the best way to get in front of new customers is by using the power of the internet. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go out and hire an expensive marketing agency. Many of these tactics can be done with slight tweaks to your homepage, a few application submissions and using free online tools. Here are the major steps to up your SEO anti.
1. Get Listed on Search Engines and Directories
This is an incredibly easy step that many small business owners dismiss. Update your Google Maps listing to include the correct company name, website, address and phone number. Don’t forget the other search engine directories such as Google Plus Local, Bing, Yahoo, and Yelp.
2. Add Correct Search Terms to Your Website
After some research on popular keyword searches for your demographic, you can determine what keywords need to be included within your website. Using Google Analytics and programs like SEO Moz, Search Engine Land, and QuickSprout Web Analyzer, you can pinpoint the exact referral keywords that customers are using to find you. In addition to keywords, providing detailed links within your site and including tags for all of your content helps grow your online presence. This step is essential for increasing web traffic and bringing new prospects to your site.
3. Create a Company Blog
By continually pushing out engaging content, you will keep the interest of your current followers while connecting with future customers. It’s important to include key search words into each blog post according to the demographic of your target audience. For example, if you’re looking to reach people who like coffee to sell your espresso equipment, you may want to include keywords they would use such as: coffee machines, coffee makers, espresso machines, etc. We recommend posting articles at least once a month and sharing it out on social media.
4. Encourage Reviews and Likes
When working in a brick-and-mortar store, it’s easy to overlook the importance of publishing reviews online when you already have a crowd of loyal regulars. But for travelers and potential customers outside of your neighborhood, it’s important to publicize all of the wonderful aspects of your business. You can start by creating profiles and sharing images on Yelp, FourSquare, Instagram, Groupon, Living Social, along with the traditional social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube). Be sure to promote your online presence in your store by posting this information or offering promotions/discounts for customers that check-in, post or share a review.
5. Join the Conversation
There are groups all over the web that go beyond social media. Take a look at relevant industry and local publications and blog discussions, and make a profile to join the conversation. It’s important to add your company name to your title for SEO efforts. A few of the most popular places to get the conversation started are LinkedIn, Meetup, local business journals and the city’s online discussion board.
6. Track Your Progress with Google Analytics
After you’ve gotten the word out, updated your website, and started an online community – it’s time to see your efforts come to fruition. You can get real-time updates using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools that show the audience, demographic, interests, location, behavior, keywords, traffic sources, and referral pages.
After you’ve completed all of these steps, it’s time to relax and be patient. Increasing your web traffic takes time and won’t happen overnight. But with the seeds planted and continual support, your traffic will grow overtime.