September 07, 2015
For small businesses search engine optimisation (SEO) can be a vital and cost effective way to generate exposure to local communities who are increasingly using the internet, and more specifically mobiles, to search through local listings. More and more people are now searching the local listings for businesses using mobile phones on the go before they decide on whether to eat at a particular restaurant or buy from a certain retailer. Although the process is no longer as simple as cramming your website with as many keywords as possible, there are still a few tricks that can boost your business up the search engine results pages (SERP’s)
NAP’s (Name, Address and Phone number) are very highly regarded by search engines and any inconsistencies with your NAP’s can really hurt your rankings on search engines. As your business has developed you’ve probably changed your phone number, name and even address to keep up with your ever changing needs.
Your ranking on a search engine is highly influenced by the amount of citations that your business has. However, you won’t be able to feel the full benefits of these citations if they are not aligned with your correct NAP’s. To avoid missing out on these citations falling down the rankings, you can find any page that you have been cited on (with your old details and new), and make sure that they are consistent with your own site. As tedious as it may be, your business will soon be climbing the search engine rankings.
Create pages on local listings
Sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor hold a lot of sway with search engines so creating a high quality profile on these sites will really boost you up the search engine rankings. To make a high quality profile on these sites it’s important to fill out these pages with lots of information about your business.
Including lots of pictures in your profile also helps boost your search engine ranking and also encourages new customers to visit your shop. Search engines will give high priority to businesses with pictures; and people will be more comfortable going somewhere knowing what it looks like. Your logo is an important part of your profile, but also pictures of your building, from both the outside and inside, and of your products can entice customers purely through the aesthetics.
Search engines also give very high priority to customer reviews. Google in particular, use high quality reviews to push businesses to the top of rankings. Therefore, encouraging customers to leave reviews on your website, social media channels and through listings such as trip advisor and Google local will have a very positive effect.
One problem with this technique however, is that many less credible businesses use fake reviews to boost their own search engine rankings. This can be overcome very effectively by creating video reviews. Video reviews have other benefits as well. Not only are they highly regarded by search engines, but customers also consider them much more credible than a standard written review.
Optimise your website by including a clear description of your business that makes it obvious that you operate in the local area. Including terms used in the local area and by local residents can really help to boost your local search rankings. Making your website relevant to the local area will really help search engines know that your business operates within the area so will push you higher up the rankings.
It is also important to make sure that your title tags give an accurate description of your business. Trying to cram in as many keywords as possible is noted by search engines and won’t work anymore. So create a title tag that succinctly sums up everything that you do. Title tags should generally be under 160 characters as anything above this will automatically cut off by google.
Creating a complete and informative Google+ profile will help search engines, especially google, to know what your business is about, which will in turn bump up your place in the search engine rankings.
In a similar way that optimising your website will help search engines know where you operate and who you cater for, optimising your Google+ page will help search engines pick out your business and attach it to relevant searches.
And don’t forget to add all your NAP information to your Google+ account. Like your citations, your NAP information on Google+ will be taken into account by search engines and more times your NAP’s keep cropping up, the higher your search engine rank will rise.
Create a social media presence
You can also boost your position on search engine rankings by creating a presence on other social media platforms in conjunction with Google+. Creating a broad social media presence will give you further opportunities to get your NAP information out there, getting you more noticed by the search engine and boosting your rankings.
Social media is also a really easy way for people to leave your business reviews which will only further enhance your position on a search engine page.
Added to this, social media accounts also give you the opportunity to create links to your website. This not only gives customers an opportunity to link through to your site (more visits to your site will result in a higher search engine rank), but search engines will also take note and see that you have a larger online presence so will rank you higher accordingly.