Local business owners are always looking for more business and ways to create and get the most out of free publicity.
When it comes to advertising and publicity, there are few channels that provide more potential exposure than having an established online presence.
Below is a basic list of 8 simple steps (in no particular order) local business owners can take to help amp-up their online presence, set down the foundations for SEO, and get a step ahead of their competitors.
If you’ve ever searched for a product or local service online, chances are you’ve looked for reviews before making a decision.
Whenever possible, ask satisfied clientele to leave positive reviews on business reviews websites such as Google Plus Local and Yelp. The more the merrier, however Google Plus should be a must have and at the top of your to-do list.
Keyword and Page content
Every page that targets a specific service or product should make a habit of actively incorporating both the service as well as any targeted location. Often the targeted keyword will be a combination of both service and location.
Be careful not to overdo it though. It is often best practice to use different variations of the keyword phrase. This not only ensures you won’t be penalized with over-optimization, but you will subsequently increase the chances of ranking for the multiple variations of keywords that users will search. Also, you want to ensure that the content is of sufficient length to be taken as significant by search engines – recommended average page content length being around 500 words.
Besides mobile compatibility now considered to be a significant ranking factor by Google since April 21st, 2015, with 78% of local searches are performed on mobile devices and 80% of those mobile searches resulting in a conversion, a local business cannot afford to not be mobile friendly and should consult their web design agency in ensuring their site is ready for the mobile world.
Keyword in Meta Title Tags
When it comes to naming your page Title code and writing website Description codes, be sure to include both the service, as well as the targeted location. This will often be the same as the targeted keyword. This will not only help users identify your service and location instantly, but will greatly assist in search engine rankings.
Keywords in Page H1 Headers
Every page on your website should have an H1 header code, or what is also known as the ‘main’ title of a page or an article. Headers are important factors in identifying to search engines the relative importance of text on a page. This H1 header should not only be readable and user friendly, but also include the page’s main keyword, often presented within a phrase or sentence.
Local Citations & NAP (Name, Address & Number Consistency)
You may notice a handful of businesses appearing on business listing and directory sites. These are sites that offer business owners a chance to submit your business details in a directory style fashion.
Some of these sites automatically index your business and provide you with an opportunity to claim, modify and enhance the listing. Taking advantage of these listings will not only expand the online presence, opportunity for business owners to establish an online presence off their site.
These additional off-site references provide search engines with enough external references and citations to help boost your search engine rankings. The key with these listings is to remain consistent with the NAP info and incorporate your service/product terms within the business descriptions.
Address & Contact Info On Every Page
In order to maximize both user and search engine friendliness, you will want to have your business address and contact info located on every page. Aside from listed on the contact page, this info should be located at the top of the home page, as well as within each inner page, typically being located within the footer.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you know how much of a role social media plays in the online community. Depending on the business type, businesses should definitely be taking advantage of sites such as Facebook, Google Plus Local, Twitter, and Instagram to name a few.
Upon creating these additional entities, you will want to fill in as many details as you can, whenever applicable, providing contact info, images, customer reviews, and a detailed description of your business. Also be sure to link the social media accounts to your website and vice versa.
Normally, these basic DIY steps alone won’t put you to #1 in search engines, but it will put you a big step ahead of all your competitors, and in front of the eyes of a lot more potential business, alongside laying down the essential SEO (Search Engine Optimization) foundation your business requires to get ranked for multiple search terms relevant to creating new business for you.