How To Optimize Local SEO For Small Businesses
After deliberating for months, doing everything you can to save and accumulate wealth to invest in your soon-to-be brilliant idea and finally getting in touch with the competent individuals who will propel your idea, your business is at last operational; a thought now turned into a reality. You notice both long established and SMEs hopping on the digital marketing bandwagon. Why? What’s wrong with the traditional marketing media like, TV, Billboards, Newspaper, and Radio?
The answer is that people are now tired of watching through these media (but not completely abandoned them). In order to interact with customers better, businesses are building their creative juices to market their products/service online. It means there is cut-throat competition already in this medium. Should your business go with it? You should. The way to break through the clutter and get the attention from your target market is to utilize SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has increasingly become an integral of business strategies and simply overlooking its benefits or not paying enough attention to it is foolhardy. In simple terms, SEO helps your website (ultimately your brand) to get noticed within the top pages of search engines like Google. However, it is not a ‘do it once and be done with it’ tool; you need to consistently work upon improving your content on website and off website.
You may have ambitions to have your brand to possess ‘top of the mind’ recall, but set smaller goals and work upon capturing your target market in the region where your business is operating. Through consistent efforts and investment, your brand will gradually expand and be noticed online.
This post will help you whether you are dealing with SEO yourself or have hired a SEO consultant. Below you will find areas where you need to work upon to optimize your website and increase your chances of increasing site traffic.
Does your website start with www or without? This distinction is important when choosing which domain to use before setting Google Search Console. Potential viewers need to visit your site without adding much effort. Make sure to optimize your URL for sub-pages in your website so that it is easy to recall and type.
This is the crux of SEO. Which words do you want customers to search you and associate with? What makes certain links (non-paid ones) prompt in the top 10 positions on Google’s first page? The competition is so intense that businesses compete on mere words so that when customers type those exact words/phrases, their websites will be the first thing to pop up. While devising a strategy, spend time doing keyword searches and check the volume of traffic.
Even if you developed a quality website with vibrant colours and photos, if the words present are not in line with the queries produced by viewers, then your website will never rank in the top spot. At times, one keyword search is so competitive that for a start-up, it is not possible to work on it. Beware though, if your SEO consultant gives a report claiming that your business ranks in the top Google page, be a little sceptical. It is likely that the keyword chosen did not have much volume and therefore little to no competition.
Moreover, when you choose the keywords, make sure to incorporate them properly in your contents (for off-site SEO) and website.
This is helpful if you have a brick-and-mortar outlet. With voice search, people ask search engines to give relevant results. This is the moment to bring your brand name in the geographic regions and user locations.
You see everyone has taken compelling and click-bait worthy titles pertaining to your business niche. It’s not over if you work on mini description which comes with the title below. That ‘mini description’ is the hook you are looking for because the meta description tells viewers what the website entails regarding their query typed in the search engines bar. Along with a concise and gripping title, optimize the meta description to a point that not too much is disclosed but not too little is expressed.
Image and Alt Text
Your website has images but the search engine bots can’t read images. Therefore, optimize your image names and the ALT Text to make it easier for viewers to search something relevant. For example: For image of colourful fruit basket art, instead of IMAGE0003212.jpg, use colourful-fruit-basket.jpg.
Secondly, work upon the ALT Text (an empty box which can contain the attributes or nature of image in an HTML). It starts with ‘alt=’. The idea is to help website viewers to express the image as much as possible while using as few words as possible.
Mobile Site Optimization
Check with your SEO consultant to see if your website is optimal for mobile viewing. Businesses like Starbucks and Facebook want their fans to view websites on mobile as fast as they do on their laptops. Maybe your content is up to date and eye-catching, but it doesn’t open quickly. Before you know it, potential customers get away from you. Launch Google AMP to increase mobile traffic.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
You managed to jump several ranks in Google pages from say, 320th to 80th. But somehow you are not getting online natural traffic. What’s up with that? Consider revising your meta descriptions.
Bounce Rate - Check Exit Pages
Okay! People are visiting your site but unfortunately they are leaving pretty soon. In order to increase time on site and keep your viewers from leaving, come up with catchy and unique content; not something that gives the impression that it was plagiarized. Maybe, content is too little for viewers to check other pages on website. Consider revising them, removing them and coming up with longer ones.
Not only is this page a vital part in your business website, it will also help with long-tail keyword searches (more on this later). Establish a FAQs page in a visually compelling manner that the moment your viewer comes up with a question, it is answered.
Every content does not need to be in text. Maybe it can be expressed better and grab more attention by expressing it via video. Better, use infographics to illustrate statistics and complex ideas. These help your website break clutter by offering viewers more with less.
You have finally created a stunning website which you believe is not to be missed easily. Yet Google rankings are not in your favour still. I have to break it to you, you also need to work ‘off-site’ to establish your business identity.
Off-site means to come up with quality content and establishing a blog. Like every other brick-and-mortar business, viewers/customers will ask one thing, “Why should I visit your website?” To build credibility or authority in your niche, you need to have back links and content contributions. By doing so, the back-links from high authority websites will improve your site traffic.
Google’s update: Penguin and Google Search Console can help you check if some of your back-links are worthless. This also applies to your website’s authority and quality (leading to your brand image).
Call To Action (CTA)
Not only should your CTAs on website be creative, but they should also be placed in appropriate positions to help visitors convert to actual customers. If you want your content to be shared, provide your viewers with social media buttons where they can easily find them.
If your SEO consultant gives you feedback regarding a drop in search engine ranking, then it probably means one of two things: Search engine issued a penalty on your website, or keyword loss. As more businesses are discovering the keyword searches you were trying to dominate, they are building new content around them.
The aim of SEO is to convert visitors to leads/customers; not just gain a lot of traffic on website. If you have managed to gain plenty of followership, posts getting viral on social media but no leads/purchases, then it means your conversion rate is poor. After all, the primary goal of the business is to improve sales (rather than gain attention by getting likes on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest).
Hopefully, after reading this, you will take this as a guide to make your brand’s website recognized across a nation!