No matter what industry you are in, you want people to be able to find you in search results on Google. Because let’s face it this is the first place that people go to find out information.
Ranking well on Google requires time and effort.
SEO (search engine optimisation) is not just a one time effort. It’s an ongoing investment. In this blog post we will investigate some key ways to enhance your SEO and the reasons why it’s wise to allocate part of your marketing budget to this activity, on a monthly basis.
Why is SEO important?
It’s no longer enough to simply publish a website and that’s it. There are some ongoing pieces of maintenance that need to be done, to ensure you are ranking well in organic search results, for your key search terms.
And to ensure you are ranking well in your local SEO results, for example of someone searches for marketing consultant Perth, or marketing consultant near me. This is where local SEO comes into play.
Your website may have been optimised for search engines when you first launched it, but as times goes on this may not be the case.
There are 3 main reason that you should invest in ongoing SEO for your business:
- Google changes it’s algorithm on a regular basis.
- It’s important to produce regular keyword rich content.
- Your competition changes frequently too.
Is SEO worth the investment?
If you are a local business, most of your business will come from customers living in your area, so you must get serious about local SEO.
In case you are wondering if it’s worth the ongoing investment, and worth outsourcing, let’s look at a few stats:
- 98% of searchers choose a business that is on page 1 of the results they get on Google.
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 77% of smartphone users contact a business after looking at local information.
(Source: Duct Tape Marketing – Local SEO Playbook).
Focus on these 5 areas to improve your SEO
At this point it’s important to note that the competitiveness of your particular industry may dictate your ultimate results. However applying these 5 areas to your business will help.
You can either attempt SEO yourself, or outsource it to a marketing consultant such as Vivacity Marketing.
1. Optimise your Google My Business Page
Have you claimed your free Google My Business page? Google My Business gets you in front of your customers. You’ll stand out, whether people are looking for you on Google Search or Maps.
Simply go to Google My Business and click on start now, to claim your free listing. Then make sure you take full advantage of this real estate by completing the following sections:
- Select the most relevant category for your business.
- List your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) exactly as it appears on your website.
- Add photos.
- Showcase what’s unique about your business via your photos.
- And request reviews and respond to them.
- Claim your unique URL and business name.
- Post videos, photos, links to blogs, videos etc.
2. Get your Markup right
If you’re not familiar with schema markup, it’s a good idea to read on to find out more about this, as it’s important for your website.
You can visit Schema.org’s Local Business NAP generator and fill it in. This tool will produce the HTML code you need to add to your website in place of your current address.
Ultimately search engines are trying to adopt a consistent markup protocol to help use HTML code, to identify things such as businesses, reviews, addresses and so on.
Google wants you to use it because it helps them better determine what the content on your website, is actually about. And this will help them deliver the most accurate search results for your search terms.
However, few businesses are using this on their websites, and if they are using it, they aren’t using it to its fullest potential. If this all sounds a little daunting and techy, that’s ok just hire an SEO expert to look at your website!
3. Clean up your Citations
You are probably familiar with business directories such as True Local and Yelp. You may also be listed on business group directories that you may be part of, such as BNI or District32 (in Perth).
Google relies on 100’s of data aggregators directories to help them sort out how to rank and order their search results.
So getting your listings consistent on Google and any other business directories that you may be on, is really important. If you have changed address of phone number recently, there’s a good chance that Google isn’t sure which listing is the correct one.
The last thing Google wants to do is send someone to the wrong address in their search results. Determine where your inaccuracies are and then fix the inconsistencies.
This step alone, is probably one of the most vital for your SEO efforts.
4. Create local Content
When you create a blog post or content online, you need to ensure you are making it really clear where you operate.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming spammy by mentioning your location such as Perth, over and over again. This will hurt your SEO efforts.
But throughout your website you may have location specific case studies, testimonials and even videos, which will help.
You can even blog about local events happening in your area, using your blog to talk about your community, your customers and employees is a great way to resonate with your local reader. As they love local news!
5. Gather Reviews
Reviews are an important part of your content. People increasingly rely on reviews to make a decision about a product or service that they purchase.
Now it must be noted that in certain industries there are guidelines against soliciting reviews, for example allied health professionals. So know the limitations and guidelines for your specific industry. If you are unsure contact your governing body and request their advertising and social media guidelines.
But if reviews are allowed in your industry, they help with social proof, and more importantly they are an important pillar in your SEO efforts.
Google factors review activity as one of the elements that helps determine what businesses will show up in the top 3 organic search result position.
The key is to ask for reviews often. Make it as easy as possible for customers to provide a review. You can also re-purpose these reviews and use them on your social media, in your newsletter etc.
A great tool for gathering reviews is Grade.us. This can help automate the process of gathering reviews.
And make sure you respond to each review too good or bad. And Google Reviews are actually a great source of information if you are struggling to verbalise your businesses point of difference. Head to your Google Reviews and see what themes occur, what do you do really well. That can help you craft your point of difference.