Are you a small business owner? Do you have no time to focus on anything except your business? Do you feel lost when thinking about your online presence? Do you not know where to start?
Great news! These 5 strategies will help you to improve your online presence, and better yet they each can take as little as 1 hour to implement!
1- Update (or Create) Your Business Listings
Review (or create new) business listings and update them to ensure they all are showing the same information. All your business listings should include your Name, Address, Phone #, Website, Email, Business Hours and any other relevant information. The more accurate all your listings are the more trust search engines like Google and Bing will place in that information being correct. The more they trust the information the more likely they will serve your business in local search results.
Don’t know where to start? Try the big 4 – Google, Bing, Apple, & Yelp.
- Google My Business – login here
- Bing Places – login here
- Apple Maps – login here
- Yelp for Business – login here
2- Prompt Customers to Review your Business on Google
The more reviews you have on your Google listing the better. 90% of customers use search engines to do research on businesses before even contacting them and it takes the average consumer reading 7.9 reviews before making a decision. Not only are reviews good for your customers they are also good for your business and your search presence. A high number of reviews is a positive ranking signal for Google’s search algorithm.
Simply sending a single email to your client list could yield a few reviews, which could help move the needle for your business. Be authentic and ask for their honest opinion, and make sure to provide a direct link – the fewer steps for the reviewer the better.
Did you know:
- 92% of consumers read online reviews *
- 88% of consumers trust a review as much as a personal recommendation *
- 90% of consumers said their choice was influenced by positive reviews **
- 86% say their choice has been affected by negative reviews **
Learn more about the importance of customer reviews.
3- Optimize Main Website Pages for Search Engines
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a very technical process that involves on & off page factors, site structure, and server configuration. That does not mean, however, that you, as a business owner, cannot perform basic optimizations to your main website pages.
At a very basic level you want to make sure your page is specifically talking about what it is you do (contextually relevant), and that the words for which you wish to rank are present in a couple of key areas. These areas include your page title, page description, your headings, and your body copy.
This is a roughly 65 character headline that describes what the page is about. It is also how the page shows up in search results and in browsers. Having keywords present allow for users (and search engines) to see the words they are searching for directly in their search results. (Think blue text in Google search results)
The page description is approximately 150 characters and it allows a little more information about the page to be displayed in search engines. This area allows for calls to action as well as a little expansion on the keywords to target more terms. (Think grey text in Google search results)
The headings are specifically coded to stand out, and as such search engines give these words higher importance. By making sure your key terms show up in the headings on your page you can increase your organic rankings for those keywords.
The on page text should not only contain the keywords you are trying to rank for, but should also be about what you are trying to rank for. Google is making a big push towards understanding the language on the page and understanding user intent. If you can match intent with contextual relevance you can have great success with your rankings.
4- Be Social
Create (if you haven’t already!) a Facebook page and start sharing interesting insights with your customers. This can be anything from what’s going on in your industry, business news (new team member, new product offering, etc), or even local news – what is happening in your community. (Facebook pages like #DiscoverLadner are great for this kind of local content – full disclosure I definitely work on that page and am a little biased, however, I do still think it is a great resource!)
OK so share great content right? It’s so simple, why didn’t you think of that. Don’t worry I know that it is a lot more difficult than it sounds, also who has the time?!
Fun Fact: You do!
Use scheduling software like Hootsuite (which offers an awesome free option) to schedule a month, quarter, or years worth of posts at once. Sit down and just start creating posts, the more you do it the easier it will get I guarantee it. They even have a vast library of free-to-use stock imagery to help your posts stand out.
5- Promote the Heck out of Yourself!
BRAG, PROMOTE, and PROMOTE some more!
Make sure your website and Facebook page are on your business cards and then promote the heck of yourself. Go to events, network, meet other local businesses, talk to people on the street. Do whatever you can to meet people and develop relationships with them. Give them your card and attempt to drive them to your online properties. Engagement and referral traffic (from social) are other ranking factor for search engines. The more traffic you can drive to your website the better your site will perform.
Even if these people are not going to buy right away they can help increase your rankings, which in turn will bring you more business.
Hopefully using these 5 strategies and minimal investment in time you can improve your online presence. There is no right way to build your business but these steps should help to increase your businesses visibility.
Learn more about what it takes to be successful online