You have a website, you are involved in the community and you do good work but for some reason no one can find you online. Doesn’t Google know how awesome you are? Why aren’t you showing up in search results?
Having a website does not mean that people will be able to find you on search engines, particularly on Google. Search engines use complex math to scan the massive amounts of web content to determine the most useful results. For most people, it takes a little time and effort to make sure your business shows up. The good news is that there are a number of free steps you can take to become search engine optimized.
1. Get On The Map - Google MyBusiness
You can sign up directly with Google as a business when you create a listing that will appear when people search for your business or services on Google Search and Maps. The process is simple. Sign up here, add in all your services and business information and click verify your location. Google will use that address and mail you a postcard with a verification code. Once you verify your location that's it! You you will start appearing when people are in or searching in your area.
Note that Google only mails to physical locations, not P.O. boxes. If you don’t have a storefront you want posted online there is a way to only show your service area rather than a specific point. If the post office doesn’t deliver to your address you can set up a google hangouts video conference with a google support member to prove your business is real by clicking their help button.
2. Highlight Services In Your Web Content
Search engines skim through your content to find relevant keywords that match what people search. That means it is time to put on your editor’s hat and take a good look at the content on your website. Think about what keywords your customers use to search for your services and make sure those words are in your content. However, do not just list all the words. Search engines check to make sure the content makes sense in context so use those keywords within well written phrases. Here is a list of some best practices to review your website content:
- Add your business name throughout your website
- Check and double check for spelling errors
- Place your most important phrases and services frequently across your pages and in headers.
- Make sure your content is easy to understand and useful to your customers
- Tag all your images
3. Sign Up For Online Directories
Online directories such as Yelp and Yellow Pages are the “word of mouth” for businesses online. They are trusted websites that already rank high on search results and have the potential to push your services up as well. Directories are also a fantastic way for your customers to share their experiences by leaving great reviews. Signing up is very easy and there are directories that list almost any type of service.
4. Engage Your Customers With Social Media
Social media is a great tool to build and engage your audience as well as promote your services. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram… the list goes on and it can be a great way to let people know what you are up to. Find out which platforms your customers are on and focus on making the most of those rather than trying to engage on every platform. Plan your posts to highlight some of your favorite customers, ask for input on different events, and create special promotions. Make sure you are responsive to comments. Effective social media strategies are labor intensive but they can also be extremely rewarding by creating a community of loyal customers.
5. Write A Blog
Creating a blog for your business that gives advice on your field of expertise helps distinguish your business from your competitors and shows potential customers some of your personality and experience. A blog can also boost your rankings on search engines. Providing fresh content, providing answers for your customers and using relevant keywords are all things that search engines love. Starting a blog might not put you on the first page of google overnight but it will help you over time.
These five tips are not the only options to help customers find you online...
But they are a fantastic start. Other options you should consider include pay-per-click advertising and online paid marketing. Remember, a big part of making customers engage with you online is having a welcoming online presence. Check out one of our previous posts about the Importance of Having a Great Website.