You may have heard about the latest change to Google’s ranking system involving mobile friendly websites…
3 Simple Ways for Every Business to Achieve Local Online Traffic
The internet can be a big, scary world and mastering search engine discoverability has literally become a science. It is a daunting task for a small business to understand and implement the necessary plan needed to achieve massive organic website discoverability. Our suggestion is to start smaller by mastering local online traffic.
1. Understand The Local Three Pack
Prior to August, 2015, Google listed seven local business listings at the top of their search results, prioritizing local online traffic and then displaying listings that appear organically and paid ads below. In August, 2015, they reduced the 7-Pack to a 3-Pack. The newly designed local pack shows fewer listings and is more mobile friendly. Google’s goal was to provide more information in a more user friendly interface about the top three local listings.
So, how can your local business make it to the 3 Pack?
- Consistently use your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across many sources because Google places weight on information accuracy.
- Become active on local listing sites such as churches, the local Chamber of Commerce, or Kiwanis Club to generate local online traffic through backlinks and
- Make sure that your existing website takes advantage of responsive design.
- Optimize website content to include local information and keywords.
- Keep your Google Places and YellowPages.com listings current.
There is already talk about the 3-Pack becoming the 2-Pack in favor of “paid for inclusion” in local results. Basically, two local businesses will be organic and one will be an advertisement. Small businesses that are interested in being included in the top local listings will need to prepare now.
2. Encourage Customer Reviews
Google has confirmed on several occasions that customer reviews and ratings are a factor when ranking local businesses. Moz has estimated that customer reviews are 8.4% of the ‘local ranking pie.’ As an added bonus, reviews give your local listing those pretty little stars that help your business to stand out.
Here are a few ways to encourage customers to review your business:
- Entice customers to submit online reviews with discounts or other incentives.
- Simply ask customers to leave reviews once you are sure they are satisfied.
- Include links to review sites in emails and on your website.
- Enroll in several review sites, to make it convenient for customers to leave reviews.
Earning a steady stream of reviews is an important part of increasing local online traffic. Not only will the reviews improve local ranking, but it will also influence customer confidence. And do not be afraid of negative reviews. Consumers do not expect your business to be perfect. Your handling of a negative review can speak volumes for or against your business.
3. Invest Time in Google My Business
Google My Business is free and is essential to local discoverability. Allowing for updating of Google search, Google Maps, and Google+ from one dashboard is convenient and provides a one-stop shop for small business owners. Google favors their own platform and updating Google My Business helps with higher local rankings. The following may be accessed from the new dashboard:
- Google+. Share new photos, links, videos, etc.
- After verifying your business, the dashboard will provide visibility insights.
- Managing reviews on Google is easy now and reviews from other sites can be viewed from the dashboard.
- Google Analytics. One click access to the Analytics dashboard adds efficiency and ease.
Google My Business assists local businesses with managing accurate business information from one convenient dashboard while improving local online traffic. Win-Win!
When tackling search engines on a large scale seems overwhelming, small businesses can start with mastering their local search and then grow from there.
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The Importance of On-Site SEO Ingredients:
Whether you already have a website or are considering developing one, understanding on-site SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and the importance of doing this work (making sure your website designer or developer includes this service in the creation of your site), could ultimately determine the success of your online presence. On-site SEO optimization is not just the process of creating a website that is appealing to both users and search engines. A search engine evaluates your website differently than your audience and without “on-site” optimization, you may find that your website’s reach is sparse.
Did you know:
- Search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites?
- 50% of search queries are 4 words or longer?
- Search bars are the starting point for 60% of travelers?
- Local searches motivate 50% of mobile visitors to visit businesses within one day?
If you did not realize how important your website’s SEO is, you sure do now. SEO is a complex beast, but the first step to a discoverable website it to take advantage of on-site SEO practices.
Identifying appropriate keywords and using them throughout your website is essential to being recognized by search engines. Free services such as KW Finder and Google Keyword Planner are a couple of tools that can get you started. Select a primary keyword for each page and be sure to include it in the first and last paragraphs of content. Also, use variations of the keyword throughout the content.
Although your page content may be clear and concise, search engines require a bit more help understanding what you website is about. By adding behind the scenes metadata to each page, search engines will be clear about the content and will begin to deliver it to the appropriate audience. It is always smart to add keywords to metadata as well.
Unique Page Titles
Assigning each page of your website a unique and relevant title will ensure that your pages will be discoverable. The page title does not need to match the navigation tab, but it should include a keyword to make the page more favorable to search engines.
Considering these three important ingredients of on-site SEO will give your website an edge over the competition and position your business for success.
Although there is more, this is the first step and very important… we will expound on this further with “on-page” SEO, covering the additional strategies on each individual page or post to more fully optimize your site’s content for discoverability.
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If you have been thinking about your business website and how to have an effective web presence, you have likely encountered the term SEO. But, what does that mean and more importantly, what does it mean for your business?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the term that is used to refer to a marketing discipline designed to grow the organic (unpaid) traffic to your business website. Once your business website is launched, there are many ways to direct traffic to your site. According to a study conducted by Search Engine Watch, the top five results of any search result in over 67% of the clicks. Ranking high in search results is important!
When a website is well structured and optimized for discoverability, it will begin to appear in search engine results naturally. There are hundreds of factors that influence Google and other search engines and allow your website to be ranked over other, similar sites. Understanding the most important components of a discoverable website and monopolizing on them is essential for a healthy and effective web presence.
1. Quality User Experience
There are many ways to optimize your website to provide the best user experience. Consider the last time that you visited a website looking for information. Ask yourself these questions about that experience:
- Was the site easy to navigate?
- Were you able to easily search the site?
- Was there content that improved the experience?
- Was your objective for visiting the site achieved?
- Did the website direct you to additional, useful information?
- Did the website load quickly?
These are the same questions that your visitors will ask themselves while they are exploring your website. Placing yourself in the position of your target audience and structuring a website to provide a seamless experience is recognized by search engines and will influence your websites ranking.
2. High Quality Content
Long gone are the days of stuffing a website with keywords in order to increase traffic. Today, well structured, meaningful content is essential to cultivating website traffic. There are several types of content and websites that have a mix of content are favored over sites that are sparse with content.
- Page Content. Each individual page of your business website should have a minimum of 250 words explaining the purpose of the page and providing useful information to the user.
- Blog Posts. Posting frequent blog posts provides an opportunity to stay in touch with your audience and provide updated information. Centering blog posts around specific topics increases discoverability.
- Evergreen Content. A term that is becoming increasingly discussed, evergreen content is thoughtful, long form content that helps to establish the author as an industry leader. Evergreen content is typically published in the form of a blog, white paper, or ebook and is readily accessible from the website.
- Product Descriptions. eCommerce sites have a unique opportunity to utilize product descriptions as a form of high quality content. Although it may be tempting, resist the urge to use standard product descriptions and instead, write unique descriptions for maximum search engine exposure.
- Meta Descriptions. Although meta content is almost always invisible to the user, search engines rely on high quality meta descriptions to make sense of the parts of your website. Making full use of behind the scenes meta content will produce a noticeable increase in website traffic.
When developing any of these types of content, it is important to product well structured sentences. There is no such thing as too much content, so keep writing.
3. Social Media Authority
Linking social media accounts to your website is important way for Google and other search engines to verify that your business is well established. Do not be afraid of being present on all relevant social channels. Use the opportunity to interact with customers and use social platforms as a channel for providing customer service. There are several ways to take advantage of social media to increase your website SEO. The first step is to create accounts and link them to your website. A few platforms to consider are:
SEO is a very broad term and encompasses a range of marketing techniques. Understanding the most important keys to being discovered can be tricky. When in doubt, rely on a professional for help with optimizing your site and GET FOUND!
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