As a small business owner, you can increase your chances of being found on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, by understanding how to properly use search engine optimization (SEO) to your benefit. The following SEO strategies will help drive traffic to your business.
1. Claim your listing.
You may notice your business already has a listing on various web pages. If you made the listing, make sure your business’ information is accurate and consistent across all sites. This includes the name of your company, address, and phone number. Claim any listings you did not publish and that contain inaccurate information by declaring ownership of your company via email or phone. Some companies may require submission through traditional mail to correct the information. To expedite the process, use digital location management tools to find all your online listings. You may discover there are duplicates you may need to correct.
2. Encourage reviews.
Search engines, like Google, take into consideration company reviews to determine where to list your business on a search result carousel, also known as a search engine results page (SERP). By integrating an organic platform for customers to provide online feedback for the products or services you provide, you may be able to boost your SERP visibility. Natural opportunities for soliciting feedback include asking for a review or rating via automated prompt after a customer completes an online transaction. Adding a button on your company’s website is also a great way to signal a customer or client to leave a review. If you have limited resources and cannot integrate these tools onto your website, have employees ask customers to review their experience online after they leave the store.
3. Publish quality pictures.
People often seek photos when considering a local business to make purchases. Publishing quality pictures of your building both inside and out, the products sold, and services provided, in addition to a company logo, will increase traffic to your website organically. Photos should be placed on your website as well as numerous other sites that offer business listing options. For an extra SEO boost, make sure to name the photos with keyword-rich text, rather than a generic label. Use common image file types, like JPEG and PNG, and alt text or tags that caption photos, which helps search engines understand the type of content within a picture.
4. Create a local places page.
All businesses should set up a local “places” page on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The page includes contact information and hours of operation as well as a section to upload photographs. When categorizing your page, make sure it is accurate to the type of service you offer. Businesses categorized incorrectly based on a particular set of keywords will not display on a SERP. Your business can be listed in up to five categories, depending on the website.
5. Use a long-tail keyword strategy.
SEO focuses primarily on relevant content as opposed to volume, which includes number of inbound links and content size. As such, using a long-tail keyword strategy will help you optimize your ranking potential with less popular keywords. For example, instead of using shorter key phrases like “toilet installation,” use extended phrases like “tips for installing a toilet in an upstairs bathroom.” Search engines look for longer phrases to ensure audiences receive content that is pertinent to their search. Your goal should be to separate your business from popular short phrases that generate an overwhelming number of results and maximize visibility among long-tail keywords that return a smaller number of results, which improves your business’ ability to be seen.
6. Optimize page title tags.
Occasionally called title elements, title tags create value in three areas, relevancy, browsing, and search engine results pages. They offer a concise description of what your content is about on a SERP and often show up on a browser’s chrome and in tabs. Specific words, searched by a person, are highlighted in title tags. Additionally, external websites, including social media platforms, use title tags as anchor text. An ideal title tag should not exceed 70 characters and should place important keywords near the beginning. In addition, find a way to incorporate your business name and make the text compelling. For new customers, this is your first interaction with them and you want to make sure your brand resonates.
7. Write meta description tags.
Meta description tags offer a brief explanation about content found on specific web pages. The text follows title tags and URL links on a SERP. Use meta description tags to further advertise the content you are sharing in order to encourage more click-through activity. Always integrate keywords into your meta description. For optimal use, write compelling descriptions that utilize 150 to 160 characters. Make sure each is unique for the page you are promoting and that it does not include alphanumeric characters to avoid sites, such as Google, from truncating your text.