Having digital marketing strategies in place for your business is one thing, but creating an online presence that will generate referrals and new customers is a whole different game altogether.
But, what does “online presence” mean?
Online presence is the entirety of the discoverable data you’ve actively created for your business and all the brand identities you’ve established on popular online platforms. This includes your business website, social media accounts, and any pages that come up when your business or name is searched on Google.
Having a good online presence is essential for the long-term growth of your business as it’s a great way to find potential customers and gain the trust of existing ones.
Here are the six best practices that can help boost your online presence in 2019:
#1 Mobile-first indexing
Mobile-first indexing was one of the biggest SEO updates of 2018. While it’s a major shift for Google and how it used to index web pages, it’s not a drastic change for most websites. Mobile-first indexing means that Google will use the mobile version of the web page for indexing and ranking, to better help mobile users browse better.
According to reports, mobile devices now account for nearly 60 percent of all traffic and that number is only going to grow in the coming future.
Consumers are always connected digitally through their mobile devices. It is critical for your website to be optimised for mobile browsers and tablets. One should either consider a site specifically for mobile or have a flexible design.
Google search has expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Building better mobile websites and creating better user experiences for visitors is imperative.
#2 Embrace content marketing
From large corporations to small businesses, content marketing has proven to be one of the most effective ways to build a good online presence. If done right, it can increase brand awareness and even lead to more sales. Creating local content and stitching it into your existing marketing strategy can be extremely helpful in targeting audiences from a specific region.
Content can be in the form of blog posts, guest blogging, infographics, videos, and webinars, etc. Good content marketing will help your business stay relevant and garner more brand visibility.
#3 Get voice-search Ready
Voice search is being increasingly used by customers to find businesses around them, complete daily tasks, or just go search for information online. According to reports, by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches.
In times like these, you have to think in terms of making your business information discoverable to your potential and existing customers. Voice search technology is now being used by customers to discover everything – from restaurants to local grocery stores.
So make sure all your business information and any other related content is voice-search-ready. It is the future of local search.
#4 Get more customer reviews
We all like to invest in products and services that have a good record. According to reports, 91 percent of people check online reviews regularly or occasionally, while 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they would trust a word-of-mouth recommendation.
Therefore, if you don’t have any reviews, it would be advisable to focus on acquiring them through Google and other social media platforms. If you don’t have any reviews to show, it will impact your growth and search rankings.
#5 Be active on social media
Having an active social media presence has never been more important for brand visibility than today. Consumers are constantly connected to social platforms and online content through their mobile devices. Businesses need to leverage these platforms where they can target their audience and engage with them with content that will catch the consumers’ attention.
Consumers are now purchasing directly from social media as well. Therefore, it’s crucial that local businesses build a strong brand presence and run creative campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.
#6 Have consistent location data
It really doesn't matter how successful your business is if you have inaccurate or obsolete location data on the internet. This means having correct and consistent NAP (name, address and phone number) details across online platforms.
Bad data can have a lasting impact on everything about your business - from the customer experience that you provide to your revenue. According to reports, 71 percent users look up and confirm the location before going to it for the first time, and, 67 percent users lose trust in the local business due to faulty location information. Unfortunately, businesses focus on other digital marketing activities to stay on top of the competition; so much so that maintaining the accuracy of their business listings, directories, and citations sometimes take a backseat.
The consumer landscape in India has evolved drastically. Consumers are now informed and the web is being used for multiple daily activities. Having accurate location and business data online extremely crucial because your digital marketing efforts will be of no use if your potential customers can't find your business online.
To conclude, 2019 is all about the consumer and providing better customer experience with personalisation and technology. To stay ahead of the curve, it is vital to increase your brand’s online visibility and be where your consumers are to engage with them. Start implementing these practices to your existing digital marketing plan to get off to a great start!
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)