10 Steps a Local Business Can Take Today to Improve Search Rankings
Running a business requires a lot of time and effort. While your product or service is important, you should also make sure your online presence is optimized and information about your brand is reaching the right people.
Implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to making sure you are reaching your relevant audience. If people can’t find your website in the first few pages of a search engine, you basically don’t exist. Google is a large online library with a vast amount of information. If the content on your website is relevant, Google can track this and ultimately, display your content. If you want to optimize your page to ensure it ranks higher on a Google search, here are some tips to help you achieve this.
1. Research your keywords
The first step in optimizing your website is to use the right keywords in your content so that customers can find you via a search engine. Your content should use a mix of ‘fat-head keywords’ - these are the key-terms that your competitors are using, and ‘long-tail keywords’ which are specific terms that relate to your business model. Your content should ‘speak the same language’ as the potential visitors of your website which will rank your page higher on a Google search.
2. Optimize your site and its content
Using the right keywords helps your ranking in a Google search but it is important to make sure the overall content on your website is relevant as well. There is no point in ‘stuffing’ keywords in your content as this is not useful for either you or your customers. In fact, if Google detects ‘keyword-stuffing’ in your content, it can penalise your website by downranking it. Make sure your meta tags describe your content well so customers will want to visit your website. Include accurate information about your website and use an embedded geo sitemap so that the search engine can track your website easily.
3. Go Mobile
With advancements in technology, the number of people who own a mobile phone is increasing every day. Having a good mobile presence is extremely important, especially for local businesses. Google’s latest update prioritises sites which have a mobile-optimised design, making it one of the most important ranking factors. Companies have to make sure that their website is mobile-friendly so that customers who access the website on their phones will have a great user experience. This will result in higher dwell times and ultimately a better ranking on the Google search engine.
4. Link Building (backlinking)
Backlinks also known as incoming links are links on external websites that link to your site. Backlinks are extremely important for SEO as it improves the authenticity of your website. They show that your website is popular and trustworthy especially if the links are from high-authority sites. Getting high-quality backlinks is one of the most important Off-page SEO techniques.
5. Be Consistent
It is the sum of the little things that make up the big things. This includes frequently updating page titles, internal links and page URLs on your website. While these factors may seem trivial, they help your website stay current and SEO-optimised. Since the process of ranking your website can take several months, Consistency is King when it comes to SEO.
6. Increase the site speed
People are more likely to visit your website if the site speed is optimized. On average, a person only waits about three seconds for a web page to load. If users can access your website with no delay in loading time, it leads to better conversion rates, lower bounce rates and more importantly, increases the user’s overall experience. All these signals are crucial ranking factors for Google.
7. Use video
As YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, it’s important that your SEO efforts aren’t limited to Google alone. People spend about 60% of their time on Youtube. This means it is important for companies to optimize their video content so they can rank higher on a Youtube search. Better optimization on Youtube will help you show up on Google search results as many queries display video results. Using videos in your content can also increase dwell time and overall engagement on the page.
8. Optimize for Voice Search
With the rise in Artificial Intelligence like Alexa (Amazon) and Siri (Apple), optimizing for voice search has contributed in large to a website’s SEO. Voice search only picks up answers for queries from the first few search results on Google. So the first step is to improve your website’s page ranking on Google by optimizing your content so the voice command picks up the answer from your site. Another way is to bag the coveted ‘featured snippet’ on a SERP. If your page includes a question and an answer, this also increases the chances of Google picking up the answer from your page.
9. Rank Content
Creating snippets of your top-rated content will allow Google to pick up and feature your website if a user looks up similar content. Once you find the best content on your site the next step is to create Snippet bait. This is a 40-60 word paragraph of your content that will be included in the featured snippet. You can also look into currently featured snippets to get a good understanding of what information to include in your word block.
10. Analyze and monitor your results
The best part about implementing SEO practices is that you get to monitor and analyze the results very closely. The Google Webmaster Tool gives you information on your website’s impressions and the click-through rate. Google Analytics can also provide you with information on organic traffic and the demographics of your website. If all your SEO strategies were well implemented, you should see a steady increase in website traffic in the following weeks.
Having a great SEO strategy is crucial to your business, especially with the increasing importance of technology every day. People now have access to many goods and services online and businesses credit a major part of their profitability to online sales. Remember, ‘Google only loves you when other people love you first’.