While many online e-commerce giants can seem to dominate the digital marketing field, those who are really in a position to best take advantage of the rise of the internet in marketing are small businesses. Independent small businesses make up a sizable chunk of the American economy, and these companies have the most to gain from a successful digital marketing campaign. One of the best places to start when tackling online marketing is your website’s search engine optimization, but not all business owners know where to start with this undertaking. Here are a few ideas that small business owners can use to get a head start on developing their digital marketing strategies.
First Impressions Matter
In the same way that you want to represent yourself and your company well when you’re attending a meeting or other important event, you want your website to represent you in a professional manner. Many people who visit your website will quickly click away if the appearance of your website isn’t professional enough. In fact, one of the ways that people most quickly decide whether a website is trustworthy or not is based more on the appearance of the site, rather than the content it contains. Content is clearly still important, but your appearance is what gets them to read the content in the first place.
When planning out the design of your website, be sure to choose easily legible fonts and color combinations that don’t create a visually messy appearance or cause difficulty with reading content. Position important information in areas where it will be easily accessed and seen, including phone numbers, addresses, company names, contact form links, and so on. The simpler it is to navigate your website, the more likely people will stay on your website for longer periods of time.
Few things are more frustrating than visiting a website while looking for an answer to your search question, only to have the site take too long to load up. Most people in this situation ultimately end up going back to the previous page before the current one even finishes loading, as they perceive it as taking too long. While they might be more willing to wait for the page of a larger brand to load, since they’re likely looking specifically for that company or brand, they might not be as patient with a smaller business’s website. Additionally, with recent Google algorithm updates, your website’s responsiveness could either help or hurt your ranking, depending on how fast it is to load.
Next time you’re updating your website, make sure you’re cleaning up whatever you can to increase response time for your site. Not only will it improve the user experience, but there’s a good chance it will boost your overall rankings as well. This can help your business get seen more frequently in search results, directing more traffic towards your site.
Careful With Keywords
One of the basics that most people understand about SEO even if they aren’t an SEO expert is that you need to make use of keywords. Choosing and focusing on the best possible keywords for your business can help you get found in the most relevant searches, meaning that the traffic driven to your website is more meaningful. Use these keywords regularly when creating your content, and rotate out which ones you’re using to optimize for various search terms, rather than just one.
However, there is one thing that the best SEO resellers and top digital marketing experts know about keywords that not everyone will: how to avoid over-optimization. Using the same keywords too often or too many times in your content can make your blogs or other posts look like spam, decreasing how trustworthy the average user finds them. Having an SEO plugin that can alert you to over-optimized, thin or otherwise suboptimal content can help you keep your keywords in line. Under-optimize and search engines won’t know what your pages are even about. Over-optimize too often or too much, and you might risk your website getting de-indexed on major search engines like Google. This can be disastrous for even the most effective marketing plans, so be careful in how you make use of your chosen key phrases.
Creative Content Choices
The right content goes a long way to draw in potential customers, and this is especially true for small businesses. Writing blogs might be time-consuming for your website, especially as a small business owner with many hats to wear, but the end-user might not always be impressed with simple written content. Instead, today’s internet users are looking for content that goes above and beyond, searching for images, video, and even audio that engages them more actively.
As a small business, you can take advantage of this by using creative content to establish your brand’s character. Not only will you be creating content that helps to boost your search rankings, but the content you develop can be essential in giving your brand a stronger identity and fostering brand loyalty among customers.
Lock Onto Local Markets
Last but absolutely not least, small businesses can greatly benefit from search engine marketing when it comes to targeting local customers. Using keywords in your digital marketing strategy can help you generate more traffic in specific geographic areas by incorporating locations into your keyphrases. This way, if a majority of your business is run in a single store location or you don’t necessarily operate online, people who are looking for a business like yours near them will be able to find you. Be aware of what your competition is doing in terms of geographic key phrases as well, and you might be able to get the edge on them with your SEO strategy.
For small businesses, SEO can be a powerful tool for enhancing your existing digital marketing campaigns. While not everyone is entirely aware of how it works and what’s sure to boost your rankings, it’s well worth it to invest in developing your search engine optimization for your website. For small business owners who have too much on their hands, you might even want to consider hiring outside help; this marketing strategy is well worth the investment and can attract tons of new customers to your company website.
Make The Most Of Google My Business
Many website design shops and advertising agencies have a difficult time juggling sales, customer service, and fulfillment activities. In most agencies, customer service has to come first, fulfillment comes second, while sales comes in last. That is until you lose a few accounts because of natural churn. Most agencies then spend more time on sales activities to make up for the loss and, of course, double down on customer service to preserve the remaining accounts. What suffers most in this equation is fulfillment. The lack of focus on fulfillment then leads to more churn, which creates a continued downward-trending cycle. This may sound pretty bleak, and it can be if you don’t break the cycle. As an agency owner, you should spend most of your time on sales and customer service; that is non-negotiable. Where you can save time on a permanent basis is on becoming more efficient on your service delivery by following a couple cool tips that you can do in-house. If you have the resources, we recommend hiring a white label SEO program to permanently take large portions of your SEO and PPC delivery off of your team’s shoulders, which will free them up and give them the time they need to create a sales engine that will consistently deliver new accounts for your firm each month. In this article, however, we will not review outsource SEO agencies. Rather, we will focus on a few tips you can do to improve rankings for your clients that will take little time on your part.
Google My Business (GMB) has come out with several new features since 2018. Many web design, advertising, and digital marketing agencies have not bothered to leverage these features to improve rankings for their clients. That is where you come in. Following the tips in this article will put you several steps ahead of your competition.
Google My Business Hack #1
Google now allows GMB users to add a detailed list of their products and services directly to their Google My Business listing. Before the advent of Google Services, users were relegated to choosing from predetermined categories provided by Google. Some of these categories fit most businesses pretty well while others were a bit of a stretch or not relevant at all. Google Services solves this one-size-fits-all issue by letting users describe each one of their services as they see fit.
I recommend that you look at your client’s products and services pages and add them directly to GMB. I do not recommend cutting and pasting, as it is important to create unique content. Simply write copy that utilizes synonyms to describe the same sub-services.
Check out our super simple instructions on entering services into Google My Business:
Step 1: Log in, then click the info tab. After that, select “Services”
Step 2: Begin punching in your services. Keep going until you’ve entered every service. You’ll have to do this one at a time, so it may take a little while.
Google My Business Hack #2
Google launched a new feature called Google Posts. You can now post blogs directly onto your client’s GMB account. Google My Business is attempting to essentially replace your customer’s website as the go-to destination for information about their business by adding this feature and the others noted in this article. That is why we recommend allocating some of your blog writing to Google My Business. Google rewards businesses that use Google Posts with higher rankings, making this a big priority for you.
We added some simple steps to show you how to add a blog to Google Posts:
- Log in to GMB
- Jump over to left nav, then select “Posts”
- Pick “Write your post.” Write a post for your client or cut and paste a blog you were going to post to a client’s website.
Google My Business Hack #3
Google Q&A is a great way to show your customer you know everything there is to know about GMB and keep them busy at the same time. Show your customer that users can now ask questions directly on GMB that your client can answer. Warn them that users, as well as business owners, can answer questions posted on Google Q&A. It is highly preferable for your client to answer the questions as opposed to a random customer or prospective customer. The best way to ensure that your client will be the one to answer the questions is to download the Google My Business app and make sure they are logged into the same account on their phone as they used to create their GMB account. When answering questions, tell them to be descriptive and to toss in keywords if possible. Keep in mind that any keyword mentioned should be natural.
Keeping Your Head Above Water … For Good
We hope you found value in the three Google My Business hacks we outlined above and that it helps you streamline your workflow this month. Doing something different in terms of deliverables can often yield significant results. We believe this will help you reduce churn levels. Our opinion is that this is a temporary fix and we recommend hiring a white label SEO agency to help you with the heavy lifting as that will free you up to consistently grow your business for the rest of 2019 and into 2020.