By: Act! Blog | 6/21/2017
In a world where even dog collars are Wi-Fi enabled, a smart online presence is simply not optional. Customers who live around the corner from your storefront will still find you by searching their smartphones or by asking their favorite mobile maps app to tell them how to get there. In order to be found by modern tech-savvy clients, you first need to be found by the search engines. This is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in. When your website is properly optimized to help the search engine crawlers identify you and rank your relevance to searches, you open yourself up to the vast potential customer base of the internet. Even if you only work with the local community, being available online means more business from visitors, vacationers, and tourists. So now the only question is how to SEO your website. While there have been entire books written on the subject, these three tips are a great place to start.
1. Know Your Keywords
When considering which keywords to integrate into your content, you must first think like a customer who doesn't know you. On the front page and several second-level pages, make sure to mention your industry, specialties, and specific services. Try to use word order similar to that typed into a search engine. If for example, you are a catering service, people will search for "good catering service", or "catering services with Italian menus" or "wedding caterers". A good example of integrating this into legitimate and useful page content might look like:
"Romeo's Kitchen is a good catering service with a one-of-a-kind Italian menu. We do birthdays, family reunions, and rank highly among local wedding caterers."
2. Include Localization
People and search engines alike will tack on a location qualifier to their searches for local businesses. People planning vacations and business trips will build their itineraries out of searches like "quiet restaurants in Toronto" or "LA minigolf", and there is a significant benefit to be gained to listing and mentioning the areas you serve. This is how search engines tell customers whether or not a popular bakery site is relevant to them or too far to enjoy. A good example of localized SEO looks like:
"Nestled in the heart of downtown Dallas, Muffin Masters serves hordes of hungry DFW professionals every day. We deliver to breakfast and lunch meetings all the way out to west Fort Worth."
3. Off-Page SEO
Search engines judge a business' popularity and validity based on the number of times other respectable sites link to their website. The reward for these links is a higher position in search results. The best way to get linked is by providing useful and interesting content that will be referenced in the blogs and business sites of others. It is for this reason that many companies have started their own industry-relevant blogs. As they reference each other and the industry, the total off-page links grows between them. When communities come together to link actively and responsively, everyone gets a search engine boost. After quality content, the most important thing to remember about linking is that you are essentially giving a recommendation, so link only to information sources and businesses you think are reliable and want to support.
With good SEO practices, you are doing your part for your local and online community by accurately and efficiently representing your business. This way, when customers search for "great donuts in Tucson" or "cheap Fargo Locksmith" you will be there for them, on the front page, easy to find and ready to provide. If your website is already helpful and well-designed, there's a good chance you are already pretty well search engine optimized, but it never hurts to make a few intuitive improvements using what you've learned. For more interesting advice on marketing your business, check out these blogs here and here.