Don’t you hate it when you offer better service, products or prices and your competition still outranks you online!?
If you’re not showing up as well as you feel you deserve, you want to check out a couple of elements that will affect you online presence:
- Is your business verified on Google and do you have all your information filled out as completely as possible on your listing?
This information should be an EXACT match the information on your website. Google looks at the Name, Address and Phone number (the NAP) of your company to make sure it is real. Many companies, though moves or business changes, have missing or incorrect information all over the web and this negatively affects ranking. Additionally, you business listing should include images of what you do, your store, or the main people a customer might see or hear when they first interact with your company.
- Check if your website is optimized for search engines to understand what your business is all about.
While your website’s’ visitors might “get it” when they visit your site, search engines use some different methods to help them understand what your site offers visitors quickly. Search robots check out if you have content, content quality (yes they can tell), keywords and keyword saturation, and even the language surrounding the keywords. They also check technical factors, like speed and how you look on phones, the titles of pages, and internal errors occurring that even visitors typically won’t notice. Many times, even newer sites can benefit from changes that help the search engines see your value.
- Do you have any content on your site?
A great way to get noticed by search engines and prospective customers alike is to give them information they find useful. A blog can help you boost rankings and let customers know why you might be the right choice for goods or services. However, just writing something about yourself and sticking it on your blog page, then waiting for something to happen doesn’t cut it anymore. There is actually a term for it called “post and pray”, and it’s not effective! You’ve got to write around what information people are searching for, optimize the posts for the search engines and distribute it on social media, email your lists, and even think about running ads to get readers. Also, you should be adding a reason that people want to engage with you more deeply. This can be a free e-book, call or evaluation depending on what you do. Put the offer with a form for capturing their information. This will allow you to follow up with them later.
- Does your website have many (or good) links to other sites?
The search engines operate a little like a high school popularity contest, in that the more people talking about you favorably will help your rankings. Reviews, comments and stories about your business will impact your rankings. You might have heard the term “backlinks”. The more good links back to your website from other websites, the better. The search engines understand that you are relevant and should get featured more prominently. However, there are bad backlinks as well. Back in the old days (like a couple years ago), SEO companies could just put you on tons of high-ranking random sites that would give you links and you would rise in the search engines like magic. Google put a stop to this with their Panda algorithm update and some companies that were using this technique literally went out of business overnight. The search engines are really good at understanding who is giving you links and will even penalize you for lots of bad links. Useful links come from good connections. Write a guest article, be interviewed on someone’s popular podcast, or get featured on your local news for doing something good. These all provide great links back to your site.
In conclusion, if you are not showing up in the local search engines, these four elements are what you should be investigating first. Most of these items you can actually do yourself with enough time and patience. Fixing these elements is a little like going on a diet, it won’t miraculously change your situation overnight, and it does take work and discipline to keep producing content and following up on site changes. However, in the long run, it will pay off in new prospects and profits.
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