Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a fundamental part of business today. If you want to reach people and your ideal customers you need to be ranking high for keywords relating to your industry and ranking higher than your competitors with a similar service, but where do you begin? The information below was taken from a recent episode of The Marketing Strategy Show with special guest Kate Toon.
A lot of people understand that SEO is critical to the growth and development of their business but state that SEO is simply too hard to grasp so they never make any attempts at establishing their presence with SEO but with only a few hours a week working through the six tips below you can develop your SEO strategy accordingly.
Title Tag and Meta Description
- For those who aren’t very SEO savvy, the title tag is the blue underlined link in search results and the meta description is the two lines of copy that sit directly beneath that (see image below)
- You can control these on every page of your website and what you put on those can have a big impact on how you rank in Google
- Make sure you stick to the character limits (65 characters for titles and 150 for meta descriptions)
- Write complete sentences, make sure they are relevant to the page and you can include your phone number in the meta description
- This is a great tip for local businesses as often people will search for a service in a particular area looking for a phone number and if they can see your number from the search they can call straight away
- You need to do a little bit of work beforehand to work out what are the key things people are searching for and make sure that’s what you optimized that page for
- One of the best ways to do keyword research is through asking your customers. Have a form on your website -“how did you find us?”- with an option for Google then another sub-option under Google where they can tell you what they typed in. This will give you invaluable intelligence into what people are searching for when they find you.
Optimize your Google My Business Page
- Google my Business is a free listing that you get on Google (it is owned by Google) If you don’t own one or haven’t created one yet do so as soon as possible
- In some cases Google has generated one on your behalf and in this instance you will need to go through the process of claiming it, you will have to go through the verification process
- You must use a real address, no PO boxes
- You really need to take time to get that listing right. So things like having solid descriptions, categories, business hours, payment type and at least three photos
- The thing with images on your Google My Business listing is that if you don’t submit the photos yourself Google will select them automatically, so you might as well put some of the best images you have up
- Also if customers are disgruntled they will go on that page and leave a review, and you need the right of reply. So, you know, people are always going to be talking about your business somewhere but at least be involved in that conversation
List yourself in Directories
- There’s a lot of free directories out there from True Local to Yellow Pages, you don’t necessarily need to pay for expensive upgrades on Yellow Pages but you should be at least using the free listing (see yellow pages image below)
- Make sure they have an approval process. If you can just list without any kind of approval processes, its probably not a good directory to list on
- I recommend that people spend a good day just going through every directory they can find relative to their business
- Also, speak to your local Chamber of Commerce, sometimes they have listings where you can list your business
- What we’re trying to do is create lots of instances of our business name, our address and our phone number all over the internet. So, that Google starts to connect the dots, these are called citations.
- Some people have mentioned to me in the past, be consistent with the description that you use across all those different directories and make sure you’ve got the same phone number, the same description for the business, etc
Build Local Links
- There are links for local businesses to your website. Google likes to create mini worlds. This is the world of Newtown and all these people are interlinking and that’s why it’s called the Interweb
- Other ways to get local links are to get stories into the local newspaper. It may be a good idea to sponsor a local charity or a local football club and they mention you on their website
- Lots of schools have newsletters and websites where if you support the school they will then mention you on their websites
- You can get something back by giving back and this is sometimes called good karma SEO
- We want to get as many reviews as we can. So we want to get lots of reviews on our Google my Business page, that would be my top priority
- There’s a school of thought that says people believe in reviews even if they don’t know the person giving them
- Also, with Google my Business if you get lots of reviews, you get a little five star rating next to your local listing and who are you going to click? Somebody who’s got a one star rating or somebody’s got a five star rating
- With Google my Business, when someone leaves a review most of the time it links through to a profile. So, you can click on a profile and see whether the profile is real
- Getting reviews on LinkedIn is another great tip and you can get reviews on True Local
- Receiving reviews is all about striking while the iron is hot. Immediately after you have delivered a service, follow up with a little template and help people write them. You could suggest to them what to say and then they fill in the blanks
- Honestly getting reviews is about making it as easy as possible for people. Get that email address and send them the link. Don’t make them find how to review because that will just take a couple of more minutes and they won’t have time to do it
Setting up Schema
- Schema is a language that talks directly to Google. Obviously Google can read our content but Schema makes it easier for Google.
- It says things like for Business Name and then it has full Business Name. For Business Address and then it has your Address. Now Google could obviously crawl through your site and work out if that’s your address because it recognizes words like street or avenue but Schema just tells them straight away and it makes it easier for Google
- If you are on a WordPress site, there are some Schema plug-ins that you can get and it might be something to speak to your developer about, it’s a great little thing and once you add it, you can really see a difference
- Not something for the non-technical people to try and embark on but if you have a web developer speak to them about the possibility of adding some schema to your website.
If you would like any one-on-one advice on how to use SEO more effectively in your Marketing, need assistance to get a Marketing project or a Marketing Plan done we would love to help. Just call 1300 676 448 or contact us for an obligation-free discussion.