“Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do.” Google
Wwith few exceptions, there is only one reason to invest in a website – to increase the profitability of your business. A good website will do exactly that, while a poor one will simply be a waste of good money. Most websites are a waste of money.
Why Websites Fail
Websites fail because of a “build it and they will come” approach: create a nice design, slap up a few skimpy pages, and wait for the traffic stampede.
The result? Websites that are so hard to find, they are practically invisible. If your potential clients can’t find your products or services via a keyword search on Google, your site will simply be one of millions that never see the stampede. You’ll just be one more business to throw money out the window.
It takes a lot more than that to build a website that actually gets you business.
Local seo 101: Content, Content, Content
Contrary to what you may have heard, the first and most important thing you can do is create lots of informative content on your site. You don’t have to take our word for it. It comes right from the horse’s (i.e. Google’s) mouth in its Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide:
Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it.
Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.”
Why Content is So Important
It’s Google’s job to provide searchers with the most relevant content for their keyword searches. If Google doesn’t find your content very relevant for a particular search, your site just isn’t going to show up in the first page or two of search results. And, if that’s the case, your site is virtually invisible.
Once you have a sizeable body of content, or even while you’re creating it, you can start to work on your SEO.
Website Rankings: The Five Top Optimizations for Local Businesses
There are hundreds of factors Google considers to determine website rankings but fortunately, as a local business, you only need to focus on five major strategies. You’re not competing against the biggest websites in the world, just with your direct competitors, most of which simply don’t know or do these things:
- Optimize your site structure/navigation, page titles, URLs, content, and images, and post some reviews/testimonials.
- Create and optimize your Google Business Page.
- Clean up your citations (Yellow Pages, Yelp, BBB, CanPages, Manta, etc.), making sure your business address name, address, and phone number (NAP) is consistent. Add more citations if you only have a few.
- Get some reviews on your Google business page, and on other sites.
- Work on getting some inbound links from authoritative and local websites by promoting your site and your content. This one definitely takes more work and time to implement than the previous four, but even one or two good links can make a world of difference.
The first point is by far the most important. If you don’t have much content, and haven’t optimized your site, Google is just plain not going to like your site, and none of the other steps are going to do much good.
Take steps to do as many of optimizations as possible, or hire someone to do them, and you’ll be on your way to leaving your competitors in the dust.
It’s pretty much standard practice for businesses to jump on the social media bandwagon (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Somehow, everyone seems to think that a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and the like will get them higher rankings for their website. Not true, for two reasons:
- According to various industry studies, Google doesn’t consider social signals to be a very important ranking factor. In fact, it’s well below the five factors discussed above.
- Business owners use social media to try to sell, sell, sell, instead of being, you know, social. The result? A small handful of followers and likes. Not really worth all the effort, is it?
If you have the time, go ahead, but focus on the other strategies first.
Another of the SEO-ers’ mantras is “Blog!” and business owners are jumping on that bandwagon too. If you have something important to say, put it on the main pages of your site in a relevant category. Google gives a lot more weight to these pages than to blog posts so adding the content to your site will help boost rankings. Use your blog for things like new company information, other news, or to tell readers there is new content on your site, but not for important content.
As always, keep it simple, and focus on the important things first. If you get those right, everything will fall into place.