You may have heard for years that businesses need to have a website. After all, you’re told that consumers do most of their shopping online. It may seem like a good idea for a large company with national and international offices. What about the small, mom-and-pop store like yours? You are doing decent business and most of the people in the community know your business and many are loyal, returning customers whom you know by name. Why do you need a website if you’re already getting decent business and the local population you’re targeting are already doing business with you?
The short answer is that a website can expose your brand to even more people. When you get outside your immediate geographical area, your products and services will be introduced to more people who can become loyal customers. This mean more business and profit for you.
Your Business’ Online Presence: What You Need to Know
Your Website and SEO
The Internet and the search engines have evolved greatly since their beginnings. While in days past, a business can quickly put up a boring, basic site with heavy content and cheap graphics, this is no longer the case. While it is strongly recommended, and encouraged for business owners (regardless of the size of their business) to have a website, these webpages need to be more sophisticated than in years past.
Before you launch, or even begin building a website, there are many things to think about. The design, font, colors and layout of the design and the messaging itself must coincide with your business’ branding, culture and values.
When it comes to building a website, you’ll likely notice a plethora of easy DIY website builders that require no coding. If you’re just starting off and have a limited budget, this might be the way to go in the beginning. As your business and staff grows, it would be a good idea to work with a digital marketing company to optimize, or even redesign your website.
If you’re wondering what “optimization” is or where ”SEO” comes in, it has to do with your website. You can design the best website, but if it isn’t optimized for search engines, it won’t rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs). These SERPs are the list one gets when one types in a search query online. The goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is to get one’s website to appear towards the top of these listings, if not take the #1 position. Google has many resources and tools to help you start your website optimization strategy like Google Webmaster Tools, Google Adwords (online advertising) and Google My Business. The first step in optimization is to find keywords or phrases to rank for. Google Keyword Planner and tools like SEMRush can help you find the best keywords to go after. Make sure these keywords are sprinkled throughout the content. SEO can quickly get technical, tedious and time-consuming. This is why the help of a digital marketing specialist is important.
The Ever-Changing Nature of the Search Algorithm
Google is the largest, most powerful search engine. In order to rank high in search results, and thereby get more traffic to your website, you must always be up-to-date with the latest search algorithm. This algorithm is how Google ultimately ranks search results on the SERPs. It takes a variety of factors into account such as webpage load time, domain authority, keyword relevancy, the quality of the page’s outbound links and the mobile responsiveness of the webpage.
When people look for a product or service, they want it as soon as possible. This means they want to find businesses in their immediate area which has the desired product or service available. Google knows this and has created a local SERP. These local SERPs use to list a up to seven businesses at a time on the page. Unfortunately, like what was mentioned above, Google is constantly changing their SEO requirements and formats. Under the new SERP, only three businesses are listed along with a map. When the map is clicked, up to 20 businesses and their locations and information on the map appear. The rankings on the new local SERPs are very location specific and can vary between users who are a few blocks away.
While local SERPs and local SEO are different from traditional SEO and SERPs, some of the same strategies can be used for both.
Local SEO Techniques
- Write compelling meta data, particularly snippets. This will make your listing stand out from the competition.
- Properly and completely fill out your Google My Business page. Include your address, phone number, high-quality images, cover photo and profile image, select proper categories, and include a long, unique, link-filled description. Don’t forget to include Google+ reviews and opening and closing hours.
Traditional SEO on Your Website
- Include the business name, address and phone number on the bottom of each page of the website.
- Build quality local backlinks. Try to get as many links from quality, trustworthy local websites that are relevant to your business. It’s also a good idea to look and see what your competitor’s backlinks are.
- Conduct on-page optimization. This includes adding your business’ city and region along with a relevant keyword to the title tag, H1 tag, content, URL, and image ALT attributes of your landing page.
- Embed Google maps onto your landing page. This will help viewers quickly get your address and directions to your location.
The Benefits of a Website
With Google’s local and organic SERPs becoming more inundated with ads and paid content, it would seem that small, local businesses with good websites have a harder time to crack the top of either search results page. All is not lost, however. A great, optimized website is still important for local businesses. Here are some of the benefits your company can enjoy by having a professional website:
- A significant number of clicks on Google’s Local Service Ads went to organic SERPs. If you’ve properly optimized your website, you can increase your chances of appearing in local SERPs by improving your position in organic SERPs.
- An optimized website will still boost your brand and its website visibility in SERPs regardless of changes to local SERPs.
- A website can only help or maintain your ranking in local SERPs. It will by no means lower your rankings.
- Many local small businesses still don’t have a website. This means less online competition for your business.
- A website can help keep you in control of link earning and building and your brand-controlled publishing platform.
Every business, regardless of size should have a website in 2019. While changes in Google’s local SEO have transformed the layout and made it harder for local companies to control their rankings based on the optimization of their website, a website can still boost your organic rankings.
Just as a website is crucial in expanding your company’s online presence, a great sales team with great follow-up can help attract customers. At Aktify, our professional sales service specializes in reviving “dead” leads. We have helped numerous companies attain loyal customers from those that had been previously neglected or overlooked. While we can’t help with your web design or SEO, we can help kick your sales up a notch by making formerly “dead” leads into lucrative ones. To learn more about Aktify, contact us today.