It’s becoming more difficult for small business owners to get cut through online. Here are our top tips to help you get your business noticed.
We’re a nation of internet users
With 56 per cent of Australians online more than ten times every day and almost 7 in ten (68 per cent) saying they will check out reviews of a business’s products or service online before buying, it’s more important than ever to increase your business visibility. Fortunately, it’s easier than you think to boost your online presence.
How do customers find you?
So, you already have a website, but how easy is it to find you? Would a customer have to type your exact details into search before your listing appears? A lot of business traffic can come from search results, so it’s vital that your website is optimised for search. This means improving your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is essential. In a recent Yellow poll, 68 per cent of respondents said they believe it’s important for a business to be on the first page of a Google search. Which begs the question: where does yours appear?
Put an SEO strategy into place
Of course, you could use a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy to help you get your business rising through the ranks on Google. However, it’s a good idea to begin with your SEO, so that you can increase your organic results. Let’s begin with keywords. Don’t be tempted to stuff your content with relevant keywords – while it might seem counter-intuitive – Google actually hates this tactic and will penalise you for it. Instead, opt for a measured approach. What keywords relate to your business and how can you use them in your content in a natural way. Remember Google (and your audience) want to see and read well thought out content that puts your business into context. If your website is built on Word Press (and many are these days) you can install plugins, that will help with your SEO by providing insights and keyword suggestions.
Take a deep dive into local
Think about your search habits. How often have you typed something like ‘Chinese food near me’ or ‘dog walker in Newtown’? Guess what, you’re not alone. According to recent data from Hubspot, local search has grown by 900 per cent over the last two years. That’s a lot of peepers looking for homegrown products and services. So, do yourself a favour and localise your SEO.
“A free listing on Yellow Online is a really simple SEO tactic,” says Anna Rogers Senior Content manager at Yellow. “The more reputable online listing sites your business is featured on the more likely Google is to find you in organic search results. A paid ad on Yellow Online gives you even more opportunities to be found by allowing you to add plenty of rich content such as video, images, a FAQs section, plus heaps more.”
Set up your business directory listings
The first step in localising your SEO is to get your business profile set up on prominent business directories such as Google My Business and Yellow Online. It’s free to do and allows your business to be more visible to local searchers. When creating your listing remember to use location-specific keywords such as ‘dogwalker Newtown’, or Inner West dog walker.
It’s time to get social
According to the Yellow Social Media Report 2020 the average Australian Facebook user accesses the platform 29 times a week. Thirty-one per cent of us check our profiles across a range of platforms more than 10 times a day – and 79 per cent check at least once a day. If your business isn’t on social media, these stats show it sure makes sense to create a social profile ASAP. It will provide you with another place you can list details about your business such as location, opening hours and contact details – which add to your search visibility. Plus it’s a great place to engage with your customers.
“There is fertile ground for SMBs to build their brand on social media if they take steps to build trust and by offering incentives,” says Hayley Jovanovic, Chief Marketing Officer at Sensis.
“One-third of consumers agree that they will inspect a brand’s social media presence before making an online purchase if they have not purchased from their website before.”
Remember to ask for reviews
Great word of mouth is worth its weight in gold. So, if you have done work you are proud of, encourage your customers to leave you a review. Yellow’s Social Media Report 2020 revealed over two-thirds of customers (68 per cent) read online reviews. However, it’s a little-known fact these reviews also impact your search rankings. According to SEO experts, Moz, customer reviews can impact your search results by over 15 per cent, so it makes sense to ask your customers to leave a review. It’s also critical that you respond to any negative reviews promptly, to ward off any reputational damage to your business.
Don’t forget backlinks
Another way to improve your search rankings on Google is to increase the quality and number of backlinks to your site. That dog walker in Newtown could approach the café in the park to include a link to their services from the café’s webpage. They could also reach out to other reputable pet businesses and offer to exchange links. These types of partnerships cost you no money. They can help boost your SEO and get your business seen by more people. And that’s the main aim, right?
Start off with a free business listing on Yellow Pages here
This article originally appeared on Small Business First. You can read it here.