It’s a great time to be a small business! Websites are easier and more affordable to set up than every before. Social media has greatly leveled the playing field between big business and small. Search engine optimization allows the independent, local shops the chance to be ranked at the top of search results with all the major, big box players.
Once you’ve completed your keyword research, added title tags and meta descriptions to all the pages of your website, made sure all of your images have ALT tags and created a sitemap, you’ve done all that you can do to optimize your online presence, right?
Optimizing your website for search engines is definitely a must, but a fully-optimized website is only part of your brand’s SEO strategy. Below are 4 ways to populate Page 1 of search engine results for your small business, make certain your business is listed in the places that matter most, and increase the number of links back to your site.
Optimize your Online Presence for Search Engines
- Social media accounts Many social media platforms are highly ranked by Google. Your Facebook fan page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile and Google+ account are likely to be found on Page 1. Individuals who have profiles on sites like About.Me, BrandYourself and SlideShare will probably see those profiles listed on Page 1 as well. (High-ranking social media profiles is another reason why it’s important to complete all social media bios and description fields, including the use of relevant keywords.)
- Location-based check-in & review listings FourSquare, Yelp and UrbanSpoon are 3 popular location-based check-in and review apps that have web-based profiles that are ranked high by Google. It’s also important to claim and build out these profiles from a reputation management standpoint as well since customers may be checking in, uploading photos and leaving comments and questions without you needing to have first set up a business profile.
- Local directories These vary by business type, and the easiest way to know which – if any – local directories are highly ranked would be to perform an industry search yourself. For example, a Google search for “Memphis Commercial Printers” demonstrates that the Commercial Appeal newspaper has a business directory list for commercial printers that appears on Page 1, Spot 2, and that YellowPages has a business category listing for commercial printers that appears in Spot 4.
- Business blogging Along with building trust between you and your customers, showcasing your knowledge, and giving customers a reason to continue to return to your website, business blogs keep your otherwise-static site chock full of fresh content. Each new blog post is a new link back to your site. Each new blog post is a new chance to rank on a new set of keywords related to your business. And the more search phrases you can rank for, the more often your business will be found.
This 5-pronged approach to SEO (your website plus the 4 optimization tasks listed above) will provide you and your small business a solid strategy to position yourself well in the online marketplace.