SEO. Three little letters that, with a little work, can help your business get noticed by local consumers searching the Internet.
Search engine optimization is more than moving up in online search results, it’s also increasing the number of visitors who come to your website organically from search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. “It’s essentially how you market your business online, and at a bare minimum, showing consumers what makes you better than the next website that’s offering the same services, goods and content,” says Beth Corneglio, Sr. Manager of SEO at Angie’s List.
According to Corneglio, there are four critical components to pay attention to as
your business dives into the world of SEO.
Consumers spend time on multiple devices – desktop computers, mobile phones and tablets – when searching for information online. Your business website should be mobile friendly and able to provide the same user experience, without losing functionality, no matter what device the consumer uses.
SECURE YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS
Translation: claim your online business profiles. This not only includes claiming your Angie’s List Business Center profile, but also others, such as Google My Business that comes with a map listing. That listing can link directly to your business location and improve your positioning in local search results.
For any online profile, provide the basics – address, phone number, hours of operation, reviews and even photos of your work – and make sure they’re accurate. It’s also important that they’re consistent across profiles. If you spell out “Avenue” in your street address, instead of using the abbreviation, do that for every profile.
DIGITAL ENDORSEMENTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Even if you don’t think you have the time to monitor or participate often in social media, it’s still important to secure your presence and be where your customers are engaging. “Typically, if people have an extraordinary service or even a really bad experience, they are going to go to social media to talk about it ... so you might as well know about it,” Corneglio says. This helps to arm your business with valuable consumer feedback.
Consider what social channel works best and makes the most sense for your brand, and use this as an opportunity to learn what customers think about you, respond to their comments, build your brand’s personality and gain credibility outside of Angie’s List.
“The more [digital] endorsements you can get as a brand, the better. So, if that’s someone tweeting about you and your amazing work, bragging about you on Facebook, linking to [your website] from their blog, getting those endorsements can really go a long way,” Corneglio says.
These digital endorsements are consumers vouching or voting for your business and Google recognizes these votes. Keep in mind, search engines also recognize sentiment, so they will recognize bad comments along with the good.
SHOWCASE YOUR BUSINESS AND ANSWER QUESTIONS
This is your chance to shine and convince consumers why you’re better than competitors. A great way to do this: engaging content. “If you write really great content, you’re probably going to hit on keywords that people are searching for, and that just helps you with SEO,” Corneglio says. If you can write content that is a utility and helps the end-user experience, your odds get better in showing up for related search results.
An FAQ section on your website is a great way to start building content that helps answer customers’ questions, typically the same ones they are asking when they go to Google. Corneglio suggests thinking about questions your customers are asking most often and write content to answer them. The fresher and more detailed the content, the better.
Your website is also the perfect location to host videos about your company and its work, before and after photos of projects, customer testimonials, and your Angie’s List awards, including the Super Service Award.
Making sure your business is implementing these four key areas will help jump-start your SEO efforts. Just remember, a major increase in web traffic doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and patience.