If you feel like you’re not getting your fair share of traffic via the search engines, here’s a self help (mostly!) guide to getting more of the right bums on the right seats.
- CREATE LOCAL LISTINGS FOR EACH BUSINESS LOCATION IN GOOGLE, BING AND YAHOO
Over 50% of web searches now originate from mobile devices… Google in particular places a MUCH HEAVIER EMPHASIS on local results on mobile and even with its desktop results; the page often shows local search results for general searches. Our own web site sees almost as much traffic to our Google+ page as to our actual web site. It doesn’t matter that you can’t afford to spend huge amounts of time maintaining another social network – we can’t either; just make sure you’re there and any content you do add has the right keywords for you. If you’ve got more than one location – list each separately. Your London Office won’t show up on a Manchester search!
- WRITE NATURALLY
Don’t write your content for a search engine – write it for a human. It might mean you sacrifice top billing for a while, it might even mean you sacrifice it forever on a specific key term. Get there or thereabouts in the search results with naturally written and informative copy and your users will likely stay longer, improve your stats overall and have a positive impact on search terms all over your web site. It’s not about the silver bullet, you need to build a consistent user experience with an eye on your keywords… not the other way around
- IDENTIFY YOUR BEST KEYWORDS
Finding the right balance between relevance and traffic is really important – if you are very specific in your content, you are more likely to be found on a search – it’s also more likely to be relevant. Think about how people buy from you and tailor your page titles and articles accordingly. If someone is looking for a red winged butterfly marketing specialist in Guildford and you appear in the listings – it’s unlikely you’ll be facing too much competition… granted it’s also unlikely to generate many searches, so the balance between the time you spend generating the content, the quality of traffic, speed of success and overall traffic volume all need to be considered.
- ACTIVELY SEEK REVIEWS FROM CLIENTS
This applies to all businesses, but especially if you’re in the B2C space. There is a direct and demonstrable a relationship between the number of reviews and higher rankings in Google. What’s more, the search results listings are also more compelling with a glowing five stars beneath your name. Start with a few “friendlies” and ask them for a short and honest review for your Google+ page. Google is the easiest because so many people have Google accounts of some form or another.
- MENTION WHERE YOU ARE BASED, OR WHERE YOU OPERATE
If you’ve done a job for a business in Birmingham and you’re writing about it – say where that business is from and if you project managed the job from your office in Manchester – well, best mention that too. If you’re adding an image to this sparkly new page you’re making – give the image a good filename “printing-brochures-birmingham.jpg” and caption it with a geographic caption too. It’s amazing how regularly you can pop up in an image search and it’s also a good way to get that keyword in without stuffing your copy so it reads like a search engine piece, rather than content meant for real people to read.
- ARE YOU MOBILE READY?
Over 50% of global web searches are mobile. If your web site isn’t mobile ready, you won’t show up in mobile searches if anyone does it better. So this one isn’t so much “self help” as “talk to your web developer”. The self-help, I suppose is to build mobile readiness into your marketing plan, if you haven’t already done it.
- STAY UPDATED
Content really is king, I’m afraid. Your neglected web site won’t sit and do the work for you just because you paid someone to build it properly. You taking the time to keep it and your customers up to date tells the search engines that your web site is important to you – what you write about tells the search engines which content is important to you and when a user arrives, up to date and relevant content tells them they’re in the right place. It’s the archetypal win-win.
- OPTIMISE YOUR IMAGES PROPERLY
Site speed has a direct impact on positioning in search engines – it also has a marked effect on use experience. If you’re using images on your pages – crop them to the size you need them, compress them as much as you can without them looking muddy and pixelated then save them out as a new file ready to upload so you still have the original. Keeping the originals is important – you may want them bigger if you redesign!
- SWAP LINKS
Even a few decent links back into your web site can make a big difference to your search position. They have to be relevant though, or its just seen as spam. If you have multiple web sites – link them. If you have friends with web sites – swap links. If your customers and suppliers are willing to swap – link to them too. Link building is a huge topic in its own right, but get yourself started with a quick flick through your contact book and a couple of friendly calls. If you comment on blogs and news – use it as an opportunity to link back to your own web site.
- INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS ON EVERY WEB PAGE
This simple strategy will really help with long tail geographic searches. Simply adding your address could have you popping up in searches on pages that you otherwise don’t touch, or return a local / hyper local search on something you wrote years ago. This web site still sees traffic to images and pages that haven’t been reviewed in a couple of years, simply because someone was looking for some niche element of what we do “in Birmingham”
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If you’d like to talk to one of us about anything raised here.. just give us a call on 0121 616 0098 and ask for Karl