Search Engine Optimization is an overwhelming topic for most small business owners. It can get very technical very quickly. schema? algorithms? indexing? meta data?
Search engines, like Google, take their job very seriously. Their purpose is to provide users with the most accurate information possible, otherwise their users will use another service. Because of this, search engines are constantly improving their techniques, which means the best tips and tricks for improved SEO seem to be ever-changing.
It can be tempting to throw in the towel, but don’t give up! Here are 4 common mistakes and non-technical tips you can follow for improved local seo:
Mistake 1: Not having a Google My Business Profile.
Solution: Set up a FREE Google My Business profile and make sure it is up to date.
Go to https://www.google.com/business/ to create a free account. The website will walk you through the process, step by step. You will need to verify your business through a postcard mailed to your physical location (PO Boxes are not accepted). Make this online profile as complete as possible. Business hours, phone number, description, photos, etc.
Mistake 2: Inconsistent information.
Solution: Do a 10 minute online checkup.
Every bit of information about your business should be listed as consistently as possible. For example if your business name is Southern Pines Design Company, decide if you will always write it out that way or if you will abbreviate it to Southern Pines Design Co. Start by making a list of everywhere your business appears online (Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc). Go through each one and make sure everything is listed in the same format. Even phone numbers should be listed in a consistent manner. To Google bots crawling your website, (###) ### #### is seen as an inconsistency when you list the same number elsewhere as ###-###-####. Details matter!
Mistake 3: A stagnant site.
Solution: Add fresh content to your website.
The more often you can add new content to your website the better. Search engines only want to present the best information to those choosing to search through their platform – it is what keeps them in business. Part of that is only providing up-to-date sources. If you haven’t updated your website in several months, there is a chance your website is being viewed as and out of date resources. The most common way to add fresh content is through a blog – although there are many different ways. Get creative or hire a creative person to help you!
Mistake 4: No links leading to your website.
Solution: Add your business listing on directory websites.
Those in the hospitality industry should claim their business on sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor. Contractors and construction/landscaping business should make sure they are listed on Angie’s List. A national online directory exists for almost every industry out there. Also consider the local business organizations you may be a member of – business associations, Chambers of Commerce, etc.
It can be that simple! I’m not guaranteeing that these four tips will take you to the top of your keyword search, however, they will definitely contribute to improved SEO as well as better user experience for anyone searching for your business online. Because these ideas are focused on improved user experience, you can rest easy knowing that the “rules” regarding them won’t be changing any time soon.