The evolution of the Internet continues apace and while it offers small and medium-sized businesses a great opportunity to level the playing field with bigger names, lack of resource and expertise can prevent them maximising any openings.
Here at Infoserve we have been helping small and medium-sized businesses be found online since 1999, so we know a few online marketing tactics that may help you in your quest to increase your visibility in the major search engines. Please bear in mind though that there is no instant meteoric rise in the organic search rankings; this requires a long-term plan and investment of time, but there are things you can do to help your online profile.
Everyone has to start somewhere and getting the basics right goes a long way to ensuring success.
One of the first things you will consider is your website name. Make sure this is catchy and matches your business name. You are building a brand and this needs to be consistent. It may be worth looking at all the variations of your website name that are available and purchasing them all, or at least the majority of them. This will prevent others setting up a website in your name.
Ensure your website is mobile friendly
With mobile device use now so widespread it is crucial that your website is custom-designed for every device and that it looks great on mobile, tablet and desktop. You will miss out on traffic if it doesn’t.
Contact details and calls to action
If you are a bricks and mortar business with a shop or premises that you want customers to visit it is imperative that your address and contact details, perhaps including a map of your location, are clearly visible on your website. Also, ensure that your business is listed across social networks, popular directories and maps. Infoserve can help you save hours here: just use our Listing Manager product and you can update your business details once and synchronise to dozens of online publishers. You can add photos, special offers, manage online reviews and more, all in one dashboard.
By getting your business listed in this way you will help make sure that you appear when customers look for businesses like yours close to them, whether using the search engines results or on map searches.
Use the right keywords
When writing content for your website make sure that you use the keywords and phrases that a customer may choose when looking for your business online. If you are a florist in Leeds you want to make sure that you are found for searches such as ‘florists in Leeds’ and ‘flowers in Leeds’, so include these keywords in your page titles, page descriptions and also in the on-page content of your website. This will help the search engines return your website when a customer searches for ‘florists in Leeds’. Infoserve has a team of professional copywriters who can help you with this if needed.
Get using social media
Social media is a great way to engage with customers and drive them to your website. Social media does take time though and you need to make sure you do it properly. Choose which platforms best suit your business and then post regularly and respond to customer comments/feedback.
People use social media to research businesses and see what others have to say about them. If you can start positive interactions with people and post helpful information and blogs, which people share with their friends and followers, you can soon build a strong following – and win customers.
Write a blog
A blog can be used on your social media; each time you write a blog/news item, you can share it on social media. It’s a great way to get fresh content on your website and to be a bit informal with customers if you wish. You can share information about your products, your expertise, or perhaps just give your views on a topical matter; mix it up and your customers will start to enjoy your daily musings and share them; increasing your audience and customer-base.
Your blog needs to be part of your main website; speak to your hosting company about this. This way you will get all the benefit when it comes to boosting the SEO of your website.
People research businesses now more than ever before and getting customer testimonials and reviews is a great way to boost your business profile online. Ask customers if they would write a review, for use either on your own website, or on an independent review site such as TripAdvisor, or on social media.
Of course, there is a chance you may get some negative reviews, but you can respond to these in a positive way and this can reflect well on you and your business.
Keep your website up-to-date
It’s important that you keep checking the content on your website and ensure that all information is as up-to-date as possible. This includes keeping blog and social media activity fresh; there is nothing worse than a customer looking at a website and seeing that the last news item was posted a year ago; it looks like you don’t care or can’t be bothered.
Use Google Analytics
It’s easy and free to set up Google Analytics on your website and it provides you with invaluable information. You can track visitor numbers and get insights into which pages they are visiting, where they came from, how long they are spending on your site and which pages they are leaving on. You’ll see which blog posts they particularly like, so you can write more of the same. All this information will allow you to deliver more of what your customers want and encourage them to share even more; building an even larger audience.
It’s important for a business to have an online presence and how much you optimise this is really down to you. Of course, many small and medium-sized businesses just do not have the resource to allocate much time to this, but for those that do the opportunities are there to be seized. All you have to do is be a little better than the competition and sometimes this doesn’t take that much effort.
If you need help with your online marketing, get in touch with Infoserve. With more than 80 experts based across three offices in the north of England, we have vast experience in creating and managing online campaigns for small to medium-sized businesses across the UK.
We are in a unique position as the only company in the UK to be a Google Premier SME Partner, Bings Ad Partner and Yahoo Local Partner. Contact one of our online marketing experts now on 0800 089 0879.