SEO or Search Engine Optimization and how to improve it is one of the top requested consultations I get from my clients. They want to know what they can do to improve their ranking and how to get found. There are some very important “BIG” things that are critical to optimizing your searchability, those being content updates, good keywords and inbound links (and not just any inbound link, links that are directed to your site via blogs, social media, professional sites in your niche, that sort of thing). But there are some other very important steps you can take, that are often overlooked. Listed below are 5 “Be”s I learned today that will help increase your online presence.

  1. Be locally visible
  2. Be mobile friendly
  3. Be reviewed
  4. Be analytical
  5. Be communicative

Be Locally Visible

It seems pretty intuitive, when you think about it. If I am interested in, say a Dentist and I haven’t used one before, am I just going to type  “dentist” or “good dentist” in the search box (or say it to Seri or Alexa)? Not very likely. The search terms I’d use would be “dentist, Albuquerque” or “Good dentist in Albuquerque,” which means that any website that isn’t optimized for Albuquerque is not going to come up in a search list. So, how do you best optimize your site for local consumers?

  1. Set up and verify your business page on Google My Business and update your name, address, phone, add the right categories for your business and a relevant description. This helps customers find more information about your business, increasing the chances of attracting more visits.
  2. Embed a Google Map in your website that links to the Google Plus local listing, which has all the information you set up in your Google My Business listing.
  3. Use local keywords in your content and meta data, such as  the city and the state in the title tag and the meta description (or rich snippits).
  4. Check for consistent contact information across your online profiles on every online source;  make sure the information is the same on your site, social networks,  Google My Business, Yelp and other niche directories pertinent to your business. Those niche directories may have old or incorrect information on them You generally have to set up an account with them to update the information and it can be tedious work, but it’s worth it to take the time to correct them.

Be Mobile Friendly

More and more people are using their smart phones to surf the web, in fact a Google survey found that 72% of users think that a mobile friendly site is important. There are no excuses these days, with the increased usage of content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and more. They all come “responsive” which means that the images and styling “respond” to the size of the users screen by reducing in size and orientation to make reading easier. Additionally, performance is critical. Users bounce off of a slow mobile site even more quickly than they do on a desktop site that is slow. This may be due to the fact that at the desktop there are other things users can do while waiting for a site to load. The same isn’t true for mobile users who are often looking for something right now.  To this point, Google has recently introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) using html, javascript and Google caching to help speed up mobile sites. It is supported on many platforms, including content management platforms such as WordPress, which already offers a plugin to “AMP” up your mobility. I will write more about AMP in a future blog, but suffice it to say, it is worth looking into for your mobile friendly site.

Be Reviewed

How many times has a customer told you how much they love your product and/or service? Or sent you an email with glowing praise that you’ve used as a testimonial? Your first reaction is to type it into your website as a testimonial. The next time that happens, I recommend that you ask your customer to do an online review. You can direct them to your Google listing, where they are given the opportunity to review your business. Make sure that they give you a star rating, the more 5 star ratings you have on your listing the higher it will rank. Additionally have them review you on Yelp and review sites in your niche. Bad reviews are just as helpful as good review, if you treat them as feedback, responding to them and using them to improve your business. Which brings me to the next one…

Be Communicative

Those reviews I mentioned above? They are part of your online presence and a business with a good online presence pays attention to its customers. Read their reviews, read their comments on your social media and blog posts. Encourage their comments and feedback and then, follow through. By listening to their needs and desires and making changes based on them you build trust and a desire from them for you to succeed. Your customers are your best allies. Listen to them and talk to them.

Be Analytical

By, “Be Analytical” I don’t just mean attached Google Analysis to your website, I mean take a look at all of your marketing efforts and check the ROI on every one to see which combination of online, mobile and offline marketing campaigns work best for your business. Set up an analytics program that tracks your website traffic, pay attention to your social media business page analytics, follow results from your text campaign, your print and online advertising. Find out  the ratio of online/mobile/print that is bringing in new business and update your marketing strategy accordingly.