Happy New Year and may 2017 be your most successful year ever! If you believe a better performing website in search will translate into a more prosperous enterprise, then execute on the following ideas. You’ll capture more business and get an edge on your competition.
1. Get Your Digital Analytics House in Order and Stop Flying Blind!
You wouldn’t want your airline pilot flying without instrumentation. Likewise, you shouldn’t decide to pursue a digital marketing strategy without a reasonable digital analytics plan. For most local businesses, implementing Google Analytics ( it’s free) provides all the information you need: You can set up a variety of monthly reports and easily compare time periods to spot trends and find opportunities going forward. If you want to get fancier, try a tool like Swydo, which allows you to easily create reports from a variety of data sources.
2. Get NAP Consistent
NAP stands for name, address and phone number, and search engines reward businesses that have consistency across their many local directory listings. So you need to monitor and manage all directory listings of your business to ensure sure they have up-to-date and accurate information. A good place to start is with a free directory listing scan here. This free report provides a comprehensive scan in just a few minutes. I cannot overstate the importance of proactively managing directory listings, especially for local businesses.
3. Up Your Content Game
Improving the quality and quantity of your site’s content should be at the top of your priority list this year. If you’ve added services, create quality content that reflects your new offerings. Brush up and improve on your existing content. Blog about topics that reflect your areas of expertise and help position you as a thought leader. Publish those blogs on your website and look for opportunities to guest blog, which can help improve your backlink profile.
4. Use Video
Videos are like crack cocaine for search engines (sorry for the crude reference) and the use and growth of videos online show no signs of abating. Many local businesses don’t use video because it appears too complicated or too expensive, so it’s important to keep your videos simple, which will also keep them affordable. Videos that are powerful and relatively easy to produce include:
- Business overview videos
- Client testimonial videos
- Employee spotlight videos
Once produced, videos should be published on your website, your YouTube Channel, Facebook Page in Facebook’s native format, and any other platform you’ve decided to produce content for. Videos allow you to leave an indelible mark on people who consume your video content, so start shooting video today!
5. Get Serious About Getting Links to Your Website!
Every link (also known as a backlink) to your website is viewed as a vote of confidence in the eyes of Google and other search engines, yet a lot of local businesses have zero links to their websites. A link, or backlink is earned when another website links to your website and a quality backlink is earned when a site of high quality links to your website. I suggest that businesses owners reach out to partners and suppliers for a source of quality backlinks. For example, if you have a supplier that has a blog, offer to pen a blog post on the successful use of their products and secure a link back to your own website in the article or byline. Suppliers often have dealer directories you can access and all you need to do is look. Investing the time to nurture and create a quality backlink profile will pay off in spades and keep you on top of your competition in the SERPs.
6. Fix Your Web Page Titles
Ensuring that your web page titles accurately reflect the content of your web pages is one of the most basic, yet powerful steps you can take to improve your placement in search. It’s also one of the most overlooked. How many websites do you visit that have “Home” as the web page title? When Google and other search engines have to look elsewhere to identify what your page is about, it hurts your performance in search.
7. Get a 100% Score on your Google My Business (GMB) Listing
Since Google is responsible for sending 80% of your traffic to your website, it makes sense to ensure you take full advantage of the free services Google offers—starting with your Google My Business listing. Google provides a completeness score that makes it easy for you to see if you have missing information that will affect your search results. Take time to choose all the appropriate categories for your business, upload quality photos, publish your operating hours and so on. Bad information on GMB hurts your placement in search, cascades throughout the internet and can cause frustration for your customers.
8. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Mobile traffic to websites continues to grow and mobile users expect a great experience when surfing your website on smartphones. In addition, in 2017 Google is splitting its search index into desktop and mobile, so if your site does not offer a good mobile experience, it will be potentially deleted from the mobile index. Google provides a handy tool that measures mobile friendliness here. If you fail the mobile test, your options are to create mobile-optimized versions of your web pages, or think about a site redesign using modern design methods that support responsive design. Make 2017 the year of no more excuses for having a mobile optimized website.
Improving your search results almost certainly will mean an improvement in your business results. If you implement only half of the suggestions from this post I guarantee that you will greatly improve your position in search and grow your business.
Rick Hogan, CEO & Co-Founder - Bleevit Interactive
Rick possesses over 20 years of digital marketing experience and started Bleevit Interactive with the primary mission of helping local businesses succeed online. When he is not working he can often be found hiking Great Falls, Virginia with his Labradoodle Lily, or sailing the Chesapeake Bay.
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