Even brick and mortar businesses that rely primarily on walk-in traffic require a web presence. A web presence can help a business solidify their brand and increase sales. A static homepage will not create enough of a web presence to ace out the competition or let people know of your existence. Creating a search engine optimized website is a key factor to the success of any small business. Getting to the top of a Google search doesn't happen overnight, but isn't as hard as you may think.
Optimize Your Website
It's important to embed relevant key words throughout your content, but overdoing it will red flag search engines and backfire. Create landing pages that are crisp, to the point and conversational in nature. The more natural the word flow, the better your results will be. Add content at least two or three times a week in the form of articles or blogs that are 1,000 words or less and easy to read.
Slide shows and videos are a big draw to consumers, but best practices dictate you keep them short. Slide shows should be no more than 15 slides and videos should typically run for five minutes or less. If you wish to include comprehensive, lengthy pieces on your website, highlight them as downloadable ebooks, giving them a heightened gravitas and letting readers know they are in for a long read. Whatever you hang on your website should include a high number of significant, viable tags to help your content consistently rise to the top of the search engine heap.
Add Social Share Buttons
Optimize each page of content on your site by making it easy for others to share via their own social media outlets, increasing exposure and traffic. This is best done by including social share buttons on the top of each page and a photo relevant to the article. Content without a visual component is not only less appealing, but it is also harder to share on platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest.
Diversify Your Platforms
Bolster your website presence via multiple social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn. Create a rich profile presence in the About sections of each by utilizing key words you think your customers would use to search for your type of services. Make sure you create business pages rather than personal, profile pages. Post at least once every other day on each outlet, varying the times of day and types of content. Also make sure to create robust, reciprocal relationships with other posters, by sharing their content and commenting often. Be sure to include links to your own website on all of your social media platforms and reference special information that can only be found there, such as discount coupons, special deals or articles about topics of interest.
Use Your Business Name Consistently
It's almost automatic to refer to your business in a casual way, such as, "We will always provide high quality merchandise," without consistently referencing the doing-business-as name. The more you utilize your business name via social media, the sooner Google will recognize it. This will enable their search engine to readily associate relevant key words with you and may also result in the addition of your URL to their vast database.
Use Links Effectively
Reciprocal, active linking to and from other websites can create a higher search engine results page (SERP) ranking, increasing traffic and solidifying your presence as an authority in your field, both to Google and to your customers. Don't be shy. Reach out to other webmasters and ask them to link to your site, particularly if you are publishing valuable content for their readership, and offer to do the same. Don't forget to reach out to local reporters and news sites, letting them know of your willingness to be interviewed for articles, but request that they include a link back to your site in your interview.
Create Google+ Listings
Based on your type of business, create a Google+Business Page, Google+Brands Page, or Local Google+Page. These will eventually escalate your SERP ranking and searchability within your local area. Don't forget to keep your listings current and include links in them to your website and social media outlets.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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