1. A Great Website
So many businesses are focused on simply getting themselves online that they often forget about optimizing user experience. In fact, many small business owners aren’t really even that familiar with the concept of user experience, and instead put up a website without really considering anything beyond its mere existence in cyberspace.
So why is user experience is important? Well, for starters, someone who arrives at your webpage has a goal in mind. To better illustrate this example, let’s say you sell 100% vegan, organic, dye-free doggie beds. So when a visitor finds your website, they’re probably comparing prices for different brands of doggie beds, or are curious about yours in particular because they’re 100% vegan, organic, and dye-free. That makes sense, right?
So what happens, then, when your site is slow to load? What happens when a visitor can’t find ordering information or how to contact you with questions? Or worse, what if they encounter a bunch of broken links or images that won’t load?
They “bounce”. Bounce rate is how long it takes someone who has navigated to your page to leave. When bounce rate is high, that’s a bad thing. That means your users are having a poor experience and they want out of there as quickly as possible!
So focus on creating a website that not only looks great and is filled with valuable information about your products and services, but also is:
- Easy to navigate–menus located in clear spots, informative labeling for links.
- Filled out completely–no “under construction” pages or broken links.
- Structured in a way that visitors can easily parse–i.e., no blocks of text that go on and on and on; no images that take up half the screen; no unnecessary scrolling.
- And a quick load time–in fact, studies cite a less than 3 second load time as being optimal. Yes, it’s that important.
2. Fresh, High-Quality Content
Content is king. You’ve heard it before, and unfortunately, we’re gonna trot it out for you again. Why? Because it’s still true.
Think about it: Would you rather go to a site that has content that is a) well written, informative, and answers any questions you might have? Or content that’s b) clearly hastily thrown together, written only for search engines, and basically just takes up space on the screen? Obviously you’re going to go with option a.
So then why would you even bother putting together shoddy content? Your visitors will hate it, which in turn, means search engines will hate it. Content for the sake of content isn’t helpful. Content for the sake of your visitors is.
What does all of this mean for you? It means that you should update your site regularly with only high-quality content. Make sure that your content is helpful to your visitors. If you get negative feedback, take that into consideration to improve your future content creation efforts. If you do all of this, you’re already steps ahead of the competition.
3. Social Media Presence
You’ve probably told by many sources (least of all, us) that you need to be on social media. And while some businesses can manage to be successful without a social media presence, they’re among the few and the lucky. Many older businesses in small towns often have enough clout to simply rely on word of mouth marketing. But if you’re not one of those old, established businesses, then you need to seriously evaluate why you should be creating social media accounts for your SEO and marketing strategies.
To start, you should pick a few platforms you feel comfortable on and that will benefit your brand the most. How do you know if a social media platform will work to your advantage?
Let’s go back to our doggie bed example. Obviously, pet owners will be the most likely people to buy your products. Pet owners enjoy looking at photos of cute animals and they also like talking about their pets. This makes our hypothetical business ideal for Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. These highly visual platforms will let you show off your product in a way that pet owners will relate to, and they’ll want to talk with others about their experiences with your product.
If you’re an HVAC company, though, you probably won’t have as much luck with Pinterest or Instagram. Rather, you might want to try Quora, where you can answer questions (people have lots of DIY questions that can be answered here for free), and you might want to put together YouTube tutorials detailing minor maintenance jobs your customers can do on their own time.
As you can see, a social media presence is important for most brands. But you have to choose platforms that actually benefit your brand, as well as make sure that you have enough time to maintain your updates. Nothing will grow stale faster than a dead Facebook page or YouTube channel. By connecting with your customers and marketing your work through social media, you’ll bring more traffic to your site and you’ll probably earn shares and links back to your articles in the long run.
4. Creating visual content.
So far, we’ve talked mostly about written content. And while blogs and informative product pages are all well and good, there’s a lot more link juice to be found in visual content.
Visual content includes videos, images/memes, and infographics, all of which are highly shareable. If you think about your own sharing tendencies, which are you most likely to send to your family and friends–a long, in-depth article about why vegan dog beds are the hottest thing right now, or a video showing a cute pup enjoying his new vegan dog bed? Probably the latter. And so it goes that your own customers will be more likely to share your articles and content if it is a visually-compelling piece.
If you’re not graphically inclined, that’s no problem. There are plenty of sites out there that help you design images and infographics for free. Try the following to start:
- Canva.com (Social media graphics, posters, business cards, website design)
- Piktochart.com (Infographics)
- YouTube Online Editor (A YouTube account is free, as is their own native editor)
- BufferApp’s Pablo Image Editor (Great for quote images)
5. Most recently–be mobile friendly.
Desktop searches are trending downward compared to mobile searches–in fact, mobile outpaces desktop in 10 countries, including the US, according to Google’s recent reports. Combine that with the mobile update that occurred April 21st of this year, and you can see why you should already be focusing on creating mobile-friendly websites. And if you aren’t focusing on mobile accessibility, then it’s time you do so.
It’s easy to make your site mobile friendly. Check out our article on preparing your site for the mobile update and see how you can ensure you’ll be in Google’s good graces. If you don’t do this, you’re going to be pushed off the search results pages for people who are using mobile devices to find what they need.
You might be thinking, “Well, I don’t think people will be finding me through any fancy kind of searches. I just use Google on my computer.” And while you might be doing that, that doesn’t mean others are. A lot of small businesses get web traffic through local mobile searches. It’s imperative that local businesses be accurately listed so that people who are looking for their products and services are able to locate them, no matter which devie they’re using. (And that’s what we specialize in, too!)
So it doesn’t matter whether you think your customers will be finding you on their desktops–because not all of them will be. Add tablets into the mix and you’ve got yourself several mobile devices to accommodate. Now you can see why it’s so important to be mobile-friendly!
Hopefully by focusing on these five SEO tactics, you can start to see some improvement in your rankings. Remember, SEO is a long-term investment, and it’s not going to happen overnight. But with perseverance and some smart strategies, you’ll soon see yourself improving your online presence.
Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to discover how we can help you be seen online.