SEO is a broad subject, one that can be overwhelming for small business owners. And hiring someone to help can feel like buying snake-oil. Luckily there are a few simple things you can do yourself this week to help you website rank over local competition in Columbus.
Before we get started, there are basically two types of SEO, on-site and off-site. On-site SEO are the things you can do "on" your website to help get found by search engines, like having keywords. Off-site SEO are the things you can do "off" your website to help get found by search engines, like setting up your social media profiles.
*** On-Site SEO ***
1. Top-of-the-funnel Calls-to-Action
Think for a minute why you visit company's websites? It's probably not to "ooh" and "aah" at their fancy design, but to RESEARCH a product or service... Then, IF you have made a DECISION to buy, you will contact the business or checkout.
So if you think of marketing as a "funnel," then you can understand that there will be more people at the top who are researching, than at the bottom who have made a decision to contact you or checkout. So if your website only has a bottom-of-the-funnel call-to-action—like "Contact Us" or "Buy" button) then you are loosing a lot of leads.
A top-of-the-funnel call-to-action is something that helps visitors learn more about your company (like a case study, product catalog, annual report, etc.) in exchange for their contact information. This doesn't have to be fancy either, a simple PDF will work just fine. The point is to start a relationship. For instance, if someone downloads Makeshark's case study, someone on our team will give that person a call to discuss their interest in web design and SEO.
2. Content (Keywords & Pages)
Having local keywords in your headers and on you pages is important, how the code is structured is important too. Most website editors make it easy to wrap header text in <h1> tags which tell search engines what a specific page is about.
For instance, Makeshark is a "Web Design & SEO Company", and while we could technically help anyone in the world, we are focused on growing a strong base in Columbus. So we make sure to highlight that in our homepage header and in other content throughout our website.
So be specific! If you are a plumber, why not make your header "Fast, Affordable Plumber in Columbus?" If you are a nonprofit helping kids, why not make your header "Columbus Nonprofit Youth Program?" A great tool to use while working on your on-site content is WooRank.
3. Meta Data
Meta data is the unseen content on your website. The easiest way to understand this is by Googling your business; each listing will have a title and a description. Most website editors will make it easy to update this information for each of your pages. For titles, follow this formula: "Keywords | Location | Name."
Ex. "Web Design & SEO | Columbus, Ohio | Makeshark"
*** Off-Site SEO ***
4. Google My Business
Have you ever tried to search for a local business or restaurant? Notice that the first thing you see are ads, followed by a map, then a list of websites based on ranking. So BEFORE all the SEO improvements you make to improve your rank, Google shows a map of local businesses.
To have your small business listed on this map all you need to do is setup your profile on Google My Business. This is also how people will find you if they try to get directions. It is important to fill our your profile and ask customers for reviews (try for at least more then your competitors).
And while you're at it, it also helps to add your business to Apple Maps for iPhone users.
Backlink is a fancy way to say "websites on the internet that 'link back' to your website." This could be from your profile on Facebook, YellowPages, Yelp, or wherever.
When setting up backlinks, it is important to be as complete and consistent as possible. An easy way to get started is by using a free tool called Moz Local and enter your business name.
Finally, Google your product or service and see what companies are out ranking you. Review their sites and take notes on how they are different than yours. Maybe they have more pages, more keywords, a blog, more backlinks, or have just been around longer than you.
Make a list and focus on at least being better than your competitors.
Having a website that CONVERTS visitors into leads is probably the most important thing a small business can do. Think about a top-of-the-funnel call-to-action you can implement today and see how it works.
Improving your SEO takes time. Even bad websites can outrank yours just because they have been around longer. So don't sweat it, and don't let SEO be the only thing driving your business. Don't be afraid to network and even pick up the phone.
For more specific help on improving SEO for your small business in Columbus feel free to contact us! We'd love to have you visit or grab a coffee!