10 Website Promotion Essentials for Small Businesses.
Your Website is a Living, Breathing Organism that Needs to Be Nurtured if You Want it to be Seen.
At first glance, search engine optimisation can seem too complex and too expensive to be worth bothering with.
You can’t assume that because you have a website, that it will be seen. ‘Build it and they will come’ was a great theme for a film but it doesn’t work for business. Website promotion is not as difficult as it first might seem and unlike ads, SEO has long lasting benefits.
This article focuses on website promotion for businesses who want local customers.
Do you remember the Tamogotchi? It was the bain of every parent’s life in the late 90s, early 2000s. It was the must-have toy for any self-respecting child. Once brought to life, it went through various stages – baby, toddler, school-child, teenager, and so on. If neglected it would die. Simple as that. Consigned to the back of a drawer.
Your website is like that. Feed and nurture it and it will be a living breathing thing. Neglect it and it will lie in the back of ‘Google’s kitchen drawer’.
Table of Contents.
1. Make sure your site is indexed correctly.
2. Optimise your Google My Business Profile.
3. Check That all of Your Public Listings Have a Consistent NAP.
4. Create More Listings.
5. Get More Reviews.
6. Make Sure That Your Site is Mobile Friendly.
7. Check that Your Meta Titles are Relevant.
8. Optimise Your Meta Descriptions.
9. Check that the Page is Relevant for the Targeted Keyword.
10. Label Your Images Correctly.
Isn’t the web developer responsible for Website Promotion?
You’ve paid for a website. Some of you have paid thousands for a fully bespoke website and others have paid £200 for a templated quicky. Neither is any better than the other if it’s not seen.
Why didn’t your web developer make sure that it was on the first page of Google?
The answer to that is that website promotion isn’t in the web developers job description. Unless you have specified website promotion in the brief, your website is unlikely to be prepared for online visibility.
SEO and website development are two different job specifications. A web developer usually builds the framework without the content so it is not possible for them to build your website with an SEO framework.
What can you do if your website isn’t ideal for SEO?
In an ideal world, a web developer would build your website around your target market. Each page would have a primary target keyword in the URL, in the title, in the meta description and then on the page several times. Generally, they don’t even have the copy and images so they build with placeholders which means that pages and images have numbers and categories instead of keywords.
When a search is made, Google has approximately 200 ranking factors that it takes into consideration when deciding which websites to serve up to its viewers. Remember that Google has a duty to its customers not to you, so it wants to serve up the best solution that it has access to. If your website hasn’t been built around SEO and you aren’t able to go back to the developer or use a service such as ours, then you just have to focus on the ranking factors that you can change. Anything that you can do will help.
The first few on the list can be done without access to your website.
1. Make Sure Your Website is Indexed Correctly.
I see people working very hard on Twitter, Facebook and Linked in but when I check their website traffic out of curiosity, often discover that their website is not even indexed on Google. If it’s not indexed, Google can’t find it. People often think that Google and the Internet is the same thing. It’s not. Even if your website is indexed it’s worth checking what Google is seeing. If you are not using Google Analytics, you can do a simple check by putting ‘site:’ in front of your domain name in the Google search bar. See how it looks in the image for this site. site:smallbusinesssupportservices.com
While checking how Google sees your website, you will be able to see whether there is anything that you wouldn’t want to be indexed, how your meta title and meta description are displayed and, crucially if you’ve been hacked before, whether there are pages that do not belong to your website.
2. Optimise your Google My Business Profile.
Your Google My Business Listing is the single most powerful weapon that you have in your marketing arsenal. Even without making more of your website, you can increase your ranking by having a great GMB profile. 42% of consumers would prefer to click on the local listings than the ad above it.
Once it’s optimised, post photos or updates regularly.
3. All of Your Public Listings Should Have a Consistent NAP.
Your ‘NAP’ is simply your name, address and phone number on public listings such as Google My Business, Bing, Yext and Cyclex. When Google assesses the worthiness of your website, it doesn’t know you so it looks to see who else (with a bit more authority) knows you. All of these three items need to be exactly the same for it to recognise you. That is – exactly the same as the benchmark, which is the Google My Business listing. As humans, we could spot a simple mistake such as the ‘LTD’ missing. It wouldn’t make us wonder if it was a different business. This is a computer searching so it doesn’t stop to consider. It just doesn’t see listings that are not exact.
4. Create More Listings.
Listings only take a few minutes to create and add valuable ‘link juice’ to the authority of your website. It’s a chore but if you only did one a day for a year on weekdays only, you would have 200 by the end of the year. If you are in one of our plans, we make it easy for you to create and update listings inside the dashboard.
5. Get More Reviews.
Reviews are pure gold for increasing ranking and conversion. Nobody likes to ask for reviews. They live in fear of a bad review and don’t want to ‘poke a sleeping bear’. It’s just easier not to ask. The single best thing you can do for your business is to ask for a review – every single time. Using a Reputation Manager makes it easy to ask and helps you to know about potential negative reviews before it happens. It only costs £25 per month to have a complete SEO monitoring service which includes reputation management for you to manage yourself.
The benefits of reviews for website promotion.
Over the past few years, the topic of reputation marketing has become really popular as more businesses realise the benefit of it. Getting online reviews from happy customers has many benefits including the psychological benefit of maintaining a happy customer. Once they have written a glowing review they are less likely to change their view of the company.
Ever since Google started showing those little stars in search engine results pages (SERPs), people started to take notice – consumers and business owners.
Reviews – or lack of reviews – show up front-and-center for all to see (especially potential customers) whenever someone does a search for a local business or industry on Google. Seeing those stars and reading the various online reviews make it easier for consumers to quickly compare competitors, get a feel for whether a business can be trusted and if their products or services are worth considering.
Reading online reviews has naturally become part of the customer’s buying process. If you’re not making the most of this opportunity, you are missing out.
6. Test to See if Your Website is Mobile-Friendly.
Google now prioritises mobile usability over desktop. It doesn’t matter how good your website looks on desktop, if it doesn’t render well on mobile and provide good user experience, it will affect your rankings. If your website fails the mobile-friendly test, you may need a developer to work on the problems but it is worth doing. The test will give you the reasons why it is not mobile-friendly. Often it’s images or texts that don’t automatically resize for different screens. You can test your website on Google’s mobile site tester.
For the following, you will need access to the front-end of your website.
Your website has two parts to it, loosely considered front-end and back-end. Your web developer should have a system for allowing you into the front end. You can make the following changes in the front -end without the risk of breaking your website. If you have no idea where your website is or how to access it, get in touch and we will help find what you need.
7. Check That Your Meta Titles Are Relevant.
Meta Titles or Title Tags tell people and search engines what the topic of the webpage is. If the keyword you are targeting is pink kitchens, it should say ‘pink kitchens’ in the title tag .
If you haven’t set these, google pulls them in automatically from the page sometimes resulting in irrelevant or even repelling titles.
You can see in the picture of search results for ‘pink kitchen’ that all of the top results have ‘pink kitchen’ in the title. Wren have even managed it twice in different ways.
When a consumer is scanning results, this is the line that will stand out for them as it is in blue.
8. Optimise Your Meta Descriptions.
Meta descriptions are the lines that appear below the title. They should sum up what the page is about.
It’s best to keep the description to under 160 characters as Google may cut the end of or pull its own description.
Keep in mind that the “optimal” length will vary depending on the situation, and your primary goal should be to provide value and drive clicks. Think of it as an ad. Free does not mean that it is of less value than a paid ad and should be treated as if you are paying for it.
Meta description tags, while not tied to search engine rankings, are extremely important in gaining user click-through from SERPs. These short paragraphs are a webmaster’s opportunity to “advertise” content to searchers, and searchers’ chance to decide whether the content is relevant and contains the information they’re seeking from their search query.
Using the same screenshot as before, you can see that this time, the keyword ‘pink kitchen’ is in the description. It’s overdone in the Pinterest one and would be considered keyword cannibalisation if anyone else did it.
9. Check that the Page Being Served up is Optimised for the Target Keyword.
It follows on that if the meta title and meta description say that the page is about pink kitchens, the page should be about pink kitchens. You can use a free Chrome extension called Keywords everywhere to analyse your page. Install the extension and open up the page. Open the extension and click ‘analyse page’ and it will break down the words so you can see how many times your keyword is mentioned. It will also show H tags which are also important. At the least, your keyword should be in an H1 tag.
10. Your images should be correctly labelled to support your SEO.
Hover over any image on this page and you will be shown the name of the image. That is called the image Alt Tag. Using the same search for pink kitchens, because Google determines that my ‘user intent’ indicates that I would be interested in seeing images, it is serving them up in search results. This gives you a second chance because if the searcher clicks on your image, there will be a further opportunity to get them to click on your page. The image alt tag is designed for visually impaired users who use screen readers. If web developers are left to label images, they are usually called ‘image 203’ or ‘Banner page 6’ which doesn’t help your SEO or the visually impaired user.
Your images can impact your SEO by reducing page speed but that requires a page of its own. This page is to help you with tasks that you could manage yourself.
Am I Practicing What I Preach?
Now that you know what to look for, conduct a visual SEO audit of this page. My targeted keyword for this page is ‘website promotion’. Starting at the top, you can see that the keyword is in the URL after the website name. It’s also in the main title in an H1 tag at the top of the page. Use the keyboard shortcut ‘ctrl-f’ and type ‘website promotion’ in the search bar that appears at the top of the page. It will tell you how many times the keyword appears on the page. It also appears on the images when you hover your cursor over them.
Audit before making changes.
If you are going to attempt to improve your SEO by yourself, use our free audit tool to tell you what your starting point is. It will also show you what your meta titles and descriptions are. Let us know and we’ll keep you in the system and run a new report a month after you’ve made the changes.
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