Over 93% of online activity starts with a search, according to the Digital Marketing Institute. As such, your customers likely turn to Google to find information on products and services that you and your competitors offer. This is especially true for brick-and-mortar businesses, as over 82% of smartphone shoppers use their devices for “near me” searches, according to a recent report by location marketing platform Uberall.
The paper also says that 69% of customers use their smartphones to help them decide on a purchase. However, you can’t just put up your business website online and expect it to be on Google’s top ranks a few hours after. It’s a long and organic process that involves a lot of brainstorming, filling out of forms, and creative but strategic writing. Enter Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
SEO at a Glance
Google works by “crawling” a website to find as much information as it can on it. The search engine then scans the content of each page to see if it contains meaningful, useful, and legitimate content. It’s easy to load, and it’s secure. It then uses an algorithm to rank the site according to undisclosed factors. As such, SEO’s most basic function is to make sure the contents of a website are pleasing to Google’s crawlers and ranking algorithm. Here are steps you can take to optimize your business website for search engines.
Get Listed on Google MyBusiness
When you search for a specific business on Google, you often see a box at the top of search results showing you a list of these establishments, their location, and their customer rating. These companies are listed on Google’s MyBusiness platform. If you want your business to appear there, you need to sign up for it for free.
Once you have your company verified, your local customers can easily find your business and interact with it through reviews and queries on Google. While this may seem like a one and done solution, it’s only the beginning of your SEO efforts.
Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Keyboard
Take a moment and think about how your customer would search for your business. Let’s say you’re an Italian restaurant owner in Brooklyn, New York. It’s obvious that they’d probably search for “Italian restaurant in Brooklyn” or “Italian restaurants around New York.” And if you have a selling point you want to leverage, put that in, too. Is your food affordable? Do you offer catering? How about vegan options? Think of these questions, turn them into search terms your customers would likely input, and note them down for the next step.
Create Engaging Content
Now that you have your search terms or keywords listed, it’s time to create content using them. Start with your homepage. There, your customers should know what your business does and where it’s located. Your main selling point should also be featured there. Next, you should create articles that are relevant to your customers, like news updates about your company and blog posts.
Your topics should be related to your business and provide relevant information to your customers. Going back to the Italian restaurant example, the topics can be “The Health Benefits of Italian Food” or “How to Use Olive Oil for Your Dishes.” This is where you get to use most of the keywords you listed. You should only use them once per post and link them to an actual page.
For example, if you’re using the keyword “vegan menu,” it should be linked to your online menu or delivery page. End it with a clear call to action that links to your “contact us” page or your online store, and you’re bound to get conversions.
With relevant keywords and engaging content, not only will you move up in search rankings, but you also build a good reputation with your customers when you give them as much information as they need about your business. Whether you’re doing it on your own or getting help from an SEO or digital marketing agency, there’s no greater feeling than seeing your company at the top of Google’s search results.