SEO Tips For Small Businesses – Part One

SEOMy Inbox is typically flooded with questions from Promotional Product Distributors and Sign Makers asking how they can stand out from their competitors and sell more.

Part of the enjoyment I get out of my job is helping these small businesses succeed. Throughout my quest in helping these businesses, I’ve realized that there’s one subject that I’ve yet to really dig into: SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.

It’s a term that’s loosely thrown around, with many claiming to know something about; and is often seen as the golden ticket to online business success. While there’s no quick way or easy way to master it, there are a few local SEO strategies that any small business can implement to get started.

How it works

Let’s first start with the basics. SEO is what increases your chances of being found when a customer searches for a product or service like yours in a search engine such as Google or Bing. In other terms, if they’re searching to find what they need and you don’t show up, you don’t exist.

Why it matters

It’s free and it makes you credible.

Sure, you could get the word out about your business through a phonebook, flyer, paid ad etc. But all of these have one thing in common: they cost money. A search engine is free website traffic for your business. Let me repeat that…FREE.

While you may spend time optimizing your website, you’re not having to pay for each new lead that comes through, like you would for a pay-per click ad (PPC).

And as a business owner, you can’t afford to not be found on the Internet. Because let’s face it, if you don’t have an online presence, you’re basically irrelevant in this digital age. In fact, 80% of traffic to a website begins with search query (Formstack).

 

local listing

1. Create local place pages

A key part to optimizing your chances of being found online is to make sure you have a local business page for all three major search engines: Bing, Yahoo and Google.
To get started, you can visit here for Bing, here for Yahoo and here for Google.

To set up your account on each of those sites you’ll need to fill out your business information such as location, phone number, hours etc. In order to get the most use out of these local listings, you’ll need to optimize your page on each site. This means uploading a good amount of quality photos and listing the services/products that you offer.

Next, you’ll want to place your business into a category. This is the most crucial step to optimizing for local search as several local search engines offer you the ability to place your business into 2-5 categories to help them understand what your business does.

For example, you may want to be listed as: Promotional product distributor, promotional items, and promotional merchandise. All of this is going to heighten your chances of being found online by your customers.

2. Online ReviewsOnline reviews on local listings

Online reviews are another great way to increase your “findability” on search engines.

According to a study published on Search Engine Land, Google looks at reviews as a major factor for ranking on the new carousel design; however more than anything your reviews are for Google users who see your company on a search engine results page.

If you’re providing a good service but it doesn’t seem to result in online reviews – ask. It’s not tacky or pushy to ask a happy customer for an online review, so make a point of it every time you follow up on a completed order.

3. Optimize your website

Think content. Include relevant terms that your customers will be searching for into your website. For example, try something like this: “Promotional Distributor dedicated to helping local dentists, serving all of Orange County, including Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport Beach…”

Now, if a dentist is looking for a local promotional distributor in their neighborhood, you’re likely to pop up in the search results.

A great way to come up with key terms to include into your website is to ask yourself, “What language would my customers use to identify their current problem?” Once you answer that question, incorporate those key terms into your “About us” page.

Alt Tags4. Optimize images

The images you use on your website are another great way to get found online. As a sign maker or promotional product distributor, you’ll most likely have images of work you’ve produced for clients.

Use those images to your advantage by ensuring they have alt tags (or ‘Alternative Text’) which describe what the picture shows, and even include keywords in the file name, for example ’embroidered-polos-golf-orange-county.jpg’.

If at all possible, write specific copy for each item. This is great for your own conversion rates, and also gives Google more unique content to crawl.

As mentioned earlier, SEO is a huge beast to tame. But don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to implement everything all at once. This is only part one of this series on how to improve your SEO, so stay tuned and share any of your own SEO success stories.

One Response to “SEO Tips For Small Businesses – Part One

  • Excellent information to help all businesses get more exposure online. Thanks for explaining the basics!

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