So, you have branched out on your own and started a new business, maybe even had a website built, only problem is, you now need to start marketing the business and getting customers. You don’t have to search for long to come across the sometimes murky subject of SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is the process of optimising your website and online presence to get your business, brand, website etc in front of potential customers. Unfortunately, the Internet is a big old place and there is a hell of a lot of information out there and not all of it is good so where do you start?
Well, fear not true believers, we know you are busy so we have compiled five simple tips that will help new, local businesses generate more visibility in the major search engines. Each of these tips should only take you an hour so by just committing an hour per day for a working week you can make a big difference.
And remember – the 90/10 rule often applies in marketing and search engine optimisation is no different – by doing 10% of the work you can often reap 90% of the benefits. So, without any more ado, lets get started and take your website up, up and away.
Hey folks, there is a recently announced vulnerability affecting the popular All in One SEO Plugin. The vulnerability allows a site user of any level to escalate privileges to admin level and from there on in they pretty much have an open book.
Hey, I’m over here, hack me!
Frustratingly the All in One SEO plugin issues a generator tag that announces the version number. So, before long, some enterprising
asshole hacker will likely frig together a scanner to identify target sites and we will see infection rates rocket.
We do a lot of SEO Audits here at Bowler Hat and one problem we see creeping up again and again are incorrectly indexed HTTPS pages.
This can present in a couple of ways but will most often mean that users clicking through from your site will see a yellow warning page before they reach your site which has one of two messages on that (scary looking) intermediate page.
Fortunately, there is a simple fix for those brave enough to dive into their .htaccess file and use some Mod Rewrite Wizardry!
Yet again we have another social media update on our hands. This time it is Twitter, and they are slowly rolling out the new profile layout which looks oddly familiar, don’t you think? I think we can all agree is it is very similar to Facebook, but I actually like this new layout. As you can see, it is all about the images, with both the profile image & the banner increasing in size, but this does bring one problem! Does anyone know the correct size for the banner or the profile image? Anyone? No? I guess I’ll have to tell you.
Does Google get your business? Can Google understand your address? Your phone number? It’s a simple yet important question and if Google does not ‘get’ your business and understand your location and phone number how likely are they to return you in local search results? As a local business, visibility and reputation in the local search results is an important element of your marketing and if Google does not get your address, phone number or service area then you will likely never show in local search results and never pick up your share of those eager, local customers.
In 2012, Google introduced a new feature to its search results, called the Knowledge Graph, but many people refer to it as the Knowledge Box. Its main purpose is to show any useful details when you search for a company, including address, phone number, map, reviews & opening hours. To get a Knowledge Box, you must create a Google Places page for your business. But it will only appear if Google trusts that you are at that physical location.
When it comes to marketing hotels or any other kind of business in search the first thing that most folks consider is visibility – and rightly so. Without visibility there is no online awareness of your business with the people searching for what you provide. But, visibility, as important as it may be is still only part of the picture and it is reputation and what people are saying about that drives conversions and will turn browsers into buyers.
The rest of this post takes a look at online reputation primarily through the reviews and comments on your Google+ listing and the many third party review portals.
When promoting your business online what are you looking to do? Do you try to drive visibility in paid search, local or organic and hope to be found? Or, do you make it so it is impossible for users not to find you?
The latter obviously offers much more awareness and branding potential and if you are doing everything else right will generate a lot more interest (and ultimately business).
The Three Musketeers of Search Visibility
We are all to often guilty of reductionist marketing campaigns that look at one single element of search visibility and in doing so we miss out on opportunities. Visibility drives confidence and visibility across the paid, natural (organic) and local components of a search results page provides an opportunity.
Google Street View – a cool new way for folks to see your business when using Google Maps, that is, when it works and the picture they choose for you is actually pointing at your business premises (a rarity in our experience).
Fortunately, it is fairly simple to correct this and ensure the street view image associated with your (or someone elses) business is correct. This is essential to paint the right picture for prospective customers and people trying to find your business premises.
In a world of content management systems (CMS) and plugins that can do nearly everything you want, instantly, often for free or a nominal cost it is easy to hang together a website with a raft of functionality without blowing your budget to pieces.
That’s great, it really is, but as anyone knows who works with search engines or websites for a while (15 years so far – kill me) there is no such thing as a free lunch and there are trade offs for this free functionality.
Many people have looked high and low to find the secret of being successful in local search results and we have found it… its your Google Places listing! Yes it’s as simple as that. We have created a step by step optimization guide for your Google Places listing. Your listing plays a huge part in local SEO, so it is vital to optimize your listing correctly with as much detail as possible.
Claim your listing! Google may have already created a places listing for your business so the next step is to claim your listing and verify your location.