For small business owners, the internet can feel overwhelming and over-crowded. Trying to stand out in the face of fierce competition can leave many people who run a small business feeling lonely and confused.
It’s true that competition for a high search engine ranking is fierce. But is it true that you have to spend a fortune on SEO to have a chance of making it to the top?
The good news is, not necessarily; there’s a lot you can do to give your small business a fighting chance in the rankings, without having to think about keywords, outbound links or anchored text.
Here are 10 things you can do to improve the visibility of your small business.
1. Since April 2015, Google has stated that mobile-friendly websites will do better in their rankings than websites that are non-mobile responsive. Seems pretty obvious, really. More people are using their smartphones to search and buy than ever before. So, how do you tell if your website is mobile responsive?
Google has a handy Test My Site tool which not only shows whether your site is mobile-friendly, but also tests your mobile and desktop loading speeds, with advice on what needs fixing. If you ask for it, Google will send you a free report listing the problems and fixes. You can either fix them yourself or pass the report on to your webmaster.
Another good website with tips on making your site mobile-friendly is 2 Create a Website. Definitely worth a look if a Google test reveals your website needs work to meet the required mobile-responsive standards.
Claim your small business listing – most of them are free
2. Set up at Google+ profile and claim your Google My Business page. Your business instantly becomes more visible in Google Search, with your opening hours, map, directions to your business contact details and star ratings, along with any images you want included in the listing.
3. And don’t forget to claim your listing on Bing Places for Business. Same idea, different search engine – another chance to put your business in front of prospective clients.
4. Think about how you book a hotel, choose a restaurant, decide which hairdressers to use. Do you check the reviews first? You’re in good company, more than 72% of consumers check customer reviews before they book or buy. If you want people to know how well you look after your clients, then create a listing on Yelp. The basic business listing is free and you can upgrade as your small business grows.
5. And while we’re on the subject of customer satisfaction, make sure you display testimonials on your website. Make it easy for customers to sing your praises by installing a plug-in such as Review Builder, which allows customers to put reviews directly onto your website. Put badges from review sites, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Local and Trust Pilot on there, too.
Always respond to negative reviews in a professional manner and offer ways to compensate for a bad experience. Turning a negative review around in this way can actually draw customers to you. Give prospective customers every chance to see you are someone they can trust.
Make your small business a valued part of the community
6. Are your contact details prominently displayed on your website? People should be able to reach you via phone, email or contact form. Having a local landline as well as a mobile number is reassuring to some customers, but if you don’t want to give your home number, you can sign up for a Skype Number. This appears as a normal landline number and only costs around £10 for three months. You can set it just to take voicemails and call people back on your mobile if that helps to keep the costs down.
7. Have a Call to Action (CTA) button on your website, so that people know how to Buy Now or Contact Us or Sign Up or Subscribe. Make it easy for your customer to do the thing that you want them to do.
8. Organise a community-focused event and/or donate to local charities. This will get people talking about you and may get you a slot in your local newspaper. It also sends your visibility soaring within the community, where most of your potential customers live.
9. Create a Facebook Page for your business. Even if you’re not very technically minded, it’s very easy to set up a FB page. Think of it as you would a village notice board. Use it to talk about your latest offers, events, products, testimonials. It’s a way to grow your following and to get people talking about your business.
10. Start a blog and top it up regularly. Interesting, well-informed content in the form of a regular blog on your website puts a human face on the buying and selling process. It helps to reinforce your brand and treats customers like people rather than numbers on a spreadsheet.
Has this post been useful? Please get in touch or comment below with ideas you’ve tried that have helped to make your small business stand out.
You know how to run a business, but have you ever asked yourself why? Check out this post on How the Why Principle can Attract your Ideal Customer
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