When trying to find information online, few of us venture past the first page of search engine results. For many of us, the cut-off point is even sooner -- Leverage Marketing reports that most web users won’t go past the 5th overall result.
This is tough news for any company that needs to rank for highly competitive keywords. However, there are a few creative workarounds that can allow you to drive organic traffic without investing enormous amounts of time and money into ranking for ultra high-volume terms. Long tail keywords are one of the most important and effective examples of this.
We will discuss long tail keywords in an upcoming article. In today’s piece, however, we want to focus on a different strategy for quickly boosting your search engine traffic -- namely, improving your local search engine rankings.
1. Use Free Tools
How often does a major company offer you a free way to grow your own business? Not often, so grab this one by the horns! Google My Business is a free service that can dramatically improve your search engine rankings. While your business’ website may not pop up right away in a general search, Google My Business shows a snapshot of reviews, photos, and general information to give the consumer a taste of what you have to offer.
Plus, Google makes it super easy to manage your Google My Business account. You can update your photos, monitor website activity and progress, and even talk to your customers through your business account. Essentially, this service makes you and your business more visible and accessible to the average web surfer.
2. Stay Consistent
Sahil Kakkar, CEO and founder of Rankwatch said in a recent article for The Next Scoop that one of the keys to improving your local search engine rankings is consistency. Across all platforms your information should be the same. Kakkar emphasises a consistent “NAP,” an acronym for Name, Address, Phone.
Start with your own website, then check all platforms where you may be advertising. Consistency not only helps to establish brand loyalty from clients, but it also helps to ensure that someone searching for say, ‘pizza open now near me’ will be brought to your site, and you get to make the sale.
3. Diversify Your Web Presence
Once you have your NAP established, you should work to get your business on as many platforms as you can. While many people look for reliability on Facebook or Yelp, plenty of us utilize alternative review and business information websites to determine whether or not we want to visit or use a particular business.
Thrive Hive has a very useful list of review sites specifically for small business growth. Some of the slightly lesser known review sites, like Angie's List still have huge followings, so don’t underestimate the power of diversifying where you promote and share your business.
4. Encourage Customers to Write Reviews
Yes yes, it may seem too obvious, but encouraging customer engagement online truly is a game changer. Don’t just set yourself up on review sites then wait for the reviews to come in, talk to people and encourage it yourself! Do you have a loyal customer base? Do they tell you all the time how much they love you and your business? Ask them if they would be willing to tell the world!
Some of your clients may even have businesses of their own. Promotion through backlinks can allow for new clients who may frequent someone else’s site to find you. It’s essentially free promotion, and can help to make your relationships within the business world more trusted and cemented.
5. Pay Attention to Your Results
As mentioned before, tools like Google My Business will allow for you to monitor your site activity. Additionally, consider using other tools, such as AWR Cloud or Moz to monitor results and activity across the Internet. These tools also have functions specifically for local ratings. This means that you can keep an eye on how people in your own area of business are viewing you.
These tools can make it easier to know how keywords are functioning, whether your online marketing strategies are working, or if you may need to tweak a few things here or there to improve your online presence.