Since I started selling digital services, I’ve had a number of businesses say they’re not interested—that they “don’t really do that.” With up to 90% of consumers researching purchases or stores online before buying, that response always surprises me. How can you afford not to be online? We’re only talking the basics here, after all.
There’s an old joke that the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google. If you don’t rank on the first page for your keywords and services, you may as well not be there at all. If you’re a small business owner with not much experience in online marketing, this post is for you.
Local Directory Listings
At Canopy, the first thing we look at when assessing a new client is their online presence. Is their Google My Business listing claimed? Do they have a Facebook page set up that includes all relevant business information? What about Bing, Yahoo, and Yelp?
Local listings are some of the first things that show up in a Google search for your business. If you don’t have those listings, those results won’t appear—but the results for other businesses will. Or it’s possible that unclaimed listings will appear—listings that have been automatically generated based on what information COULD be found about you online—but they’ll be woefully incomplete or even have inaccurate information.
There’s an easy fix for this. Canopy’s presence management service sends your business information to the four major data aggregators—Factual, Acxiom, Infogroup, and Neustar/Localeze—which are referenced by over 300 sites. As a result, presence management:
In addition, our listing sync service automatically keeps your information accurate on 40 of the most reputable sites. If your business moves or your phone number changes, you can update it in one place—and it will automatically sync to those sites.
Search Engine Optimization
To ensure that your website shows up in search ahead of your competitors, it’s important for your company to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword research. Organic traffic (someone finding you on their own through internet search) is the most cost-efficient way to acquire new business.
Some of Google’s top factors in what turns up on the first page of results are having relevant keywords, the length of your content, having high-quality content, how quickly your page loads, and how often you post new content. Blogging about topics pertaining to your business is a good way to generate new content for your audience regularly and keep customers coming back.
One important SEO strategy is keyword research. One of our most useful tools is the Google Search Console. With a little bit of code injected into your website, you can easily track what search terms are bringing people to your pages, how long they stay, and whether they continue to look around your site or just hit the back button. Using this information, you or your webmaster can optimize your site to better hold your customers’ interest. This includes placing keywords in meta-descriptions, page titles, header tags, etc.
The more time they spend on your site, the more likely they are to buy or visit.
You may have noticed that a large portion of your search ranking depends on your website. Specifically, the keywords you use in your website, the mobile-friendliness of your website, and how often you post new and relevant content to your website.
So what happens if you don’t HAVE a website? You lose out on all those opportunities to boost your Google ranking, leaving you at a huge disadvantage compared to your competitors. “What if my competitors aren’t doing it either?” you ask. Then you can use this as a chance to get ahead of them! There’s really no downside here.
If you’re worried about the cost of building a website, we go out of our way at Canopy to give you the best value for your money. The total cost is divided up over the space of 12 months, so you don’t have to worry about any lump sum payments. And in addition, each website we build includes search optimization, page load optimization, a mobile-friendly and responsive design, domain registration, site hosting, and monthly reporting.
Directory listings, SEO, and your website are the cornerstones of your digital presence. To get started building yours, contact us today!
Catherine has a degree in English literature and a passion for all things marketing. As Digital Specialist, her focus is on web design, search engine optimization, social media, online presence management, and project coordination.