Whether you are a small business looking to grow or a large business ready to go global, search marketing is an essential element in your future plans.
A good search marketing strategy has the capacity to bring you new customers from all over the world or provide highly-focused visibility in one geographical location. Whatever your need, a search marketing strategy is probably the answer!
For service-based businesses, this is even more important, and a great search marketing strategy can quickly turn your business around. Take a look at our 6 tips for getting it right:
Start with Google
Next time you turn to google to help you find a local service like a plumber, take a look at what comes up just before you see the organic search results. At the top of the page are 3 or 4 ads and local listings.
Google has ranked these as highly relevant to the search query, partly because of the way those businesses have linked themselves with local information. Our first tip for you is to get your business into these local listings. These listings are where you are most likely to get ‘clicked on’, and so they are invaluable for increasing local custom as well as knowledge of your business.
So how do you go about getting your business named in these listings? The most sensible strategy is to make use of ‘Google My Business’. This tool is freely available from Google and works by pinning your business to Google Maps.
Once you have signed up for an account with ‘Google My Business’, take the time to fill out all the information you can. If there are specific options for location, fill these out with particular care. The more local information you can link to your business, the more likely you are to make it into those top-ranked listings.
Move onto Your Website
Take a look at your website through the customers’ eyes. This is especially important if you are a service-based business, as customers don’t want to work to understand your site. Make sure you choose the right platform for your website and ensure you have the right branding strategy in place.
Ask a friend to see if it is obvious where your business is based, and who you provide services for. It isn’t enough to leave your location only on your contact page. You should repeat location words (such as the town you are based in) across the website copy, in the footers, and even your META data. Try working your location into your business name, or the URL your website uses.
This will have a two-fold impact where the business is service-based, ensuring you better rankings, and also making it more likely that the customers who contact you are local to the area you service.
Keep It Local
It is difficult to overemphasise the importance of linking your business name with the locality you service. This is doubly true when your business is service-based, as the majority of searches for service-businesses are made by linking to a locality.
It stands to reason, if you live in Wales, you do not want Google to offer you an electrician’s contact details from Scotland! As a business, another way you can make good use of local searches is to make sure your business is listed in local directories.
It is an action you will only need to do once, and it is a simple thing to do. Start by googling your location alongside the word ‘directories’. Some directories are well-known (Yelp, for instance), but others may be location-specific.
Both are important, so sign up to everything, except those you pay for. Paid directories will actually harm your search results, so avoid these, and focus on signing up for the free ones. This is a simple step that will have a big impact on the results of your search strategy.
Reviews are arguably one of the best ways to improve the search rankings of your business. It is even more important when your business provides a service, as research shows that reviews are what people will prize most when deciding whether to contact you or not.
Asking clients to put up reviews can be tricky, but bite the bullet: they will do wonders for the success of your search strategy! However, make sure that you don’t ask the client to log into your own laptop, or your own google account to write these reviews.
Google will see that all your reviews are coming from the same place, and won’t allow these to count towards your ranking.
Hire a Professional
Hiring a professional should never be your last-ditch attempt to improve the search visibility of your business. Even if you cannot afford the full-time services of an SEO-champ, if you are a service-based business, then it is worth seeking advice early.
For instance, a professional who is a specialist in your service area will have a good idea what words are most often linked to your business name: this is invaluable knowledge that you will be able to use when writing the copy for your website.
Better yet, a professional will know how to optimise your existing website for a more advanced search strategy. But above all, make sure that the person you hire to address your search strategy knows the location of your business well.
Keep it Going
The key to a great strategy is to not let up. Google rankings are always changing, and just when you get to the top, another competitor will turn up! Try to think about a long-term strategy to avoid this problem.
Work in a regular weekly slot to check your rankings and make adjustments. Run regular promotions and special offers, and above all, make sure that the copy for these is linked closely to your location.