Hello Small Businesses!
As you know, marketing is an essential part to owning a small business in Colorado Springs. However, as we all know marketing has expanded past traditional mediums (billboards, radio, television, etc…) and encompasses a variety of newer, digital methods (Facebook Ads, Adwords, Snapchat, etc…).
At the top of the digital marketing realm is search engine optimization, easily the most important… arguably the most confusing. We’ve assembled a team of the top SEO experts in Colorado Springs: Kainen Braun from Kainen Braun Marketing, Allan Todd from Page Cafe, Tyler Noe from Page Canvas, and Craig Mount from Classy Brain.
These individuals deal with search engine optimization and the Google algorithm daily. This means that they have a first-hand look at what they’ve seen drive rank for local search so far in summer 2016. They have kindly provided the top 4 SEO techniques that are currently working… just for you.
Tip #1- Long-Form Content
Kainen Braun- Kainen Braun Marketing
Every day you use a billion dollar tool and you didn’t even realize it. Google Search is a savvy monster when it comes to information and the ability to deliver it in the form of results. Search engines are built for the user (so Google can sell ads to the user of course!), but with that in mind… Google is becoming very knowledgeable. It has data from every industry and every market in every nook and cranny of the United States. It knows what keywords and topics that make users happy because it can see results across markets and industries. Bottom line: Google wants to make Google look good, so it's entire algorithm is built around one goal: connect users with the content they crave in one click. If Google can do that, then people keep using Google and they make googles of money.
This means that if you are a small business owner and you aren’t showing the search engine that you know what you are talking about with your business, it will never know! You can quickly establish relevance within search engines by creating web pages, blog posts and social media posts that describe your business and address your customer’s questions. Better yet, create content that anticipates what users are, and will be looking for. A plumber, for example, would do well to create content via blogs and social media in the Fall about how to prevent pipes from bursting. This approach places the plumber top of mind when people begin winterizing their homes as it gets colder. It's not enough to be awesome at what you do, you need to publish content that proves it.
Pro-tip: Once again, search engines can only see what you show them. Take the effort to describe your services, as well as provide tips to show the bots you are an expert in your industry - 500 words minimum on each page. Having trouble coming up with ideas? Try using Buzzsumo, Quora, Reddit, Google Trends, Auto-suggest data on Amazon, or even your competitors content.
Tip #2- Backlinks
Allan Todd- Page Cafe
A “backlink” is a link to your website from another website. Backlinks are a key factor in improving the visibility of your website in online search. Google views backlinks as a "vote of confidence” in the creditability of your website and the more credible your website the higher your website will rank. However, not all backlinks are valuable. Google looks at the creditability of the website sending the backlink and assigns a value to backlink. If the website sending the backlink is not credible in Googles eyes, then the backlink is essentially worthless.
If a backlink is from a highly creditable website then this one backlink can be much more valuable that hundreds of backlinks from low quality websites. So the goal is to get backlinks from the most creditable websites possible.
In addition, it really helps if the backlink is from a website that is in a similar category to your website. For example, a lawyer should seek backlinks from other local attorneys or related legal services like investigators, mediators or court reporters. A backlink from a travel blogger to a lawyers website is got going to impress Google.
Pro-tip: Seek out links from customers, vendors, partners and even friends who have websites that are related to your business. One more thing... NEVER purchase links.
Tip #3- Citations
Tyler Noe- Page Canvas
Citations are a listing of your name, address, and phone number on any website. For the most part, they live in online directories. Ensuring that your business information is correct and that you are listed in the proper category for your citations is a positive indicator to Google Maps specifically that you are relevant option for your targeted keyword phrase. To check which NAP listings are most important for your industry, simply Google your primary keyword phrase and look at the top 20 directories that appear in the search results. Begin going to each, try to find if your business is already listed, and either edit / correct the existing information or create a new profile and listing including all important business information.
Pro-tip- having trouble finding the right category? Look at whomever ranks on the first page for your keyword phrase and find them within the top 20 directories you just Googled. Copy their category and edit your business! Also, try using tools like Moz Local or Whitespark to help! Researching your competition and where they succeed can help you find success within your own business.
Tip #4- Google Reviews
Craig Mount- Classy Brain
Make sure your online reputation is congruent with your offline presence. If you give dynamite customer service, ask people to share their experience on Google. Reviews are a great way not only to show other people interested in doing business with you how great your business is, it’s also a great way for you to show the search engines that you are a great business.
I see a lot of business owners confused about the multiple review platforms available– start with Google. Often, this will be the entry point people use to see your business online.
If you get a bad review, don’t worry! If you respond to the review in a professional manner it can actually benefit your business. You show other users you care about your customers and their experiences in your business.
Pro-tip- Use Whitespark’s free review handout generator! It is a flow chart that shows customers exactly how to leave a review at a business on Google Maps.
Citation? Backlink whaaa? If any of this was confusing we apologize! If you need help with the basics feel free to attend one of the SBDC’s regular digital marketing workshops or take advantage of our free consulting and meet with one of our SEO specialists. Otherwise, there you have it– the best SEO techniques currently working for local business.
We look forward to your success!