As your company begins to grow, there will be a time where you need to start considering a marketing strategy that allows you to reach the next level. Many new business owners make the mistake of trying to take on too many roles for their company. Instead of trying to master the complex world of online marketing, working with a digital marketing agency for small businesses can help you to quickly evolve and meet your business goals.
Making this choice may feel like a big move, however, the return you will see from working with marketing experts will ensure your business thrives and grows exponentially. When you are working in a competitive industry it is critical you partner up with right team to spread awareness about your brand.
Understand search engines
Search engines like Google and others use formulas, called algorithms, to determine what sites to serve up in response to a search. While search engines update their algorithms regularly, there are plenty of predictable ways they’ll assess your site.
Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT) are among the top factors Google considers in its rankings. There are several ways to build this.
Reviews, mentions in social media, links to your content from other websites, and guest posts that backlink to your website will all help your ranking. But, don’t take a shortcut and pay firms to purchase links for you—Google doesn’t approve of this practice.
Update your profile
Build your EAT by ensuring that Google has pertinent information about your business. Use Google My Business to manage your profile so you connect with your audience on Google Search and Maps using location data.
Show Google you’re relevant
Assure Google that it can trust you as a reputable website by addressing these basic ranking elements.
- Search relevance. Google and other search engines carefully consider whether a page meets the intent of a user’s search. This means your website needs to be extremely clear about what you do and where you’re located.
- Mobile-friendliness. Google predominantly ranks mobile pages over desktop when evaluating website pages. Mailchimp allows you to preview your website as it would appear on a mobile device, so you can be sure that your site will look great on any device.
- Page-load speeds. A page should load as quickly as possible—preferably in one to 3 seconds, according to Google—to give the user a worthwhile experience with the website.
SEO checklist: How to improve your results
The good news about SEO planning is that what works for SEO also aligns with providing a positive user experience (UX) for people who visit your website. So, SEO-friendly changes equal a better site for the people you want to engage.
“SEO should be a consideration throughout every step of your website build and your marketing journey,” says Ade Lewis, Partnerships Director at Mailchimp. “It’s the number one way a consumer will find a small business.”
Review this checklist to learn about the changes and adjustments you can make to improve your SEO.
- Feature relevant keywords. Keywords are words or phrases that people type into search engines to find something. All areas of your website—including page names, headlines, site copy, image captions, page descriptions, and URLs—need to include keywords in a natural way that doesn’t sound too forced.
Since people search with specific needs in mind, your keywords should be “long tail,” meaning descriptive and narrowly focused. For example, “wedding photography Newport RI” will work better than just “professional photography.” Specific keywords will bring in less traffic overall, but ranking for more detailed searches will result in a higher conversion rate.
- Have a clean site structure. Make sure your website is organized in a way that makes it easy for users and search engines to travel through your site and find what they’re looking for. Internal links from one page to another within your site should provide content that educates your visitor, answers a question about what you offer, or engages them in some other valuable way. Internal links give Google more clues about what your website is about, so it can send relevant visitors your way.
- Feature substantial content. Create website content that’s relevant to your top keywords and hefty enough to be valuable. While punchy, skimmable content is great, keep in mind that Google wants content that solves the search intent, so pages with fewer than 200 words will not be highly ranked. If you want to add meat to your copy, be sure each page solves a problem, answers a question, or moves a visitor forward in their journey through your site.
- Use relevant title tags. A title tag or page tag is the “headline” for a page when it appears in search engine results pages (SERP). The words or phrases in your title tags should be specific and descriptive. Think, “Learn How to Paint Landscapes and Portraits” instead of “Painting Class.” Combining this with the meta description—a longer blurb in search results that says more about what your content provides—encourages users to click through to your website. Title tags also appear in your visitors’ web browser tabs and in social media when your content is shared.
- Add alt tags. An alt tag is a text description of an image. It serves 3 important purposes. Search engines can’t interpret images, so alt tags help them identify and rank these pieces of content, improving your SEO. They also help website visitors when an image doesn’t display properly on their screen or load quickly by providing a clue about what image they should be seeing. Last, and definitely not least, alt tags are easy for screen readers to decipher, so they help with web accessibility. Alt tags should be short and descriptive—think, “paddle board on lake with smiling boy” or “chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and strawberry.”
- Optimize for mobile. Google prioritizes mobile websites, so making sure your website is mobile friendly is critical. This means providing a visually pleasing and easy-to-use experience no matter what device someone is visiting from. Mobile sites also must load quickly on a 3G connection, render properly on any sized screen, have well-spaced site elements that users can easily tap on to take action, and feature content that’s entirely visible without having to scroll left or right.
- Enable fast load times. Ideally your pages should load in under 2 seconds—less than 3 is a must. If they do, it’ll improve your search rankings. There are several things that can slow down your load time, including issues with your content management system (CMS), poorly written code, low bandwidth that can’t handle your traffic volume, or numerous large images on a page. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to test how quickly your website is loading. Be sure you host your website on a platform that enables fast load times.
- Install Google Search Console and Analytics. Google Search Console will help you see if Google is finding and indexing all of the pages on your website to highlight places you can improve performance. You can connect to Google Analytics from your Mailchimp dashboard to monitor your traffic, see what pages are being visited the most, and what links direct visitors to your website.
- Make sure your website and URL are secure. Google considers HTTPS encryption a top priority, and will show a security warning in search results if a website is not HTTPs encrypted. Work with a website builder that makes security a priority. All websites created with Mailchimp include an SSL certificate—this encrypts data and guarantees the authenticity of a website to visitors.
Houston SEO Experts
Stop missing out on potential customers and become a force within your industry! From excellent web design and social media management to Google Business Listing optimization and a weekly-updated blog, the team at Houston Small Business Marketing is here to help you get to the next level. Grow your business when you expand your reach online. If you are tired of giving away potential customers to your competitors, contact us today!
We dedicate ourselves to working closely with business owners to come up with a marketing plan that helps them succeed. We provide each customer with a free consultation for your website and social media to let you know how you can improve your placement online and grow your engagement with local potential customers looking for your services. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.
Houston Small Business Marketing
1415 North Loop West #950
Houston, TX 77008
Google Business Listing