Nearly 90% of consumers search online before making a purchase either online or in-store. This is a fact that defines the ultimate importance of search visibility for your small businesses.
We know it is a tough job creating a small business from a scratch and you know what, you have done it. You have put in the time, effort, and resources to get your business up and running online.
But what next? If you feel that customers should be flocking to your new site and fighting over each other to contact you or buy from you, then let us give you a somewhat reality check, it doesn’t work like that! If you’re not seeing the results you might have hoped for, it might be due to the fact that just creating or having an awesome product or service is not enough if your target audience is not able to find you online.
Search visibility is vital if you want to ensure that your customers and prospects are finding you online. There are a number of ways to improve your search visibility, with a little effort, you can improve your search visibility and make sure your customers can find you online.
And it’s highly important, after all, if prospective customers can’t find you, they can’t do business with you! Luckily, there are a few simple hacks you can use to make sure your business comes up first in search engine results. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Work on your Website’s On-Page SEO
One of the most important things you can do to increase your online visibility is work on your website’s on-page SEO. SEO is a short form for “Search engine optimization”. It is a long-term marketing strategy employed in order to improve a website’s visibility and organic search results in google and other global search engines. Good SEO practices result in increased website traffic, clicks, and conversions.
There are many different aspects to SEO, but one of the most important is on-page optimization. On-page optimization refers to all the actionable measures you can take to improve your ranking on the search engine results pages (SERPs). This includes both the content on your website as well as the HTML code that tells Google what your website is about. This means making sure your website’s content from title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags to the main body, are all rich in relevant keywords and accurately describe your product/service and also provide value to your customers. You should also make sure your website’s content is well-written and relevant to your target audience. Don’t stuff your keywords in unnaturally—just use them sparingly throughout your content to let search engines know what your website is all about.
Here are some tips for optimizing your website for better SEO:
- Make sure your website is using HTTPS encryption (nowadays it’s easy and economical to get your SSL package from your domain or hosting provider itself).
- Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to research keywords that are relevant to your industry/products/services. You will need to have a Google Ads account to access this tool, which you can easily create through their Smart Campaign template. Just create an account and a Smart Campaign and once done just pause the campaign to make sure you are not charged for it. Once the account is created, you can use the Keyword Planner tool easily.
- Ensure to maintain keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions for the pages of your website.
- Optimize your images with keyword-rich alt text (very important and often ignored). Alt text for images has a huge impact on your SEO so never miss this.
- Ensure relevant usage of the top 2 keywords within the main website content but make sure NEVER to overdo it or else you will be penalized for keyword stuffing. Use them only if it feels relevant to the website copy. Hence skillful structuring of the website content is very important in this case.
- Use internal links to help Google understand your website structure.
- Add fresh, original content on a regular basis. This can mostly be done by incorporating a blog strategy into your website. Don’t keep changing the main website copy too frequently. Give some time for search engine crawlers to read and update them accordingly on their end.
- Ensure to have a sitemap.xml and a robots.txt file on your website. You can use any free sitemap generator tool like this for generating one or else if you are using any plugin like Yoast or so on your WordPress websites, then it will be automatically generated by them.
These tips are not exhaustive but if you follow them, you can make sure that your website is optimized to a certain level for better on-page SEO results. It will surely show an increase in your organic traffic and rankings but you might have to give it a bit of time which can vary from a few days to 1-2 months. Ensure to keep tracking your visibility boost for your website on the Google Search Console.
2. Get Your Business Listed on Online Directories
Another great way to increase your online visibility is to get your business listed on online directories. Anyone who has tried to find a local business online knows the importance of accurate and up-to-date listings on business directories or industry websites. Whether you’re looking for a restaurant, a mechanic, or a plumber, online directories are often the first place people turn to when they need help, and sometimes it is the first page on your search results too. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your business is listed on all of the major directories starting from the likes of Google My Business (now merged with Google Maps) to Yelp to industry-specific directories like G2 etc. If you want to find an initial list of industry-specific business directories then you can get some ideas from this blog.
In addition to increasing your online visibility, listing your business on these sites can also help improve your search engine ranking. When you list your business on a directory website, you are providing the search engine with more information about your business, which can help to improve your ranking. In addition, many directory websites allow you to include links to your website, which can also help to improve your ranking. It is a concept called “backlinks” that play an important role in your SEO journey. “Backlinks” are nothing but external websites which have links incorporated within their pages that link back to your website, something like a business directory listing that has your website links on their listing page. There is a misconception that for enhancing your SEO, the number of backlinks matters the most, while that maybe true if you are talking about 100k+ backlinks but what genuinely matters the most is the quality of the websites that link back to you. If you have very low-rated websites linking back to your website, no matter how many of them you may have it will still not have an impact as much as if you have high-authoritative websites linking to your website. So try to get listed on directories which have a good Domain Authority(DA) scores. How to check the DA for the online directories? Well a lot of free tools are available online for that (you can simply search them on Google), like the MOZ’s Free Domain SEO analysis tool.
And while it’s important to keep your listings accurate, don’t forget to also keep them up-to-date. After all, nothing says “unprofessional” quite like outdated information! These directories help improve your search engine ranking and give prospective customers another way to find you online. Make sure all of your listings are accurate and up-to-date—nothing says “unprofessional” quite like outdated information!
3. Work on Getting Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are a great way to show potential customers that you’re a legitimate business worth doing business with and also to boost your online search visibility. Customer reviews act as something called “trust signals” to search engine bots and are considered to be highly effective in boosting your search visibility.
It’s the same as that with your potential customers, the more reviews you have the trust and credibility of your brand will improve in the minds of your potential customer, and it is the same for search engine bots.
But having said that, DO NOT fall into the trap of paid and fake customer reviews, as this might affect your brand’s credibility both in terms of SEO as well as potential customers. Fake or paid reviews as a service are being provided at very cheap rates by many “so-called marketing experts” but NEVER fall for them. Though it might sound lucrative but these reviews are easily identified by both search engine bots as well as potential customers and it can throw off both of them, thereby negatively impacting your brand.
If you don’t have any customer reviews yet, start by reaching out to some of your happiest customers and asking them if they wouldn’t mind writing a review for you. You can also offer an incentive for writing a review, like a discount on their next purchase. Just ensure you’re not violating any terms of service by offering an incentive—some platforms (like Yelp) don’t allow it.
4. Focus on Localizing Your Content
If you want potential customers in your immediate area to be able to find you easily, focus on localizing your content. This means including location-specific keywords throughout your website’s content as well as making sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) information is prominently displayed on every page of your site. You should also claim any local listings or directory profiles that are relevant to your business—this will help ensure that when people in your area search for businesses like yours, yours is the first one that comes up.
It’s important to remember that not everyone who might be interested in your product or service is going to be located in the same area as you are. So similarly, if you are a global business having 2-3 top geographic locations where your customers lie, then it’s important to focus on localizing your content so that it appeals to people in those geographic regions too. This can be as simple as including location-specific keywords in your website copy/blog posts or creating targeted localized landing pages for different cities or regions where you do business. When we talk about localized landing pages, it is more than just translated versions (if required), it is about landing pages that are customized as per the target market’s likes/dislikes, cultural motivations to regional trends, and more. If you are not well-versed in the target market localization then you can always find freelancers and localization partners with valid experience, who can help you with that. You can also boost your localization efforts by submitting articles about your business to local publications or working on getting listed in local directories and resources. All of these things will help improve your visibility when people in other areas are searching for businesses like yours online.
5. Make Your Webpages Mobile-Friendly
In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. More people than ever are using their smartphones and tablets to access the internet, so if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re likely missing out on a lot of potential traffic (and customers!). Making sure your web pages load quickly and correctly on mobile devices is essential if you want people to stick around long enough to actually see what you have to offer—so if yours isn’t mobile-friendly yet, now’s the time to fix that!
Not just by increasing traffic, this plays a major role in boosting your search visibility too. Google and most of the common search engines today include this as a major trust signal for search visibility boost. So if your website is mobile-friendly and people are spending more time on it through their mobile devices then rest assured your search rankings will be increasing a lot.
These days, it’s more important than ever for small businesses to not just have an online presence but also ensure they maximize on the opportunity to get the best search visibility for that too—and luckily, there are several easy hacks you can use to increase yours! By focusing on things like optimizing your on-page SEO, getting listed on online directories, working on customer reviews, localizing your content, and making sure your web pages are mobile-friendly, you can make sure prospective customers in your area can easily find (and do business with) you. So what are you waiting for? Implement these hacks today and watch as your online visibility (and bottom line!) grows by leaps and bounds.
If you feel that there are certain things where you might need some extra help to reach the desired level of search visibility boost, then you can always check out our services or reach out to us at email@example.com.