Off Site Website Optimisation
For large businesses off site optimisation is a full time job, at the very least writing and responding to Facebook posts, and being active on Twitter. Small businesses have to focus on the quick fixes that make the most difference.
Google My Business
A Google My Business entry is essential. It is no longer necessary to complete a Google+ Page and a Google Local entry – Google My Business is a one-stop solution for both.
Complete the listing template fully, if possible. The more complete it is the better Google will rank it in Local Search. Once completed, you can use your page to answer customer queries, manage reviews and share updates. Google will share them across all your business listings.
If you do nothing else do spend some time perfecting your listing and you should see a difference in your website’s ranking in Google. You don’t need to do anything else, your entry will appear in Google Local Search, if only on a map.
Name, Address and Phone – it is really important to keep them consistent. If there are any errors or variations the search engines won’t consider them to refer the same business.
Customer reviews matter very much. They affect your ranking in Google’s search results so think hard about how you are going to encourage your satisfied customers to say just that – that they are pleased with the goods and services you offer.
On the whole happy customers tend not to take the trouble to write a review. It’s the unhappy customers who do, and while they can be totally unreasonable, they are still there for people to read. Most of us don’t feel comfortable asking customers to say nice things about us but it is important otherwise that one dissatisfied customer has a bigger impact on how people perceive your business that the hundred happy ones.
Facebook Business Page
A Facebook Business Page is useful and can help you engage with potential customers.
You can advertise reasonably cheaply with a “sponsored post” if you define precisely the area and type of person you want to reach, which is perfect for a small local service provider, shop-owner or tradesman.
There is a cosmetics company that regularly requests models in their city centre stores; these aren’t even paid for, simply posts that are shared and re-shared. That is a lot of free advertising, worth trying if you feel you are selling something, or have a promotion that will interest a lot of people will.
Find your Neighbourhood page and start contributing, people will share if it’s useful.
Bing Places for Business
Bing shares its information with Yahoo so your business is covered for the big three traditional search engines. As well as potentially generating website visitors and customers, it is another listing where Google can discover you, which all adds to your trust profile.
As with Google and Facebook, Bing Places for Business leads you through the registration.
Free Business Directories
There are lots of free business directories where you can list your business. Some are more useful than others but they all give the search engines a link to your site and an opportunity to promote your business.
Many sites allow you to write a profile which is a great opportunity to highlight different areas of your business. The profiles must all be different, remembering to be consistent with NAP. If the profiles are identical the search engines treat them as though they are automated submissions and valueless. Original content proves that it is a high-quality listing and you are more likely to benefit.