Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it’s known more commonly, goes in and out of favor as often as fashion changes. It’s the love it/hate it darling of marketing, right there with social media. The challenge it provides is complex. The solutions are not simple. However, there are five key things you can do to shore up your SEO now.
Claim or Set Up Your Google Business Listing
This is step one in securing your spot on Google, especially when it comes to branded search and maps. Don’t know if you have claimed your Google Business listing? There are a couple of easy ways to check.
- Look up your business name. Does a card show up with your location, photos, and other information? Investigate the listing for the text “Own this business?”. If it appears, then you likely need to claim it. But, before you take that action, try step 2 to ensure that there isn’t a duplicate listing to be concerned about.
- Go to com/business/ and click or tap Sign In. When you do,
- if you have a listing claimed or are in the process of claiming a listing, a screen will appear that says “Manage locations”.
- If you do not have a listing claimed or you are not in the process of claiming one, then it will try to take you through the process of setting up a location.
- If your location showed up in Step 1, then take the steps in Step 1 again, click on “Own this business?” and follow the steps.
- If your location did not show up as a card in Step 1, then follow the steps of setting up a new location.
This has become the primary way to find business information on the web for anyone interested in your business or product. It is imperative that this is set up quickly and with the correct information, including your website.
Set Up Google Analytics and Connect it to Your Website
Even if you don’t know what Google Analytics is or how it works, it is the most valuable tool in tracking your SEO, improving your website performance, and ranking. It can be an overwhelming amount of information to take in at first, but even if you don’t ever look at it or touch it again after setting it up, it will serve you well to start tracking your website analytics as soon as you can. If you start working with a marketing agency or hire someone for your company, they will want this baseline information, and you will too, in order to track the progress of your marketing efforts.
Don’t stop at set-up, be sure that once you get the Analytics account set up that you connect it to your site. If you aren’t comfortable doing this, you can check with your website master or administrator or your hosting provider to get their help. Don’t add anything to your website yourself that you aren’t 100% confident in adding. Once this is done, you can set it and forget it if you really want to, but I recommend learning a few key metrics and starting to dig in on the data your website is giving you about your customers and the quality of your content. This is a great place to start learning.
Connect Your Website to Google Search Console
Google Search Console is the lesser-known part of Google that is most often overlooked. It is a plethora of information about how Google sees your site, the pages that people are interacting with the most, and the search terms that are getting them there. It shares ranking data, mobile-friendliness, and speed insights.
Google Search Console will let you know there are errors associated with your site like 404 errors, and other items their creepy crawlers can identify. AND, perhaps its most valuable asset is that Google Search Console helps you to keep up with Google! Search Console shares errors and updates you didn’t even know were coming. Whenever Google comes up with new standards for site ranking and quality, Google Search Console is right there with it.
When you start seeing new and unfamiliar errors, chances are good an update to Google standards is in the works and you can get ahead of the rest of the poor souls who are not as informed as you. The key here is to PAY ATTENTION to those emails when they come through and if you don’t know what they mean, send them to someone who can help you figure out what to do about them because they are important.
Start Blogging! Seriously. Do it. Now.
Blogging is so many things. Fun? Not for most people. Easy? No. Necessary? Some would say debatable. I say yes.
Blogging can be many things though. You can make it fun for yourself. Choose the tone and voice of your blog, which should be at least related to your brand. That’s a whole other discussion. Just figure out what will help you do it.
If it’s 200 words on the upcoming Chamber of Commerce event you are sponsoring, that’s fine.
If it’s 500 words on why or how you started your business, even better.
If it’s a 1,500-word manifesto of the importance of wiping your feet before you come in the house, just try to tie it back to your mission, values, or business somehow, but it’s great.
The important thing is that you are adding fresh, valuable, and relevant content to your website on a regular basis. Our recommendation for a real difference is a minimum of once a month. But if you miss a month here and there, don’t give up. One blog in four months is better than no blogs at all. Google likes fresh content that people actually spend time digging into. Make sure you share the content on relevant social channels, through email and such. The blog means more to Google when it gets good quality traffic. Again, a discussion for another time. Besides, you need to go start blogging.
Right after you read the last section of this blog that is.
Look at your local SEO.
It seems that when it comes to SEO, local takes a back seat often with small to medium businesses (SMBs). The main focus for so many SMBs is to dominate Google organic without giving thought to what they are actually asking for.
No one wants to go up against Goliath on Google, but that is what is being requested when a business asks to get to page 1 of Google organic results. What those who request this often don’t realize is they are asking to show up first on maps or in LOCAL organic search results. These results are dictated by the location that a user is searching from OR where they are searching for.
So, don’t forget your local SEO if your business depends on local traffic or you service people’s needs by traveling to them. Check to be sure your address(es) and phone number(s) are listed on your website to tie back to your Google Business listing, as well as Google Maps. Check to be certain that this is the same address and phone used across all of your listings on the web. From Google to Bing and Facebook to FourSquare, the name of your business, address, phone or NAP need to be consistent. Like exact. If you add LLC to your listing on Google, it should stay this way across every listing.
There are a couple of good resources to help you audit and correct these listings or citations. Check out Moz if you have some decent SEO knowledge to audit, correct, and follow your local rankings. If you are more in the novice category when it comes to SEO, you should try BrightLocal. They also are able to audit, correct, and track your local rankings in a little easier to digest fashion.
Even doing one of these five things will help you take a step in the right direction to improving your SEO. So, get to it and start getting your SEO in ship shape. Or, if you need help, you know where to find us!
Amanda built her first WordPress site in 2011 and has since been refining her skill-set in CMS development. Her experiences as a freelance professional and developing for accessibility, cross-browser and device compatibility, and web performance has led her to Hot Dog Marketing. She builds websites for small – medium sized businesses in Round Rock, Austin, surrounding areas, and beyond.