Searchability is what makes or breaks a website. Here are four ways to get your business to the top of the results.
For most business owners, building a business also means building a strong online presence.
That makes search engine optimization (SEO) more important than ever. If nobody can find your website in search results, your business will suffer. According to a 2018 report by Salesforce and Publicis Sapient, 87 percent of shoppers begin product searches online. While this is a great opportunity for your business to generate new leads, it also requires you to think like a customer when designing and updating your business website.
Here are four strategies for how both novice and advanced web users alike can vault into the top search results and rise above competitors.
Choose Your Words Carefully
“It’s important to get into the heads of your clients and speak the way they do on your website,” says NFIB member Drew Harden, president and co-founder of Blue Compass Interactive, a digital marketing firm in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Customers go to Google with questions like ‘Where is the nearest X?’ and ‘Where can I buy X?’—especially when they are using voice search rather than a typed search. If your website provides clear, concise answers to questions relevant to your business, you’ll be rewarded with higher search rankings.
Conducting a keyword search can help you find the most effective terms to use. Start by searching your own business—as well as your competitors—and then look through the related searches at the bottom of the page, Harden says. You’ll find user-tested phrases that can strengthen your own website’s copy and search results. To take SEO to the next level, Harden suggests checking out keyword research sites like Google Trends or Moz, which can give you data-driven insights.
RELATED: The ABCs of SEO
Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices
“These days, the vast majority of website visitors are from mobile devices,” Harden says.
To keep their attention, your website must load quickly, be cleanly designed, well organized, and sized for smaller screens so readers don’t have to pinch and zoom to read your content. All of these factors affect your search ranking. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can help you evaluate your strengths and address any shortcomings to boost your success with mobile searchers.
Update Your Contact Information
Make sure your contact information—business name, address, and phone number—is correct and consistent wherever it’s listed online. “It can help your visibility across search engines,” Harden says. It can also increase your likelihood of appearing in Google’s Local 3 Pack, Harden says, which is the method Google uses to display the top three results in any local search as pins on a map.
Fill Out Your Google My Business Profile
“Having a fully filled out Google My Business profile has been shown to get about seven times more clicks to a company’s website than an empty profile,” says Ben Fisher, a Google My Business Gold Product Expert and cofounder of Steady Demand in Austin, Texas.
Fisher recommends starting with the basics of a business profile, such as address, business hours, and website. Then fill out the questions and answers section. In the posts section, share events and sales info.
Once you’ve updated your website, closely monitor the web traffic and respond to reviews—both positive and negative. “About 86 percent of consumers will read reviews for a local business before they even consider doing business with them,” Fisher says, according to a 2018 local consumer survey by BrightLocal, a SEO performance platform. “And 89 percent of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews.”
By taking full advantage of this free outlet to inform and engage with customers and promote your business, your rising search results will reflect your ambitious outreach efforts.