As we approach new digital marketing campaigns for 2015, let’s review the best practices as defined by the leading search engines to help your local business rank within the search results.
There are many different localized organic factors which effect ranking, they can be broken down into the following categories:
On-Page Optimization allows search engines to crawl your site and tells them, as well as your website visitors, what the pages are about. There are guidelines and techniques to make sure you are coding your title tags, meta descriptions, alt tags (picture tags) and your H1/H2 tags properly to ensure visibility. Your load time of each landing page is also an important factor with ranking, so make sure your site is loading as quickly as possible and is hosted on the correct hosting package. Having the right hosting package (dependent on your business and the type of website you have) is key to site loading speed.
Directory Listings, or ‘Citations’, are integral in your local search strategy. These types of links have been proven to increase local search engine rankings dramatically because they provide credibility for your business. Search engines reward sites that go the extra mile to be authenticated. If your business is listed in directories for your local chamber, locally owned business listings, or a city business index, these listings verify your business before they allow you to be a part of their directory. If a local newspaper writes an article about you or a well know industry blogger starts writing about your company, it gives your business credibility, which in turn gives you authority within the search engines.
Citations can get overwhelming; there are many different types of directories to apply for, each with their own process to establish verification. Keep the following in mind when choosing which directories may be right for your business: check out the authority rating associated with the directory, be sure to stay consistent with the information you provide across different listings, and make sure the directories are a legitimate platform for your industry and target audience.
Reviews are another crucial element that goes into your local search strategy, however, legitimate reviews tend to be the most complicated to obtain. Working closely with your clients and walking them through how to easily review your company on the best review sites will help ensure your business obtains a healthy amount reviews. A mixture of reviews on a variety of key sites is crucial to helping you achieve the results in your search rankings.
Social Signals and Engagement
Social Signals and Engagement are ranking factors which bring influence to your site indirectly. When a website visitor is referred from a social media platform to your site, search engines monitor how long they are on the site, and whether or not they convert. It is important to note that more and more social media posts and blog posts are showing up in search results, making sure your content on your social posts are engaging and relative to your business is key as these go into the calculations for your rankings. Search engines are placing more importance on social platforms, looking at signals such as shares, likes, and overall interaction from sites like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. Search engines are looking for relativity to your business and the people you are interacting with. Engagement will be a leading factor in search engine algorithms in 2015, be sure you are doing whatever you can to interact with your customer base across multiple social media platforms this year.
As we mentioned above, social media posts and blogs are becoming a central part of results. With your click-through-rates from your content influencing rankings, the content you produce needs to be relative to your industry. Further, the pages within your site you are driving them to (inbound links) must be engaging to the audience you are trying to attract. Having a content writing strategy in place is very crucial to your local search results. When your content writing plan is part of your overall digital marketing campaign including your social approach, it allows for a cohesive strategy of all your efforts working together.
A couple of years ago, link building was the number one way to get you to rank above your competitors. In today’s world of search, that is not the case. Directory listings are the most effective way to bring quality links to your site. In order to gain other relative links for your business, we look at sources such as press releases, newspaper articles and guest posting which tie into an effective content strategy designed to attract news worthy content as well as educational content which will attract high authority guest posters/bloggers to write about your company on their blogs.
Are you trying to get your website to come up above your competitors in the search results for your area? Call Newtek Web Services today for a free competitive analysis at 866.820.8910.