The top priority for the majority of small and medium sized businesses is achieving and maintaining a number one ranking on Google, primarily for local search results. Without a doubt this is the main objective of this online strategy, even if in the majority of cases they don’t actually have a strategy in place.
There is more to SEO than just rankings and this is the main issue I like to raise with my clients. Achieving a page one ranking on Google is just the starting point, what comes next is maintaining and building on that position, attract increased traffic to your website and ultimately convert your visitors into actual customers, which is the testing part of any digital marketing strategy.
When looking specifically at SMEs with regards their on-line presence, it is often the approach that even the smallest of upgrades to the layout or content of their existing website, can see a generous increase in their local ranking position. Business and market competitiveness dependant, this approach of simply tweaking your website could possibly generate better results than more aggressive SEO tactics.
Taking this approach into consideration, below is a list of quick and simple fixes you can employ on your website to ensure you are doing everything in your control to make it as Google ranking friendly as possible.
Contact details are super important
This may sound very obvious to the majority of readers, but the amount of websites I come across and they don’t have a contact number or email address visible at a glance! For SMEs a phone number is definitely best as typically people who want to get in touch want to make contact over the phone. Research shows that the top right of every page is the ideal location for this information in a large and easily legible font, it is the intuitive position for the readers’ eye to scan to, so make sure your website is following this and make life easier for visitors to your site to actually get in touch with you, increasing your conversion rate with one simple tweak.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
Typically on your home page you will want to display some form of welcome to your visitors, or an introduction to your business. Some salesy, pink and fluffy text that in actual fact your customer does not want to read.
Put yourself in the position of your customer, if you are performing a search on Google, and you plan to look at all of the results on at least page one, first impressions definitely count and so does being able to clearly identify what you are looking for and navigate around the website quickly and with ease in order to make your decision if this site is a contender for your shortlist.
Aim to get your customer to each page of information on your site in a few clicks as possible, ideally 2-3 maximum…too many clicks and they will click away, therefore impacting your all important conversion rate.
Relevant, unique and informative content is king!
Every SEO Consultant will tell you the same thing, Google has certain criteria that determine how favourable your website is ranked, this is all performed in the ether with their secret algorithm, but what we do know is that it is imperative that all of your content is unique. This means that simply copying and pasting text from a similar businesses website, even if it’s the other side of the world and therefore not a direct competitor and you think they will never know, generates negative repercussions – DON’T DO IT! It’s really not worth it as Google is so sophisticated that it can flag up chunks of duplicated text and penalise your ranking for this.
Write your content yourself, with help from a Copywriter or your SEO Consultant, who can identify and laden your copy with key words that are specific to your business that are regularly searched. Ask your SEO Consultant what your key words are, but make sure you use them without over using them!
Again unique and informative relevant content is crucial to both informing your customer and providing him with everything they need to make a decision on whether they want to make an enquiry or place an order. The more information with regards product details, prices etc that you can upload to your website, the more boxes you will tick in your customers head and the more chance you have of an immediate conversion.
Innovative design and graphics really do add value
Its true, you might be tempted into going down, or have already gone down the route of a template based website, with little or no design features, but when in an ever more competitive local market spending a little more on custom drawn/designed graphics for your website and other marketing collateral, can have a significant impact on how your website is viewed by your customer.
Put it this way, would you personally be more inclined to buy something from a template website with the odd clipart graphic inserted? Or would you trust a website that has impacting unique and striking custom graphics. Personally I would go with the latter every day of the week, mainly because of how much more professional and trustworthy the custom website appears. It would certainly be more appealling and encourage me to look at the rest of the content on the site, not click off at the first sign of cheap, ugly clipart!
Align yourself with professional bodies
If you as a business are linked with, or members of a professional body, you should emblazed your website with their logo and align yourself with them. For example, if you are a hypnotherapist and a registered member of the BSCH, let your customers know. If you are a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, then mention this on your website too. All of this information qualifies your business as a professional operation and will allow you to gain the trust of your visitor more easily.
Promote client feedback
As with shouting about memberships to professional bodies and trade organisations, if you have received positive feedback from a customer, post this on your website too. Create a page for testimonials/references and upload quotes from your happy customers, and don’t be afraid to ask your customers for references to build on and maintain up to date entries, this again will have a positive impact on both your conversion rate and your Google ranking.
Utilise the home page to identify market trends
This is something you can do with the help of your SEO Consultant. Once they have done the research for you on popular keywords and search terms for your particular market, this will allow you to add banners and graphics to your homepage to draw attention to exactly the items being searched for regularly.
This will not only help your potential customers easily and quickly identify if your website is one they want to purchase something from, but by updating this regularly it will also help to generate the relevant content that Google looks for to rank you more favourably above your competitors.
Written by Colin O’Donnell.