This is Malachi again, I’ve hijacked David Byrd’s blog one more time (for now) to continue discussing hyperlocal advertising for the channel community. On Tuesday, I briefly discussed how to claim your Google Listing and how to place your company NAP to increase visibility at a local level. Today, I’ll be going into search engine optimization (SEO) basics that can help your business attract and retain potential customers.
If you ask 100 different inbound marketers how to achieve inbound marketing, you will get 100 different answers. I’m going to discuss some general strategy that I hope will benefit your business. This is my preferred method for website optimization.
You should know who your competitors are. They’re in your market attempting to close the same or similar deals as your business. Use the keyword list that I recommended creating in the previous blog and audit your competition. What are they doing well? What are you doing better? Do they have a clear value proposition on their page? Are they showing up for search terms ahead of you? Once you’ve taken an in-depth look at your competition, you’ll have a better understanding of what you like or dislike.
Define Target Markets
Define your markets. Are you strictly going after SMB’s? Do you target a certain type of vertical more successfully than others? Start thinking about leveraging your marketing to your strengths and go after the types of customers that are more likely to buy your services.
Define Refine Target Keywords
Hopefully, you’ve already defined your target keyword list. Now refine it. Look at the types of keywords that are the core of your business. Also, look at your target service area. Using Dallas / Ft. Worth as an example, you may want to offer SIP Trunking services all across the metroplex, but if deals outside of a 30 mile radius aren’t ideal, Ft. Worth may be a less glamorous target area. Instead focus on the suburbs or neighborhoods around your area. Examples include Plano, Richardson, Garland, etc. By refining your keyword list you’ll have a stronger comfort level and understanding of your target customer.
Usability / Web Issues
Once you have an understanding of your competition, target markets, and target keywords, it’s time to focus on the hard part. There are a lot of little intricate details that can affect how a website ranks in the search engines; below are a few major issues to take into account.
- Easy to read and access content
- Clearly Defined Messaging and information
- Passes the “blur” test
- Site Speed
- W3C compliant
- Cross-Browser compliant
- Page Errors / Warnings minimized
These are just a few examples of usability and web issues that affect how your website can perform. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I highly recommend reading this blog post from seomoz that provides a high level audit for your websites. It provides a step by step guide for every technical aspect to increase your website quality and set you up for SEO success.
Compelling High-Quality Content
Compelling content is as difficult, if not more difficult, than the usability aspects of a website. It is very difficult and time consuming to write a blog on a regular or semi-regular basis. (In fact, we’re shocked David Byrd has been able to create so much content as frequently as he has for so many years.) Decide upfront if you have the bandwidth to write a blog or update your content on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. If you can write posts more frequently than that, great! But if you can’t, it’s better to not have a blog. A blog with infrequent updates is like a ghost town, it makes your company look inconsistent and vacant.
Let’s assume you do have the time and excitement to pursue content creation for your website. There are many little things you besides a formal blog that can add fresh compelling content to your website including:
- Update Product Details
- Add New Services
- Industry News
- Local News
- Company News
- Partner Videos (companies you resell, etc)
- In House Videos
- Customer of the month
- Social Media
Note: Don’t forget to incorporate your keyword list into as many of these content pieces as possible. Also, remember you don’t need to update each of these weekly, one or two will be more than enough.
Inbound linking is the number one way to increase local SEO. Links from qualified websites show Google that your website provides valuable content. This is “Social Proof” for Google that your website should show up above competitors for target keywords.
Hubspot, a company we use for lead tracking and nurturing, provides some great examples for inbound link building.
Obviously, there is far too much to inbound marketing and hyperlocal marketing to discuss in a couple of blogs. With David’s permission, I will begin writing a semi-monthly blog continuing advertising lessons for agents. I won’t commit to a set schedule, but check back every couple of weeks for new information. My next topic will discuss PPC marketing or reputation management.