Competing in a small, local market online offers some unique challenges. Ranking well and being properly represented in search engines can drastically impact your brand and business, online and off. Nearly 90% of consumers use search engines for purchase decisions, so ignoring your online brand is a lost opportunity. Because search engines keep their ranking algorithms a secret, using wise and healthy marketing best practices is always the smart path. However, there are a few things we know have an impact, and many of these are overlooked by smaller companies.
Here are some key tactics your company should consider for improving your online business:
Citations – Your business listings online are your most important pieces of content. These are the bits of information out there like your business address, hours, phone number, website, and more. Search Engines rely on these “citations” to validate that a business is real and properly represent your website on their search results pages. It should be a no brainer; therefore, that having the right business information everywhere on the web is important. Many small companies have incorrect or incomplete information out there, old phone numbers, missing site URLs, and more. Often they may have a Facebook and Yelp listing, but lack other key locations like Foursquare and DMOZ. Establishing proper citations in the proper places is a very high priority. Consistency and accuracy in this helps both the search engines and your customers find you faster.
Reviews – Having reviews about your business on Yelp/TripAdvisor/Urbanspoon/etc. allows Google to display more content on the search results page than a normal results listing would. Encourage your customers to review your business online. Don’t fear any negative reviews either! Publicly responding to reviews provides both an SEO competitive edge (even bad reviews help your rankings, and your response is a chance for new content on third-party sites – a very big deal) while also engendering good will and displaying great customer support. I know I don’t have to explain the value of your customers knowing how well you treat them! Make the jump and love your reviewers. They are all helping you.
RDFa – HTML5 has brought with it, improved categorization of content. This is through using RDFa tags (also known as schema, microdata, etc.). These bits of code help define content on your site: people, places, events, recipes, reviews, and more. Search engines can then understand what your data means and display your content better. These increase your visibility online and help people find you faster. Ever see those big chunks of site content on the top right of a search results page? Thank your RDFa tags for that.
These are just some of the important tactics that can make or break an online business. If you are looking for that secret weapon against your competition, you want to bring your brand to the next level, or just need someone to lean on for advice, drop Ikusa an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us help you. Learn more at http://www.ikusamarketing.com/.