We work with many businesses, some local, some not as local. But one thing that keeps cropping up is "how can I make sure my business' website is found?"
The common answer is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This is where you make sure that your website fits the standards expected by a search engine such as Google or Bing. Generally, the more optimised your site is, the better they can understand it, and the higher up the rankings it is. Web traffic generated in this way is known as 'Organic traffic', because it's traffic that has found you without any push (no digital marketing etc.).
One key thing about the current web trends is that mobile now plays a huge part in our day-to-day lives. Smartphones offer one very useful feature for search engines (and other apps and websites) which is your location. This allows them to tailor the results to the user. After all, why would someone in Cardiff be interested in a takeaway in Leeds?
Providing the data is correct, search engines can make good use of this and produce local results, and when you're trying to make sure that your local business' website is noticed by local people, this is perfect.
Rich Data Snippets
Rich data is what it says on the tin; it enriches the data on your website. If you've had a website designed for you by us, or another agency, you will probably never notice it's there, but search engines know it's there and they use it.
For example, if you take a look at our page for QuickFile, there's no mention of a date of the review. However, Google knows the date because of a rich data snippet:
But there's more to it than just reviews. There are tags for articles, business information, social media profiles, and much more. In fact, there's a whole list here.
Although search engines have moved on quite considerably since they started (Google launched in 1998), links still play an important part. They act like a referral from one site to another. Imagine a popular site linking to yours - that could drive a lot of traffic. But if the website also has a good ranking on the search engine, it's more likely to be trusted too. So this can only have a positive effect on your website.
So where exactly do you link from to advertise a local business? Think local.
- Industry directories: If you're a member of an association relating to your industry, see if it's possible to have a link from their website to yours. You should attract genuine traffic. For example, if you're a builder or plumber, you could list on checkatrade.com, then you're likely to capture traffic from those looking for your services.
- Business contacts: Contact your existing clients and suppliers and see if they'd be happy to link to your website too.
- Local press and blogs: There's a good chance that there's a local newspaper or blog running and attracting a local audience. You don't need to feature in the newspaper itself, but they may be interested in writing an article on your business, perhaps showcasing your success or even sharing general news that you have. Smaller stories can usually appear online alone too. The great thing with these is that they are used by local people. Even for B2B websites, there's a chance that someone from a local business is reading the newspaper website, or browsing a local blog.
These are just 3 starting points, but aiming for local should in turn boost your local ranking.
Google Plus and Social Media
As you can imagine, Google likes it when you use it's products. Although there are other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo, Google is the biggest, and the one that many developers try to please the most. Usually if you make sure everything is right for one, then the others will be OK too.
Ensuring you have a Google Plus profile can go in your favour. Google not only likes it, it also learns a lot more about your business - location, opening hours. This can have the knock on effect of improving your visual appeal to your potential audience.
Think of it in this way - if you had the choice of a local business who had just a name and phone number, or another one with a name, phone number, opening hours and images of it's services - which would you choose?
Then you have the trusty old website data. Ensuring you have a unique page title on each page, a meta description and a mobile friendly website can really help in this area. Not so much about the local area search, but more of basic website SEO.
All Content Management System (CMS) powered websites that we build come with easy to use tools to maintain this information, as well as auto-generated rich data snippets to give you a helping hand. If you're unsure if your site has these, it's worth checking the source code of the page (normally you can right click a page and click "View Source", or by asking your web developer).
If you're struggling, or would like some improvements made to your website, give us a call or drop us an email. All our details can be found here