BizIQ is constantly working to keep small businesses ahead of the curve when it comes to their online presence. As more small businesses seek to reach their customers online, we know how important it’ll become (and already is) to distinguish yourself. It’s why we’ve developed the five pillars of successful local digital marketing.
Secret sauce. Magic formula. Strategic planning. Whatever you call it, it needs to include each one of these important pillars for your small business to be successful!
1. Optimized Local Website
Just like your brick-and-mortar store is where people always know where to find you, your website is the de-facto destination for your customers online. It’s not enough to simply have a website, either. You need to optimize it. Here’s what it takes to get traction.
- Mobile and tablet responsive sites enhance the user experience for people on smartphones and tablets—of which account for about 60% of all online searches.
- Google friendly coding helps bots crawl and index your site quicker and with ease, resulting in more favorable ranking from Google and other indexers.
- Very fast page speed cuts load times and reduce bounce rates, delivering content to visitors faster, to keep them on-page longer.
- Calls to action give visitors a reason to interact with your website and help improve customer experience—whether it’s call, chat, email or another action.
- Keywords optimized for SERPs are the best way to rank—especially query- and semantic-based keywords that pair well with searcher intent.
2. Directory Listings
Not too many people have a copy of the Yellow Pages sitting around anymore. How are your customers going to find you? Google SERPs are the best place, but to rank, you need to get your name out there. Start with reputable directories that are relevant to your industry.
- Google checks for trust and the more reputable directories you’re listed in, the more trust the search engine will affiliate with your URL and brand.
- Directories direct customers to you! Getting listed in a relevant directory increases your exposure and puts your name in front of searchers with intent.
- Increase your rankings with directory listings by piggybacking on links from websites that may have a higher domain authority or relevance than your site.
- Build trust and credibility through listings that put you alongside other brands people know and are familiar with.
- Directly update the top 80 listings immediately by pushing new information, without having to go through and manually submit everything!
3. Content Creation
Content is the key to staying relevant—both to your customers and in the eyes of Google. You need to put out blog posts, videos, social posts and more on a consistent schedule to make sure your voice is out there and your business is in front of people.
- Fresh content is what Google wants, and it’s more likely to crawl and favor your site if you produce content consistently. Moreover, consistent content drives new traffic.
- Monthly blogs on your website are the best way to optimize for keywords, improve return visitors, expand your crawlable pages and build out your content library.
- Answer questions for your customers in your blog posts or on FAQ pages. This is a great way to appeal to searcher intent for relevant, common search phrases.
- Content makes you the expert in your area, which can improve your domain authority and SERP rakings.
- Steadily increase in rankings by building out content pillars, leading to more niche topics and subjects.
- Content has appeal! 47% of consumers view 3 to 5 pieces of content created by a company before making a purchase decision!
- Length and subject matter are important. The average first-page result on Google consists of 1,890 words.
4. Reputation Management
What people say about your business matters. Just like word-of-mouth business can build a loyal following, bad press can repel patrons. Make sure you’re paying close attention to your online reputation, including reviews, feedback, mentions and more.
- Online reviews are the new “word of mouth,” which means getting reviews from your most ardent supporters is paramount for attracting new customers.
- Actively responding to reviews online is critical in showing that you’re paying attention. Respond to all reviews, good and bad, in a professional, courteous way.
- Generate new reviews by giving people a reason to leave feedback! Don’t pay for reviews—instead, incentivize reviews and ask for them when the moment strikes.
- Daily reputation alerts are key in keeping up with what people are saying, and they’re a quick way to get a pulse on what you’re doing right or wrong.
5. Reporting and Updates
There is no “set it and forget it” when it comes to your online presence. Every new day brings new developments—the internet is an evolving place! To stay relevant and successful takes consistent attention, from measuring metrics to implementing changes.
- Track website traffic by looking at daily, weekly and monthly visitor metrics, including traffic levels, referring sources, time on page and more.
- Track keyword rankings to see what keywords you’re dominating, where you’re falling behind and what opportunities for niche searches exist.
- Track SERP listings so you can gauge the payoff of your SEO efforts. Where have you moved up? Where have you moved down? Why?
- Adjust to keep growing. SEO isn’t a one-and-done practice! You need to maintain consistent efforts to preserve rankings and gain traction for new keywords.
- Update with all Google changes. Any time there’s a new Google algorithm update or tweak to SERPs, understand how it works and how it affects your efforts.
- Update with voice search to target searches made with Siri, Alexa, Google assistant and others. 48% of people experiment with voice search—and that number is growing!
The wonderful thing about these five pillars is that even though the digital landscape is constantly changing, these focuses encompass all major parts of a business’ digital presence. While execution may change with time, these core pillars will continue to stay the same for the foreseeable future. And, even as they evolve, BizIQ will continue to be on the leading edge of the practices that make them successful.