5 free ways to ensure your business can be found on Google
Digital marketing tips for small businesses
For many small businesses, we've been operating in survival mode for the last few months. So many of us have had no choice but to scale down our operations and cashflow and contingency planning have been the most important things.
If you own a small business this is the perfect opportunity to leverage the power of digital marketing to protect your business and future proof it. And you don't need to necessarily have budget to invest.
Here are 5 free ways you can boost your online presence:
1. Set up the foundations for your SEO
Search engine optimisation or SEO is an excellent investment of your time and it shouldn’t cost you any money to get the basics in place.
If you haven’t already, register with Google My Business. It takes minutes to do. Once this is set up, you can start to populate your profile with information on your business and upload images. In fact, Google reports that businesses with photos receive 35% more clicks to their websites. And remember to get your customers to submit reviews using the Google review facility. An incredible 90% of people read a review before purchasing.
Knowing your keywords is critical. These are the common words and phrases that your customers may type into Google to find your business. These words then need to be seeded into the headers on your website and the copy.
Once you've cracked this, you need to ensure your website is technically sound. There are free tools to help do this like Uber Suggest.
2. Get blogging
Writing blog posts is extremely time-consuming, so it is the perfect use of time if you are working from home.
I would advise you start with a content plan before jumping straight into developing articles. This will ensure you have a good mix of content and more importantly you're creating information that will be useful to your customers. Remember to leverage the seasons and key industry dates so articles are launched at the relevant time of the year.
As a minimum, you should create at least 1 article per month, so if you haven’t created any this year, or it is the first time you've written a blog for your website, aim at creating several articles.
Devising a succinct headline which is thought-provoking is the hard part. I normally come back to this at the end to perfect it. You also need to optimise your headlines, so do take into consideration what your customers are searching for online as opposed to crafting the perfect newspaper headline.
When you create your articles try to break up the copy with subheads and use eye-catching imagery. Also, think about the call to action at the end – what should your readers do next?
3. Update your social media profiles
When was the last time you gave your social media profiles a spring clean?
Just like everything else, your social media profiles need to be searchable. Ensure you are using a relevant job title that will have strong appeal to your target audience.
A strong description of your business is also important using your keywords. Always have in the back of your mind, what your customers would be searching for and be consistent with using these keywords.
4. Refresh your website
When was the last time you updated your website? If your website is built using one of the most common website builders like Word Press or Wix, it should be easy to update yourself.
Not only is it important that your website accurately represents your business, but updating your website will also help with your SEO.
Here is a mini checklist of things to do:-
Update the about us section with new client wins, awards and any key professional or personal achievements
Update your imagery to give it a new lease of life from free photo libraries
Check all links and forms work
Ensure your keywords are in the headlines and appear in the copy
Ensure you have strong and varied call to actions throughout your website
5. Ask for reviews
Reviews are not only important as proof to the outside world that you are credible in your field, but Google also likes them!
There are lots of platforms you can capture reviews, but did you know that you can use the platform available on Google to capture testimonials? You can use other platforms as well. I recommend to my clients that they use different review platforms for different key groups. For example, staff, suppliers and stakeholders, as well as customers.
How to stay ahead
These are just a few pointers focusing on free ways you can help your online presence. There is no question that SEO is going to become even more important this year, so never feel it is too late to start getting the basics in place.
I hope you’ve found this useful. You can find more help on creating a brand positioning for your business, creating a sales strategy and mapping out the customer journey, all important parts of business planning.