Hello! I’m Amanda, one of the new members of the SEO team here at Wakefly and I’m thrilled to share my past experiences with small businesses to our clients. Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the American economy and I’m here to help you connect with customers.
Businesses no longer just live in the tangible world; they reside in the computer databases and Wi-Fi networks. As a marketer, it can be difficult to know where to begin when establishing an online presence. Before you come to a digital marketing agency like Wakefly, here are a few tools and skills that will enable you to take control of your company’s online presence.
Now that consumers are using their five-inch thick Yellow Pages as doorstops, it’s time to put your business information online. The once-paperback directories have now set up online listings where you can edit your company’s information including address, telephone, photos, and videos.
Use Moz Local to search the web for all business listings so you can establish new listings or revise existing ones. The major platforms for your business listing are Google+ (to be discussed in more detail), FourSquare, Yelp, SuperPages, Yellow Pages, Bing, and Facebook.
Tip: It’s important to create listings in industry-specific directories too. For example, beauty salons and restaurants are frequently evaluated on Yelp. Many location-based restaurant review services such as OpenTable utilize FourSquare’s technology, so keep an up-to-date listing there as well. WeddingWire lists many wedding-related services based on area. Punchbowl helps you find party venues and offerings in your area. In some cases, conversation rates may be higher for these websites because people are ready to buy.
Google and Bing are the leaders of search and your business can leverage their emerging products. Once you’ve added your business, a preview of your company will appear in the search as queries in the search bar.
See the images below as we search for Wakefly in Google.
Tip: If your business has multiple locations or franchises, use Google’s new Bulk Upload feature to quickly manage all listings. Bing’s preview pulls from Yelp, so make sure your customers are happy!
Open Site Explorer
In an effort to give people the most relevant and credible search results, Google’s algorithm considers how many links point to a website. The more links that point to a page, the more authority it will have. Open Site Explorer helps you identify who is linking to your website. You can also search competitors and understand their social sphere of influence on the internet.
A common misconception is that buying links to websites will only help your rank. This is completely false. Google’s algorithm has become much more advanced and can detect these false backlinks. In response, Google will issue a penalty in which your rank drops, as well as your traffic. Instead, build relevant and credible links through relationships online to ensure increased, not decreased, visibility.
This tool provides website analysis to tell you how quickly your website loads, if it is visible on a desktop, tablet, and mobile device, the number of backlinks to your website, and many other details to determine the performance of your page. Use this when designing a website for usability and addressing technical problems that may be causing the site to run slowly.
Tip: Keep your most important details and calls to action above the fold. This is the point of the screen where users will have to scroll down to see past. The less work you create for potential customers, the more likely that they’ll pass that money across the table.
These two tools will give you tremendous insight about your website. Webmaster tools allows you to recommend what times Google will crawl your page, monitor links to your webpage, and review recent traffic. Google Analytics enables you to compare traffic over time, evaluate conversion rates, and discover opportunities to improve rankings.
Tip: Have your rankings been jumping around a lot? Huge rises and falls in traffic with little to no changes on a website? Use Mozcast to determine if Google’s algorithm has just been fickle.
Do you need more help than these tools and tips can provide? Contact us and we’ll get in touch with you to help grow your business!
Bonus Tip! This is the Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet 2.0 from Moz. Use it to understand the more technical components that search engine bots crawl on your website.