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Maximum Search Engine exposure for your business
You can leverage your brand to maximum effect in the Search Engine Results pages (SERP) using SEO even if you don't have masses of money to invest in marketing activities.
The aim of the game is to leverage the efforts you're making to build brand awareness (online and offline) to maximise your exposure in the SERP at minimal additional cost.
This article offers five absolute SEO must dos for your small business to maximise your visibility in Google Search NZ.
Dominate the SERP for your business name
When we think of 'Search' and SEO, we naturally (and quite rightly) tend to focus on optimising our online presence for the relevant search queries being entered by our potential customers.
But, what we often forget is that our business brand names are themselves searched for in Google by prospective customers. Typically after they have been exposed to other marketing communications.
Take a look at the screen shot below of the SERP when I performed a search in Google NZ for my online business Prohibition Hats NZ.
As you can see, not only does my website appear first in the organic listings, you can also see my external blog, Facebook page, Finda listing and Twitter page.
Why does this matter? Well, 80% of consumers will jump into Google Search to research your businesses and its services rather than go direct to your website (even after they've already met you). So it makes good business sense to ensure you dominate the SERP for your brand name.
Here are the five must dos for every small business.
1. Be in local search with a Google Places for Business Account
Google Maps and Local Search are now essential weapons in your Search Engine Optimisation Armoury. So if you haven't got a Google Places For Business account yet - get one now.
Local results are typically inserted into the SERP when the prospect types in a geographic location, eg "Laurie's Widgets Auckland New Zealand" would prompt a local result whereas "Laurie's Widgets" wouldn't.
Now, it's true that there are many factors which affect the likelihood of your business featuring in local search results for a category (in my example "widgets Auckland"). However, you can pretty much guarantee a listing if a search is performed for your (hopefully unique) brand name.
In practice this means that your business now has a high chance of being in the natural results SERP and the local results SERP. One result for your brand name and a second result for your brand name + location. Lovely.
Take a look at the example below for "Events Cinemas Auckland". A natural result + a local result.
How to get it right
When you set up your Google Places for Business account, ensure that you spell your brand name exactly right (I know, obvious but mistakes do happen) and that your other online and offline marketing materials (eg business cards) have the exact same spelling.
*This is particularly important for start ups and new businesses. If your business is named "Laurie's Widgets" then name it as such on your branded collateral. If you want to call it "Laurie's widgets NZ", then name it that. But keep it consistent.
If you're a Local Search novice, read my blog on Local SEO for some helpful starters.
2. Name your social media channels consistently
Look back at the example search I did for Prohibition Hats NZ. Facebook and Twitter both appeared in the SERP when I searched for the company by name.
What triggered this result was the brand name I used when I created the pages. So, make sure that you name your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram etc pages with uniquely branded urls that are the same as you business name on your website and other branded collateral.
3. Optimise your images
Images are the undersung heroes in SEO. By Alt Tagging your images with your brand name and target keyword, not only do you benefit your organic search engine results generally, you also increase the likelihood of your images being shown in Google.com/images.
Now, you could argue that Google.com/images has less appeal to most than Google Search but, what if your business is a fashion retailer (like Prohibition Hats NZ) or a Photographer or a designer?
It could well pay to have your images sell from the page.
4. Optimise your third party sales channels
Depending on your business model, you may well choose to use third party channels (often called 'verticals') in addition to dealing direct-to-consumer. A good example of this would be a Hotel Chain utilising the tourism specialist channel tripadvisor.com as a sales channel.
The key thing from an Brand-SEO perspective is to ensure that your business listing or profile on these third party channels has all the same naming conventions as your website and social media channels. Also, ensure that the name, address and telephone number (NAP) details are correct and consistent.
5. Use PPC to defend your turf
Finally, it often pays to defend your territory using Per Per Click (PPC) advertising targeting keywords very closely aligned to your brand name.
This can be helpful if your business' brand name is not a name per se but a phrase (eg "Digital Content Marketing Company"). In this kind of situation, competitors are often better optimised for your brand name than you are!
Using AdWords is also a useful tactic for controlling the lead message that is displayed in the SERP. If you have a short running special offer or promotion, it will usually have come and gone before it gets into the natural listings. And, the cost per click (CPC) is usually very low.
Maximum SERP presence at the lowest cost
So, the message is clear. To maximise your branded results in natural search, ensure you have consistent naming conventions for your website, social media channels, image alt attributes and third party vertical channels. And, if it pays, consider using PPC advertising to defend your brand turf.
By doing these things, you can dominate the SERP for your branded terms at the lowest cost possible.
Check out my SEO Packages today and get your rankings moving in the direction your business deserves.
Author: Laurie Turnbull
SEO & Digital Marketing Specialist based in Auckland NZ
Laurie is an SEO Specialist with a passion for helping small and medium sized business succeed online.
Need help with your SEO?
Give me a shout atLaurie@digitalcontentmarketing.co.nz