Improving your Local SEO

google my business map and description

Google My Business – profile and map for SAA IT Testing

As small business owners I’m sure we have all heard about Google and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). We might not fully understand SEO, because it’s a fairly complex subject all about algorithms, search terms and keywords. But if you want your business website to rank higher in search results, then employing a SEO expert will help do that – for a hefty price.

Large companies employ teams of SEO experts to monitor trends, research and analysis data, and constantly update and refresh site pages. For small businesses though, your best Local SEO friend is Google My Business (GMB). 

According to the most recent edition of Moz’ Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, Google My Business continues to be the biggest driver of local SEO success, with quality links coming in at a close second. 

What is Google My Business?

In a nutshell, GMB is a business listing on Google, similar to Yell.com or ‘Pages Jaunes’ in France. But the bonus with GMB is the advantageous local SEO that it brings with it.

GMB was developed to standardise the information that is displayed by Google in Google Search and Google Maps, so you can be found more easily by potential customers. It helps ensure that your customers have up to date information about your local business, for example your opening hours, address, and contact details. Additionally, you can add links to your business website, share posts, offers and other information the same as you can on social media. It also allows two-way communication between you and your customers by allowing them to create reviews and you to respond. 

How does it work?

When you claim your business listing on GMB and you are verified as the owner of that address (you receive a letter in the post with a code to confirm in the GMB set up), you will be a named business location on Google Maps. Your GMB listing will be as detailed as you want it to be, and it will all be highly visible in three important Google areas: 

Google Knowledge Graph

Google Knowledge Graph SAA IT Testing

This is the box that displays your business information. When someone searches on your business name, this panel appears on the right-hand side of the Google Search Results. On mobile devices it will appear near the top. It’s a really useful summary of the information that is important to new and existing customers, especially if they want to contact you. 

If you have several social media sites…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest…your profiles in each one should be consistent. The same goes for Google My Business. And if you have a business logo – display it! 

Make sure you have a profile image so you are more recognisable. Complete the profile section, making it relevant to your business, and appealing to your audience. 

Google Local Park

These are the top Google listings that will appear below a map when someone searches for businesses in a particular location

Google Maps

Pinpoints your business on a map, with a summary of the address, opening hours and provides directions to your location.

Added Extras

As if that wasn’t enough, when you set up your GMB listing you get access to Google My Business Insights, which tells you how many people have searched for your sites, what they searched for and the number of page and post views. 

You can also build a free, single-page business website. This doesn’t mean that it should replace a full-blown business website, especially if you are a hotel or tradesperson. These types of industries will need higher-quality design, comprehensive lists of services and professional photography The GMB version is very limited, but you can add a resume, products, images, services and prices. Use it as an extra social media platform. The ratings and reviews in particular will help your business rank higher in search results. So encourage your customers to give you feedback. Share GMB listing with them, link it to your business website.

Here’s my Google My Business Listing, check it out and see just how much you can do to enhance your online business presence. Get your business noticed. Keep your profile and business details up to date. Improve your Local SEO quickly and easily.

If you need any help or advice setting up your business listing then please get in touch. I’m always happy to help.

SAA I.T Test Consultant

 

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Social Media & SEO

Do you promote your business on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? Did you know that boosting your postings on social media could help your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? 

 

“…it’s a fact that social media properties do dominate the front of the search engine result pages for brand names. Which means, social media profiles indeed have the power to rank in the top 10 results. Social media profiles are a great way to connect to your prospects and customers”

Kyren Smith, Lyfe Marketing

 

So, does social media impact SEO? Well, yes, there is a tenuous link between although it may not be immediately clear or easy to explain. Boosting your postings could improve your search engine rankings and bring traffic and visitors to your website. More traffic means higher visibility in search rankings and ultimately more customers. 

How does it work?

If you write a blog and post the link to this on your Facebook page then it will get liked and shared. If not, then maybe you need to brush up on your blog-writing skills, but that’s another story. Social media is built for sharing, so the more people like and share your blog, the more people see it and your business gets more visibility. Make sure your post settings are public, so if friends of friends see your post they will click on the blog link (the URL), like and share it.. The blog URL is linked to your website so by clicking on the blog link takes traffic to your website. So you are linking the blog to the site and that link is an important factor in  SEO ranking .

According to Google, social media is NOT a factor that directly affects your SEO ranking, but there is evidence that things like ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ are somehow related to your ranking. However, social ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ are definitely a direct ranking factor for Bing.. 

Optimise your Social Media sites

If you have several social media sites…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest…are they consistent?

  • Make sure you have a profile image so you are more recognisable. Complete the profile section, making it relevant to your business, and appealing to your audience. 
  • Wherever possible make sure your profiles include a link to your website and if you have any offers or promotions then try and add a link to those as well. 
  • Be consistent with your posts and blogs and provide regular updates. But bear in the mind the post guidelines for each site because you don’t want it to look like your spamming. For example on Twitter you should post several times a day, but you don’t need to do this with Facebook or LinkedIn. 
  • Posts do better with images. Use eye-catching photos to attract attention. Catchy headline. Great content. And ask people for a share – it’s good, proven optimisation.
  • Use Hashtags because they are Keywords. They help categorise your content and help people find it. Just don’t over do it and use them correctly on the different platforms. Register a brand-specific hashtag and use it on all your posts
  • Review your website and make sure your content is optimised for social media sharing. Add social media sharing buttons. Videos show up in search results so add some into your content. 
  • Interact with people. If someone comments on your post, respond. Join groups and take part in conversations.
  • Keep posting – stay professional, unbiased, credible, approachable, and most of visible.

 

To read more, go to: How does Social Media Impact SEO? And if you need expert help with Social Media marketing, in my opinion there is no-one better than Micala Wilkins at Alacim Social Media Marketing. She has been in the marketing business for several years and has helped me enormously. Remember Social Media does impact SEO but only if you get it right! 

First published 22nd Feb 2020. Updated 9th April 2020

SAA I.T Test Consultant

 

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If you found this useful then let me know – and let your friends know!

 

 

 

Using Hashtags #SEO

SEO logo

We have all seen hashtags on social media platforms and probably wondered what they do and why are there so many. Originally they were used to help filter and organise conversations on Twitter, but now they are present on several social media platforms. Most people find hashtags confusing because they’re not using in a sentence, just tagged on at the end. 

Hashtags are basically ‘keywords’, so they help you to categorise your content and help social media users to find it. Using hashtags in your social media posts will give you more opportunities to have your content in Google search results.

 

They’re particularly prevalent on Facebook (some might even say ‘annoying’), but also seen on Instagram, Twitter and even LinkedIn. But what are they and where can they be used for best effect? How many should I use? Does using hashtags improve my SEO and what can they do for my business?

Answers to all of these questions – and more! – can be found on ‘Social Media Today‘ but if you want a more concise read then I recommend you read ‘Blogging to help your small business‘. It’s informative, well written, and explains why using hashtags is an effective way to build your brand and launch new products and services.

Happy #hashtagging!

SAA I.T Test Consultant

 

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If you found this useful then let me know – and let your friends know!

 

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