Tips to Get More Customers From Search Rankings
You’ve opened your business and you created a website. Now what? This guide will provide you with 7 vital tips that will transform your business from just getting by to a powerhouse of customer leads and sales!
Even if you strictly do all your business offline, the reality today is that almost everybody will only find you through an online search. Long past are the days of a Yellow Pages listing and a small community advertisement. The fact is, 97% of people looking for a business to solve their problem (be it a plumbing issue, planning a party or simple hunger), searched online to find it.
If you have a physical location, 85% of people would have looked up Google Maps to see where you are.
You MUST have a presence online to survive, and more than that, you MUST be listed in the search engines so customers can find you.
This guide includes 7 tips to illustrate how to climb and rank in the search engines, and how to stay there.
Tip #1: Keyword Research
Before you begin to rank in the search engines … you need to know what your potential customers are typing in. You won’t gain much traffic if you rank for terms completely unrelated to your services!
To do this, first brainstorm what terms a potential customer might type (or speak) in order to find your business. If you are a plumber in Brooklyn, they might type one of these keywords in:
- Plumber in Brooklyn
- Drain cleaning
- Licensed Brooklyn plumber
- Residential plumbing services
- Plumbing repairs
- New York plumber
- Emergency plumber
- Sewer cleaning
List all these terms down in a spreadsheet. Next, you can use a tool that actually researches keywords. The best of these is Google itself, in their Keyword Planner. It is part of their Adwords program, but you can sign up for a free account and pretend you will start an Adwords PPC campaign … but actually don’t.
Type in a keyword term, and Google will give you a multitude of ideas:
Google returned 310 keywords for you related to “plumber in Brooklyn” … this should give you plenty of ideas for keywords! As a bonus, Google will also return a range of numbers for monthly traffic. This is the amount of times people searched for that keyword phrase in a month.
As you can see, people typed in “emergency plumber Brooklyn” far more than “plumber in Brooklyn” … something you will want to keep in mind.
Google is constantly updating their algorithms and rules for using the tools that they offer… so if you have any trouble accessing the Keyword Planner, try looking into some other free keyword tools offered online.
Tip #2: Look at Your On-Page SEO
What to do with all these keywords? Now that you have an idea of what your customers are searching for, it’s time to put some of them into your website … but in a natural way. Don’t just fill your home page with words such as “Find a plumber in Brooklyn ny if you have an emergency plumber in Brooklyn licensed plumbers in Brooklyn will clean your drains …” This will get you banned from Google real quick.
Instead, write sentences and paragraphs for your website that naturally includes these keywords. So, thinking of a selection of keywords found in Google, you can write something like this:
“We are licensed plumbers in Brooklyn servicing the 5 Boroughs. Do you have an emergency? We are available on-call 24/7. Our services include sewer and drain cleaning, water heater installation and plumbing repair.”
This is natural sounding, but includes many of the keywords people search for, such as licensed plumbers, Brooklyn, emergency, sewer cleaning, drain cleaning, etc.
Sprinkle your keywords all over your page, but in a natural, informative way. Whatever terms you want to rank for, add them to the following elements:
- Your Title
- Your Meta Description
- Your H1 header tags
- Within paragraphs
- In your navigation
Other on-page factors to keep in mind include:
The speed of your website – Use a quality web host and proper website software, such as WordPress. If you are using WordPress, do not overload it with plugins. Each plugin slows your site down just a little bit. WordPress also has special plugins to increase your website speed.
Quality content – You can increase your exposure through high-quality instructional blog posts related to your business (ie “how to unclog a sink” if you are a plumber).
Social proof – Though not officially a ranking factor, social proof is a very powerful method to increase sales and indirectly affect SEO rankings.
Customer testimonials, endorsements and reviews will have visitors staying on your website longer, convincing them that you are the right business for the job they need performed.
These testimonials and reviews also add to the keyword-rich content on your website, further improving the odds you will rank in Google.
NAP (For local businesses) – Name, Address, Phone. Make sure your business name, business address and phone number appear on every page of your site – usually in the header and/or footer. This is very important, as we will see in Tip #4.
Tip #3: Perform an SEO Audit
Once you have your content and other on-page SEO factors complete, it is time to perform an SEO audit. What is this? It’s checking that your website could rank well in Google search.
First, it’s time to register in Google. While Google will likely find your website anyway, we might as well encourage them as much as possible to find and index your website and all your pages. To do this, register at Google Search Console:
Once you add and verify your website, you will begin to see data about your website:
The Google search console will scan your website for any errors, usability issues, security, etc that could all impede your rankings.
You can also check Google itself to see if all your pages are indexed. Go to Google and type in site:yourdomainname.com. Google will return all the pages in its database. If some pages are not included, it’s either because they are too new or there are some problems.
Finally, check the site speed of your website. Google loves website to be fast, and anything above 80% is decent. Check your website here:
Tip #4: Local Search
So far, we have been talking about search engine rankings, but what is known as “organic search” … these are the regular search results you are familiar with.
However, if somebody’s intent is to search for something locally, Google will first present them with local search results before the regular results.
That means, even if your website is #1, in a local search a group of (usually 3) local business listings and Google Maps will instead appear first:
Does this mean you need to create another listing? Actually, yes. Along with your website, you need a local listing in Google Maps.
The next question, naturally, is how to get in this “three pack” of local results? Google states right on their local search page how they determine local ranking. They are:
Relevance – How well does your business match what the user is searching for?
Distance – How far away is your business from where the user searched?
Prominence – How well-known is your business?
Prominence is an important one. This ties into your website and how well your business ranks in organic search. Prominence also ties into the next two tips, which help in making your website more popular and with a great reputation.
Back to Google Maps. If you have been open for a while, chances are somebody has already listed you. If not, you can create a listing and begin ranking in local search, as well as rank in regular search with your website. This actually gives you TWO opportunities to increase traffic to your business.
To create your local listing, go to Google My Business:
Once you set up a listing and verify it (usually through a PIN number or physical mail to make sure your mailing address is real), you can add details such as:
- Your business name (exact same as the “NAP” details on your website)
- Hours of operation
- Photos of your business
- Virtual video tour of your premises
- Your address (same as NAP)
- Your location on Google Maps
- Your services
- Your phone number (same as NAP)
- Your website address
Tip #5: Citation Building
Merely having a listing on Google Maps just announces that your business exists. Now you have to rank it in local search.
To do that, you need to have citations pointing to your business. What are citations?
Citations act as “mentions” and “votes” from other authority websites and reviewers, which helps you begin ranking in the local search listings.
Examples of citation sources include:
There are literally thousands of places to gain citations, most of them specific to a type of business and niche.
For instance, if you are a car dealership, you would also include your business listing in places like Edmunds.com and Autotrader.com.
If you are a pizza restaurant, you would also list your business in Zomato.com and Localeats.com.
Just like with Google Maps, you may have to claim your business on these websites. And there could be dozens of them. Some may be accurate about your business, while others may have wrong or misleading info. You won’t know who left a review about you or who created your listing in the first place until you do a search for your business.