The internet has transformed the way that business market to consumers. Gone are the days when a sign on the street corner was enough. Now, companies that aren’t online don’t even exist thanks to a mobile-first customer base that wants to research the options first, rather than drive around or look in a newspaper. Now, your prospects will look at your reviews before they ever step foot in your door. They’ll find your competitors while they’re searching for your ads. They’ll trust the online community before they trust slick headlines. So what can a local business do to bring customers in fast? The answer is simple: SEO.
Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, are the marketing steps involved to make it easier for search engines to find and correctly categorize your website. Search engines work by transforming keywords or questions into results that are relevant. Google’s algorithms take keywords, location, past relevancy, and usability into account when they rank your website. SEO marketing increases the likelihood that prospects will find your website naturally, as opposed to you paying for ads.
How Search Engines Work
Search engines are computer programs that crawl the web and index content in databases which are then subject to various analytics and tagging. The structure of a website helps the bots flag and sort information. Your headline text, the words used in the pages and posts, and meta keywords all contribute to how a search engine sorts your site. The goal is for your business to show up first when someone searches for a provider in your area. Fortunately, there are ways to increase the likelihood of that happening.
Step 1: Create a Business Page
Even if you have a business website, it helps to create business landing pages for each search engine and merchant profile site. A business landing page is a profile that will come up in search results on Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, and others. It’s a page that will list your company name, location, address, contact information, hours, and website. The information on this page will show up in local searches and is like a modern phonebook ad. Make sure that the information is consistent and updated.
Step 2: Incorporate Local Meta Tags
A second way to implement SEO marketing is to use local tags in your website meta information. These tags help search engines categorize your business appropriately to direct the right people to your site. One thing to keep in mind is that the tags used in automotive SEO optimization will not be the same as one used for a spa. When you write your website content, make sure that any keywords you use include localizations. For example, write “Cleveland Auto Body Repair” instead of “Auto Body Repair” for better SEO. Place these tags into the footer of your website and into the keyword sections of your content management system.
Step 3: Publish Valuable Content
Finally, smart SEO involves creating valuable content. This is called inbound content marketing and ties in with SEO marketing. In inbound content marketing, you create articles, videos, blog posts, ebooks, or infographics that impart your industry knowledge to others. Interactive content also scores high in shareability on social media. This knowledge is often answers to search questions, which brings in traffic. If your information is valuable, you will be seen as more trustworthy and therefore more deserving of business than the business provider down the street. Customers already know and trust you before they even do business with you. This is SEO at work for you.
Step 4: Incorporate Social Media
Search engines like Google value social media integration more than ever. This isn’t the 1990s and static pages do not work for SEO. This is because search engines look for relevancy, and nothing screams relevant more than content that is visited and shared frequently. Most content management solutions will have a way to add in social sharing links, so make sure those are turned on and connected whenever you post content to your website. Sharing links to your business social media accounts are another way to boost traffic back to your site which will also increase your website’s relevancy in searches.
SEO tactics change frequently as the search engine algorithms are tweaked. Keep in mind that no matter what happens to the algorithms, businesses that offer engaging content, useful information, and social interaction will always rank highly in search engine results. And higher search engine results equate to more leads every time.
Timothy Martell is a marketing expert regularly sought out by both media and industry leaders for his opinion on social media marketing campaigns that really work. Timothy has been seen on MSNBC and Dateline, has been interviewed twice by Facebook for his successful dealership advertising campaigns, has been a featured speaker at automotive conferences such as, DMSC, AMBC, and the Driving Sales Executive Summit and has been featured on the cover of AutoSuccess magazine. Timothy is known for pushing the boundaries of conventional automotive thinking and producing social media campaigns that generate massive numbers of followers leading to record ROI. Martell founded Wikimotive in 2010; a company that provides all encompassing digital marketing strategies for automotive dealerships including website design, customized SEO, and social media marketing that focus on targeting and acquiring many thousands of consumers who ultimately become followers of his clients social media outlets. Critically acclaimed as a Social Media Rockstar, Martells marketing systems consistently produce results that are of Rockstar status. Wikimotives social media management systems remove the tedium of finding and identifying consumer-engaging content from the dealer all while educating the dealers key personnel on how to utilize the most important social media platforms in order to generate and retain business.