3 Tips for Improving Your Online Business Presence
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Use local search to drive prospects to your website.

Four in five consumers use search engines to find nearby products, services, and experiences, according to recent Google research.1 And those searches lead to action: within a day of a local search, 34 percent of consumers who sought local information on their computer or tablet made their way to a store, as did half of those who used a smartphone. But are those searches turning up correct information that reflects your brand? Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex discipline, but there are steps you can take, and tools you can use, to analyze and improve your online presence.

Claim your map listings

"The first step in optimizing local listings is to claim and establish your company on respected business listings and data aggregators," says Damon Burton, president of SEO National. "One of the most affordable, effective, and fastest ways to establish your local listings is via an online listing service. These services usually have the capability to submit your business to major data aggregators, who then share your info with other local listing resources down the chain."

Most search engines also offer resources for small business owners looking to improve their local Web presence by allowing you to check to see whether your business information shows up correctly in their searches and to make changes and additions to your business listing. 

Customer reviews improve the effectiveness of your Web profile, as they are displayed as part of search engine results, so encourage your clients to review their experience.

Identify key search terms

An effective SEO strategy is dependent on your ability to understand how customers are finding you online. "Take a step back and think about what you do when you are searching for something. Then put on your small business owner hat and think about your potential customers. What kind of things do they type into that search box to find what they are looking for? You’ll need to build a strategy around those keywords and phrases," advises Andy Hernandez, EVP, head of eBusiness at Regions Bank.

That strategy should include updating your Title Tag and Meta Description and reviewing your site text to ensure it uses those words as frequently as possible (without sacrificing clarity or user experience). You may also want to consider creating a content marketing plan for regularly producing new content that includes your keywords.

Assess your competitors

"Competitors in a similar space may already have a well-rounded view of which keywords your business would like to rank for. It’s an easy way to catch up to sites that are already ranking and have exposure to consumers," says Laura Cryst, SEO analyst at Frontier Communications. "Competitors may also have references, resources, and links to credible organizations and information. If applicable, take note of these and find a way to tailor them to your business’s website."

Link building is a credible way to improve your search ranking. Cryst suggests reaching out to relevant companies and sources to discuss sharing links to each other’s sites. "Having direct links to credible, usable information will promote a healthier ranking and help your business establish credibility with consumers in your market," she says.

SEO takes time and hard work, and you may want to consider partnering with an expert. "Don’t assume this is out of your budget," says Hernandez. "Do a little legwork. Some companies offer performance-based models that allow you to pay only when positive results are achieved."

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This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and irs.gov for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.