As we consider the topic of small business ranking factors, it’s important to keep in mind that people spend the majority of their disposable income very close to their homes. That’s why local SEO figures so prominently in any serious discussion of SEO strategy for small businesses.
Local SEO—What It Is & Why It’s Important
The internet puts your website in touch with the world. But the world that really matters to a small business is the local one. Local SEO is a vital part of small business marketing in the 21st century, and consists of strategies that have been designed to make your website rank higher for an audience in close proximity to your business.
If a large majority of your business comes from a local target audience, it only makes sense to direct a lot of your energies to capturing their attention. You want their web traffic much more than web traffic from the other side of the country. Local SEO is how you attract the people most likely to do business with you.
Small Business Ranking Factors: You Should Do This
Get Your On-Page Optimization in Order
It’s possible to have wonderful content that is terrible from an SEO standpoint. If you have no keyword strategy, for example, your pages will easily be outranked by others that do.
Get Your NAP and GMB in Order
NAP (name, address, phone number) tells Google exactly who you are, where you are, and how people can contact you. It’s sort of the bare minimum requirement to be viewed as a legitimate small business.
Clearly, your NAP is important. And it’s crucial that every time it appears on your website that it is 100% correct. This may seem like an obvious point (and it is) but it’s surprising how many websites screw up a routine administrative task like this.
It’s not just NAPs that you need to be concerned about. GMB (Google My Business) is another component of local SEO that is of vital importance. It’s smart to think of your Google My Business listing as a second homepage that is living offsite. Most SEOs are of the opinions that GMB is the most important mention of your small business on the web. In terms of small business ranking factors, it’s a big deal. For that reason, it’s crucial that your GMB is both accurate and complete.
Get Reviews from Happy Customers
One of the most effective small business ranking factors is a large collection of positive online reviews. When others speak highly of your small business, there’s an effective marketing tool.
Remember, however, that good reviews often don’t happen by themselves. It’s always a good idea to encourage loyal customers to give you a good review. Don’t assume that just because they like you that they’ll think of giving you a review. You have to actively solicit reviews from happy customers.
Small Business Ranking Factors: You Should Not Do This
Upload Spammy or Unnatural Content
To get a good ranking on Google, some small businesses fall into the trap of easy solutions like black hat marketing techniques. The trouble is that these aren’t solutions, they’re just problems.
Trying to cheat your way to a good Google ranking happens all the time. Websites put up marketing content overloaded with keywords, which is known as keyword stuffing. This is a terrible idea for two reasons:
- Google will definitely figure out the deception sooner or later and penalize the offender
- Keyword-stuffed web pages read very poorly, which harms the viewer experience
In the end, rankings dishonestly obtained will always backfire on small businesses (or any kind of personal or professional website).
Have Incorrect or Out-Of-Date Information on Your Website
This is a problem, especially if your website contains a significant number of pages and is harder to monitor. The bigger the website, the easier it is to not notice certain content that needs to be updated or deleted.
Let’s say you’ve moved your location. If you don’t update every single mention of the new address, you risk looking illegitimate. Every day that false information resides on your website only compounds the problem.
Utilize Fake Reviews
This can be a huge temptation, especially if your small business is just getting off the ground. However, fake reviews are often easily spotted by viewers. They tend to be overly positive, almost to the point of absurdity. The other red flag is if you have a lot of reviews and virtually none of them are critical. When viewers see that, they often get suspicious of all of your reviews. Consequently, they may post reviews accusing you of putting up fake reviews. They may even quote lines from reviews that sound particularly fake.
When something like this happens, your reputation suffers, which in turn negatively affects your Google ranking as well as your rate of web traffic. In the master list of small business ranking factors, this is a big one.
Your Small Business Website Can Rank Better
There are many things your small business can do that will either raise your website’s Google ranking or plunge it straight into the ground. Just remember that honest, ethical small business ranking factors should always be a part of any ethical marketing strategy.
If you’re looking to improve your search engine ranking, we can help. Dreamscape Marketing has the knowledge and experience necessary to take your website to the next level of success. Call us at [direct] and let’s discuss your new digital marketing plan. Also, be sure to check out our small business marketing resources!