1. Claim your business on Google My Business
Google is usually the place most web users start from when searching for products online. If you want to be found by these users, you need to claim your free listing on Google My Business page which will help Google locate you. After creating your Google My Business page and Google+ page, thoroughly post lots of useful content such as words, videos and images.
Also, Google will favourably look at you if you provide a continued stream of updates, images and videos everyday.
You should also get as many user reviews as possible on Google. When you get five reviews, your yellow stars will start to display allowing your visibility to increase.
2. Content Marketing
In today’s world, customers are more information-focused than ever before, searching for valuable information and genuinely useful content. This is where content marketing comes into.
You'll need lots of content for the search engines to find and figure you out through their machine learning algorithms. Without content, it is impossible for the search engines to get to know and trust you.
So, to achieve real success, you need to create compelling, useful content on a continual basis. Writing only a few articles and posting them on your Facebook page is not enough. You have to constantly churn out fresh, superb content that is up to date.
The content shouldn’t overtly advertise your business, but it can be based on any topic in the field you serve. A smart way of going about it is to educate to sell and solve consumer problems and answer questions, instead of just selling.
It is also extremely advantageous to deliver this content in a variety of formats as it will increase its appeal to your audience and become easily shareable. Use your blog and interlinked social media profiles to distribute your content. Make sure this content includes images, videos, infographics, pdfs, white papers and others - which are relevant and relate to your written content.
When it comes to blogging and content creation, make sure you provide quality content over quantity. And the more often you will publish, the better it is for your online presence.
And remember to keep your blog posts scannable, with breakouts, lists, bullets, images and bold. Also, use keywords and naturally and include both internal links (linking to pages within your site) and external links (linking to other sites); as they still matter even in today’s semantic search world.
3. Make use of visuals in your marketing
Visuals are king right now. Mike Blumenthal tells us that Google really, really wants our images, particularly in your Google My Business profiles. This is super powerful for the travel and tourism industry.
And did you know that the search engine algorithms can actually read what is in your images? So, ensure that any images you use, relate directly to your content. Your images help provide context to the words for the search engines.
Video is rising rapidly in popularity. 96% of consumers find video useful when they are buying online.
YouTube is where it all happens for video. And here is something else you ought to know – Google owns YouTube. And as I preach: if you love Google, Google loves you back. Here are a few tips to optimise your YouTube videos:
- Prioritise YouTube and upload all your videos onto this search engine. YouTube videos feature high in SERPs for relevant keywords and comments often appear as individual posts on Google+. These will be very helpful in enhancing your online presence.
- When creating the title, be as descriptive as you can and try to use keywords
- Tag as many videos as you can, but ensure they are relevant to and fit with your brand and target audience
- Video descriptions are searchable content and you should, therefore, provide detailed descriptions
- Include the name, address and phone number of your business or destination in the description in the same format as it appears on your Google My Business listing
- Include your website URL in description.
4. Use social media to distribute content and engage with potential customers
Social media is a powerful tool to make your stand in online presence. But you have to get it right to reap the maximum benefits. Your content must be engaging, of interest, and genuinely useful to your customers.
I like to view social media as a distributor of your amazingly useful content.
The more engaged your followers are, the more they share, like and comment on your content, the more inbound links to your site it generates and this adds greatly to your SEO ‘juice’.
Engagement helps your trust, reputation and authority. Shareability and the fact that your followers click on your links indicates to the search engines that you distribute content that is relevant and interesting to your target market.
Always remember, it is more important to have 100 truly interested and engaged followers than 1000 followers who do not engage with or share your content.
Successful social media marketing is about creating and/or joining online conversations which keep your audience (followers) involved and engaged.
Always encourage your customers to leave reviews on Google My Business and other platforms and try to actively respond to all of them in a helpful, informative and positive tone. Great responses to negative comments can sometimes be your best friend.
Your job is to provide meaningful, useful and high-quality content that is fresh and updated on a regular basis. Try as much as you can to interact with those who see your content. Always respond to comments.
When coming up with content, always be true to your brand personality. Find your unique voice (as an important part of your online identity) and let people recognise you. Your authentic voice will define your online presence.
5. Mobile marketing
Mobile is the future of the Internet. The majority of internet users and travellers now access the web using a mobile device, and if you don’t have a mobile friendly site these potential customers will become easily frustrated with your brand, and most likely abandon you for a competitor.
You can check your own site with the Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tester tool to determine whether your site is mobile friendly. Just plug your URL into the tester tool to find out if you’re responsive.
It will let you know if you are or you are not mobile friendly. And if not, it will tell you what you need to do to make it mobile friendly.
Aside from cross-device compatibility, make sure your website is speedy and easy to navigate. Content should be easy for search engines to parse and for users to scan. Include prominent calls to action, easy-to-fill forms, and anything else that enhances navigation.
Now a recap. The five actions that you need to focus on this year to optimise your online and digital presence:
2. Google My Business
5. Social media
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