SEO for your Start Up Business Website

By June 29, 2015Business, SEO
local seo rankings

Starting any new business involves a lot of work, but getting your new website to perform from the off is a challenge met by many new business owners. New websites have a lot of ground to catch up on established companies but there are a few simple, yet highly effective, tips you can follow that may give you excellent results.

Google in particular is using ‘Local Search’ as it’s first list of answers. If they know the searcher is located in Manchester, they will show Manchester based answers first. So how do we start?

1) Business Listings.

The single most important part of the plan. For your new business these should be your first priority.

local-search-resultGetting on Google Maps is possible for some businesses depending upon your local competition and location. This alone may result in getting that much sough after Page 1 result with your Local SEO. The key to this is consistency – The same information repeated across all of the main business listings. This way search engines are more likely to add your listing to its Magic 7 Map Listings.

The simplest way to achieve this is create a spreadsheet with this information on, then copy and paste it across each listing.

  • URL
  • Business Name
  • Description
  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Opening Hours
  • Include Photographs

So what should you do:

First register for Google Business and repeat the process for Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, and Yellow Pages.

These are called Local Citations and are invaluable in potentially getting your business onto that Map Listing. You can refer any other terms here at Moz

Just remember to be consistent. The worst thing you can do is make them all different as this can potentially kill any chance of your local rankings working from day one.

social media2) Social Media Accounts.

Second up will be be professional looking Social Media Accounts starting with Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Again, ensure your details are the same as your business listings. All of these guarantees that all Search Engines know what you do, where you are and how to get in touch with you.

The most common mistake:

The one common mistake new businesses make is not to utilise the business options of each Social Media Platform. Facebook allows you to create a Business Page, Google+ allows the same – These are an addition to your personal page and you get Analytics, options to advertise and a true ‘Business’ platform. To truly open up the possibilities these platforms offer you, make sure you do this correctly from the start.

Not only are they another platform to showcase your business, but they do provide a link-back to your website. Whilst not the most valuable, we all have to start somewhere and these are your first.

on-site-optimisation

3) On-Site Optimisation.

To verify all the above information, you then create a website that mirrors the above information.

It’s great if you can get your new business address on to every single page of your website, if you are using Wordress as your publishing platform this is simple. Just add a footer widget that contains your address and it shows on every single page.

If you are offering a local service, make sure that your homepage shows this clearly and use the keyword in your Title, Description and are the first words shown on your website. If you are supplying Carpet Cleaning in a local borough, make sure that your homepage says this, preferably in an H1 or H2 tag. These are headline tags and are one of the first things the search engines look at to determine what the page is about.

Too often we see new website designs take up these valuable spaces with vague phrases such as ‘Professional Service’, or ‘Value For Money’.

Why is this a problem?

These do not tell search engines any more about your business than any other. Bear in mind though not to ‘Stuff’ keywords in, this will be detrimental and could get you a penalty. Write naturally, do not add a list of every single local borough at the end with your service included and just populate your page with useful, informative content.

As a final tip, if you are able to weave the City or County you service into the URL of additional pages. Taking our Carpet Cleaning company as the example:

www.mynewwebsite.com/carpet-cleaning-manchester/

as opposed to

www.mynewwebsite.com/carpet-cleaning/

Always remember Google is cleverer than you, you cannot fool Google and your main objective is just to ensure Google knows what you do and where you do it.

blog posting

4) Start A Blog.

On every website there is a structure to each page. We have a Home Page, your Services Pages and an Contact Page.

But where do you put things that could be useful to your potential customers – Take this blog post as your example. Yes. A blog page. You can showcase before-and-after case studies, put your opinions across on Industry News or start a discussion. The possibilities are endless.

Creating content, or Content Marketing, is paramount to your success. SEO demands content, keywords and links. If you create this content, you generate keywords and if this content is of interest then people will share it and, hey presto, you get links as well.

This great content is then ready to share on your Social Media profiles. So often clients ask us ‘But what am I meant to say?’ – here is your answer. Create an insightful blog post, share it, promote it and build an audience.

As with your on-site optimisation, just ensure that all your titles, URLs and content is optimised towards your target audience. You will be surprised at just how much traffic and potential business you can gain through a well run blog.

be-different

5) Be Different.

What do we mean by this?

So many businesses offer the same services in the same location and populate their website with the same information as their competitors. Now you tell me how Google is supposed to differentiate that in terms of ranking, and then ask what your potential customers or clients are thinking as well.

Most new websites have a lack of inbound links. That is not uncommon, but doing all of the above could well set you apart from your local competitors in terms of how you appear, how you rank, and how many people are going to call you.

Your final bonus tip is ‘Get Reviews’.

Genuine reviews ARE a ranking factor so if you can get reviews on any of your business listings it can help you stand out from the competition with ease. Note how we state ‘Genuine’. There is no point asking (or perish the thought, buying) reviews for your business. From day one, ask each customer if they would kindly leave a review on any of your business listings or social media platforms.

There you have it – How to set up your New Website for Local Rankings – one free list of a few things it takes to get your local listings. These are all things you can do for free, by yourself and will aid in your climb to the top. They are also all things SEO companies will charge for so save yourself the money today. If you want any further help just contact us.

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • Ken Dowell says:

    One of the things that Google has consistently tried to do in its algorithm changes is to eliminate duplication in its search results. One area where that hasn’t been addressed is in business listings. Search for the name of a local restaurant and more than likely the first page of results will mostly be business listings from third party sites all with substantially the same information. it will be interesting to see if Google decides that is something they should address.

    • Jim Adams Jim Adams says:

      Hi ken and thanks for taking the time to read and reply!

      I know what you are saying and this was a method used a long time ago to register your website with as many Business Directories as possible. Now to quote Moz, an authority on SEO, “Citations from well-established and well-indexed portals help increase the degree of certainty the search engines have about your business’s contact information and categorization”.

      The key to that is the phrase “Well Established”. This means authority directories, such as Google Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, 192.com and other big-hitters. There are a whole host of sub standard directories that are not relevant to your business and this WILL harm your rankings. Do it correctly and you can get your website on the Magic 7 google map, and that alone can get you on Page 1 of Google.

      Please have a look at Moz, it is a wealth of helpful information for businesses regards correct SEO.
      https://moz.com/learn/local/citations

  • Phoenicia says:

    What a useful article. Simple but much needed tips. I admit that I am still coming to grips with some of the more “techy” terms.

    I agree that a business should be advertised well – otherwise people lose interest. Also that you should be clear on the product or service you are offering and lose the unecessary fluff.

  • Jacqueline Gum says:

    Very interesting! These things change at the speed of light these days! Interesting to know that stuffing keywords in will earn you a penalty!

    • Jim Adams Jim Adams says:

      Thanks Jacqueline! Yes, we find many new companies still believe that ramming your content full of keyword variations will work in climbing the rankings, when in fact the complete opposite will happen. As a gauge don’t go over 3% – If you are running WordPress as your platform, the Yoast SEO plugin can ensure this does not happen to you 🙂

  • Donna Janke says:

    Good tips. The point about consistency make sense. A business should put some thought into how they want to present themselves and be recognized. As a consumer, I appreciate the advice about the address on every page. I use the Internet to search for businesses and shops. It is frustrating to find one that I’m interested in having no information about location or hours.

  • Patricia Weber says:

    So glad I happened on this post! It reminds me, I closed my business and changed the name so I better get to Google to get things to reflect this.

    The images you have with this post are fabulous. Did you create them Jim?

  • Marquita Herald says:

    Excellent advice James and information I wish I’d had when I first began blogging 6 years ago. I think one of the most challenging points you raise is “be different” because when most people start out they’re so focused on just trying to figure out what to do next that anything else sends them into overwhelm. I know it was at least 6 months before I was able to stop spending so much time following other people’s advice and start focusing on what I wanted to accomplish. Well worth the effort though, it’s been a great journey!

  • Beth Niebuhr says:

    This is an excellent post and I will pass it on to clients. It is so important to make it obvious what your business will do for clients, what benefits they will get. Telling where it is located, strangely, is often overlooked. Your on-site optimization tips are great.

  • TIMOTHY A DEMPSEY says:

    It was just yesterday that I started adding my business to the map after receiving Google’s verification code in snail mail.

    My only gripe, and it’s a biggie – is that the “Types” of business available in the selection pulldown doesn’t have enough options. No “Front End Developer”, no “Usability Consultant” or even “Freelance Designer”. The most-applicable choices in the pre-populated list have to suffice.
    Kind of a problem, but I’ll tally on anyway.

    Thanks for writing this and adding to Millo Mastermind, my favorite new community.

  • April says:

    Beautiful points, Jim!
    I think one of the more difficult parts of helping folks improve their reach is getting them to understand consistency. Even if you change your message 10 weeks from now, put together your best effort (for now) and tell everyone the same thing.
    Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply