If you own a website then these tips are a great starter to help you boost your online presence. The best thing about these tips is that they cost nothing and are relatively easy to implement. If however it all seems a bit much then why not get in touch and let me help you out! Ok, let’s get started!
Why does it matter?
Having an online business can sometimes make you feel like you’re a drop in a very large ocean. It can be quite daunting, but improving your web presence can significantly increase your customer base and lead to higher sales. Your business may not even sell anything online, but increasing your visibility and interacting with your potential customers can only benefit you. Forming these relationships and continuing to engage with your audience can be a valuable source of new business, whilst also securing your current customers.
What can you achieve?
Every business is different, and let’s be honest, some of them you won’t be able to compete against. They will have teams of staff purely focusing on their own web presence. Unless you can match that commitment they will always trump you. Having said that, the majority of small to medium businesses won’t have that problem, and will only really be competing with their local rivals.
My site for example is set up to show up high for “web design Southampton”. I’m not trying to compete with all the big national web agencies, but the local ones, and local businesses are key to my success. Getting yourself on the first page of google is definitely achievable providing you can be realistic regarding your competition. So let’s move on and see what you can do to boost your online presence without spending a penny!
Set up your site
This is relevant to all search engines but I’m going to focus on Google for obvious reasons. Search engines will send out web crawlers all over the internet. These crawlers will go through your website, checking links, content, titles, loading speeds and even how robust your code is. With a few small tweaks and updates you can really help your site rise through the ranks!
It’s important to give your site title a phrase that not only tells people what it is you do, but can also help you with your google rankings. The title is located in the HEAD part of your website code. If you’re using WordPress or something similar then you can set this inside your site settings.
H1 and other tags.
Google will look for and prioritise your H1 tags. Use something meaningful, and try and include your preferred search term if possible. The H1 title does need to make sense and you can be penalised for just adding it everywhere so make sure the H1 title is appropriate for your page/site. The same goes for your main content. Adding your search phrase is really helpful, but keep it real. Not only can human readers spot this over phrasing but so can the Google algorithm.
Regarding the images in your content, it’s really important to include helpful alt tags, not only for users using screen readers but it can also help your overall rankings. It’s also very important to make sure your images are sized conservatively and using the correct format. JPEG is still the best for photos, but when it comes to other image types it can get a bit more complicated. PNGs are great for their transparent backgrounds, but they can be quite heavy and slow down your page. If your image is (or can be) a vector image then you can use SVG instead and drastically reduce your file size and improve your site loading speed.
Talking of site speed. This is another factor that is taken into account regarding your site ranking. Fast sites don’t get any special treatment, but slow sites will get penalised. The best way to find out is to run your website through GT Metrix and you should also try google’s tool Google Pagespeed. GT Metrix is more about your webserver speed. Google Pagespeed mostly checks your code and offers recommendations to improve your speed. You should check your site with both and make notes of any recommendations. Some will require a professional developer, but even small simple changes can make a big difference.
Set up Google My Business account and analytics
Add your company to google my business. This lets you add more business specific information to Google. You will start to appear on their maps and customers will be able to call your directly from the search page. Once you’ve done this you’re going to want to see if any of these changes are working. This is when you should look at Google Analytics. You will have to sign up your website for an account and add a small bit of code to the header or your website (although there are other ways to achieving this).
Once this is done you will now be able to check your sites analytics. See how many visits you get, what pages they visited, how long they spent looking around and much much more information. You can use this to see what pages are working and what aren’t and as you make changes you’ll be able to see the results there.
Create an account in all the popular social media sites for your business. Post regularly and even share your posts from your website across all of your social media. This is a great way to not only share your content but connect with users in an instantaneous way, allowing conversations, quick support and company engagement. Launching special offers or competitions are a great way to spread the word. Facebook will let you boost a post to a demographic, chosen by you, allowing you to reach thousands of potential customers.
Create useful and interesting content
If you can create something that people will read, then they will also share it. Having your content spread across the web can only boost your online presence. Not to mention creating a point of discussion with your users. Try creating articles that talk about aspects of your business. Educational ones not only help people out but also increase traffic to your website. Make sure you use relevant images (with alt tags!), and use headings to help break up the text.
Keep on top of things
The internet is a fast moving environment. The above tips may help you get much better rankings, but as new content is always generated you will find yourself slipping down the rankings unless you maintain your input. Keep checking your site with GT Metrix and Google Pagespeed and address any issues that show up. Continue writing new articles and share them over your social media accounts, engage with your followers, start conversations and continue to provide support. These simple ideas will make you an asset to the community and you will be rewarded with good rankings and more site visits.