93% of online experiences begin with a search engine like Google, Yahoo! or Bing.
If you’re like us, you need potential clients to find you online when they search for you. Period.
As you can imagine, there are lots of people searching Google for web design companies. And the competition is fierce. We all know that very few go to page 2 of Google searches. So, if we’re not on the first page for searches like “dallas web design” or “web design tyler tx,” we may as well be on another planet. To avoid playing digital hide-and-seek, we needed to perform a series of tasks aimed at optimizing local search visibility.
Here is a sneak peek as to how we did it and how you can do it too.
Step 1: Set up & complete your Google My Business profile.
This is your first and most crucial step.
Google your business address. Copy the address precisely as Google has it. Don’t modify it or change it in any way. If your phone number is listed there using dashes between the numbers, don’t use dots on your website.
You will also need to have the Google My Business listing fully filled out or completed as much as possible. The more, the better. Get all the correct sizes on your logos and cover photo and be sure and add all your products or services.
Make sure there is a way to gather and promote local reviews for your listing as well.
2. Set up your other business citations.
Google My Business will be your primary citation, but you still need scores more. They all need to be verified and completed and 100% consistent with each other. An excellent tool to acquire these is to use a service like BrightLocal.
Google is looking for a good user experience. If someone wants to get in touch with you, can they do that easily from the listing you provide? Is it confusing? Are they working?
Make sure your website has pages for each product or service that you plan to market.
This will allow you to use various keywords throughout, which will greatly enhance your chances of visibility. Google wants to direct traffic to the sites that have content specified to the interest of its users.
This helps with SEO and gives the best user experience, which is one of Google’s top-ranking factors.
4. Create pages for your service areas.
You will also need “city pages” if you offer in a specific geographical area.
EX: HVAC companies operating in North Texas will want to have pages for each city in North Texas (“hvac company dallas tx”, hvac services denton tx”).
You can do the same with counties. Be as specific as you can. You could even go into neighborhoods and even streets. It all depends on the search volume related to your business.
5. Make sure all On-Page SEO is done to perfection.
Ensure that all the alt tags and meta descriptions are completed. Make sure that your heading hierarchy is done correctly (H1, H2, H3, etc).
A good web design team will also make sure that your internal linking structure is optimized, giving you better chances to outrank your competition. But more importantly, a well-organized website is simpler and easier to navigate.
6. Continue creating relevant content.
Give the people what they want. Free stuff!
Continuously generate content that your visitors will want to read, bookmark, and share with friends. The more you beef up your site with relevant content, the longer your visitors will stay on your site and the more authority your pages will have.
The best way to do this is to blog. Posting 600-800 word posts once or twice a month will go a long way to push you past your competitors, who like you, are probably too busy to make these posts, but who also don’t realize their value for local recognition.
The most critical part of any business is also the most neglected.
A company brand.
Branding is your business. There isn’t a question as to whether or not you will have a brand. That is a given. The question is whether or not you will build your brand or have one built for you.
Your “brand” is your reputation. It is how you are perceived in the eyes of the public.
When many start their businesses; they do all the necessary legal stuff like getting their licenses in place, opening up a bank account, etc. Once they can say they exist, then what? Most leap immediately into advertising. This is a mistake.
The best place to start is with your website and a branding strategy. We believe those two can be done at the same time and in tandem with one another. In this post, we will show you how, but first, we need to clarify a few things.
What is the difference between branding and marketing?
Marketing is branding. Let’s put it this way; if marketing were driving a car, then a brand would be the car. Marketing teams like us help you build that brand; then we give it a face and promote it (or drive it).
That is marketing. Establishing a brand and perpetuating it out to your target audience.
You might be thinking, “Okay, but I still don’t see the need for a brand. I mean why can’t I just be who I am, work hard, maybe hire a salesperson and just let the chips fall where they may.”
One of the reasons you need to be proactive in marketing and branding is because business today is extremely challenging and competitive. To be successful in almost any industry requires you to think proactively and strategically about your place in the market. Branding yourself is step one.
Another is because the whole concept of “selling” is slowly dying. Products and services are bought, not sold in today’s economy. People buy brands that are already “pre-sold” by the companies marketing efforts.
It is the reason we pay a lot for a cup of coffee from Starbucks when we could get a much cheaper one at a donut shop or a gas station.
It is the reason we pay $1000 for a smartphone from Apple or $500 for a shirt from Gucci. It is why we buy Heinz ketchup or Energizer batteries almost without even thinking about it.
We are buying a brand.
How to create an effective brand
Branding is about perception and perception is what sells. Branding is a more effective way to sell. Marketing is the process of communicating that perception repeatedly until it sticks and stays stuck in the public’s mind.
(1) Narrow your target audience and service to them.
In other words, don’t try and do too much for too many or try and please everyone: the narrower your focus, the more potent your brand.
(2) Don’t be afraid to be different.
Different is good. Our natural instinct tells us to fit in and be like everyone else. We want our colleagues to see we are adhering to the industry standards. To some degree this is okay, but fitting in also means not standing out, and that ultimately means you become the proverbial “needle in a haystack”. Really you become a “piece of hay in a haystack”. Why follow when you can lead?
(3) Being first is better than being better.
People don’t care about better. They want what is new and fresh. If you ask many business owners what stands out about them, they will begin to tell you how much more skilled, safer, or more trustworthy they are than their competition. The only problem is, their competition is saying that too. Instead of getting into that unending war with them, find some way to be innovative and different. Find a way you can own a word in the public’s mind in a way no one else can. As your marketing team, we can help you establish that unique standing in your industry.
What about advertising?
Once you have established a brand and are effectively communicating it, advertising keeps it healthy. Advertising keeps your competition from moving in on you. But it should typically come after you have established a brand.
New businesses are prone to set up shop and then start pouring countless dollars into things like Google Ads. The problem with that is once you stop paying for those ads, everything stops and nothing remains. You are once again, out of sight/out of mind in the world of your customers.
But if you have sufficiently branded yourself and steadily marketed that brand, then advertising will help maintain it. Today’s most powerful brands are built up with publicity and then kept there by advertising.
How does a website fit into all this?
Your website is the face of your brand. It can also be where it begins and where the promotion of it takes place. For your business to soar, you need to have a website that helps establish and skyrocket your brand in your desired location(s).
Your website is often the first encounter with your customers and therefore, their first impression with you. What they think of you or about you will begin online and on your site.
How can a website help your brand? A new website is a great way to begin asking some fundamental questions about your brand and then watch those answers come to life.
(1) Why are you in business?
It seems obvious – to make money. Or maybe, you got a great product or service no one else has. But for many, it runs deeper than that.
Read the Starbucks mission statement for example,
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
Starbucks isn’t selling coffee; they are selling a feeling—they are selling a brand.
Chances are you didn’t just get into your line of work just to make money. Think about what inspires you and communicate that to your visitors. That can be the headline on your About page. It can be your mission statement that speaks to the heart of your customers.
(2) Who are you in business for?
Who will comprise the traffic to your website?. Who do you want there? When you have a website made, your marketing team should assist you in brainstorming who that is and what they want.
Everything should be done with them in mind, including style, font, color, images, etc.
What will the copy sound like? It will sound like them. Are they professionals? Are they laid-back country folk? Your website can help establish your voice in a way that resonates with them.
(3) What is your main offer?
The headline on the Home Page should tell them what your primary proposal is for them. Make it irresistible. The rest of the home page fleshes that offer out. All your benefits that you mention on the site enhance that offer. The content of the entire website should stay lasered in on that offer and the Call To Action (CTA) will help them know how they can get access to it.
(4) How will you promote your brand?
Websites are the hub of all your digital marketing efforts. Everything you do on social media or via email will either come from your website or lead to it.
One of the best ways to promote a brand is through blogging. Consistent content that comes from your site that engages your readers and provides useful and practical information that will only enhance your reputation. It gives your “should be” customers the chance to get to know you and be helped by you, even before they have chosen to work with you.
A great website doesn’t only look good and function well, but also effectively helps you begin and continue to do the most important thing you can do – be a fantastic brand! The Copy Rocker can help you do just that.