Hi. This is Tony Messer and welcome to my podcast. And today, we’re going to be looking at how to be the number one ranked business in your town. Okay? Everyone wants to be number one. A number one ranking business in Google is going to get the lion’s share of traffic. That means they’re going to be getting the lion’s share of the business. So we want you to be up there and this is how you do it. Okay? So nothing I’m going to talk about today is complicated or expensive, or long-term or anything like that. You just need to focus on getting these things done.
Get Some Local Listings
So the first thing that I want you to do… I’m not even going to ask you to look at your website. The first thing you’re going to do is you’re going to go and get some local listings set up. And the main ones that you’re going to do are Google My Business, you’re going to do Bing Places for business, and Yahoo Local. And these are really important. You know, there’s no special technique or anything like that. You just need to sign up. They’re absolutely free. You need to make sure that you optimize your listings and fill in all of the details that they give you, not just the basics. You’ve got to put everything in there, including a map, a full description of your business, and things that people are likely to search on to find you.
Get Some Reviews of Your Business
Now, the next thing you need to do once you’ve got your local listings set up is to start getting some reviews. Now, we recently did some research in terms of top-performing websites. And one of the key differences that separates the top-ranking websites from the lower down, sort of average-ranking websites was the number of Google reviews. So you need to start getting reviews. And if you go and check the local results in Google, you’ll see what I mean.
Because the top-ranking websites, they tend to have more reviews. And we’re not talking hundreds of reviews here, guys. You know, we’re just talking about a few reviews. Just start off with your best customers. Just send them a link over to your Google My Business page, and just ask them for a review. Okay? You don’t need to go and get hundreds of reviews. Just one or two will get you up and running. Okay?
NAP Citations (Name, Address and Phone Citations)
Next, we have what are called “Name, Address and Phone citations” or “NAP citations.” And this is just, you know… This phraseology, “citations,” this is just some kind of industry term. But basically, what it means is you need to go and find these reputable local listings where you can go and get listed, and there’s loads of them. You’re going to find absolutely hundreds of them. And so there are things like, for example… I’m just trying to find a few. You’ll see things like “118,” “ThomsonLocal,” “Infoserve,” “Yelp,” “Yell,” those kind of locations. Now, some of them will be free. Some of them will have a paid listing option. You just need to get the basic one. All we’re looking here for is to get a link back to your website. Okay? So just take it nice and steadily. You don’t need to go absolutely crazy. You can just get a few every month. That’s all you need to get. Okay?
Also, are there any industry directories that you can get listed in? And check out also where your competitors are getting listed. If you’re a member of a particular trade association or something like that or if there’s some kind of industry directory, make sure that you get listed there. If you’ve got some specific accreditation or certification which gives you the right to be listed on a website, make sure that you claim it. Make sure that it’s pointing to your website. Okay? Very, very important.
Create Product Specific Pages
Then, I want you to think about service or product-specific pages. And what I mean by this is that you need to have a page for every single service that you offer. And this is a really big mistake that I see businesses make, local businesses.
They’ll just have like a Services page and it’ll say, “Oh, we offer the following services.” Wrong. What you need to do is to have a specific page for every service. Otherwise, you’re just spreading yourself too thinly. Google wants to send people to a specific page, to an exact page, so that people can find out exactly what it is that they’re searching for straightaway. All right?
Create Longer Pages
And then make your pages longer. There’s lots and lots of research that’s been done that demonstrates that Google prefers longer pages. And the reason for this is that people stay on the page longer because they’re reading more about you and this reduces what’s called your “bounce rate.” Google tracks all of these things, and your bounce rate is basically how long someone stays on a particular page and then goes back or bounces out of it.
Now, if they’re staying on there for a long time, if they’re reading it and they’re going on to look at other pages in your website, that’s a good sign. And having longer pages encourages people to stay on your website.
On Page Optimization
You also need to think about what’s called “on-page optimization.” Now, I’ve done another podcast on this that goes into this in more detail. But essentially, you need to make sure that you’re getting the basics in place when it comes to search engine optimization.
This is the practice of setting your website up in terms of best practice so that you get the sort of max, biggest bang for your buck when it comes to Google. So you need to make sure that you’ve got your meta tags in place. These are page titles and the page descriptions.
You need to make sure you’ve got keywords in your headings, you’ve got keywords in the URL, and you’re using keywords in your text. Keywords are what people are searching for. If you’re a central heating installation business and you’re based in Wimbledon, you need to make sure that you’re putting that into those keywords – what it is that you do, your profession, central heating installation, and where you’re located. So that’d be Wimbledon, Richmond, Twickenham, that type of thing. Okay?
Importance of Backlinks
Then, you need to start thinking about getting some backlinks to your websites. Backlinks basically is where other businesses, other websites link back to you. Now, you’ve started doing this process with the NAP citations and getting industry directories. But you can also get links…
There’s some quick ways you can get things like links back from suppliers. Maybe you can send them a testimonial and get them to link back to you. So those are important.
Also, think about things like social media profiles. If you sign up for Twitter and LinkedIn, once your account is set up, you can link back to your website. These are free, these are quick, and you can definitely get those kinds of links.
Get a Secure hosting with HTTPS
On a more technical note, you might also want to consider switching your website to secure hosting and getting on a faster platform. So the secure side of it is just called “HTTPS,” and this is like the little green padlock that appears up in the browser bar.
And you’ll need it to buy an SSL certificate for this. There are free SSL certificates available as well, but you need to renew them like every three months. And sometimes if you forget, you know, your site can become insecure, that sort of thing. But SSL certificates, they’re very cheap and you basically install it. Your hosting company can help you to do that.
SSD hosting is super-fast hosting. SSD stands for “solid-state drive.” Basically, there’s no moving parts – you know, traditional old hard drives that have got spinning disks. These are completely 100% electronic and they’re super, super-fast. Why security is important, why is SSD important? Well, basically, Google has stated that they like secure websites.
They prefer HTTPS. Okay? They also said that they prefer faster websites. And they don’t often admit what their ranking algorithm includes, but these are two definite factors that affect it. So you could consider switching over to HTTPS and get your hosting company to help you out there. Or you could upgrade your hosting to SSD, solid-state drive hosting. Your website will absolutely fly.
Have a Mobile Friendly Website
Another Google ranking factor is mobile friendliness and again, this is a stated factor. Google understands that the direction of travel for the web is mobile. People are using their mobiles more and more. Don’t just think they’re sitting at home in front of their PCs or on their laptops. People are walking about your town with their mobiles out. They’re looking for you. Okay? So you need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. It’s called “responsive design.”
Now, if you’re absolutely strapped for cash, if you’re on a low budget, you can get a low-cost mobile website builder. And basically, what you do is you build a little mobile-friendly version of your website and it sits side by side with your normal website. When someone browses on a mobile, the server will detect that they’re browsing on a mobile and present with the mobile-friendly version. The other alternative is next time you come to have your website redesigned, go for what’s called “responsive design.”
Now, you can get lots and lots… If you use a tool like WordPress to build your website, which is what I would recommend incidentally, then WordPress, you can get loads and loads of low-cost WordPress themes. They’re like a template for WordPress and they look absolutely fantastic, world-class quality. But most importantly, a lot of them are responsive built using responsive design, so they’re mobile-friendly. So next time you upgrade your web design, think about switching to WordPress and getting a mobile-friendly website.
Set Up a Blog
Set up a company blog. Okay? Google loves content. And Google, it wants to reward websites that produce content consistently because it’s looking for expertise. So whatever it is that you do, if you’re an accountant, for example, you could talk about lots of issues that your customers face when it comes to preparing their annual accounts, and hints and tips about improving their tax-efficiency or whatever it may be, or tools that they can use, all sorts of things like this. All the sorts of questions that people ask you when they’re considering using your services, or when you sit down with them and you have a meeting with them, that’s exactly the type of content you need to be putting on your blog.
Now, if you don’t know what tool to use, I would definitely recommend WordPress. You just set it up as a little directory on your website “/blog” and then just install WordPress. It’s a free tool. Get your hosting company to help you out there. But WordPress is thoroughly recommended. It’s a great blogging platform. If you can, also think about some creating videos. If you’re creating content for your blog, then why not just improve that and create some content using video? Don’t forget, Google owns YouTube. And if you consider that they by 2021 over 80% of all internet traffic is going to be video content, so you could get ahead of the curve.
Probably, your competitors are going to be a bit hesitant about using video because there’s a higher barrier to entry and they’re a bit shy about appearing on video. So if you can overcome those fears, then you can do it. And it doesn’t necessarily mean standing in front of the camera. You can just pull out an iPhone, you know, pull out your mobile phone, make a quick video about something you’re working on. Or maybe if you have presentations for your business, you can do a screen capture, screen recording and just talk over it, like do a sort of talking presentation. But definitely, think about getting into video. All right?
So there’s a few points to consider there, but nothing that is really, really complex. The point is you just need to get stuck in and just make this stuff happen. All right? So let’s just quickly run through it again then. You’re going to need to make sure that you get those local listings set up with Google and Bing, and Yahoo. Start getting some local reviews. Think about getting some links back to your website with those local listings, you know, the Name, Address and Phone, or NAP, citations. Get listed in industry directories. Create service-specific pages and make them longer.
Think about your on-page optimization. Make sure you get those keywords in the code of your website. Think about switching to secure, fast hosting and make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, or at least have a plan to move towards that setup. Consider setting up a company blog and think about creating content like videos, because that’s more and more popular. All right? I hope you found that useful. And we’ll be creating more and more content for you in our podcast, so I hope you found that useful. Thank you very much and I shall speak to you soon.
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