SEO today looks very different, if you compare it to back in 2012, and if you have been in the game for awhile, you know this for sure, it keeps changing.
If you’ve being doing SEO for a while, you know that strategies that used to work very well in 2015 just don’t work as well now. And the same is true for local SEO.
It is important to know the strategies that work well right now, while ensuring you stay within Google’s guidelines. local SEO has been a lot easier to dominate in the past, but now, the competition seems to be getting harder and harder, and therefore it is important to make sure that both your on page SEO strategy and off site strategies are intact, to give you a competitive advantage.
Take a look at these 5 SEO strategies you can use in 2017 to help your business get more visibility in the search engines:
Title and meta description tags are still very important when it comes to SEO, because they tell what your page is about. This is what gets displayed in search results, and it tells the search engines and your target audience what services or products you are offering.
Your title tags should be kept at 50 to 60 characters, and your meta description tags should be kept at 160 characters. Just last year, Google increased the character limit for the meta description tags up to 200 characters, but we feel it safe to keep it at 160 to 165 characters.
Make sure that you make the most of your title and description tags, and use them to communicate your offer in the best way. Use tools like Yoast’s SEO Plugin for WordPress, to help you do it properly.
Writing SEO titles and meta descriptions is not as easy as it sounds, they need to be compelling, they need to be descriptive and they need to be unique. They should make your site standout in the midst of your competitors, which is not an easy task.
A lot of people are now using search engines to conduct local searches for the services and products that they are looking for. Yet, many small businesses in South Africa do not claim their local business listings online.
As a small and medium business owner, it is important to get your business listed correctly on all online business directories, like Braby’s, Yellow pages, SA Yellow, Snupit and a few others. You also should be on the look out for niche business directories to list your business on. For example, if you are a restaurant owner, you will want to list your restaurant on places like Eat Out, Epyk Eats, Dining Out and other niche directories.
In order to find directories in your industry, you need to do a search for keywords like “[your city] directory” to find other local directories, for example “Johannesburg Directory”.
Also, make sure that your business’s name, phone number and address on the directories and citation places are the same, on all the directories and citation sites. Discrepancies are just bad, for one, you don’t want Google to be displaying the wrong details, because this will make it difficult for customers to reach you. Secondly, the wrong spelling, lack of business number and the wrong phone numbers can make Google to not show your business at all in search results. And that will be detrimental for your business.
Google My Business (GMB) is a kind of a directory, but its super important because of course it is owned by google. Local businesses need to claim their Google My Business. It’s free to do, so there’s no excuse not to do it. Best of all, it can benefit your business immensely and can get you great exposure online, especially if you take the time and optimize the google listing properly.
Claiming your Google My Business page is easy, simply visit google.co.za/business. Google will make you go through the verification process, where they will send a postcard to your business physical address. The postcard will have a code/pin, that you need to enter on the Google page to verify your business.
This verification process is important, because Google must verify that your business is a legitimate business, and that you actually own the business.
Once you have verified your business, you need to optimize your Google my business page. You will need to have proper description, categories, business hours and all the relevant information. Make sure that your listing has pictures, upload the logo of your business and whatever your products or services are. make sure that your listing is “complete”.
Online reviews are extremely important now, and more businesses realise the impact that they are making on their businesses. Reviews from people who use your products and services can be looked at like a personal recommendation, so you should try at all times to get them from those who use your services or products.
Many people look at these to measure just how good a service or a product is. There are tools like Hootsuite, that can help you monitor your brand, and be alerted everytime someone mentions it. This will make sure that you are aware, when a person leaves a review. Whatever review your business gets, you want to make sure that you respond to it, as that shows just plugged in you are to your audience.
There are many places where your customers can leave reviews for your products and services, but the two great ones that you can start with is on your Facebook page and your Google My Business page. Your target audience are on social media, so when there are things said about your business, they are more likely to see those reviews.
Google is also massive, because those reviews do pop up on the search engines when a person searches for your business.
Having positive reviews will no doubt benefit your business immensely.
Local SEO is important, and using these strategies will put you ahead of many of your competitors.