Poor Man’s Guide: Website and internet advertising on a budget (Part 2 of 3)
Website SEO on a Budget
Self guide to getting your business website on the search engines
Awhile back I wrote the first part of this series, Building a website and doing your own SEO on a budget, sorry it’s been so long for the second article in this series. In this article I’m going to assume that you’ve already launched your website and are now ready to get it out on the net and make it start working for your business. If you’re having trouble with setting up the structure of your website, I encourage you to read my three part series, Website Ranking Factors for Small Business. It was written 2 years ago, but the practices are still essentially the same.
I’ve launched my website, now what?
Now that you’ve launched your website, we need to let the search engines know you exist. First step is to submit your websites home page to the major search engines; Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Copy the url of your home page and go to these pages and submit: Google – Yahoo/Bing. No need to submit every page of your website, the search engines will crawl the site based upon your websites navigation and internal links.
For more advanced users, adding your website to Google Webmaster Tools, and Bing Webmaster Tools can be extremely helpful to find any technical issues with your website, you can also add an xml sitemap to both as well.
Add your business to Google’s local results
This step is critical to achieving rankings in the local maps section of Google. Go to: Google My Business and sign up for a free account, go through all the steps adding as much information possible about your business. Do not use a fake address to try and get rankings in a city you don’t have a home or office, and don’t use a PO Box, use your real address. You’re trying to do this the right way, don’t start off on the wrong foot by putting mis-information on the web.
Upload all the pictures you can, take time to let Google know everything your business does. At the end of the process, your profile, if filled out correctly should measure 100% done, if not take their suggestions and go back and add more content where you should. Since your business is new, most likely Google will require you to verify your business by mail. You should receive the postcard from Google within 2-4 weeks, once you get it, follow the directions to log back into your account, enter the numeric code to verify your businesses information.
It’s also a good idea to do the same exercise with Yahoo/Bing to get included in their local listings: Yahoo/Bing local listings.
Social Media Profiles
Social media profiles build outs should come next. Build out a local business page on Facebook, and Google, if your business is visual using a lot of pictures, consider building out an Instagram account. Don’t go crazy building out accounts everywhere, just do a few so you have time to focus your efforts on just a few properties. Think about your best customers, what social media sites do they use? Build these first, a post religiously on them to gain a following.
Make sure to link your new website on each of these social media profiles, and in return place links on your website to these profiles. This linking will help the search engines understand and make the connection between these properties.
Local Citation Websites
Google understands it doesn’t know everything when it comes to small businesses in your city, so they rely on third party websites that they consider “authoritative” sources. Websites like: Yelp, Manta, Best of the Web, Angie’s List, MapQuest, and Localeze are great places to list your businesses information. There is no need to purchase any type of advertising or placement with these websites, just sign up for the free profiles and fill them out completely. Make sure you use consistent information about your business across all listings.
Your business name, business address, website, and phone number should be the same on all of these websites, and it should be the same information on your website and Google+ page.
Typically I let my clients know that they may wish to use a secondary email address to sign up with these services as part of the deal with getting a listing on their sites involves many, many junk emails and sometimes phones calls on why you should advertise your business on their site.
Local Citation Website Links
The works not over…
Above may seem like a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time, and I agree it is. But don’t stop there. The search engines want to see that your continually adding to your website. Start a blog, write about the questions your best prospects have, and answer those questions like the authority you are on the subject. I’ve had many customers that fear putting the answers to what they do on the web…but the truth of the matter is, the answers are already out there, go ahead and Google the questions. Wouldn’t you rather people came to your website to find those answers?
Read the prior article in this series: Building a website and doing your own SEO on a budget