It’s the time of the year when we begin thinking and reflecting on the past and make goals for the future. If you’re a small business owner, updating or rebranding your website might be on your new year’s resolution list. What are the qualities of a local website that make it favorable among search engines? And how can you embrace the technology of the future to make sure your site is optimized? Your website is a core element that can build credibility and trust, reach your audience, and share your core story. Here are the main ways you can build a search approved local website!
Quality Content and Information
You’ve heard it before, quality trumps quantity, and that is extremely true in regard to your local website. As Google and other search engines want to be your only source of searching, they want to prove that their results are informational and accurate for all consumers. They utilize machine learning and AI to make sure each website supports the customer journey. The more helpful and accurate the information you’re sharing is, the more trust you create with both search engines and users alike. This is exemplified in the “know, like, and trust” model.
“Know” is in reference to understanding your ideal client. Your content should show that you understand the problems and headaches your customers face. And should show that you’ve listened and have come up with the perfect solution for them. “Like” refers to your own point of view. Your content is a reflection and extension of your brand and core story. The more you share about your “why”, the more like-minded consumers will want to support your local business. Finally, quality content is aimed to help your ideal client begin to trust you before you even meet. Accurate and compelling content is a means of showing your knowledge and expertise in your industry. And structured customer reviews using Schema allows the customers who already adore you sing your praises on your behalf.
Links are the means in which internet crawlers are able to find your site. Links to and from other websites can create both more visibility and higher rankings within search results. The thing with linking, however, is that you can’t just link to link. Search engines are able to tell the difference between a natural link and unnatural ones. Natural links are organic in the sense that they make sense with the content it’s associated with. Unnatural or forced links are those that seem out of place. Search engines see them as artificial and as a means to manipulate ranking results. Only organic links will be able to help your site increase its rank and indexing ability.
In regard to other sites wanting to link to your site, remember what we just discussed about quality content. Quality content is a great way for other sites to use your expertise as a resource. The more other sites link to yours (organically, of course) the more search engines will find your site favorable.
Accessibility and Mobile-Optimized
The last thing you want is an unapproachable or intimidating website. What we mean by that is your site should have a rational and logical structure – a navigation menu (with dropdown menus if necessary) and bold “calls to action” buttons that allow viewers to find each page.
A mobile-optimized site makes your business even more available to potential customers. When a site isn’t mobile-friendly, it can cause frustration, and in most cases, causes that user to search for another business with an approachable interface. When your website utilizes responsive website design (RWD), your content will adhere to different screen sizes and devices.
What Not to Do
Now that we’ve talked about the main things you should be doing when you are building a search approved local website, here are the things you need to avoid:
- Keyword stuffing – the frowned-upon practice of “stuffing” excessive amounts of keywords into the HTML, tags, and ALT attributes
- Crawler-only pages – crawler pages are site pages not intended for consumers to see, rather only exist for rank ability purposes
- Hiring SEO services from untrusted sources – you don’t necessarily need a fancy SEO expert to optimize your site. If your domain is found to be connected to a service provider that uses deceptive tactics, your site could be flagged.
- Using images to display information (single-use instances) – crawlers and visually impaired users cannot distinguish copy in photo documents – make sure to use ALT attributes to describe what the picture represents to the visually impaired not stuffed with nonsense keywords
Easy to Grasp Takeaways
- Make quality content for your audience, not search engines
- Avoid tempting tricks to try and increase rank/searchability – think about it as a fad diet compared to holistic living as a means to get healthy!
- Keep the experience user-friendly and mobile-optimized
- Avoid blank (crawler-only) content pages, stuffed keywords, and forced links.
Not Sure Where to Start or Can’t Afford a Search Approved Local Website?
Google My Business is now offering one-page, free business websites through its business profile service. Its built-in features allow for a stand-out call to action buttons that let customers call, message, book services, place an order and even get a quote. A Google My Business website is a great way to share your business’ story through posts, photos, menus, and more! It only takes a few steps and since it’s a Google product, it will help your business get found in different search engine results pages!