Every business owner wants to rank in Google. They understand this will be a key piece of their marketing toolkit to bring on new business. One of the biggest mysteries for them is their digital footprint. SEO is a part of that digital footprint that seems to be a foreign language to small business owners. To make matters worse, SEO is an ever-evolving industry that becomes very trend-happy. This only adds to that complication because business owners don’t have the time or internal resources to keep up.
Each year, Moz releases their top ranking factors for both local pack and localized organic ranking. These factors are opinions of the top digital marketing agencies and what they believe affects Google’s rankings. Unfortunately for us, Google does not tell us how to rank in their search engine. In this blog post, we are going to cover three of the most popular ranking factors and what you can do to improve.
Digital marketing agencies understand that small business owners want to show up in Google search results. Google’s objective is to provide relevant search results for an end-user. One of the ranking factors is online reviews. Not only do customers judge a company based on reviews, but Google does this as well. So how can we affect our online reviews? Below are a few tips to do so.
- Know which platforms need more positive reviews.
- Simply ask your customers to leave a review. If a customer calls in with a question, ask them to leave a positive review when you are wrapping up your call (assuming it’s a positive interaction).
- After a client makes a purchase, have an automated email sent to rate their experience. If they give you four or five stars, follow up with them to leave a review on Google or Yelp.
- If customers come into your office, have a kiosk where they can leave reviews.
- If you ship products to your customers, add a pamphlet with how to leave a review.
- Respond to all of your negative reviews and find opportunities to turn a negative review into a positive experience.
Backlink building is synonymous with search engine optimization. It also might be the most challenging aspect of SEO. In Moz’s ranking factors, backlink building is the number one ranking factor for organic search. It’s easy to buy a hundred links for $5 off of Fiver; however, Google’s algorithm is smart enough to know that these are spammy backlinks. So how does a small business owner with limited time find ways to build quality backlinks? They usually reach out to digital marketing agencies who might be using white label SEO services.
You’re probably wondering what makes a good backlink. First, is it relevant to your industry? Is the link that the domain is coming from a quality one? Does that website receive traffic or is it a private blog network? What type of anchor text is being used? Is the anchor a money keyword, branded, or random? There are so many factors involved with backlink building, and we could write an entire blog post on them. For this article, let’s review backlink building tactics.
- Blogger Outreach – Create a long-form piece of content and send an email blast to website owners who might be interested in linking to this blog post.
- Guest Posts – Email website owners and ask them if you can write a blog post for their website. If they say yes, ask if you can add a do-follow link (this is where the link juice comes from).
- Link broker – Find an agency who has access to hundreds of domains that they can place links on.
- Link Exchange – Ask website owners to do a simple link exchange. This can get tricky if you do too many of them because you can leave a footprint that Google’s algorithm might catch on to.
Again, backlink building is very tricky. So if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself and have the budget, look for a digital marketing agency to help out. Ask them what types of strategies they used to do their backlink building.
Google My Business
Google My Business is the number one ranking factor for showing up in the map pack. The map pack can drive a lot of traffic to a small business, which, as we know, can then lead to an increase in sales. It’s not easy to show up in the top spot in the map pack, and there are a lot of factors that contribute to it. So what are those factors?
- Proximity to your location. Where a user is standing will greatly affect if you show up in the map pack for their search.
- Category. What category have you chosen your business to be under?
- Keyword. Is the keyword in the business title? For example, if you are a dentist, does your business name have ‘dentist’ in it?
- Reviews. How many reviews do you have and what are the quality of those reviews?
- NAP. Are your name, address, and phone number correct? You’d be surprised how often a company moves and forgets to change their address online.
These are just a few of the ranking factors that can affect your digital footprint. There are over 50 ranking factors, according to Moz. if you’re looking to make a difference with your online presence, then working on these three elements will be a good start. If you don’t think you can do it by yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out to a marketing agency. Small business owners already have a full-time job, so it’s challenging to add marketing onto their plate as well.