Try some simple tweaks to boost company search ratings.
Search Engine Optimization. It puts fear into the hearts of business owners and executives who believe that getting their websites to place high on Google search rankings is akin to answering an obscure riddle of an evil troll guarding the secrets of successful digital marketing.
It’s true that advanced SEO strategies can be complex and a specialty unto itself but, that said, there are a few easy steps any executive can take to help speak directly to their targeted online audience and raise search rankings at the same time.
Create an online newsroom and keep it updated with relevant content.
Not too long ago, the PR mantra was to distribute news releases only when you had actual news to announce, so as not to cry wolf too often, resulting in editors and reporters ignoring your “real news” announcements when you needed the coverage. That thinking is outdated. Now, not only do reporters visit your website’s online newsroom looking for news, but customers also will check out the newsroom to decide, or confirm, if buying what you have to offer is a good idea.
And here’s the SEO payoff for newsrooms: Search engines, such as Google, are always looking for fresh content to determine whether a website is relevant. Thus, posting news releases consistently on your site—with links relating back to similar content on the site—is a great way to demonstrate that your site is active. Make sure your online newsroom has a downloadable press kit for journalists and bloggers writing company profiles, as well as consumer-slanted product and services announcements to interest your customers.
Write and publish a blog with relevant content and internal and external links.
Become a publisher and push content out for the search engines to find you, which means writing blogs. Avoid writing general-information posts; you want to create targeted content aimed at a group of readers who will find your posts relevant and useful.
Long content, at least 2,500 words with at least two or three links to authoritative sites, works best to help create back links to your site. As for topics, think back on what your customers and clients ask you in meetings or what their pain points are and what problems they need to solve. You also can write about your solution for a common industry challenge.
Here is where quality outweighs quantity. Write fewer, but longer, blog posts. Everyone knows about Franklin Roosevelt’s famous fireside chats, but in 12 years as president he made only 30 radio addresses, which made the broadcasts special. It’s not how often you post, but rather making sure each post is packed with useful, relevant content for a successful SEO strategy.
Your job is not over once you publish your blog. Remember to cross-promote your post on all your social media networks to drive followers to your website. Be sure to customize each caption to fit the audience on each network.
Encourage customers to post reviews online.
Google loves seeing positive testimonials because that indicates your business is active and, as mentioned before, fresh content is king for search engines. Customer feedback, ratings and reviews provide the insider information Google needs to rank your business as trustworthy, and will help you generate more business, which will lead to even more customer testimonials.
To get the ball rolling, ask loyal, long-time customers and trusted colleagues to post positive reviews and ratings, and be sure to reply to comments to encourage others to share the benefits of doing business with you. Remember, people like to be heard, and put simply, Google “rewards” businesses that have strong reviews and ratings with high rankings. Posting and reviews on Facebook, Yelp and other social media sites where reviews appear will also increase your search results.
Finally, to keep abreast of what people are looking for, in a Google search field type your keywords, and scroll to the bottom of all the search results and check out Searches related to... Often you’ll find new keywords to include organically in your website text describing your company.
Lee Esposito is principal of Lee Esposito Associates, a Columbus public relations firm specializing in business-to-business, and food and beverage PR. He can be reached via his firm’s website, newsangle.com.