If you’re launching an e-commerce business, you know that search engine optimization is THE most important factor in whether you succeed or fail. But if you’re a small company with a limited marketing budget, how can you compete with the big players? Here are some tips for getting affordable SEO success.
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Offerings like Google My Business and Facebook’s business profiles make it easier than ever for small businesses to manage their online presence. But not every business has the budget or resources to invest in SEO marketing campaigns or PPC advertising. This article outlines some affordable SEO ways small businesses can get the visibility they need on search engines and social media channels.
It ends with a thorough collection of reported in-store and online traffic metrics to make you aware of your every move with Google in the areas of location, reviews, ads, and links.
A non-localized search marketing agency could do this work for you with minimal negotiation or financial risks. A powerful non-localized marketing agency like a boutique affordable SEO agency or a big-data-driven creative agency could do it with far greater reward. Let’s get started.. Track your location, reviews, keyword rankings, and links
Mobile users are usually in different countries and cities than desktop users. You’ll either need to track locations in different countries for the different locations of your traffic or the major cities for the major cities of your traffic. There’s an easier option available to you; you can use software to track your location, reviews, keywords, and links.
Alternatively, if you employ the localization of your production of content, you won’t need to track it at all.. Set up an email account “My Business List”
Set up an email account for your Business List as an individual user or use the email account method for your NAP/SSN. Do this potentially have three instances: Your personal email, a separate email for your Website, and the Business List.
Again, don’t abuse the email account system to generate tons of link-building or traffic campaigns around your name and brands. It’s more important using the email account method to list out all of your services/product offerings for everyone who will pay you for them. Send the marketing messages in an automated fashion throughout your site and do not ask for input on what should go in the “Send Email” box.
Here’s a screenshot of an email campaign I set up that sends a weekly email newsletter about local happenings, starting at the top, and ending at the bottom with attendees of a conference I’m speaking at. Don’t ask for input on who should write each of these emails. I simply wrote one email every week and made all of them automated with the unsubscribe function built in. No one had to think about it.. Track reviews on Google My Business
A strong, well-written review is an organic endorsement of your business, because people will often share them anywhere along the way. Most reviews will go towards the overall score. So the method to track your reviews is to create a profile on Google My Business and retroactively add a keyword filter.
(Please note: The third image contains affiliate links. Some may be affiliate links, but all publisher tools and editorial content belong to Moz. Thank you for your support of Moz Industry Insights. -Rob)
Identify key late-stage traffic drivers to the most important pages.
Site speed is still a very important Google ranking factor. If your site is taking too long to load, or waiting too long for a page to load after someone clicks on a search result, you could be hurting user experience.
It doesn’t need to be rocket science; it just takes a little planning. Depending on your business’ primary traffic drivers, these are the sites you should analyze first:
Brand traffic is driven from search engine results pages (SERPs)
Branded search traffic driven from Facebook, Google My Business, and Twitter (MFB), all of which can drive referral traffic
Direct links from major online retailers (ThinkGeek, Amazon, JC Penney, etc)
References from major news outlets and blogs
Homepages ranking on Google for important head keywords
Your most important pages
If you’re lucky enough to rank your top three most important pages on Google (or you work for a company that does so), neighborhoodaway.tripadvisor.com should be your top traffic destination. Even if you don’t do particularly well in the SERPs for your top two most important pages, it’s still worthwhile to build links from key websites that cover the area you serve and journalists who attend local events or conferences.
If you track your most important keywords, you can find out right away if you’re a good match for top-of-funnel keywords that your competitors are covering and rank in the engines. For example, if you sell Christmas lights, you could check the keywords around Christmas lights for hotels that show lights and Christmas lights for the distribution of lights at home.
During appropriate beta testing, switch on email marketing automation skill
Instead of relying on gathering email addresses manually and writing automated emails for distribution, automate most of these steps using intelligent email marketing automation software. There are hundreds of online email marketing automation programs to choose from, some of which offer free trials. (A few from Moz Insider that we use are: Mailshake and Mandrill Hag). Affordable SEO Success comes from maximising your Brand exposure across all information mediums.
Build your list of email addresses through tools like Mailshake. Sign up for a free trial or sign up for a paid account if you need more sign-ups.
If you’ve ever taken part in an SEO audit, you know large websites often have hundreds or thousands of pages with content that they’ve spent money creating but aren’t listed in Google. Google’s local listings field is a powerful and dynamic place to find your business’ potential visibility.
No matter what the size of your business, you’ll need to register your business on the major hubs on the internet like Google, Bing, Facebook, and Yelp. Registering for each of these platforms takes about ten minutes. But that’s only the start.
Once you’ve registered, you’ll need to upload your business information to these directories on a monthly or weekly basis.
Depending on the industry, you might review the details listed in one directory, be sent a list of other options in another, or move on to another opportunity entirely. None of this work is too difficult, but it’s smart to be prepared.
Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Search engine results pages(SERPs) are the front end to a long-running conversation about your brand, ratings, business hours, contact details, and other information the search engines want to show to users when they perform searches. A SERP will often have text next to it to give more information about the business, and search engines like Google’s are constantly improving their algorithms to provide users with information from best to worst within listings.
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If you’re not ranking very well for any of these queries, it could lead to the impression that your business isn’t legit. If people are looking for information about you — whether online or offline — then they might make assumptions about your credibility.
How to get listed
Like other business listings, your business listing usually has links to 3rd-party sites, such these:
Google My Business
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Google posts resources and advice on Google My Business
Each service has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. So it’s up to you to decide which options are right for your business, depending on how reliable and convenient they are for you.
Here are some tips for upfront marketing to help you get the very best results:
I. Register your business on at least 3 (and preferably 5) major social networks
Using social media to help market your business is important for two reasons:
It gives your company and its employees’ lots of free exposure that can help you garner potential customers faster sales. Also, the more people who follow your account, the better its chances of appearing in search/social results.
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