There’s a ton of half-baked content floating around out there about how to build a strong online presence; and while it’s not entirely wrong, the reader is only getting a sliver of the story. The plot usually goes something like this: throw up a website, add social profiles, start a blog, and then create killer content. Done, online presence built.
Of course, these are essential building blocks for any business, but where’s the ROI if people can’t find them? Online presence isn’t just about existing on the web, it’s about thriving there—and in order to be at the top of the food chain, businesses need to use the right strategies.
For agencies and media companies serving small and medium businesses, this is your Guide to helping them flourish and effectively build their online presence.
1. Build a Location/Listing Page
Instead of fishing for it on content-rich websites, easy-to-source listings page let search engines find business information more effectively. Location pages are designed to push businesses higher in local search, as a large part of Google’s and other engines’ sourcing criteria is prioritized to crawling them.
2. Ensure Listing Presence and Accuracy Across the Web
Listing management has a big impact on local search. When listings are claimed and accurate on major online directories, search engines reward businesses with stronger visibility and rank. When listings are unclaimed and inaccurate, search engines punish businesses with less visibility and lower rank—worse, this bad data is prone to spreading across the web and destroying presence even further.
3. Sync Social Profiles
For the same reason that businesses need to ensure their listings are claimed and accurate on directories, it’s important to sync social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare) and ensure they’re up-to-date as well. These are high traffic areas for search engine bot
s and customers alike.
4. Design a Mobile-Friendly Site
Avoid #Mobilegeddon with sites that respond to mobile devices. Google recently updated its search algorithm to rank mobile-friendly sites higher than their desktop-only counterparts. Business that do not have a responsive website and location page(s) will plummet down the search engine rankings.
5. Get More Customer Reviews and Manage Them
Gathering and managing online reviews is a hot ticket for building both a solid online presence and reputation, for a number of reasons. Reviews breed customer engagement and loyalty, and provide the business with a voice and great marketing tool to influence new customers. Furthermore, they have big value in local search rankings—out of hundreds of SEO ranking factors (Moz Local Ranking Factors), reviews are rated the fifth most important.
6. Listen for Online Mentions
With over 500M tweets per day on Twitter alone (Twitter), chances are local businesses and the industry they serve will be mentioned on a frequent basis. Businesses who have the ability to track their mentions can build online presence by joining the conversation… or, by simply listening in, they can learn about what their customer-base wants, and can respond with inbound marketing material to drive them to their site and social feeds.
7. Build an Active Social Community
The more social content a business builds, the richer the data gets, the easier it is for customers and search engines to find. With social media being a large internet pillar seeing an endless amount of searches, it’s essential for businesses to have a healthy and talkative community for better discovery results.
8. Pay Attention to the Competition
Monitoring the competition’s digital channels can gives businesses key intel about how they’re engaging customers and how they’re losing them. With these insights, businesses can create effective marketing strategies to position themselves against their competitors and increase traffic and visibility.
With the web being a data-driven environment, businesses need to learn how to play by its rules to get the most out of it. Yes, websites, social profiles, and blogs are the framework of online presence, but it’s the strategies that get customers there that is the lifeblood.
Understanding and managing this might be a challenge for your clients. You can help them overcome it with our presence building solutions that can be delivered through the Do It With Me or Do It For Me model.