Your well designed business website can give your business the opportunity to access international markets, true. However, unless you are some big shot international brand, the local market still holds a lot of potential when it comes to Search Engine Result Pages(SERPs). This is because people who search for your products and service category who happen to be close to your office, shop, factory, warehouse, state or country are more likely to patronize your product than others who search, only to know you are on the other side of the planet (except you are into exports).
If we agree that most people begin their buying decision by going to the search engines, consider the fact that when they use search engines like Google, about 70% of the people click on the first result. Many never even get beyond the first page of the search results. What happens to the business on page 14? It is therefore important to consider optimising your business website for search within your locality. This has become increasingly important when you consider that Google, which controls 85% of the online search industry is now favouring local results in their search engine results pages (SERPs). If you do not believe me, conduct a simple search using the same keywords in different countries and the outcome will confirm itself.
So, how do you optimise your business so that Google is able to recognise your website when someone in your country, state and local government is searching for what you sell?
I will not overemphasize the importance of Keyword Research but imagine you know the actual words and phrases people in your Local Government, State or Country are using to describe your product and services, you’ll want to optimise for that won’t you? Go ahead, try using Google’s Keyword Planner tool to find out the keywords people use in searching for your products and services locally. What you call Event Planner in Nigeria might be called Event Architect in the UK.
As smartly as possible, the primary keyword you have chosen will then be used in several aspects of the website. Head tags, categories, description, business address, about us pages e.t.c.
As digital technology continues to go fit into mobile phones; your website needs to be optimized for mobile. If people have to scroll and scroll to read the contents of your website like they were peeping through a broken window, they will leave in seconds. If also consider the fact that most people can now access the internet on the go, they are likely to search for your website while in motion. Google admits that much saying 60% of search queries from Nigeria come from mobile phones. What happens if it takes forever for your website to load on mobile? your potential visitor will move on to the next option.
The solution? Build responsive websites. Responsive websites are built to interrogate your device and present a screen resolution that best fits it – desktop, tablet or mobile.
Editing and uploading website content changed with the emergence of blogs. In addition to your website, consider integrating a blog into it. A blog ensures that potential visitors have something new to look forward to when they come again. Blogs are also search engine friendly particularly Google, Bing and Baidu which are favourably disposed to regularly updated websites rather than static ones. A blog also affords you the opportunity to carry your target audience on a journey of credibility and trust.
Claiming your local business on Google Places can have a huge impact especially when it is a method few people are using. It can be as powerful as meaning that Google features your business address on the first page above some of the organic search results. You can go as far as embedding a map of your location which is done easily when you register on Google Plus as a local business. this can also be done when you create business page on Facebook. Register as a local business and it ties your busness adress to locality.
Guest blogging is a common traffic pulling tactic. You simply look for other blogs or websites within your niche or locality and offer to create a thorough and valuable article, image, research or report as a guest feature on their websites. It allows your business to tap into the audience of the other website thereby driving them towards your product, business or competence. You can also get talking with bloggers in your niche so as to get them do a review of your product or write about your business.
If your business is not new, there is a good chance that the business is already listed with the company name and address on some online local diretories but not claimed. It is important to claim you listing on such websites and supply the missing information such as a website address, phone number, contact or email address. Since these local directories are highly ranked for local search, it helps to promote you business. It also prevents unauthorised persons from deleting or laying claim to your listings.
Common and popular local directories include Nigeria Galleria, Vconnect , Nigerianbusinessguide, Business list Nigeria
Most websites offering deals will not only target local market on your behalf, they will also help to advertise your business and your website address to their massive database. Why aren’t you talking to them? Comon deal websites include Dealdey,Checki Nigeria, Kaymu or Ryte deals.
Online classifieds will also help promote your stuff for free and you can leverage their platform to promote your product and your business address.
The era of set it and forget it websites won’t just cut it anymore. Your business website has moved from being an expense into a value adding employee for your business. Take time out to ask yourself if your business website will answer all the questions of your target audience asks when it comes to check your website out.
What creative ways are your using to promote your business?