Another happy client
How we helped them – Daisy Alexandra portfolio
If you are a local business, whether that’s a shop front or servicing customers in your local area, if you want people to find you, you need to make sure your business is visible in the top search results.
Searches for local business and services have increased rapidly and the rise of smart phones means many of us search on the go, generating local search queries.
These figures are US based but the trends are the same for the UK.
If you want your business to be noticed online, there are several things you need to do to boost your position such as having a google business page, getting reviews, listing in directories and backlinks. Find out how to do these here:
But for many businesses, they are missing the most obvious thing. The first step in getting seen by a local audience is to tell them you are a local business!
It’s amazing how many websites I see where they are not including locally based keywords within their website content. Whether that’s wedding planners in Surrey, accountants in Chichester or landscape gardeners in Hampshire, if you don’t say on your website what you do and what area you operate it, then how can you expect your local customers to find you. You need to include keywords that describe what you do and where you are based.
I’m going to keep this simple. Keyword research can be complex (and costly if you are paying someone to do it). But sometimes it’s just using a bit of common sense paired with some simple research.
Your aim is to identify commonly used phrases that people will use to search for your business. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to think about what they would type in search engines to find a business like yours. Brainstorm and compile a list of keywords and phrases that are relevant to your industry.
Then you need to consider the various locations and areas you service and where your customers are from. If you have a delivery service, then include those area names, counties, cities.
For most businesses, the primary keywords to target will be quite obvious.
Let’s say that you’re a plumber in Petersfield—how do you think people will search for your services?
They’ll probably go to Google and type something like:
There’s a common format going on. It’s service in location (SiL).
Doing this now for your own business. Just make a list of all the services you offer and the problems you solve then list the locations you serve… merge them together to create a bunch of potential keywords.
Need more ideas or insight into what your customers might type?
Try Google Autocomplete to generate more search suggestions. Just enter your primary keyword into Google and take note of the suggested searches.
For many business, unless you are in a highly competitive area (both geographically and in terms of your offering) I would stop the keyword research there and move onto the next step – putting them in your website.
However if you think you need to niche further to get to a specific audience you might want to use some keyword tools such as:
Google keyword planner – you’ll need a Google adwords account but you don’t need to activate it or pay any fees.
Assuming you already have a website, look at the current layout and either allocate keywords to existing pages or, if you can, for each of your main services or products create a unique localised page using your keywords.
So back to our plumbing example, you might want to create separate pages for each of the main plumbing services you offer such as emergency plumbing, bathroom installations, drain unblocking etc and then on each page, list the areas you cover, e.g. Petersfield, Liss, Liphook, Hampshire.
This can be as simple as ensuring your address is present in the text (a good way to do this is in the footer so it’s on every page) and using location based keywords within your titles and copy. If you want to fully optimise it aim to use keywords in the following:
Go one step further by adding in local customer testimonials or case studies (don’t forget to say where they are from – Joe Blogs from Horndean, Hampshire) and elsewhere on the website use your contact page, about us page and blog to keep mentioning local keywords.
Content could take the form of local promotions, news, and industry trends depending on your industry and niche. The important thing is writing helpful content that locals are seeking.
If you operate in multi-locations you should consider creating a unique local landing page for each business location. Include information specific to that location and of course the business address and local contact number.
The key message is with local SEO ( local optimisation) – keep it simple and tell them where you are from.
I provided copywriting services for a new website for Meadows Digital Print. Meadow Digital Print Services provides specialist large format printing. It is a new division of the Tealwood Group of companies, based in Waterlooville, Hampshire.
I worked with the web developer Pink Fin and the client to provide all the copy for the new website. I spent time with the management team at Tealwood Group to tease out all of their knowledge and expertise. Carried out keyword research and created engaging copy around their core services using keywords.
Part of my work included creating the site page structure so their website is logically laid out and services can be easily found.
Your About Us page will be one of the most visited pages of your website – the page your site visitors read before making that final buying decision, so it’s critical it gives off the right message.
But when was the last time you took a look at it to see if it’s bringing value to your website?
You might be thinking it’s a fairly simple page to write. You know your own company and individual history pretty well so a couple of hundred words about who you are and how you got to be doing what you do – job done.
But don’t make the mistake that many businesses make – thinking your About Us page is all about them. A good About Us page is far less about you and far more about your audience.
Put yourself in the mindset of a website visitor who is reading your About page. They’ve already stumbled upon your website, so they have a general idea of who you are and what you do. However, they may not be ready to become a customer yet. They’re after information that tells them how you can solve their pain points and whether you are the kind of person or company that can help them.
You must address their needs and concerns and position your brand as a trustworthy resource so they can feel comfortable doing business with you.
Go back to your About Us page with a fresh pair of eyes and give your visitors a sound reason to choose you.
From April 2nd 2019, Google Plus (Google+) will be no more. Google+ was launched as Google’s rival social network. But it never received the broad adoption or engagement with users that it had hoped for. According to one of Google’s sources, 90 per cent of Google Plus user sessions last for less than five seconds. With bigger social channels like Facebook and Twitter dominating the market, the network wasn’t able to compete.
If you have a Google+ channel, it will cease to exist. To the vast majority, this just really means you have one less social network to share your posts on. Very few people were engaging and using it in the way it was intended so it’s unlikely it will have any dramatic impact on your business. If you did use it and have some useful data on there, you can download the following information:
Find out how here.
If your websites contains a Google+ share button, allowing users to share website content onto the Google+ social channel, or a Google+ follow button linking to your own Google+ account, these will stop linking and will throw up a 404 error. That’s not good for your website visitors so you need to remove these buttons (or ask your web developer to do it).
If you linked to Google+ within social media management tools, such as Hootsuite, they should automatically update and remove your Google+ profile, or you may find that you’ll need to delete the accounts – either way Google+ won’t link from them.
The good news is that there is a much better way to increase your visibility on Google. Many of the options which were available with G+ are on Google My Business (GMB). It gives you the ability to make posts, share images, provide general information, receive reviews and answer questions. Find out how GMB can be used to benefit your businesses, especially those with a focus on local, here.
Just as every book benefits from an eye-catching cover, every good blog needs an accompanying image. If you want your blog to be noticed and read, an image is critical.
Use an image (or create and save your image) in a web friendly file format. The standard file formats for web images are PNG, JPEG and GIF. Ideally, you use JPEG (or JPG) for images with lots of colour and PNG for simple images.
Large images can considerably slow down your website. While they work well for print, you need to scale down the file size without losing too much quality for them to work well on the web.
As a rough guideline for most ‘full page’ web images, the image should not exceed 80Kb-100Kb. If the image is only part of a page (e.g. half the width of a blog post), then 20Kb-30Kb is usually fine.
If you’ve selected your image and the file is large (over 100 KB) you can reduce the size by using a simple free image resizing tool. You might already have a resizing option built into your photo editor or app. Many image-editing tools, including Adobe Photoshop, have a “save for the web” option, which automatically minimizes the file size while optimizing image quality. Alternatively check out tools such as gimp imageresize or easy-thumbnails
Choosing the right file name is important for your page SEO and for ranking in image search results. Before uploading any image, name the file with relevant, descriptive keywords. Include target keywords at the beginning and separate them with hyphens. File names should make sense to both search engines and humans. For example, the original name for an image of a cake might be “DSC01091.jpg.” Rename it with a clear and more descriptive title such as “homemade-cake-petersfield-cafe.jpg.”
Fill in the alternative text field when you upload the image. Without it it’s impossible for search engines to accurately index your image content. It provides context and helps visually impaired users too. For simplicity keep the alt text the same as the file name i.e. homemade cake Petersfield café.
The size doesn’t matter. It’s the shape of the image that counts. The social networks automatically resize photos for their social streams. As long as the image is roughly twice as wide as it is tall, it will look fine on every social network. A simple rule is to make your blog images the full width of your blog’s content area (usually 600 or 650 pixels wide) and half as tall.
There are plenty of good free photo sites. Two of my favourites being pixabay and freepik. You can also use search tools on Google images or Flickr to filter for images covered by the Creative Commons license.
Ultimately there’s nothing better than creating your own unique image (unless of course you have the budget to pay someone else to do). There are numerous free and cheap ways to create images, from your own camera to meme generators, infographics and gifs. Here’s a great article that covers all of these in more detail.
So get going and liven up your blogs with some images. And don’t forget to go over older blog posts as well and add missing images. It does them good to have a refresh if the content is still valid.
So now I need to find a good image to go with this blog…here goes…… kittens or puppy dogs??? Ok, so maybe my image didn’t rank well on the relevance but it was an original image and it did score on cuteness….did I mention that as another good point.
Yvette has helped me with planning and writing for many websites, with her natural calm approach she is very easy to work with, and I’m always inspired after seeing her, she breaks down work loads into manageable chunks and doesn’t talk jargon and is full of wonderful ideas.
Cris Black, Leaping Cow
A recent site we worked on
If you don’t have one, claiming and optimising your Google My Business (GMB) listing should be at the top of your marketing to do list, actually, the top of your to do list, full stop. After all, what business today can afford to ignore the digital world?
Here’s a very quick guide why you should have a GMB page and how to do it. Quick, because you shouldn’t be wasting any more time if you haven’t got one in place. Read this and get on with it…..
Ranking – Not claiming your GMB listing will significantly diminish your chances of showing up in local search results. It is the number one ranking factor for a local business i.e. having a GMB page helps you to get that elusive top spot in the rankings above your competitors.
Visibility – When people search for your business, if you have a GMB page, they may well see your business knowledge panel at the top of the results.
It enables you to quickly put updates and useful information online about your business. It helps you engage with your customers through their reviews. Oh, and have I already mentioned its free and easy to set up.
First you need to get yourself a google account if you haven’t already – one that you are happy to use in conjunction with your business, rather than linked to your home gmail account if possible. Just go to the google home page and click on the sign in button
Then claim your GMB page – click here https://www.google.co.uk/business/
It’s pretty self explanatory but once you’ve got your basic business name and address filled in make sure you do the following:
At this stage (or possibly earlier on) you may need to verify your business via a postcard or phonecall. Once verified add in some more detail:
That’s about it – it’s simple to get started with your Google My Business Page. There’s plenty of help and guidance through their help screens and if you are stuck or need some more guideance, give me a shout.
OK, I’m not going to beat the same old drum. Content is important. It gets your message out there and it helps to optimise your site. Enough said. But ever get bored of writing blog posts and looking for yet another angle to say the same thing?
Maybe it’s time to spice up your website and social media a little…. content doesn’t have to be just about the written word. There are plenty of ways of getting your message out there that can be just as, if not more, creative.
Here’s a list of alternative content ideas to try out on your website to get you noticed. These should all be sharable in some shape or form on social media. (In my next blog I’ll explore content ideas to create and share directly on social media – no website required).
With easy-to-use tools like Audacity, you can record yourself reading your e-books, blog posts or musings out loud and then host the audio on a service like buzzsprout or Libsyn. Popular audio content includes:
Usually in the form of a pdf, they make great lead magnets or value-added content for your loyal supporters. A great platform to illustrate your expertise. Popular downloads include:
The content of the moment. These can be hosted on your website then shared on social media or shared straight to social.
A diverse content marketing strategy will pay off through fresh content on your site helping with optimisation, engaging your current audience and drawing in new clients. There are more free tools than ever to help you create diverse content. You just need some time and imagination. And of course, you can always engage someone like me to help you along…..
Think you’ve got the perfect piece of content on your website, or not sure if it’s going to turn visitors away? Before you hit the publish button, check out this list of common website content mistakes. If you are guilty of any of them, there’s still time for a quick fix so you get the best possible result from your content.
What do you want your website visitor to do next?
Calls to action can include:
Examples of content for each stage:
Improve local relevance and gain loyal customers by:
No need for separate testimonial page – who trusts it?
Instead pair it with the appropriate copy to help to alleviate any anxieties a prospective customer has. For example:
If you found this useful why not check out: