Lately I’ve been working on a presentation for Portage College in Lac La Biche about small business web design and Facebook marketing. Some strategies, worksheets and checklists – real practical stuff for small businesses that want to start using social media and a website more.
Updated December 7, 2012: If you have any double how easy ranking can be, just look at the bottom of the article for an update!
While creating the workbooks for this event, I came across a pretty significant deficit in the websites for Lac La Biche and surrounding communities. (Don’t worry if you’re not from here, these strategies apply to everyone from smaller communities, think 10,000 people and under.)
But as entrepreneurs, you’re a resourceful bunch and where some see problems, you see opportunities, right? Let’s jump right into this amazing opportunity to improve how your website is ranking in search.
To get started all you need is a website that you can update.
Let’s take a look at the problem. If you Google electricians in Lac La Biche, you get something that looks like this:
First rank is an ad of course but then what do you see? Not one electrician with a website. That’s what I see. There are business directories, Canada 411, the yellow pages, etc. but no actual electricians.
But I’m already listed in a directory so what’s the problem?
It’s not so much a problem, as it is a missed opportunity. In a directory, you’re listed alongside countless other similar businesses, often in alphabetical order. If you’re Zane’s Electrician, you aren’t getting called from a directory listing, ever.
Also, directories don’t help you display your services, unique abilities or showcase your work or great customer testimonials. If they let you upload a logo or photo – definitely do that!
Regardless, you’re leaving your ability to be discovered by new clients up to someone else’s website. (As I’m writing this, the Lac La Biche Region Business Directory is down!)
Taking control of your business’ online presence is key. So that you know the problem, let’s work on the solution.
Add Local Keywords to Your Website
Easiest thing to do is to update your About page on your website and use local keywords to describe what you do and where you do it. For example, if you’re that electrician in Lac La Biche, you’ll want to talk about all the towns, cites and geographical regions that you service. You’ll also want to update your Contact page with your specific address.
Another way to get local keywords into your site is by creating a photo gallery of projects you’ve worked on. Not only are you showing potential customers your work, you’re also able to work town names into the captions for further search engine juice (technical term:)).
Talk About What You Do, Not What You’re Called
This might sound like double talk but hear me out. Say your business name is Lakeland Power – that’s what you’re called. You do electrical contracting – that’s what you do.
If people Google “Lakeland Power”, chances are they know you already or someone recommended you.
That’s not how search engines help grow your business. They help when people Google what you do – electrical contracting and are looking for suggestions – looking for places to spend their money.
When writing your About page, think about the words that customers use to describe what you do, how would they Google it? Write down a short list of the top terms and work those into your pages, not your business name.
There are a million other search engine strategies out there but for a small community business with a local service area, you don’t need anything more advanced than this to start. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the update below.
If you need any help with setting up that easy to update website or anything else related to small business marketing online, please feel free to get in touch and I’d be happy to help.
Update: Google Search results as of December 7, 2012 (4 days after publication), this article with the use of some local keywords and phrases is number 6 in search. Just image what you could do for your business with a little effort?