Whether you’re just starting out in business or are expanding into a small business your digital presence needs to be strategy based and have all of the relevant practices in place. Whether it be your website, your social media or more technical aspects of digital marketing, you can’t afford to get them wrong.
According to insights, only 60% of UK businesses are using social media to market their business. That’s almost half that aren’t using some of the most powerful platforms available to put their business in front of their target audience. Social media marketing is invaluable to small businesses and start-ups. It’s probably the cheapest form of online marketing and using tools such as Facebook ads you can specifically target the people that you identify as likely buyers for you. There a huge number of things that you can do within your social media efforts to make sure that they work for you. You can read our best tips for getting the most from your social media campaigns here.
In 2017, a huge 2 million small business didn’t have a website. The benefits that a website can have for any business are huge. From gaining authority with the search engines to having somewhere to direct your customers. Websites are a great way to track your progress too, especially if you sell physical products. You can see how long people are spending looking at your site and how often people make a purchase or leave the site with a full cart. You can work out how to retarget these customers and generate more conversions.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) allows you to gain exposure online and visibility within the search engines. It’s the initial step that you should be taking to build your brand awareness and gain a digital identity. Our team of SEO experts have teamed together to create a collection of their top tips for SEO for start-ups and small businesses.
Register With Webmaster Tools
Once your website is set up, our first piece of advice is to register with Google & Bing webmaster tools. When you do this, register your sitemap to inform the search engines of your site and any future updates that you make to it. By doing this you can also gain knowledge of what search engines understand about your content.
The basics of the configurations you’ll need to do in the webmaster tools to ensure you get the most from them are:
Enabling Email Notifications – this way you’ll be alerted by email of problems or changes in the status of your website. These could be malware issues, access problems etc.
Choose A Preferred Domain – in the eyes of a search engine www.drumbeatmarketing.co.uk and http://drumbeatmarketing.co.uk/ are two different websites. Because of this you must specify a preferred domain name within webmaster tools.
Make Sure There Are No Crawl Errors – a crawl errors report will allow you to see more details in the event that the search engine crawlers can’t read your website.
Register with Google Analytics
So let’s shift from the search engines view to the users view. Google analytics shows you just that. As a business you need to understand how users are interacting with your website. This allows you to review and improve constantly to achieve the best results that you can. The biggest takeaways you’ll get from Google analytics are:
- The most commonly visited pages on your website
- The most popular landing pages
- Which keywords users are searching to find your site
- Your major traffic sources
- The pages usually exit from
Register With Google Places For Business
When you start up as a business, one of your main online goals is to be easy to find online. That’s how you’re going to gain customers. It’s free to register on Google Places and there’s lots of benefits for your business. The setup is pretty simple and you don’t need to be a techy expert to do it. It’s a great tool to use to improve your local SEO. Once you’re registered Google will show your business within its search results. For example, if you own a café in Lincoln and have added your business into Google Places, it’ll show up when someone queries something around ‘cafes in Lincoln’. Just like this:
Even if you don’t have a website, this gives you somewhere that users can get more information on your business. This includes contact details and directions. As well as this, by adding your information to Google Places, Google Maps will pick up on your information and store it.
Finally, by being present on Google it gives customers somewhere to leave online reviews. These are a great way to build your authority on Google. It also builds trust around your business which encourages other users to engage with you too. You can read why we think everybody should use online reviews here.
Look Over Your Titles & Descriptions
For SEO professionals this is the most important piece of advice for anybody. No matter what the size of your business is or the traffic to your website is, if this isn’t done right it’s fatal for your online marketing. Take a look at our title and description, it gives users all of the information that they need.
Company name, where we’re based, what we do and how to get in touch. If yours covers these bases then you can’t go too wrong.
Think About Your Internal Links
Because you’re starting out or still a small business, we advise ranking on Google for some keywords that relate to your business. You need to let the search engines know which keywords you’re ranking for. You can do this by including them in the anchor text in your internal links. For example, if you’re an accountancy firm and have a services page on your site, from your homepage you can link to that page saying something like ‘You can find out more about the accounting services that we offer…’. Here, accounting services is the anchor text or the link directed to the services page. This lets search engines know that the page you’re talking about contains information on accounting services.
Identify Your Social Media Platform
Whilst social media marketing is only a small branch of digital marketing, it’s really important that small businesses and start-ups get it right. From gaining more exposure to targeting your products at your potential customers, it’s invaluable for you.
If you decide against hiring a specialist agency then the first step is to identify the platform(s) which will work best for you. Get involved in discussions related to your industry. Join Facebook groups and search hashtags on Twitter to explore these discussions.
By sharing quality information and purposeful content you’ll attract your connections to engage with your social media marketing. We always try and create a balance between marketing your business and sharing some of your personality to allow users to feel connected to you and your brand.
Make Sure Search Engines Can Read Your Content
Although it’s important to create content that your users will engage with, you still need to consider the search engines. Without them your users won’t find your content. Specifically for start-ups and small businesses, we recommend 3 things:
- Make sure you’re optimising your websites content. Research keywords that users are searching to find your business. We use Google’s Keyword Tool!
- Keep it simple. Don’t bombard your content with keywords as this will have the opposite effect. Within your website, keep it simple but effective. If sites aren’t developed properly and include lots of fancy content then they will be slow, they’ll crash and users will get fed up.
- Keep it organised. The structure of your site matters. Keep things categorised and make sure that your users can navigate it with ease.
Keep Your Goals In Mind
Every business has a goal. To ensure that your website performs, give it a goal too. Whether you’re trying to gain newsletter sign ups or trying to sell products, keep it in mind whilst building your site. By doing so you’re likely to create more conversions. For example, if you’re wanting more newsletter sign ups then maybe having a sign up section on each page would work.
We hope that this has helped! If you’re looking to work with a company with a wealth of experience and expertise in SEO who are passionate in helping businesses succeed, get in touch today!
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