Want to make sure your business is getting found at this crucial time when people are scurrying for last minute gifts and need to find it locally? This is Christmas crunch time, and consumers are ready to part with their cash at a moment’s notice. If you’re nearby and they can find you when they need you. Follow these tips to help more customers find you now.
Clear Goals and a Decision Tree
Know what you want your website to do. Do you want customers to buy online, call you because of the website, or find out information then come in in person? These goals all call for different approaches for your website. If you don’t know what you want, chances are it won’t give it to you.
Next, make a plan of action for how you’re going to achieve these goals. Make it a branching plan with several contingencies listed, so you have a plan for making course corrections if things aren’t going as you want it to.
Fit Your Genre
A 2012 study by Google highlighted the role of what they called “prototypicality” in increasing conversions on a site. What they were really talking about is genre. Just as we have certain expectations about what should be in a mystery or a romantic comedy, we have certain expectations about what a website should look like for a clothing store, a restaurant, a doctor’s office, and many more types of stores.
The closer your website matches the user’s expectations, the more likely they are to stick around long enough to explore your site.
Have a Simple Website
The same study highlighted the benefits of a simple website. Reduce the number of visual elements to make visitors want to stay and make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for.
Make Navigation Clear
Just as you’re making the website visually clearer, make it conceptually clearer. Put content in a few simple categories and label them with clear text to make sure potential customers have no trouble determining which are the right links to click on to find what they’re looking for.
Put Quality Content where It Matters Most
Put your best writing on pages that will get the most views:
Services (Does this business offer what I’m looking for?)
About Us (Do I trust this business to buy from them?)
Home page (Please give me more information about the business so I can decide to buy from them.)
How do you know if your online marketing is working? Call tracking. Put a unique phone number on your website so you can tell whether people are calling because of the website or because of something else.
Bring in Links
Not all links have the same value in the search engines as they used to, especially after Google’s Penguin algorithm update, which targets sites with low quality and unnatural links, so you need to focus on earning only high quality links. Try guest blogging for quality sites in your field. Or create exceptional content on your blog and share it with bloggers in your industry. Jon Cooper put together a massive list of link building strategies that are organized by time to execute and other dependencies.
While blogging externally is important, blogging on your site is crucial. Your website is your shopfront online. Blogging is like turning the lights on and having employees bustling inside. It also gives you the opportunity to reinforce important aspects of your business.
Social media is a great way to put your business in front of potential customers. Share all your latest blog posts, as well as content images and relevant articles from other sources. If you do not use other social media, make sure you use Google+, which can have a big impact on your visibility. While you are at it, set up Google Authorship.
Check out, to see if your business is listed or has duplicate entries in local business directories, as well as Google+ Local. Make sure the address and name are right as inaccuracies can affect your search visibility. You want your local business data (name, address, phone) to be exactly the same everywhere, and especially in the primary data providers.
Don’t Neglect On-Page Optimization
Basic on-page optimization includes factors like title tags, Meta tags, highly focused content (targeting single searcher intent), and optimized page URLs. There are many more advanced optimization tactics as well.
Don’t Rest on Your Laurels
Did you do a great job this year? Congratulations. Now get back to work. Successful online marketing depends on constantly striving to move forward and stay on top of the trends. What worked this year will likely not work next year, so take advantage of the opportunity to assess your strategies in light of new developments.
About the Author: Dr. Matthew Candelaria is a professional writer with more than five years’ experience writing copy in industries such as marketing, law, and technology. For more information about him and his work, visit www.writermc.com.