Your company online... from a consumer point of view
Today’s consumers are more Internet savvy. Here are a few simple tips you can do to check how your company looks from a consumer’s point of view:
Do an online search for your company. Search for your company name in any search engine. Be sure to search for common misspellings of your company name and possible abbreviations as well.
Remember to NAP. NAP is short for: Name, Address, and Phone Number. Make your NAP exactly the same in every listing you do. Use a common program such as mapquest.com and also check to see if a GPS can locate your business as well. Include local phone numbers to help local searches. Your company email address should reflect your business name. If your business is Gadzooks.com then your email should reflect the business name email@example.com.
Know your industry’s vocabulary. Understanding what words or terms your customers use when they talk about you or your product or service is a critical component of SEO. This is more commonly known as keywords. These are likely the words a customer will enter into the search engine to find products and services. Once you learn what words and terms are commonly typed, it’s helpful to use these words and terms within your website, especially on your "About” page. Search engines look for these terms and match them up to what people are searching for.
Optimize your website. There is value in partnering with someone who understands SEO, it can be a complicated and time-consuming process. But if you choose to do it yourself, here are some tips to get you started. One way to direct people to your website is to build links to it through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, advertising, vendor/partner/customer web pages, online directories, or through newspaper or magazine articles written about your company or industry. The other way to drive visitors is through the actual design of your website. Be sure to put your company name on your homepage.
Write effective content. When people arrive on your site, make them feel comfortable, so they’ll come back. When writing the content, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Learn how to speak their language and write the text for the website like you are talking to them directly.
Invest in an SEO provider. When selecting an SEO provider, you’ll find there are a lot of them, but not all offer the same services nor provide the same results. A good SEO company will be able to provide references and explain all of the work they do once engaged. One key thing to understand is that you should not expect immediate results. SEO is a process that builds upon itself and can take time to show value. If someone promises you immediate results or guaranteed rankings, be concerned.
Look at your competition. Look up your competition online. Start with the search engine. What are the results? Their location? What words and terms are they using? Are they effective? Look them up on online directories. Are their profiles more comprehensive than yours? If you were a shopper and you came upon their profile and your profile, which looks more impressive? Why?
Set up Google Alerts for your company. Google offers a free service called Google Alerts that automatically emails you when it finds new results for topics that match your search terms. It alerts you when it finds your specified keywords in web pages, articles, blogs, etc. Google Alerts help you find mentions about your business. This gives you the opportunity to reach out to whoever wrote the content and ask them for a link back to your website or Manta profile. You also can use Google Alerts to respond to both positive and negative reviews online.
Consider social media. Because the world is moving online, conversations are taking place about you whether you are aware of it or not. And much of that chatter is happening on social networking sites. The advantage of joining in is that you can engage and connect with your target audience while listening to what they are saying about you. This can be done through traditional sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. or through blogs and forums that you author or participate in.
Be responsive, get positive reviews and referrals. As your traffic grows on your website, you want those visitors to be pleased with their experience. That means that if you get an email or inquiry from a prospect, respond to it as quickly as possible. This practice will not only satisfy that potential customer but will hopefully lead to referrals.