- Apr 21, 2017
by Ron Goldblatt
Getting to the first page on Google happens for most businesses when you type your actual business name. But what happens when you type the business category you are in like “Best Mexican Food near me”, or “Best Carpet Cleaner near me?” Those results may surprise you. This article will try to take the mystery out of Search Engine Optimization or SEO and show you how to get your business to that first page on Google.
SEO can be separated into two categories, “On-Page” and “Off-Page” SEO. On-Page SEO is simply making sure that Google can see your website so it can rank you versus other businesses. Google looks for key elements including your URL, Title Tag, Description Tag and Alt Tags (relates to pictures). In layman’s terms, Google wants your URL to include the business category that you are in. The Title Tag is a 55-character description about your business. The description is very important and is 155-character review of your business that is under your name on Google. Last, make sure you provide an Alt tag which is the description of each image on your site because Google cannot see images, only copy.
“Off-Page” SEO is a little more complicated but can be managed by you or of course NorthShore Loyalty can help. There are many factors that can influence your ranking but there are three important ones to highlight: getting listed on Google Maps; adding your business to directories also known as citations and building reviews. There are additional ways such as blogging and pay per click Ad Words, but for this analysis we are focused on what you can do on your own that is very impactful.
Google Maps: Getting listed on Google Maps is important since that is the first thing a person sees after the paid ads on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). To get listed on Google Maps, simply go to Google My Business and make sure you are listed with all the correct information. Be sure to upgrade your listing with images and then embed that listing on your website.
Directories: Directories, also known as citations, are the modern-day Yellow Pages and have a major impact on your business listing since that is where Google gets information about you. The more citations or directories you are listed in the more Google recognizes your business as being legitimate. It is very important that the information in all of these listings is accurate and consistent. Key directories include Yahoo, Bing, City Search, etc. and yes, the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce. Regarding the Chamber, search engines look to major local organizations and being a member can be very advantageous. Use it to your benefit and add as much information as possible to your listing. My Chamber listing sometimes ranks ahead of my page. So, that shows you the power of getting listed with the Chamber.
Reviews: The last piece of the puzzle is building reviews. Reviews not only impact your ranking but also influence potential customers. A review is considered User Generated Content (UGC). According to the Path to Purchase Institute, UGC is 12x more trusted by customers/potential customers than brand generated content AND it has considerable influence on where you are ranked on Google. Build those reviews on Google by simply asking your customers to leave a review. Again, you can do this on your own or NorthShore Loyalty can help manage your online reputation by getting more customer reviews.
We hope this overview helps take the mystery out of SEO and can help build your business on a local or national level.