Local Business Website Promotion
by Neil Ford – Ely Website SEO
How do you promote your business website locally?
Other than including the website address on all business stationery, signboards, vehicles, facebook and in traditional advertisements, you have Google!
Having ensured that you have your address clearly written up on those items that are relevant to your trade or business Google is almost certainly the next best place, if not the best place, to home in on for local website promotion and exposure.
Search Engine Optimisation Versus Google Adwords
At this point you need to be prepared to start getting your head around search engine optimisation (SEO) versus Google Ad’s.
SEO – because it’s best that you understand the options broadly, whether you do it yourself or hire an experienced SEO to do it for you. Google Adwords because it will save you frustration – even anger – when, without a good understanding of the processes involved, Google will take your money but you will likely get limited returns.
Local SEO & Google Ad’s Tutorials
If you are keen to have a go yourself may I recommend the brilliant tutorials that Google offer on both SEO (or organic) and paid promotion, together with the excellent mini-session videos offered by FatJoe and Ed Gifford via YouTube. What is great about these is that they come in at all levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced so you will almost certainly find what is right for you.
If like me, you prefer to learn from a book, you will find numerous highly rated titles to choose from. Again, basic through to ultra-advanced.
Time To Work On Your Local Website Promotion
The other thing to bear in mind is time. Time to pick up the basics and / or develop your knowledge, and time to keep topping-up that knowledge to ensure your understanding of both or either is current. That said, for both areas, with a good basic understanding you can make a worthwhile difference to your website’s local search status.
Generally, with both areas, in local search, fundamental settings and changes will work for you. This is particularly true with SEO where a good initial set up, with the occasional tweak, can remain effective for a very long time.
Obviously this will not be true in situations where you have high levels of competition or your core products or services change frequently. However, as a general rule, work on it until you are seeing your search listing position in Google rise, or you notice a marked rise in local sales or enquiries, and you can let it roll.
Monthly SEO & Google Ad’s Checks
Now you can set up some monthly checks using free Google software in Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google Ad’s. Unless you would like to delve deeper into these brilliant pieces of software all you need to confirm is your site visitor numbers, what search terms are being used, is your advertising effectively within budget, and are your Ad’s working. Where there is something amiss it’s usually a simple, straightforward task to edit or adjust the cause.
Paying An SEO Or Website Marketing Specialist
Your other obvious option is to pay someone to do this work for you.
Welcome to the hornets nest of website marketing and promotion!
As with every other service or profession you have the good guys and the bad guys.
There are those who are genuine and will honestly support and communicate with you.
Those who, from the outset want to rip everything apart and charge you for setting up something new.
Those who will promise you fantastic results, for a decent monthly fee, that for some reason never materialise.
And those who sell you all the glitz and glamour for a monthly fee and never achieve anything.
And of course, variations of all of these.
SEO & Website Marketing – The Dark Secret
“Why do you sell this so negatively?” I hear you cry.
Well, for the simple fact that website marketing and SEO is not regulated. So for every decent, genuine professional you might talk to, there are plenty who are there just to rip you off by taking your money and doing as little as possible for you!
It’s a nightmare world.
Finding A Good Reliable Specialist
For those tasked with finding a ‘good’ provider, big or small, there are one or two steps I would recommend.
First, however pleasant they are on the phone or in a meeting, don’t take their word on how good they are, insist on access to their existing clients.
Second – negotiate an initial fixed period to see how they do. If they want your business they will comply, however, do be prepared for a ball-park estimate of cost rather than a fixed estimate. It is unreasonable for them to predict short-term results.
Third – Visit the websites of the recommendations they offer in advance of contacting the business, but do call them to ask about their experience of working with them. Particularly focus on their perception of the benefits and the changes in customer reaction since they hired them.
Monthly Fee SEO And Website Marketing
If you decide eventually to move over to a monthly fee agreement, or your chosen provider will not work for you unless you agree to a monthly arrangement, insist on receiving ‘proper’ monthly updates.
Good providers will offer a breakdown in everyday language showing what they did last month, and what they will be focusing on next month. But, please do be aware that a lot of providers will spew out page after page of computer generated, so-called ‘facts’ and ‘data’. I can assure you it will baffle you!
My recommendation is that you go back to them and insist that someone walks you through what they have sent so that you get an idea as to whether this is working for you.
Recently a client asked me to look at the detailed reports he had been receiving over a period of about a year. The provider was crowing about the huge improvements they had made that the client just was not seeing in his business. On detailed scrutiny there were only miniscule changes in the results achieved for which the client had paid a substantial monthly fee.
SEO & Website Marketing – Summary
Utilising well proven local SEO and website marketing techniques to improve your business website’s Google status and to help generate new enquiries and sales is almost always hugely beneficial. In my opinion, SEO is quite complex but it’s not rocket science. It is something you can learn the basics of easily.
The same goes for Google Ad’s even though it is a completely different approach for promoting your business website, and you do need to ensure that your results and your spend are right for you.
If you are going the hiring route, I would always recommend that you learn a little about what is involved in promoting your site. However, it’s most important that you find the right genuine provider for you whether it is quoted work or a monthly fee. It is also worth highlighting that some of the best SEO’s and Website Marketer’s are one-man bands or very small businesses. So don’t necessarily think that biggest-is-best.
Neil Ford – Ely Website SEO
Neil Ford of Ely Website SEO – I started working on website promotion in 2001. My key focus is local and regional SEO, and website promotion. The SEO business area is not regulated; however I have always followed industry best practice guidelines in my dealings with my clients and their pages or websites.