Our clients ask us this question all the time. What can we do to improve our organic rankings? Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t a checklist of 10 items that you can complete and rank #1. There are many, many factors a marketing company will consider and try to improve organic rankings for a client. While many of these factors require a bit of technical knack and SEO know-how, there are a few things that you, as the business owner, can do to help increase organic rankings.
1. Ask customers for reviews
Google’s goal has always been to mimic the real world. Think of it like a popularity contest. The more people know about you, especially the more positive things people know about you, the more likely you are to be liked. Google wants the best businesses with the best reputation to have better positioning than a business with consistent one-star reviews. Asking your customers for honest, genuine reviews is a an important piece of the SEO puzzle. Google needs to see that your customers like you and that you provide a service worthy of a top position. Even more, Google won’t show your star rating until you have at least five Google reviews.
You’re not just limited to Google+ for collecting positive reviews. While we recommend it and Google prefers it, you can collect reviews on other platforms like social sites (Facebook, Yelp) and retention platforms (Demandforce, MechanicNet, etc.). Make sure you ask for these reviews organically, and don’t offer prizes or rewards for a positive review. Incentivized reviews aren’t genuine reviews, and you could be penalized by Google for soliciting reviews.
2. Communicate your business goals
Communicate your business goals to your marketing provider. They need to know who your target customer is and which services are most important to you. Without direction, your marketing agency could choose keywords that are relevant and important to the industry, but not as important to you. These decisions are made pretty early on in the website build process and certainly before starting a search engine optimization program, so make sure you communicate your business goals early on.
Good content will always win. Unique, relevant and regular content helps establish your authority in the industry. A blog is the best platform to create shareable content on your website. If you write a blog post and your customers share it or link to it, you know you’ve created engaging content. If your post goes viral – even better!
4. Be social
Social signals, like having active social media pages and posting regularly, have been a part of Google’s ranking algorithm for several years. Surprisingly, many business do not have active social media pages with regular, engaging content. If you don’t have at least a Facebook page set up, go ahead and create one, or ask your marketing company for help. Post regularly and write social content that your customers want to engage with. While simply posting can be enough for many business owners, crafting unique content is even better – see #3!
5. Invest in a mobile-friendly site
This one requires a bit more professional work. While you might not be able to build a mobile-friendly or responsive website, you do have to make the decision to invest in a redesigned website. Custom websites, unique to you can be an investment, but well worth the financial commitment. A custom website with custom content – combined with an ongoing SEO program – gives your business the best chance at ranking well in a Google search. Since more than 50% of searches are done on mobile, it’s increasingly important that your website is easily accessible on mobile.