Right this moment, potential pool and hot tub service clients are looking for contractors online. With this in mind, business owners should investigate whether their company’s website is being found by search engines, as an increasing number of customers are spending more and more time vetting companies and their services online.
That said, consider the following:
- 75 percent of people use search engines on a regular basis.
- 56 percent of people use search engines every day.
- 40 percent of all searches are for local businesses and services.
- 97 percent of users do online research before making a purchase.
Sure, a business may already have a website, but is it working efficiently? For instance, does it appear at the top of most keyword search engine results? How a website ranks in a search engine will have a huge effect on how potential customers are able to find a business and its products and/or services. This crowded marketplace, combined with search engines pushing organic search results further down the page, makes it tough for a business to get noticed online without paying for it. So, how can a business drive traffic to its website? This article will outline a number of steps business owners can take to increase their bottom line by ensuring their websites get found online.
Be wise, optimize
The key to improving search engine ranking is keywords. Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about improving the volume and quality of website traffic through natural search results, which has everything to do with keywords. Business owners must think what they would search for to find their business, products, or services, as customers will likely search for the same things. Once these terms and phrases are determined, they should be used throughout the content on the website. Do not try to cram all of the keywords and phrases into the content in a thoughtless way, however. Keep in mind, the optimum keyword density is one to three percent. Anything more than this may be considered search spam.
If a webpage comprises approximately 550 words, for example, four keyword phrases should be repeated two to four times. It is also important to remember search engines evaluate all of the text on every page within a website, so keywords should be included in headers, footers, metadata, alternate text for images, as well as the main body copy. If the search engines like what they find, they will rank the website higher, thus putting it in the top results. Considering 75 percent of people do not scroll past the first page of search results, this is where business owners want their websites to appear.
Create a blog
One of the simplest ways to drive traffic to a website is to create fresh content. In addition to adding more pages for each product and/or service, it is also a good idea to consider starting a blog. This provides the opportunity to use the keywords more frequently, which is great in the eyes of the search engines. Most of them pay more attention to websites that are full of content and updated consistently. Further, blogs allow businesses to share their content, which is free promotion. They are also search-friendly and provide the opportunity for a business to share expertise and build its credibility. New blog posts can also be shared via social media to drive traffic to the website. Posts can also be submitted to various article submission sites for an even greater reach.
That said, business owners should work on building their blog and write often, as it portrays the company as being an expert in the industry. The more a business has to say, the more its customers will have to read.
From Twitter to Facebook to Instagram, everyone is on social media these days—including businesses. Not only is social media an excellent way to connect with consumers, but having active profiles on these platforms can help attract new clients. Communicating with people in real time can show the personality of a business, which can also help to build its brands. Being active socially shows customers their questions will be answered quickly, while the business can provide insight, as well as build and manage its reputation, and influence sales.
In today’s fast-paced world, it is easy to say that mobile communication is here to stay. Consider these statistics for instance:
- 77 percent of consumers have contacted a business from a mobile device.
- Nine out of 10 smartphone searches result in an action.
- 88 percent of mobile searches are users looking for a local retailer’s information (e.g. address, phone number, hours of operation, etc.).
- 93 percent of people who use mobile to research go on to complete a purchase.
- 54 percent of mobile searches turn into calls.
A business needs to be there for its clients when they are on the go; therefore, when they find a business online, the website should provide a seamless viewing experience. This means it must be responsive. Responsive websites allow visitors to see and read everything regardless of the device they are using. To ensure this is done properly, it is important to work with a professional web designer who can help a business achieve the optimal viewing experience.
Read the reviews
Aside from word-of-mouth marketing, the best place to have a good review is on the Internet. In this day and age, people go out of their way to find out everything about a business before they interact with them, and this is often initiated through an Internet search. For example:
- 97 percent of all consumers search for local businesses online.
- 74 percent of adult Internet users are active on at least one social media network.
- 68 percent of consumers research companies on social networking sites before buying.
When it comes to a company’s reputation, reviews can go a long way—especially in the pool and hot tub industry where homeowners are making a large investment. A company that has rave reviews can encourage consumers to do business with them. If the reviews are not so great, the consumer will likely continue searching until they find some that are encouraging.
Engage customers from the start through e-mail, be responsive to their feedback, and stay on top of comments on social media. When potential customers see others stand behind a company’s products and services, they will be more inclined to make a purchase.
As of 2014, statistics show 90 percent of all web traffic is video based and nowhere can that be seen more than on YouTube. With more than a billion unique monthly users, YouTube is the second-most popular online search engine next to Google. With such an active user base, video creation and optimization is an essential component of a company’s online strategy and search rankings.
If a company has products it wants to announce, show off any recently completed projects, or simply share a tutorial, a video can be easily created using a smartphone. To make the video standout, consider using a professional to help create it. Once it is ready, promote it online on the company’s website and via social media.
Create local listings
The more places a business is listed, the more visible it is. This means having multiple listings on local directories or review websites. A local business listing is essentially an online profile that features the company’s name, description, and contact information. Optimizing local marketing listings can be a great way to bring new customers to the company’s website. The following tips should be kept in mind when creating a listing:
To qualify for a local business listing, the following criteria are required:
- Business name or DBA (doing business as).
- Dedicated physical street address (match GPS).
- Local phone number that matches the city location.
- Face-to-face interaction with customers (no virtual businesses).
To rank high in the local search engines, the business title must remain consistent across all local marketing websites and directories. This helps to establish trust in the existence and location of the company. For example, if the business is called ‘Stew’s Pools’ on one site and ‘Stew’s Pool Emporium’ on another, search engines may consider these to be two separate businesses.
Search engines do not like inconsistent business listings. This means the company name, physical address, and phone number—every letter and number—must appear exactly the same across all websites. Further, be sure the same details are used on the company’s website, blog, social media profiles, local directories, and review sites to have a better chance at increasing website traffic.
This is the most important step of the listing process. Search engines use category data to determine which businesses to list for particular searches. When creating a local marketing listing on search engines like Google and Bing, sometimes they will request up to 10 categories to be selected that fit the scope of the business. Therefore, it is important to select these wisely.
Links and citations
When determining how to rank a business, search engines place a lot of importance on links and citations (mentions of a business with contact info). All things being equal, the website with the most links and citations from other high-quality websites in the local area will rank highest. Therefore, when considering how to promote the business, list the company name and contact details everywhere possible.
After verification, a company’s online listing may not appear immediately. Depending on the search engine, it may go live in a matter of minutes or days, while others require a lengthier review process, which may take up to a couple of months. Resist the urge to change the details of the listing during the wait period, as it may end up adding more time to the process.
Track and analyze
To get the most out of the company’s SEO efforts and local Internet marketing programs, set up tools to track and analyze the results. Start with monitoring keywords. Online tools help take the guesswork out of the process by tracking keyword rankings from search results.
Review Google Webmaster Tools weekly to get insight into the impressions and clicks on certain keywords. Then use Google analytics to examine the natural traffic and see if there are any improvements. In-depth statistics can also be extracted to create a website report card that includes variables such as:
- Number of visitors to the website.
- Most popular pages.
- How visitors find the website and what keywords they are using.
- Where are visitors coming from?
- What type of browser do they use?
- What devices are they using (e.g. desktop, tablet, or smartphone)?
With a little bit of effort, website traffic will likely increase within a few weeks. Although businesses do not have complete control over these numbers, keeping an eye on certain trends can keep the website moving forward.
It is easy to get lost in day-to-day business, but that is the easiest way to get lost online. Scheduling some time each day, or even each week, to focus on the company’s website, blog, and social media content will increase the chances of being found online. The following are some tips to set this plan in motion:
- Develop a strategy.
- Write ideas for content/blog posts.
- Set up and optimize social media accounts.
- Decide how these accounts will be managed during busier periods (i.e. summer season).
- Decide what content will be posted, how often, and who will be responsible?
- Monitor the company’s online reputation and reviews.
- Track and analyze results from the busier periods.
A little effort goes a long way online, which can significantly impact the company’s bottom line. Therefore, remember, the more people who visit the website, the percentage of those who follow the company’s call to action increases, and the more likely the business is to get the sale and increase its profits.
This article was written by Aimee Duffy and originally appeared on Pool & Spa Marketing [link].