Last month, we held a special online event to help small businesses get found online and attract new customers.
The event was a great success! Hundreds of small business owners tuned in to learn from our panel of experts about how to stand out in a noisy and competitive online environment.
The webinar focused on three important topics: Search and SEO, Online Listings, and Social Visibility.
Throughout the event, attendees had the chance to have their questions answered live.
For those of you who missed the event, or just want to look back at what was covered, here are answers to the top questions that were asked:
Search and SEO
1. How can I use keywords to get more people to visit my website?
Start by making a list of terms (shoot for about 25) that are relevant to your business’s products or services. Think about the words a potential customer might use to find your business, or to find information about the products and services that you offer. Then, think about the types of questions your target audience may be asking, and how you could answer them.
You want to combine words that are popular and specific. That way you’ll have high search volume and low competition.
One effective way to do this is combine your industry with your location. (For example, “Delray Beach Gym.”) Combining these terms will ensure you’re ranking well with the right audience.
For more information on keyword research, check out this post.
2. When creating content for SEO, does the length of the post matter? Is it better to create longer posts? Or should I post shorter posts, more frequently?
The best way to build authority is to focus on creating fresh, relevant content on a regular basis. If you’re focused on creating content that’s helpful to the people you’re trying to reach, and is answering their questions, you will only need to make minor tweaks to optimize for SEO.
When it comes to length, we recommend an average length of 500 – 1,000 words.
When starting out, set a goal to publish at least one blog post per week. You can take simple steps to plan out your first series of blog posts, and even write posts in advance and schedule them out throughout the month.
As you roll out your new content, remember to leverage your existing channels like email and social media to drive visits to your blog. As more people read, share, and engage with your content, search engines like Google will start to take notice. This will help you build authority around topics related to your business, and ultimately drive people new visitors to your website.
For more advice on improving your search engine ranking, here are our top 5 tips for SEO.
3. Are there any tricks for boosting my website’s ranking in search results? Should I have a page of my website that just lists keywords?
It’s not a good idea to try to game the system to boost your search ranking. Search engines like Google are constantly tweaking and improving their algorithm to provide a better experience for people searching on the site. These changes are designed to reward publishers who create and share quality content, and limit the reach of sites that try to game the system.
There are, however, plenty of ways you can optimize your website and content to give you better results.
Make sure your blog is hosted on your website domain, rather than a default address like yourblog.wordpress.com. Once your blog is set up, make sure the navigation on your site makes it easy for people to find your content. The easier it is for people to find your content, the easier it will be for search engines to pull your posts into search results.
Within each post, make sure you’re using relevant keywords in your blog post headlines, and writing unique meta descriptions that offer strong descriptions of what your content is about. This approach will make it easy for search engines and users to determine what your content is about.
4. We don’t have a physical location that people visit, do listings still matter for my business?
While listing sites offer a number of benefits to businesses with physical locations — including the ability to add hours, address, and directions — they can also help businesses without a physical location get found.
Service businesses are an example of this. While people may not be using sites like Google or Yelp to find your location, they will be searching to find people who can help with a particular problem in their area. This is why it’s so important to choose the right business category/industry when claiming your listing. You’ll also want to fill out relevant location information, so that you can be found by local consumers (for example: “financial services in Waltham, Massachusetts”).
Also, keep in mind that even if you haven’t set up listings for your business yourself, your business could already have been added to online listing and review sites. Perform a search of your business to see what information is available and what needs to be updated.
Read this post and discover how to take control of your online listings.
5. How do I determine which listing sites are most important?
There’s no shortage of online listings sites available, and the importance of each will vary on your industry. To determine which are most important for your business, start by searching your business name on a search engine like Google or Bing to see which sites you are already listed on.
You can also look to your existing customers to find out which sites they’re using to find businesses like yours. Ask new clients about how they found your business when signing up for a service, joining your email list, or making a purchase.
If you’re looking for more advice, you can find it in our guide to online listings.
6. What should I do if I see a negative review of my business?
No business owners like to see negative feedback about their business. A negative review on a listings site can damage your business’s reputation, so it’s important that you address it quickly and professionally.
Don’t get caught up in anything you feel is inaccurate in the review — it’s best to stay level headed and see the review as an opportunity to show how your business can handle criticism responsibly.
The best response is a simple apology, and then a request that they send you an email so you can hear more about their experience and try to rectify it if possible. Handling a challenging situation in a less public setting is always a better option if possible.
It’s also important that the people who know your business best know that the opportunity to review and recommend your business exists. If people are already recommending your business offline, there’s a good chance they’ll jump at the chance to share their feedback online as well.
Read this post for advice on keeping track of how people are talking about your business online.
Social Visibility and Facebook Ads
7. How do I get more exposure for my Facebook Page?
To get more exposure for your Facebook Page, you should leverage any network you already have. Reach out to your email list, post a link on any other social network you’re using, add a button to your website, make a sign for your storefront, and add your Facebook URL to printed materials like menus or programs.
It’s also important to make your page engaging by posting regularly and thinking about what kind of content your fans will enjoy. When you post updates that your fans like, comment, or share, there’s a higher possibility that your Page will show up in more users’ News Feeds.
You can also leverage the power of Facebook’s different advertising options. You can pay to promote your content to existing fans, or use Facebook’s different targeting features to reach new audiences on Facebook.
Read about 6 ways to promote your Facebook Page here.
8. Is there a certain time or frequency that I should be posting on Facebook?
Determining the best time to post on Facebook starts with understanding your specific audience. Spend some time thinking about when they’re likely to be online and try posting at various times throughout the week. You can determine which posts were the most successful by looking at your Facebook Insights. Take into consideration that timing isn’t everything — the most important thing is that your content is engaging to your audience.
You shouldn’t be posting to Facebook with a high frequency as high as you might on Twitter. We recommend a minimum of 3 times a week and a maximum of ten times a week to keep you audience engaged without overwhelming them.
9. Why should I pay to promote a post, rather than just posting the same thing multiple times?
Facebook uses an algorithm to determine which posts will show up in users’ news feeds. Part of the algorithm takes into account which of your audience members engage with your posts the most — which means if you post the same thing over and over again, the same people are likely to see it. This will provide a negative experience for your fans.
Instead, by paying to promote a post, you can extend your reach and make sure different people see it. You can choose to promote your post to your total current audience, target your key demographics, or even promote the post to a lookalike audience that Facebook targets based on the people on your email list.
If you’re thinking about running a Facebook Ad, here are 5 things to decide before getting started.