How To Set Your Business Up For Medium-Term Success
You’ve followed our instructions in Part 1, and you’ve synced up all of your public-facing marketing with your digital presence.
Now you’re ready to start taking the next steps to build out some longer-term strategies. You want to move up in the rankings, you want to start establishing an online reputation for excellence in your field, and you want to parlay your business beyond the word of mouth advertising that you’ve already done.
These are some next steps for you to begin moving up the ranks. Remember, search engines want to give their users the best possible answer to whatever they are looking for. When it comes to professional services, this means that businesses with lots of reviews, a wide presence across respected directories, and extensive details & information on their website are naturally going to do well.
In other words, it’s more helpful and more realistic to look at increased search rankings as a reward, rather than a goal. If you’re doing a good job building buzz and attracting the right sort of attention, the increased rankings will come – and your business will be much better positioned to weather with any changes to ranking algorithms.
So, when we focus on medium-term strategies for bringing more traffic to your business, that’s what we’ll be discussing – ways to shore up your business’s standings across the web in the places that it matters.
Areas of Expertise: Directories & More
Evaluating the best business directories (beyond listings) and add your business to them– When someone is looking for your business, what websites are they going to trust beyond Google? If you were looking for a recommendation in your industry, where would you look? Is your business there?
Time for a little bit of thinking like the consumer. If you were looking for a business like yours, where would you go? Yes, you’d go to a search engine like Google, but you’re probably not going to just click on the first advertisement you see and go from there.
No, you probably have some idea of the best places to look for a business like yours.
Maybe it’s a business directory.
Maybe it’s a discussion page like Reddit.
Maybe it’s a message board for your local area – for nearly every industry, there’s a place where the trusted opinions gather.
The use of directories has changed quite a bit over the years – for a long time, they were an easy way to get backlinks to your website, and in the era where backlinks were one of the most important ranking factors, it was natural to want to be on as many high-ranking directories as possible.
Those days are over, but there’s still one significant area where directories are incredibly useful: when they’re highly relevant to your industry. This might seem like a “the chicken or the egg” phenomenon, but it’s actually rooted in the same thing we talked about above – expertise.
Does it make sense for an accountant to be on Deliveroo or Uber Eats? Absolutely not. Would a restaurant want to be on a directory featuring the best accountants in a given area? Likewise, no. It doesn’t matter how good the directory is, if it doesn’t make sense for your business, don’t spend time trying to get listed there.
Here’s a straightforward example: If you’re a musician who composes incidental music for film or television, it makes sense to have a SoundCloud or a Bandcamp listing that links to your website.
That way, people who are interested in hiring your services can A) listen to examples of your work and B) are finding your business presence on directories that are the industry standard.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that whatever presence you have on any professional directory is as well-filled out as possible. Not only does it avoid looking spammy, it also legitimately helps the people who are looking for businesses like yours come away with a positive opinion of your company.
When you’re on the Plus or Reputation Plan, we can kick start this process for you by helping you with your online reputation on many of the most prominent directories that our small businesses actually use. It’s a great way to kick off this phase of getting more traffic to your page.
Other Online Professional Areas of Interest
We touched on this in our first post, when we suggested that you take a look at Facebook Groups where you think your target audience would be, but the truth is that there are a lot of online platforms that people use to gather information about professional services, like Reddit, Quora, and other discussion areas, plus specialised social media platforms – the most famous is probably LinkedIn, which has exploded in popularity as a content sharing platform as well as a place for recruiters and potential hirees to post their resumes.
Posting smart, thoughtful, relevant, and helpful information in these places is very likely to help convert interested readers into customers who are visiting your website. There’s a simple phrase to keep in mind when it comes to sharing, posting, and interacting with online communities: Be Helpful & Don’t Spam. If you’re honestly helping people with your expertise, people will respond accordingly. If you’re not, they’ll likely leave with a less favourable opinion.
Guest posting, or when you contribute another piece of content to another website, is a hyper-specialised version of this. It’s essentially the same as a Ted Talk or a Medium post – the idea is to create a longer-form piece of content that shows off your expertise to a group of people who may not know about your business.
The goal, as you may have guessed, is to get your company in front of more eyes. If you have the opportunity to show off something you know that can help people looking for the service you provide, you should absolutely take it, but you’ll want to keep that same cardinal rule in mind – Be Helpful & Don’t Spam.
Google Reviews Requests Campaign
One of the biggest business directories around today is Google Business Profile, even though you might be surprised to think of it as a business directory at all. Simply put, Google Maps and local Google searches rely heavily on Google Business Profile listings, and having a fully-finished listing, as well as some excellent reviews, can work wonders for boosting your traffic.
The more high-quality reviews you have on your Google Business Profile listing, the more likely Google is to decide to show off your business to people searching for companies in your line of work.
Remember, Google is Google because of the amount of trust people place in their search algorithm to get them a good result when they search for anything they can think of. If your brand shows up in the first few listings with a ton of five-star reviews, it will help to build trust in your brand, raise your brand awareness, and have significant residual effects on how your business ranks in the future.
There are a couple of different ways to boost your Google reviews within the UENI ecosystem. For people on the Reputation Plan, we have an entire Review Management system dedicated to helping you stay on top of reviews, solicit more reviews from your existing customers, and respond to any new reviews you may receive, positive or negative.
For Customers on our other plans, you’ll find a link to your Google Business Profile review page in your hub: if you send this to one of your clients, they’ll be able to open a new window in their browser that leads directly to a review for your business. It’s perfect for follow up emails!
Smart Paid Google Advertising
Last but not least, you should also look at utilising Paid Advertising.
There are two important things to know about paid Google Advertising:
1) Google Ads allows users to target specific industry keywords or search terms, which can be really great for expanding your reach in a smart way.
2) you really have to have a good idea what kind of search terms and keywords people are using in your industry to get the most out of it.
It’s intricate enough that Google has an entire help center dedicated to Google Ads.
If you’re looking for Part 1 of this series, on how to get more traffic to your page in the immediate, click here.
If you’d like to go on to Part 3 of this series, how to get more traffic to your website in the long term, click here.