There is no doubt that a lot has to be done when setting up a new business. The marketing (and that includes SEO), is only a small part. However, as gaining customers is a key factor in the success or failure of any new business, it is one that cannot be ignored.
Why Search Engine Optimisation?
The purpose of any SEO activity, be it national or local, must be to attract potential customers. Essentially this means that a new business needs a presence on Google, either a website, a Google My Business listing or best of all, both.
For businesses aiming for national coverage, a website is a must, whilst those just seeking a local presence, MAY get away with just a Google My Business listing. However, SOM does not recommend the latter, due to the fact that a GMB listing gets ‘support’ from that businesses’ website. This together with the fact that the people can be directed to the website from the GMB listing (which by its nature allows the business to put its message across in a far better, detailed manner), makes combining them the best option for success.
Should businesses Wanting National Coverage Forget About GMB?
This is a question many businesses may ask, and for our part at SOM, we believe that any business should promote itself via Google My Business as it provides another possible source of leads and business. It is also of course FREE, which makes it even more worthwhile.
The Very First Step
This should be to claim the GMB listing, which can take a few days as Google has to verify your ‘ownership’, so the sooner this is done the better.
Once verified you should add as much content as you can to the listing, five photographs being the minimum. Don’t forget to add all the INFO, including:-
The full Address and Telephone Number – Remember to use the SAME one in all references to your business, important because having different NAPs (Name Address and Phone numbers) will cause Google to give you a lower listing in the 3 Pack, meaning you could lose a lot of business.
- Your Opening hours
- A detailed list of Products
- The Business Description
At this early stage you probably won’t have a website. This is fine, you can add this to the GMB entry once you have created it.
The Second Step
From an SEO perspective, the next step is to create the website, BUT before you take any action here, it is really better if you carefully consider what message you want to ‘put across’ to your potential customers. This should include how you can help them with any issues or problems they have, and how you can help them. Answering questions can also help you get that very special ‘Position Zero’ placement on Google, but more about that later.
You also have to decide what makes your business special, what your Unique Selling Points (USP) are. These need to be woven into your website’s message.
Keyword Research and the Questions to Answer
Think of this stage as a part of your market research, it being all about finding out what words and phrases people are using when searching for your products or services. It will also provide you with a host of questions that people want answers for. This research allows you to KNOW what to talk about on your website, and just HOW YOU CAN HELP AND ENGAGE with your customers. The example of Keyword Research shown below provides details of which keywords are being searched for, how many times and the level of competition.
Now You Can Build Your Website
We don’t build websites at Serendipity, but we can work with a designer of your choice, and if you don’t have one, can arrange for your site to be built by one of our associates. Choosing the right domain name is another important task, so if you have not decided upon one yet, we can help here too
Mapping Keyword onto the Pages
This is the stage where the target keywords selected from the keyword research, are assigned onto the pages of the site. It is that pages ‘job’ to both answer the needs of the visitor AND to get a ranking on Google.
The Most Important Thing is The Content
It goes without saying that the most important part of a website is its content. This MUST answer the objectives that any visitor has when reading that page. It is therefore VITAL to write the copy with that in mind. However, it is also a good idea to speak in a manner that Google likes. So, as you know what keyword phrases that page is trying to get a rank for, you must then make sure that Google likes what it sees. That means using a variety of words that are similar and related to your target phrases. We have a great tool for this and can ensure that the end copy is as finely tuned as possible.
There are other things to consider here, when building the site, such as:
- Expertise, Trustworthiness and Authority
- Internal Linking
- Overall User Experience
- Videos etc
Here again Serendipity can help.
The Next Stage – Link Building
Whilst Google tells us that it is the content of a site that really matters, they also demonstrate that to get ‘noticed’ a site needs links, and for Local SEO, citations, to succeed. Building links and citations is a complicated task that must be done correctly.
Serendipity has years of experience in this area, and yet again, can help you succeed in this vital area.
Meeting Your Targets
It is always a good idea to set targets for a business, and this goes for SEO too. But what things can you measure and how?
Both offer a different set of data and together they tell you about everything you need.
Analytics can provide you with information on
- How many visitors the site is getting
- Where those visitors are coming from
- How long they are staying on the site’s pages
- Some data on conversions (this however has some limitations)
Google Search Console provides you with data on
- Whether the pages have been indexed by Google
- If these pages have any errors on them from Google’s perspective
- The phrases that the site is being found for on Google
- How many times the site is appearing in the search engine’s listings
The above list only covers the most important data sets. There is far more information to be gleaned. However, when using either of the above, it is vital to have a good idea of the question you want answering. Otherwise, you can spend time looking at reams of data for no real purpose.
Again, Serendipity can help you.
We do this not only by knowing the questions to ask, but also about ‘how to ask them’ of the system concerned. We also provide comprehensive reports on what we have done, and why, so that you know just what is happening and where your business is heading.
Some SEO companies are very secretive about what they do and run all their reports using totally automatic systems, which then just send the results to your email account.
We do all our reports manually, allowing us to spot issues like ‘Negative SEO’ as well being better placed to answer any of your questions.
Hopefully, the above will give you a good idea of the steps any new business should take and just how Serendipity can help you with each stage. If you would like to know more, then please do contact us for an informal chat, we know we can help you.