When you enter a query into a search engine, sometimes you know which results to expect. For example, if you’re looking for a furniture store, you wouldn’t be surprised to see IKEA at the top of the search results. So, what does this mean for smaller businesses?
Competition is fierce for some keywords. While it isn’t impossible to outrank large competitors, it can be incredibly difficult in some industries. However, there’s nothing stopping you from competing fairly and obtaining a good position in the search results for local queries. Let’s take a look at the top techniques you can deploy to give your website the best chance of being number one.
Content Is King
High quality, well-written content is very important. Not only will this attract and engage users, it will also give you the best chance of being seen on Google. The algorithm looks for accurate, original and informative content. It also values expertise, so if you write about the same subject extensively, this puts you in a good position.
People like to read content that is easy to digest and conveys information clearly. If your text waffles too much, has inaccuracies or doesn’t have enough spacing, you might be putting your users off. Make sure that you’re being concise, backing up any claims with evidence and have considered how your content looks on the page.
Be Mobile Responsive
If you want to check that your website is fully responsive, you can open it on a desktop window. Reduce the size of the window to mimic the screen size of a tablet and a mobile. If the page adapts to a smaller display and sill works correctly, it’s responsive.
Narrow Things Down
If your website doesn’t serve one industry or niche, you should consider narrowing your focus. Trying to rank for multiple unrelated terms can be difficult because it doesn’t encourage Google to believe that you’re an expert. As a rule, your website should have a specialist approach, not generalist.
Websites that are optimising for competitive terms in high competition areas should consider where they can provide original, new information. For example, if you’re a plumber in Bristol, you’re going for a very competitive term. However, if you write in-depth content about the magnetic filters you install in boilers, you stand a higher chance of ranking for that less competitive term.
This might seem counter-intuitive, but the idea is that once you’re ranking well for a few local searches, even if they aren’t competitive, your website builds authority. When you have more authority, you’re more likely to rank higher for the more difficult keywords.
Give Users What They Want
What do your users want? You’re going to have to dig deep and carry out extensive market research to find out what terms your target market are searching for. It might be that they’re looking for services, but you don’t always want to think so directly. Consider what questions your customers might have about your services and try to answer them on your website. This way, you’re providing helpful content that might lead to a conversion.
It’s worth taking a look at what your competitors are doing for some inspiration. You don’t have to copy them. In fact, sometimes you want to do the opposite. If you notice that none of your competitors are providing a service that you do, this is a great opportunity to get ahead!
Use Your Differences As A Strength
What can you provide that a larger competitor can’t? Most often, the answer to this is a personalised, local service. When people choose a local business, they’re choosing to spend their money with someone who might provide that same service for many years to come.
Make sure that your website shows your business and brand identity in the best light. You want to tell your audience what you’re all about and why you’re the best person for the job. If you’re able to establish an emotional connection with your website users, they’ll be more likely to use your services. Sharing images of your work, employee profiles and fresh content are all great ways to build a relationship with your audience.
Maintain An Online Presence
If your business doesn’t have profiles on social media, you’re missing a trick. Billions of internet users spend hours on social media every day. To get your business seen online, you should have profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn at a minimum. If appropriate for the nature of your work, you should also consider having Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
Be active on social media. There’s no point in creating a profile only to do nothing with it. Social media helps you to create relationships with potential customers. Start conversations and engage with your followers. This is what will set you apart from larger competitors, as you can provide a personalised service that they can’t.
A good social media presence also has an added benefit for your SEO (search engine optimisation). Being present on multiple platforms establishes you as a trustworthy, genuine business. The more signals that exist online that point to your company, the better.
Don’t Be Disheartened
Getting your website to the top spots in the search results is hard work. It takes a long time and requires a lot of effort to maintain. If you’re in a highly competitive industry, don’t be disheartened if climbing up the rankings seems impossible. The key to a successful strategy is to be consistent. Constantly carry out research to find out what the best terms are to optimise for. When you’ve got to the top spot, don’t stop there! Find a new term and repeat the process.
The more time you can commit to your strategy, the better.