We just closed out 2020 and it’s time to consider what is at the top of business owner’s list for the new year. As an SEO professional, the marketing priorities I recommend are always tied into organic traffic growth.
Here are five of my top strategies I am recommending going into 2021:
1. Claim a Google My Business Profile
Google My Business is a free tool for small business owners. It’s easy to get started and you can have a location verified in just a few minutes. Head over to google.com/business (google.com/business) to sign up for a free profile. Be sure you fill in your key business details like hours, phone number, website address and physical address.
If you operate a business that was seeing customers in person prior to COVID-19, Google My Business even gives you a spot to update customers on how you’re handling appointments now. For local attorneys, therapists and independent insurance brokers, being able to display this information is critical to the success of these businesses.
2. Claim Other Business Directories (Citations)
Google My Business just scratching the surface of online directories. You should also plan to claim profiles on Yelp, Bing Local, Apple Maps, Manta, Merchant Circle, Chamber of Commerce and smaller, localized directories. Developing an online presence is a must in 2021 where most people are looking for service providers online and from home.
In addition to these citations, you’ll also want to claim social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Claiming all of these profiles will help Google understand your online presence and reward you accordingly.
3. Invest In Content & Blogging
Really good content takes time to develop. A lot of small business owners understand the value of content, but don’t have the time to stray away from their day-to-day business activities. However, to be successful long term with SEO, you really need to invest in content. And if you already have content on your website, you should then consider blogging. Blogging provides a certain freshness that Google loves to see and it gives your readers a reason to keep coming back. Although content creation takes time, you could consider hiring freelance writers from a service like crowdcontent.com.
4. Fix Technical / Development Issues
With the release of Core Web Vitals, we now know a bit more definitively that Google is paying attention to performance metrics and pagespeed. Taking the time to make sure your site is in a great place from a technical SEO side of things will ensure it can be successful in search. Technical SEO is tricky to get started with and requires some coding knowledge. If you’re not familiar with how your website is coded, you will want to consider hiring a technical SEO professional or a freelance coder. You can find a relatively inexpensive freelancer in a code academy program who is just looking to gain experience.
5. Invest In Building Backlinks
We all know how Google feels about developing backlinks and why they are important to an SEO strategy, especially a strategy that involves competitive keywords. It’s one thing to have a website with great content, but if you’re not driving any traffic to that content, then what’s the point?
A great philosopher once asked,”If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around…does it make a sound?”
This is the same thing with a developing links to a website. You have to build an audience and find ways to drive traffic to your site. As long as you do so naturally, building backlinks will help grow your organic traffic.
That’s it! These are my top tips I am advising clients of as we head into the new year. For small businesses pursuing a local SEO campaign, a Google My Business is a must followed by additional citations. From there, businesses need to developing content and links to grow their SEO as much as possible.