Let’s re-cap: we are talking about social signals – the shares, the likes, pins and +’s (and the many others) – and how these can be an indication to Google that your website is authoritative which customers quite like.
Local businesses also need these social signals as it shows Google that you are worth having a look at and so when those sometimes elusive local customers type in ‘builders Shropshire’, your website bobs up alongside the larger companies that are based in London.
So yes, they are important but they are not the ‘be all and end all’. We also looked fleetingly in Are you in the cool gang? Part 1 at the 200 variables that Google uses to filter and rank websites. Social signals play a part but more important is getting the right keywords, along with regularly updated appropriate content.
And so, now we have convinced you that social signals do play a part, here are some ideas to help you out… (need a hand? Contact us!)
- Get on social media – take a browse through them and decide where your customers are more likely to be. Facebook and Twitter are the obvious ones, but if you have the ability and technical know-how, using some of the photo bases social media platforms are great way of showcasing your work. But, don’t be half-hearted about it – complete your profile on each social media you plan to use and then get it linked to your website (we can do that bit, if we haven’t already).
But which one? Take a look and think about your audience or customers – what social media platforms are they using https://searchengineland.com/choose-right-social-media-networks-b2b-business-186307
- Stay on social media – having a Twitter account is not a magic fix to bumping up to page 1 on Google; you need to be active on it. Many of the social media platforms have groups etc. that focus on local issues, services and customers etc. – Twitter, for example, have groups such as #northwesthour who ‘meet’ at certain times on a certain day; they are great way to network with potential partners and customers. These guys can be really supportive too and when you do posts links to your website or blog post, will either re-tweet, share it or favourite it, meaning all their followers get to see it too… can you see how it could build, and to your advantage?
- Be the conversation – this takes a little more effort but in any industry or trade, there will be conversations about products, services, traditions and issues: you could not only be part of it, you could start it!
For example, the changes in the pension arrangements in the UK are being rolled out over the next few years. If you are a local Human Resources or accountancy firm, why not start a debate with local small businesses to see how they feel about this? What help will they need in the future when it is their turn to enrol the small number of employees in the micro business in to the scheme…?
- Quality content – we go on and on and on about this all of the time, to the point that people look slightly disinterested. Your customers (potential ones and loyal ones) need to be informed, entertained and inspired – NOT inundated by spam and rubbish.
For example, a post on why people really do need to get rid of Japanese knotweed from their gardens (and why a local gardening firm is a better option) than simply posting rubbish about weeding the garden…
- Buttons! – of course people can only poke you, like it, share it and + it, or even pin it with the right buttons on your website (the bird for Twitter, the big F for Facebook, the white P in the red square for Pinterest…). It is not too complicated a technical process but if you don’t have the time or inclination, just call us cos we can do it in a jiffy.
- Buttons at the top! – if you are confident in placing your social media buttons, put them at the top of the webpage, some experts say, as people rarely go searching for them.
- Blog – yes, you need to blog. Free and interesting information is something we all love and this is what your blog is. A paragraph or two, with some photos of your work, is better than nothing (all comes back to the 200 variable and regular, appropriate content being added to your website).
No time? Not a writer? We can sort that for you too… see how versatile we are?
- Ask people to share – like we did at the end of the first part of this post, we asked you to share our content, because we are proud of it and we want more and more people to see the great work we do here at Locally. There is no shame in asking; some people will.
- Reciprocate – in other words, share something you comes across that relates to your business or something that you like. All these signals are important and gets your name out there.
- Keep an eye on Google – they change their algorithms, and update them at what seems like an alarming pace. So keep an eye on them too.
So, it’s that easy?
Mmmmm yes, kind of but there are a few things to avoid:
Do NOT go overboard – remember the kerfuffle over links and stuff from ages ago? Well, is it the same with social signals; Google is quite nifty at working out which websites are used and which are fake.
Quality over quantity, every time – blogging is great, but if it is just rubbish to fill a space you will be taking a backward step every time you publish something. And make sure any websites you use to post any blogs etc., are quality websites too.
Social media is not everything – so don’t trade everything in for tweeting all day or updating your status; there are 200 other variable that Google uses and you need to ensure you are including some of these in your website and marketing strategy. Getting rid of everything else is like making a salad without the lettuce.
And so, for local businesses what are the lessons?
- Be yourself and stick with the local aspect of your business
- Network and share with customers and other businesses
- Keep you website updated