Messages on hold can be a fantastic, highly beneficial service for businesses already receiving phone calls. However, if you have only recently set up shop, you might be asking yourself, “How do I get the phone calls in the first place?”

One way to improve the discoverability of your business is through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In a very basic sense, SEO is the process of helping your website get discovered on major search engines such as Google.

SEO should be an integral part of every business owner’s marketing plan. SEO can help draw more customers to your business and, if done well, convert to more sales.

For today, I’d like to cover some tips to help your business get discovered online locally.

Keyword research

The first thing you have to ask yourself is if people are actually searching for your products or services online. One way to find out how many people searching for certain keywords such as ‘dentist Brisbane’ is to use a free tool called Google Keyword Planner. What it does is it reports how many people are searching for a certain term every month (such as ‘dentists’) – from a location you specify (such as ‘Brisbane’).

If you haven’t used it before, it could be a little tricky. Thankfully, the team at backlinko have created a great guide on how to use it to find the search data.

CAUTION: you might find that more generic keywords such as ‘dentist Brisbane’ and ‘accountants Brisbane’ are highly competitive. If you do a quick google search for these terms, you’ll find numerous, well established websites that are ranking for these terms. This could make it incredibly difficult (and costly) for you to be discovered.

In such instances, one strategy would be to focus on the smaller suburbs of Brisbane. Depending on your business, this could actually make much more sense. After all, if someone who lives in Jindalee is searching for a dentist, it’s highly unlikely they they would be searching for a dentist in Chermside. Therefore, it might be more practical for you to focus on keywords that are specific to your business location, such as ‘dentist Jindalee’. They may not get as many searches, but they could be much more relevant.

Set up Google My Business and Facebook business pages

Setting up a local Google My Business page for your business can create wonders for your business. A Google My Business page can help add your business to Google Maps and give you a larger presence on search results. They can also help instantly display the (hopefully) positive reviews people have written about your business in search results.

There are obviously many reasons why having a Facebook page can be beneficial for your business. In terms of helping you get discovered on search engines, we have found that some Facebook pages and status updates have gained high rankings on search results for relevant keywords – without the business even needing a website. When setting up your Facebook business page, just make sure to specify your business location and add the right keywords in the short description. Also make sure that the Facebook page you sign up to is a verified business page.

HINT: Obtain as many reviews on Google and Facebook as you can!

Leverage on the strengths of quality directories

You can instantly gain new leads without even having a website. Depending on your industry and business, you can leverage the power of good quality online directories – three directories we’ve found to have good search engine ranking power in Brisbane in the past include TrueLocal, Yelp and Yellow Pages. Another platform we have recently discovered (and have advertising on) is goguide.com.au.

HINT: it is important that the business address you have written on your website is written and displayed in the same manner you have uploaded in directories.

Acquire valuable links

The number of sites that link to yours can greatly benefit your SEO. A ‘link’ is a word or object people click on to go to another website, or another page in a website. For example, if you click on this link: music on hold, you will be directed to Smart on Hold’s ‘music on hold’ service page. In this case, “music on hold” is the link, or anchor text.

The reason why Google would give preference to a site with multiple links is because it is a clear indicator of how ‘popular’ a website is. For example, the more people talk about you, the more popular (and recognised) you’ll appear to be. The same can be said with SEO: the more sites link to yours, the more chances you’ll have of being discovered online.

There are numerous ways to be linked to. Here are a few:

  • Ask partner businesses, or organisations you sponsor if they could link to your website
  • Approach other website owners if you could write a guest blog post on their websites
  • Sponsor a charity, community or event (and ask to be listed on their website)

Have good quality products and services

SEO techniques aside, a timeless way to attract more people to your business is to simply sell better quality products and services. The more people enjoy what you offer, the more they will return, recommend and search for you. Listen to customer feedback and analyse your offerings as objectively and honestly as possible – are you delivering something valuable? Find ways to continue to improve what you have to offer in this ever-changing, highly competitive marketplace.

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About the guest author
David Bobis is the Head of Digital Marketing at Studio Culture, a website development and digital marketing agency that helps clients generate more returns online through services such as SEO. You can view the original, less extensive version of this post here.