Google has stated that while they acknowledge that the local business website has been pushed down the page by Google Places, never-the-less the SMB website will be more important than ever in the internet marketing strategy for small business who depend on local traffic. Here are ten tips, some new, some old, on how to optimize your visibility on Google and Bing searches in 2011.1. Ditch your current URL. That is, unless you’ve already made a keyword rich URL. No one is going to remember your URL even if its really cute, so take advantage of the known fact that Google considers the words in your URL to be very, very important for ranking. SpringfieldWeddingCakes.com is better than BobbyJoesOven.com.2. Title Tags are so critical and so easy, but so often the title of a website is Home. For best results use all 64 characters that Google will show on search. Separate ideas with vertical posts. Springfield Wedding Cakes | birthday cakes | bakery would be the form.Title Tags should be different on ever page. Again, this is a simple thing to accomplish by some amateurs and all developers. Creating appropriate Title Tags requires some analysis. Putting them in place shouldn’t cost more than $3 per page.3. Description Tags are similarly easy and important. It isn’t clear whether the keywords in the description tag matter to Google. What is clear is that they will use your description as the content in search results. So the description needs to sell something. Concentrate on words and ideas that will create action. You get about 125 characters to tell your story.
4. Contact information can have its own page as searchers are used to going to such a page. But your phone number should almost always be large and prominent on your home page. You may want to put a contact email on your front page also. For Google Places, you should create a name, address, and phone number block at the bottom of the home page. Even better, put this block on ever page. This is a confirmation to Google Places that your identifying information on the Google Places listing is true and correct. Make sure it is the same in both places.5. Social Networking Links should be under the spot where your phone number appears in that prominent place mentioned above. Use the thumbnail logos and link to your blog, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, and Linked In. You may want to go further and provide a Twitter feed on your home page, or a request to “Like your Fan Page.” If your blog is active and informative, make a bigger deal about the link to the blog.6. Google Preview changes your front page graphic strategy. If you haven’t tried it yet, go to a local business search term like bike shop. You will see a little magnifying glass next to the listings. If you click on the magnifying glass you will get a small thumbnail version of the website. As you move your cursor down the page you will see the other website thumbnails opening up.This new tool makes the front page of your website similar to packaging in a retail store. The searcher can take a 2 second look at your website and decide if this is what he wants. This instead of actually clicking to the website and taking the time to see if it is delivering the information desired.Does your current front page meet the 2 second test… in miniature? Best is a large bold headline telling your story in 20 characters, a great graphic creating an emotional reason to visit, and evidence that there is serious content, and all this needs to be experienced by the searcher in that two seconds.7. Conversion is the new buzzword. But far more than a buzzword. What good does it do to get a potential client to your website and not create an action on their part. Most website designers are not marketers, and they will concentrate on making a beautiful brochure that will help sell their services to the next client. You need to make sure that SEO, SEM, and conversion are part of the finished product.Use social network links, forms, large phone numbers, and calls to action. Create special offers, white papers, or ebooks to encourage visitors to leave their emails.
8. Google still cares more about content than any other thing. If you want to be the expert in your business category in your hood, then you need to prove it to Google. Create 15, 20, 30 pages of content. Link the content on internal pages to the front page within the main text. More than any other single thing, massive content will drive you to the top of search.9. If trust is an issue, such as doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, create a YouTube video and embed in your front page. Nothing will create more trust than a YouTube video. They get to see you in person. When creating the video pay more attention to authenticity than to professional videography.10. Use every SEO tool in the book. You need backlinks. The more the better. But good backlinks are from reputable sources that are relevant to your business. Purchased backlinks can help, but should be the back up plan. Submit your website to search engines and directories.Certainly there are many more things that could be said. The goal of this article has been to zero in on the elements of websites that are currently being overlooked or that are new development in the ways that Google or Bing look at search.