It was just a simple four-page website for the Murray Group, an insurance company based in Albany, New York.
And it hadn’t been updated for three years.
Ryan Hanley changed all that.
In the process of that change, he nearly tripled traffic and generated $4,975 in new business within 100 days…and much more afterward.
“That’s the power of long-tail keywords,” said Hanley, who was the Murray Group director of marketing at the time. “I will never rank for the term ‘insurance’ (because) there is simply too much money thrown at that term.”
But now the Murray Group can – and does – rank for the long-tail keyword phrase, “When do I drop collision coverage?”
This was one of 100 phrased questions Ryan optimized the Murray Group site for.
“I got all the questions from my current clients,” he said. “I tweeted, posted on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and I also emailed a lot of clients as well…”
What he did was ask them all a simple question:
“If you could only have one insurance question answered, what would it be?”
Querying your customers directly like this is a great way to find the right keywords to optimize your site for. You can also use a free or inexpensive keyword research tool like MajesticSEO, WorkTracker or Ubersuggest.
Bottom line: optimizing your site for the best keywords and keyword phrases is critical to improving your site’s search engine rankings…which of course directly leads to more traffic.
Another important element in this game is to…
- Produce great content
Let’s say you’re online looking for a product or service. And you find a listing for a website that appears to offer what you need.
The first thing you want to know is whether that website actually does fill your need, right?
Chances are you’ll only spend a few seconds there to see if it does. Otherwise, you’re back to Google to check out competing sites.
Smart business people know this. That’s why they provide informative content that’s valuable in and of itself on the home page – content that not only engages their prospects, but hooks them emotionally and lets them know right away how the site will benefit them.
Sadly, the home page of a typical business website doesn’t do this. Instead it just prattles on about how great the company is and how long it’s been in business.
Yes, that information is important, but it belongs on the about page, not the home page.
Never forget that your prospects only care about themselves and what you can do for them. That’s why you need to tell them immediately on the home page why they should stay on your site.
A good way to provide engaging content is to tell a compelling story that hooks them emotionally and illustrates the benefits your company offers. From there, you can use logic to justify the emotional attachment you created in your opening.
Also, keep in mind it’s vital to use the keywords or keyword phrases you identified in step one.
They should be in your headline and early on in the body copy. Do that and you’ll be rewarded with…you guessed it, better search engine rankings (and more traffic).
And if your business is targeting a specific geographic area, make sure you include that information (city, county and state) as well.
For example, if you run an auto body shop in Orlando, Florida, say so!
Here’s something else you need to do…
- Make sure your web site is mobile friendly
Ever find yourself searching for a local restaurant on your smart phone? Or a company that offers a particular product or service?
If the website of a company you click on doesn’t render well on your phone, you’ll likely move on to a competitor.
That’s obviously no good, is it?
One quick thing you can do to help your website render better on a smart phone is to use standard fonts.
Yes, custom fonts give your website a professional look, but they typically force mobile users to download large font files in order to see your website.
On a mobile device, this download can take many seconds. And during that time, the user only sees a blank space where text should be.
You don’t want that, so it’s best to use standard fonts.
There are a number of other things you can do to make sure your website is mobile friendly, and many of them require some technical acumen.
However, any competent webmaster will be able to handle these tasks with ease.
An excellent tutorial that will show you or your webmaster how to make your site more mobile friendly is at: https://www.sitepoint.com/10-ways-make-website-mobile-friendly/
Here’s the fourth thing you can do to get more traffic to your local business website…
- Engage in local outreach initiatives
One great way to drive attention to your local business is to get other people to talk about and link to you.
The first step in this process is to see who’s linking to you now. Good ways to do that include using Google Webmaster Tools or Open Site Explorer.
Here’s another neat trick – use Open Site Explorer to see who’s linking to your competitors. Then see if you can get a link back from those same websites.
You can also use searches in Google like “your location + blogs” to find bloggers who might want to write about your local business. And you can use social media to find authorities in your area that you can contact.
Other strategies to try include sponsoring or hosting local events within your community.
Networking in your area can also help you develop connections that can give you future opportunities.
Now we come to what I think is the most important of the five steps to secure more website traffic…
- Make sure your contact information is consistent throughout the web
Did you know that 75% of U.S. businesses have conflicting online contact information?
Don’t let your site be in this unhappy category. Take the time to make sure your company name, address, phone number and email is consistent on all web directories.
To start, avail yourself to one of the many online data management services and get a free report on your online business contact information.
If that report reveals conflicts, go into the directories and correct this information.
Make sure, though, that you start with the biggest directories – they’re called “aggregators” and include Factual, Acxiom, InfoGroup and Neustar Localeze).
Then work your way down to major directories like Yelp and Yahoo, and then lesser directories like Yellowpages.com or CitySearch.
Yes, this is a time-consuming chore, but it’s critical because Google and other major search engines often penalize business sites with conflicting contact information on the web.
That can result in your competitors ranking higher than you for keyword and keyword phrases that you targeted in step one.
And you definitely don’t want that!
If your business has conflicting contact data on the web, you could be driving potential customers to your competitors. Don’t let that happen – find out if your online contact information is consistent with a free demonstration at here.
Steve Mitchell is the president of FixMyInfo.com, a service for companies that verifies their business information on local business data aggregators, search engines, social media websites, and Internet business directories. He has more than 16 years experience in the field of local search and web-based systems, which has revealed that 75% of U.S. businesses have conflicting business information all over the Internet. Steve is a happily married family man with two adult children in College and in University and he is a reformed politician, having served 7 years as an elected Commissioner in a school board with over 15,000 students and 2000 employees.