I had the privilege this past Friday to speak to the Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce at their weekly Perkolator breakfast in Eatontown about how to rank in 2018 for small businesses. We covered the latest in SEO necessities including Google My Business, link building, user experience (UX) necessities and more. The breakfast is a great opportunity for members or guest to network and learn something while enjoying a nice breakfast at the diner. Come on out some time and check it out. They have it most Friday mornings at 8AM. Sometimes they skip holiday weeks so check the chamber calendar to be sure it is happening the week you want to come.
Teaching SEO to Business Groups
As I mentioned, I like to talk with chambers of commerce and business groups and help members understand how SEO really works so they can either help themselves or make sure they are hiring a real professional and not trusting someone that doesn’t know what they are doing. This particular day we dove into some second level information rather than the absolute basics like title tagging and general rules.
We talked about how important it is to have thorough and unique content for the current Google algorithm. Though not every search needs long content, most do. It is tough for small businesses to get away with pages with only a couple of sentences. You need to explain what your service is, what your process is, and why someone should choose you. At the same time, you should make it very easy for someone to understand how to hire you or buy from you. In the SEO world, “Content is King”.
User Experience (UX)
Speaking of making it easy to hire you, Google will tell you that user experience is the top ranking factor. Now that is a really vague statement and actually includes many factors such as speed and readability. You want to provide a user experience that makes people want to stay or use your site. I touched on some examples of very poor user experiences and how you need to make sure the tools you employ to improve to help user experience are actually utilized properly, or they can actually make the experience worse. Recent Google algorithm updates and research have pointed to page load speed under 3 seconds being important to success, but this threshold is always getting faster.
The actual top ranking factor in terms of correlation to improved rankings is inbound links, or other websites sending their visitors to your site via links. Google views links as signals to the authority and credibility of your site. The sites that link to you tell Google things like topics and credibility of your site. Local businesses can be helped by links from clearly local sites as well as stronger national blogs and news sites relevant to their industry or just strong and credible general sites.
Google My Business
We touched on the importance of the new Google My Business functionality for local businesses. The days of just having your name, address, and phone number (NAP) correctly distributed are over. You need to interact with and update your Google My Business (GMB) on a regular basis and you will find that a lot of your business will come from people that stop here before even going to your website, though your website is a big part of fueling your GMB to show up in searches.
To learn more about my talk and the tools I discussed to help you with your own SEO, please check out my Chamber Cheat Sheet page and feel free to call and take advantage of our Chamber discount.
I have always enjoyed speaking to different business groups, especially ones where I am a member. It makes me happy to help educate people and let them improve and better market their business. If you are a member of a business organization and want to bring me in for a talk or workshop, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I am always looking for opportunities to teach.