Customers are turning to the Internet in droves to shop and, just as importantly, to research businesses. Over 90% of customers have searched online to find a local business at least once in the last year. So, the question becomes, is your business’ online footprint good enough that it turned up in those searches? If the answer is, “No,” or, “I don’t know,” it’s time to spend some quality time analyzing your online presence and taking action to improve that online footprint.
Social Media Consistency
Consistency across social media channels matters. While there isn’t a specific tool to check this for you, it’s worth the time to sit down and take a hard look at all of your social media profiles. Is there consistency in terms of profile picture and color scheme? It might seem trivial, but there’s a reason why successful businesses always use their logo and often custom build themes that match their websites. It avoids confusion. If customers see the same image and color scheme in every profile, they know they’re in the right place. What about brand or product messaging? Does every profile convey the exact same thing? If your Facebook profile focuses on customer service, while your Instagram feed hones in on your latest product offerings, the messaging is confusing. There should be strict alignment and persistent activity across all channels.
Blogging is one of the most straightforward ways to improve your online footprint. Blog posts provide the perfect vehicle to organically add another mention of a keyword to your website. High-quality posts that offer insight or actionable advice also serve to show that the business knows what it’s doing. Most business owners can write a couple insightful posts a month or, in a pinch, flesh out some ideas and outsource the actual writing. Search engines reward websites that add new content on a regular basis, but they also treat blog posts as entirely new pages on the site, so it’s like getting double points for one action.
If you’ve done your homework, you should be using a few top keywords or keyword phrases on your website and in most of your content. Then, you should be doing some serious keyword tracking. Unlike social media consistency, you can use a rank tracker tool to understand how your business is performing on the keyword front. Rank tracking, in essence, tells you where your website turns up in search engine results for that keyword. Of course, getting that information once is of limited value. The best approach is to track your website’s performance for specific keywords over time and look for trends. Barring some drastic change to search engine algorithms, if your website gets pushed further back on page results, it’s time to generate some new content.
Beef Up Security
If you accept orders online or store customer data, there is a good chance that some of those customers are concerned about data security. It’s a founded fear as well because the major data breaches keep piling up. Security features don’t normally excite anyone, but ramping up your security and telling your customers about it can actually improve your standing online. You can even go so far as creating a page that tells customers how you protect their data, at least in general terms. This signals that you take protecting your customer’s sensitive information seriously. For the security conscious, your website becomes a more attractive destination than competitors who appear less concerned with data security. It also improves the odds that they’ll talk you up to their friends and family. Since word-of-mouth recommendations are the most trusted recommendations, it’s more likely that those friends and family members will visit your site.
With so many customers choosing the Internet as their first and last stop to find a business, you can’t afford to take a laissez-faire attitude about your online footprint. You need to take actions that support and improve that footprint. Rank tracking for your keywords and beefing up security are two actions you can take immediately. Adding new content, such as blog posts, and imposing consistency on social media can happen over time. Taken together, these will make you more visible and more attractive to customers.