Can My Small Business Be Listed Higher in Search Results?

February 19, 2018 Caitlin McElwain

If you’re concerned about how to get your website to appear at the top in search results, you’re not alone. Many small businesses feel that they can’t compete with large companies when it comes to their online visibility. The good news is, there are some simple tricks that will help customers find your company on search engines without spending a ton of money.

The key is to make the most out of search engine optimization (SEO)

When used effectively, search engine optimization (SEO) can help your website rank higher naturally (organically) on the search results pages of Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Organic search results are unpaid and appear underneath paid ads. For instance, when people are searching for “flower shops in Montreal” on Google, they will see paid ads at the top and bottom and organic results in between.

Even though organic results are unpaid, studies have found that they are 8.5x more likely to be clicked on than paid search results. 

Does this mean online ads are not worth the investment? Definitely not. There are various advantages to investing in paid ads, but for the purpose of showing up at the top of search results pages, SEO is a good place to start. Plus, improving your SEO is a long-term investment.

Below are 6 important SEO strategies:

1. Add your business to local directories

The advantage for many small businesses is that they tailor to a niche market. For instance, when people are conducting an online search, they are usually looking for a specific product/service and or a local place — such as “best ramen in Toronto.”

To better show up on local searches, make sure your business is listed on websites such as Google and Yellow Pages. To get listed on Google, create a free Google My Business profile, which allows your local business to appear on search, maps and Google+. If you haven’t already, you should also claim your free Yellow Pages listing, as it will give you greater online visibility. Since Yellow Pages is a premium partner with Google, getting listed with us will improve your overall page ranking on Google.

2. Use more relevant keywords on your website

It’s important to use relevant keywords on your website. Keywords are terms, words and phrases that people use on search engines to find websites that they’re looking for, such as “bridal stores in Halifax.” These keywords can go in your website’s title, header, body, image, and meta description. Keywords also tell Google what your website is all about; if your keywords are relevant to people’s search queries, Google can direct people to your page.

A blog is also a great strategy for producing more SEO friendly content. In fact, Google crawlers index blog content more frequently than regular website pages. So if you have new pages on your website, they might grab Google’s attention sooner if you introduce them in your blog.

4. Inbound links

Inbound links are links pointing to your website from other sites. You can think of them as referrals. Not only does an inbound link help customers find you directly from other sites, having more of these types of links can also improve your ranking on search engines such as Google because they indicate that people find your site useful and trustworthy.

TIP: Be careful: not all inbound links are helpful. Bad inbound links such as paid backlinks can hurt more than they help, even getting your site demoted within search rankings.

5. Get Social

If you would like to show up in top search results, don’t forget that social media channels are search engines too. When someone wants to check out your business, they’re likely to do a quick search on Twitter and Facebook to see what kind of presence you have on these channels.

TIP: If you need help setting up and/or maintaining your Facebook profile,talk to our experts.

6. Use our free scan tool

Scan your profiles for errors or missing information across 25+ if Canada's most pouplar search sites and apps to find missing or incorrect information. 

7. Optimize your website for mobile

Make sure your website is navigational and user friendly, which includes optimizing your site for mobile. Google will give preference to websites that are mobile friendly as way to incentivize website owners to improve user experience.

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