Low-No Cost SEO Marketing Basics for a Small Business
Learning the ropes of SEO and especially, local SEO is a quite a task; a daunting one to the least if you are getting started in the field as a small business. It is time to absorb 'ABC' of a beginner level SEO that our company has adopted and what it meant for us in terms of demand conversion.
Based on the experience with home builders in the area (Hyderabad), it is hard to spot anyone even thinking of other alternatives. Without going into the details of the product, let us jump right into pivoting points of our business and marketing strategies the company adopted along the way.
The initial strategy was to adopt two key methods of marketing: firstly, a third party lead provider and secondly, a physical cold-calling approach in reaching out to builders in the area. With some personal contacts in the field, company became operational, but the marketing channels initially envisioned were not really working. With conversion rates less than 10 per cent, and fierce competition in both the channels, the firm had to retool itself and find a better way to make it work.
While no one in the company paid serious attention to the SEO and Google My Business (GMB) channels, to become more visible to the customers in the beginning. COVID-19 feature from Google My Business (GMB) paved way to rethink and better strategize. When GMB marked almost all the businesses to be ‘temporarily closed’ in the wake of lockdown across India, the company was one of the very few firms to reopen the business when the lockdown was lifted. That showed a clear difference-in-difference in the number of calls that were received from the web channel. As firms slowly started updating their GMB, calls started thinning out again. This essentially pushed to adopt commonly established free SEO strategies which are helping us improve the game. For comparison, most of the competitors in the space hire an SEO firm, which adopts run-of-the-mill SEO strategies, meaning very little to no focus on content. In contrast, here are some of things that has been done by the company.
- Keywords: Make sure the top keywords in your area are definitely covered in the website text. This would be first most important thing to establish relevance in the eyes of Google. We run a basic free version of the website but still make sure the business is discoverable by Google. Keywords is the only way to establish this. Think about this from the shoes of your customer: When your customer goes to Google for your product, how would he search? "best+xyz near me", "xyz price in abc" etc. Make sure those bases are covered. You can also perform basic keyword analysis with free accounts on platforms. They have very limited access to top ranked keywords. However, if you are a small business in a niche sector where there is not a lot of competition online, this would work. Once you have the keywords, make sure that the content on your website encompasses these keywords in the overall text.
- Online Reviews: Going that extra mile in getting good reviews for your business on Google definitely helps. Of course, this starts with providing good service. Once you have that covered, make sure to serve them right and ask for a nice review. Most reviewers who come through the web channel are most likely to review. Hence, it is better to concentrate on your energies there. There is a nice snowballing effect to this. It is hard to make a customer understand the value proposition if one pitches it directly. This is mainly because every business thinks of them to be positive only. A satisfied customer vouching for your product is definitely a nice strategy in building trust. So, make sure to get this snowball rolling as soon as you can.
- Geotag your pictures: If you have a product that you can snap a picture of and post it, do not hesitate to do it. This directly works as reference for your customers in making that call. Most customers are visual beings. You can show them all fake model pictures you can scrape from the internet. However, any customer in today’s tech world can tell an actual picture apart from a model picture. Post those pictures for the customer to gather information in his own right. Maintain symmetry and light just for aesthetic reasons. Geotagging the image with latitude and longitude goes a long way in grounding your business locally for local SEO. This can be easily done with limited free websites such as this.
- Listing on other directories: Google verifies your address information and apparently deems to be more accurate if you have your business address and website listed across multiple directories. This could mean local directories. Based on the location, these might change, but a simple google search can give the basic idea as to different local directories specific to the area. We believe there are also a few reasonably cheap paid services that post your business across different directories. But, if you are cheap, just like us, stick to a simple google search and post.
- Backlinks: This is the hardest piece in the entire puzzle. You want other trusted websites to trust you enough to put your link on their website. How do you go about convincing someone that your weblink is worth putting on their website? That really depends. For starters, you can go on about writing the content that they would appreciate and would like their readers to see. You can also pay someone to write this. But it can get expensive and content can become stale quick. How to counter this?Simple, write about your experiences. Any business that needs to be run will have stories to be told. It can be as simple as what is your product, to what are the problems you are facing in daily operations, to how is a significant event (COVID-19 for example) impacting your business, to new sales ideas, to a satisfied customer experience, to anything and everything about your business that can be told as a story. How to approach different websites which post can be simply be searched on google using "topic"+"write for us" or other variations of the same.
Just like any other marketing strategy, some work while some won't. Being aware of the effects and keeping an eye and ear out in optimizing all of the above will land you with reasonable leads in considerable amount of time.
Author Bio: Abhilash Sunkara is the Managing Director of Mason uPVC, a custom window fabrication company based out of Hyderabad. He has over 16 years of experience that spans across various trades, including but not limited to retail distribution, networking, on-field jobs etc.
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