For Grand Rapids, West Michigan, and entrepreneurs anywhere looking to get found online. Standing out from the crowd gets more difficult every year. Here’s your guide to getting noticed.

#1: Claim Your Brand Properties#1: Our top tip for bringing you more business online in 2018 is to claim all of your brand properties.

Most businesses these days have a website. Many have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile, or a twitter account. There are many more places online that your business can use to lock down your brand name.

There’s a double advantage to doing this. The first is taking control of all pages with your brand name before someone else can use them. The second advantage is gained by occasionally using these platforms to share your content. When the posted content links back to your website, you are letting the search engines know that you are a real brand interested in reaching your customers wherever they hang out online.

For a full list of websites where we suggest securing your brand name as well as some tips to make them more effective, sign up for our free small business success coaching and get an Upgraded PDF Bonus Guide with more information and our best tips:

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#2: Local Business Citations And Reviews#2: Build an excellent reputation using local business citations and third-party reviews.

Citations are merely another way of saying a listing for your business. The classic business citation that most people are familiar with is the yellow pages of your local phone book. Local business citations come in many forms. Some even help build links to your website to improve SEO (getting found in search engines like Google).

Not every citation has to have a link to your website to be helpful. Some search engines use the extra information like the name, address, and phone number listed (NAP) to help verify that you run a legitimate business. These type of citations help both search engines and the users of the website find your business.

Some of the best citations come from of reviews from third-party websites. Users and search engines both use these as an essential indicator of quality. Since a search engine only wants to deliver high-quality results, third-party reviews are a great way to boost your visibility online.

For a list our top suggested citations as well as some tips to get more reviews, sign up for our free small business success coaching and get an Upgraded PDF Bonus Guide:

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#3: Put Website Content Into Themed Sections#3: Organize your website content and build it into themed sections.

Years ago many “experts” advised you to build the biggest website you possibly could. Some still do. More important than creating an extensive website, is to create a well-structured site that has a solid theme.

The first part of this is to organize your website’s content. You want to sit down and figure out if multiple pages on your site are competing for the same topic. If so, we advise you have an expert help you to properly merge the content into a single more informative page. Note, this can be tricky, so please get help if you aren’t 100% sure how to do this the RIGHT way.

The second part is to break the subjects of your website into main articles and supporting articles. For example, our page on Internet Marketing has several supporting articles underneath. Each page covers a specific sub-topic like website design, SEO, and conversion optimization.

Any business can help their ability to be found by creating supporting articles and linking their pages together correctly. For real-world examples of how to structure and connect your pages for maximum effect, sign up for our free small business success coaching and get an Upgraded PDF Bonus Guide:

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Don't Rely On Only One Traffic Source#4: Explore multiple methods for generating targeted traffic.

Here’s something that will leave some business owners scratching their heads, and will even make others angry. Search engines like Google use website traffic to determine if they should show a site to other users. That’s right; it often takes visitors already on your website to get more visitors from search engines.

Obviously, you can boost your visits on a new website by buying search ads directly from the search engines. That’s probably their favorite way of having you kickstart your traffic. There are many other ways to get this done. Often for much less than search advertising.

One of our favorite techniques is to develop an exciting piece of content (like this page) and use social media to promote it. Promoting content via social media costs a fraction of what search advertising does, and helps you to grow an audience quickly. This popularity then tells the search engines that you’re a superb place to send their searchers as well.

There’s another thing you can do when you promote content to get even more return on your investment. For instructions on how to squeeze every last penny out of your advertising budget, sign up for our free small business success coaching and get an Upgraded PDF Bonus Guide:

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Build Trust#5: Show your visitors (and search engines) that you are a brand they can trust.

I have to confess something. Number five isn’t a new tip. You see, trust is a theme we’ve covered in every suggestion so far.

Establishing your brand (#1) builds trust. Citations and reviews (#2) build trust. Well researched, organized and structured content (#3) builds trust. Creating something people want and giving it away (#4) builds trust. Most importantly, doing good work builds trust.

There are lots of ways we can help increase the trust in your business, but they only work if your company does fantastic work. Do a better job than your competitors first, then work on the rest later.

If you do great work and you want others to know about it then commit to quality in all aspects of your business. That means having a professional build and audit your website. Host your site on a fast server. Track your visitors and measure your performance. Get real media coverage and real people talking about your brand.

Some of these require a professional to do, but there are some items you can do yourself. To learn how to get a free professional audit or how to quickly get media coverage, sign up for our free small business success coaching and get an Upgraded PDF Bonus Guide:

Take ActionIf you only do one thing this year, you should…

Take action! Building a solid online business reputation isn’t rocket science. You can get outstanding results in only a few hours each week. Hiring a professional helps speed things up, but isn’t necessary. We can help you save a lot of time and wasted money by guiding you in the right direction.

We’ve made a PDF guide to go along with this article. It expands on the tips here and goes into more detail. Along with the guide, you’ll receive a single weekly email covering something you can do right now to make a measurable impact on your business visibility.

While some of the tips focus on Grand Rapids or West Michigan, most of the strategies apply to any business that wants to get found online. Enter your email below to get the Upgraded PDF Bonus Guide and amplify your online success:

Until next time, good luck out there, and pura vida!

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