Santa Cruz business owners, listen up!
Summer is right around the corner, and that means high season is about to fire up with many tourists headed our way.
You know what that means – The beaches fill up, the boardwalk bustles, and our city puts out its best California welcome mat every day.
Now is the time for you to sail to the top of Google searches.
I’ve put together some great Santa Cruz SEO tips that get you there and make it easy for all those visitors to find you instead of your competition:
1. Open Doors With Online Directories
Let people know who, what and where you are with Yelp, Bing Places and Google My Business, and increase that visibility through industry specific directories. Visitors new to Santa Cruz check these listings before they decide where to shop, play or dine.
If you own a restaurant, make connections through UrbanSpoon, TripAdvisor and Foursquare. Include your location’s full address exactly as it appears on your website along with business hours, a product or service summary and plenty of photos.
This can be a lot of work, so consider enlisting help from Moz Local, Yext or professional SEO services in Santa Cruz.
2. Flex Your Website’s SEO Muscle
Good looks count, but Google doesn’t care about the visuals on your website.Your online presence has to translate into a relevant source of updated information that continually attracts hits.
Plenty of traffic keeps you high on Google’s radar and increases your rankings across all search engines. Without this visibility, your position slips down the page dragging summer sales opportunities out of sight from potential customers.
3. Maintain Your Online Reputation
Traditionally, word of mouth was one of the most effective and least expensive forms of advertising. Today, your customers still share opinions, but the conversation happens across digital platforms at lighting speed.
Online review sites are magnets for good and bad opinions, so monitor platforms relevant to your business.
Don’t let negative comments drive the high season crowd to your competitor’s door. Respond professionally to criticism, politely address concerns, and encourage happy customers to share their positive experiences and post the great reviews you deserve.
4. Link Up With Trusted Sources
Google values links to your website that originate from sources it considers high in quality. This connection sends a signal that increases your site’s visibility.
One of my favorite strategies for establishing trusted links is very simple – get active in local charities and sponsor their events. Involvement with area organizations can lead to mention of your business in online journals.
Join the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, and you’ll be listed on their website. Positive notice in outlets like Good Times keeps you in the link loop. Stay on top of your web presence with Google Alerts for notification any time your business pops up online.
5. Get Mobile-Friendly Now
Potential customers view your website on a variety of digital devices, so it has to be mobile-friendly. You can take a look at how well your site measures up with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
The search giant recently announced that its engine favors sites that work across all devices, and it’s even assigning mobile-friendly text and labels to search results.
You’ll want help mobilizing your site, so connect with one of the talented web development agencies here in Santa Cruz that specialize in navigating this latest twist in Google’s digital highway.
6. Say It on Social Media
When people don’t know your company, they’ll often check out your social media’s channels to get a better feel for what you offer.
This is a great way to reach out to visitors new to the Santa Cruz area and make a connection that extends beyond your site. It helps build your online presence, so experiment with different platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Start by establishing your profile with accurate contact information, and follow up with short posts that engage interest and invite business.
7. Blog Your Way to Repeat Business
People love a little entertainment sprinkled over their information, and the summer crowd here spends lots of online time cruising local sites before they set off for the real sights.
Convert those one-stop hits into a fan base with engaging blogs that entice repeat visits. This type of content marketing establishes your credibility with locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re selling T-shirts, limousine services or Italian cuisine, there’s always a perfect angle for an entertaining blog post that quietly promotes your product.
Most businesses outsource this type of writing with positive, measurable results.
8. Treat Yourself to a Marketing Pro
If you haven’t already partnered with an internet marketing professional, do it now before summer swings into high season. You need online power to pull those crowds in your direction, but you also need time to run your business.
An experienced online marketing specialist handles everything from directory listings and link building to social media management and quality content creation. Developing successful SEO strategies is an ongoing process, so trust a reputable marketing agency to work with your budget, create a unique campaign and keep your online presence constantly refreshed for targeting Santa Cruz’s summer rush.
9. Understand Why Slowing Down Never Works
Once the summer crowds thin out and visitors head back home, don’t make the mistake of ramping down your SEO efforts.
Many business owners think that one SEO plan takes care of their entire marketing strategy, but it’s not static like a logo or storefront signage. It’s an ongoing set of focused actions that coordinate variables across all digital platforms, and it keeps your online presence visible and viable through every season.
If you think of SEO as a one-time investment, you’ll be disappointed in results that add up to no results when locals and visitors find your competitor’s site at the top of search pages.
10. Keep Your Expectations Real
Implementing smart Santa Cruz search engine optimization strategies now makes a big difference in the slice of summer business you’ll enjoy, but it’s a long-term process that rarely pays off overnight.
Quick, cheap options will always be appealing, but you want solid action plans that work today and continue to return on your investment tomorrow.
Google loves stability, and it favors firmly established models that stay the course. It never looks away, so keep your focus on building a strong online marketing plan that holds up for the long haul. You’ll still be here next summer, and you’ll be ready for all those visitors who got to know you this season.
I really enjoy sharing great online marketing strategies, and I believe these 10 tips will help your business stand out this season.
Picture all those smartphones and tablets headed into Santa Cruz and that enormous market searching its digital way around town. It’s an opportunity that knocks every year.
If you need help getting your online door ready, my team and I are always here for you.
So, what do you think? What are some more things Santa Cruz businesses can do to improve their web visibility?