Our focus in this article is what you can do to give your locksmith business a boost through digital marketing, which will produce enquiries in the short and long term.
We’ll start with the pros and cons of pay per click – Google AdWords & BING Ads. The biggest attraction to this form of advertising is the instant results that you can achieve. A well-structured campaign, given the right level of attention and optimisation can produce an instant hit, but as many locksmiths also discover, this form of advertising can be extremely competitive. To some, pay per click can be an unsustainable advertising platform due to the highly competitive nature of other advertisers. Click fraud can also be an issue, this is where competitors click on each other’s ads to inflate their spend – Click Guardian Pro is an imperative digital tool for any locksmith trying to get the best from Google AdWords as it protects against this budget busting activity. To summarise, pay per click is great for instant results but expect it to be highly competitive.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a much more in-depth subject than pay per click but arguably offers a more sustainable approach to being found online over the medium to long term. SEO is all about getting everything right in a bid to influence the way in which Google ranks your web site in their organic results. Over the years many web site owners have suffered from Google’s algorithm updates, which have completely reshuffled the positions they had, often in a very sudden way. This has led to business owners having to revaluate the way in which they try to optimise in an effort to do everything by the book. Those who perform what’s known as ‘Black Hat SEO’ may get a short term gain but as soon as Google identify their techniques will often ban them from ranking well indefinitely. Black Hat SEO is where a web site owner tries underhand tactics to boost their site’s popularity, effectively they try to cheat Google’s algorithm. The reverse term is White Hat SEO – this is the only ‘right’ way to get your web site ranked highly and also considered the only way you’ll be able to sustain a high position.
So, what are considered the best top tips for White Hat SEO in 2017 so far?
1. Cloudflare – this is a combination of a content distribution network and DNS caching. This technical combination helps render your web site quickly in the browsers of your visitors. Page loading times are absolutely imperative and if you’re serious about getting ahead of your competitors then this is definitely for you!
2. Applying an SSL certificate may be another tricky one to initially install but it’s become apparent over the last 12 months that this is a small ranking signal which is set to become stronger at Google. Whether the website collects personal information or not, Google will reward sites with SSL Certificates with a boost in search ranking.
3. Having a mobile friendly web site is now an absolute must. Not only is this hugely important for SEO but as a locksmith, the majority of your visitors will be searching from mobile devices.
4. You’ve probably heard the term ‘content is King’. This couldn’t be more accurate in today’s SEO landscape. It may seem obvious but content is absolutely vital in getting your message across and Google reward web sites that have quality content in terms of volume and uniqueness over sites that have a couple of paragraphs, duplicated from site to site! In fact duplicate content is just as harmful as no content!
5. If you’ve got an aging web site then you may have a poor navigation. Not only will your visitors struggle to navigate around your web site but Google have crawlers that identify poor navigation and missing pages, commonly known as 404’s. It’s not difficult to identify with the right SEO tools – this is a commonly overlooked area of SEO which is becoming more important. A top tip is to visit your own web site on a desktop and a mobile device and simply navigate. Any errors should be corrected and Google updated through a sitemap connected to Google Webmaster Tools.