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Ensuring Online Visibility: How to Build Your Online Presence
While the online UK audience is diverse, it is unified by the fact that a majority conducts online research and reads online reviews to form an opinion about a product, service or business before making a purchasing decision. They are less likely to buy from a brand or business that does not have an online presence because it does not inspire trust.
A strong online presence helps your customers find your brand or business even if they do not know it exists and it helps them learn more about it and its reputation. Eventually, all the information they find about it factors into their purchasing decisions.
So, what is an online presence, and how do you build it to ensure business success?
Understanding Online Presence for Businesses
Online presence is an online representation of a business that ensures people can find it on different search systems. It is also how easy it is for searchers to find a business or brand online. It is crucial for building a brand’s reputation, enhancing brand awareness, and improving the visibility of products and services so users can find them when they search relevant and related keywords.
Building an online presence entails several disciplines, including search engine optimisation, social media, building trust, web design, reporting and usability. It is the sum of all efforts a business or brand makes to publicise itself online on its website and other online platforms that help make its products and services known.
Building an Online Presence: Start with a Website
Every business in the UK should have a website that is optimised for desktop and mobile users. The latter is crucial because there are over 60 million smartphone users in the UK, with about 90% using their devices to research before engaging with a business or making a purchase decision.
A website is essential because it is what users find on search engine result pages when they complete a search and where you will funnel potential customers or users during your marketing campaigns.
You can build the website using tools like WordPress and WIX, but it is better to let a developer do it. They understand intricacies like ensuring it is as fast as possible and provides a great user experience, both of which are crucial ranking factors for Google.
Tell Google About Your Website
Ultimately, you want your website to rank as high as possible so more people can find it on search engine result pages. This process starts with Google crawling your website, after which they will add it to their index databases and then rank it accordingly depending on factors like targeted keywords and backlinks.
Before Google can add your website to its index, the search engine giant needs to know about it. The best and easiest way to do this is by adding your site to Google Search Console. In addition to helping you put your website on Google, this free service from Google also makes it easier to monitor, maintain and troubleshoot your website’s presence on Google search results.
It also helps you understand how Google sees your website so you can find ways to improve its presence on search results. Once you add your website to Google Search Console and do proper SEO —you should consider hiring an SEO agency to handle this—your website will start appearing on relevant search result pages, improving visibility and online presence.
Complete Your Google My Business Profile
Your Google My Business profile should be a crucial part of your SEO and online marketing campaigns and improving your online presence. Local search and SEO have become crucial for today’s businesses, especially in regions where people look for products and services in their immediate geographical area.
Dominating them starts with completing your Google My Business profile, which you can do easily online. All you need is your accurate business information, such as name, location, contact information and hours. Once completed, Google will show your business on Maps when users conduct local searches.
A development that has occurred recently that many businesses will be happy about is Google allowing them to add their social media links to their Google My Business profiles. The supported platforms include YouTube, X, TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Google has always done this, but it has been doing it automatically. You can now add new social media links or edit the ones Google has added automatically under your profile.
Have a Strong Social Media Presence
Although the daily usage of social media in the UK is below the global average, UK users still spend about two hours on social media every day. This statistic shows how important social media is for today’s businesses and for reaching targeted audiences.
Having a social media presence gives you another way to enhance your online visibility while helping potential customers find you easily. It also instils trust because people researching your business or brand will know it exists and be more likely to engage with it.
Also, social media content and posts now regularly appear in relevant search results and are often shown at the top of the page. If you can create social media content that earns a place at the top of search results, you will increase your online presence immensely.
Post Your Content Elsewhere
Understandably, most businesses post their most valuable content on their blogs. However, your website and content might not be ranking high enough for Google to show that content to their users, leading to poor online visibility and presence. In this case, you can leverage other websites and platforms so they help your content reach more people.
Guest posting is one way to do this, although it only gets your name and bio out there. Regardless, it improves your EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) and will benefit you in the future.
Another option is content syndication. It entails distributing your content on other platforms, especially ones your audience uses or frequents. Even though syndication is typically used as part of SEO and content marketing strategies, it is also an effective tool for improving online presence.
Businesses can work with content syndication platforms that deal with UK websites and platforms to ensure correct placements and that their syndication efforts have the desired effects on the right metrics.
Businesses can also use self-publishing platforms like Medium to cross-post their content for an even bigger reach. Medium and similar websites are big enough that content posted on them regularly comes up on result pages.
Build an Ecommerce Store
There has been a significant shift in how people shop in the last few years, with more people opting for online shopping than visiting physical stores. Google understands this and shows shopping results depending on the search query, search intent and a user’s online activity and history.
If you sell products online, getting them to show up on Google search results will boost your traffic, visibility, and sales. Once Google includes your products in their search results, they link it to your website so shoppers who click on it are directed to your platform, where you can use other marketing techniques to urge them to complete their purchase.
While Google Shopping will include relevant products for free, businesses can also place sponsored or paid ads to be included in the results, which you can experiment with if you have the budget.
Many businesses also build a presence on multiple ecommerce platforms. In addition to your website, you can also create a brand page on Amazon and other shopping websites so that they come up when people enter related keywords when searching on Google.
Get Listed on Review Websites
Review websites give you additional opportunities to reach more consumers. Many UK consumers discover new businesses while researching others, especially if they visit review sites that provide brand, product and service comparisons or alternatives.
Additionally, the reviews users leave, as well as your replies, can increase trust and help you provide superior customer service that can encourage customers to speak about your business online, increasing your online presence.
Leverage Ad Retargeting
Businesses can build an online presence quickly and efficiently using online ads. All major search engines, including Google, Bing and Yahoo, allow you to set up ads that are shown depending on search queries. You can also set up ads on social media platforms like X, Facebook, and Instagram to increase your presence.
Because customers often need multiple impressions before making a decision, you should also use ad retargeting. It is one of the most overlooked online marketing strategies, even though it has a very high return on investment.
Every ad platform now allows retargeting and gives you granular control to ensure you get the results you want out of the campaign.
If you want your business and its products and services to show up online, you should have strategies to ensure that happens. You can increase your online visibility and presence by doing proper SEO, submitting your website to Google, using ad and remarketing, having a strong social media presence and more. The key is to be proactive, present, and engaging to appear in front of the right people at the right time.