Having a strong web presence is vital for any local service-oriented business, and salons are certainly no exception. Obtaining high rankings on search engines will help get your business noticed and set you apart from your competition. Whether you are just opening your doors or have been around for years, here are some ways that you can easily take your web presence to the next level.
Directory Listings: To get your salon noticed online, start with the basics: directory listings. Also known as citations, these directories are websites where you can create a profile and include your salon name, address, phone number, and hopefully website url. Think Yelp, YellowPages and Google My Business listings as good places to start. From there reach out to as many other listings you can find and be consistent with the information you are including.
Reviews: Many of these directory sites have a means in which to do a ranking or reviews of the businesses listed. Take advantage of some of the better ones and invite your customers to give your salon a good review. Lots of good reviews on better listings sites will help with your search engine rankings and gain better placement for local searches.
Salon Websites & Blogs: The most obvious way to secure a web presence for your business is to create a salon website and blog. It not only provides information about your business and is a landing spot for those doing web searches, but is an opportunity to share ideas, expert advice and inspiration. This interesting, well-placed content is also the dominant attribute of high ranking websites. If you create engaging content, users will come back time and time again, and the traffic will result in improved search positioning.
Blogs or vlogs (video based blogs), especially when part of the main website structure, can be a very effective tool for connecting with existing customers and stirring up new business. This gives salons an opportunity to establish themselves as an authoritative voice in the beauty industry and differentiate themselves from the competition. A variety of content ranging from opinions, ideas, DIY hair styling, hair care tips, etc. can prove both intriguing and informative. And, as your blog or vlog grows, your search engine ranking increases accordingly.
Search Engine Optimization: Search Engine Marketing is an umbrella term for any series of strategies used to help a website appear higher in search engine results. One often talked about method is the process of search engine optimization or SEO. Search engines rank and display websites according to an algorithm. While specifics of a search engine’s algorithm are not entirely known, we’ve learned many key aspects over the years and search engines, like Google, continue to share more detail with each major update.
In a nutshell, search engines look for key words on every webpage, page title, and in page links to help people find what they are looking for when doing a web search. Making sure that your website content, including titles and links, contains copy that is relevant with terms that relate to how others might search for the content is vital.
When creating your salon’s website, make sure to use title tags and meta description tags. The title tag is the bar of verbiage appearing above or just below the web address bar, depending on the search engine. Add title tags on each page with a relevant keyphrase using the fewest amount of words to convey the most meaningful message. Also, write a brief description for your meta description tag that clearly explains the function of each page. This is some of the preferred information that search engines draw from, as it’s neatly summarized.
Keep in mind that search engines place a lot of weight on the reputation of a site. They give better rankings to those that produce regular and relevant content, and have a lot of credible inbound links. With that in mind, consider sharing your content with worthy sites but just make sure the backlinks (links back to your site) are in place.
Pay-Per-Click Ads: Though organic traffic to your salon website and or blog is preferred, building a competitively ranked online presence is a long term, ever-evolving strategy. Pay-per-click, while not entirely a replacement for SEO, is a viable alternative for gaining immediate exposure through the application of targeted visual and textual media. Programs like Google Adwords and Bing Ads allow salons to market to specific search audiences with sponsored ads based on their indicated criteria. An investment in pay-per-click is especially good for newly launched websites or for those experiencing lulls in traffic and therefore needing a boost.
What About Social Media?: Though not exactly a search marketing strategy, social media holds such weight and marketing force that it’s worth an honorable mention. The beauty industry is inherently visual and brands are perfectly positioned to engage fans through stunning imagery and a thoughtful delivery. Social media also produces massive waves of traffic. Instagram alone, arguably the most popular platform of the moment, has over 500 million active users each month.
Some social platforms offer built-in advertising services, allowing businesses to put their content in front of target audiences and increase brand awareness. Salons can direct sponsored traffic to their social media page, a particular content post or directly to their website. While this won’t necessarily impact the ranking of your website in search results, the inflow of traffic being syphoned from social media can help in the long run. As your brand awareness grows, your percentage of search queries and website clicks stand to grow with it, all resulting in higher search engine placement.