Small Business Search Engine Optimization-the name says it all. Ten years ago, a business would have allocated hundreds or even thousands to the promotion of their business in bold, attractive advertisements in every yellow pages book-but who uses yellow pages anymore?
Today, one is hard-pressed to find an instance of a consumer pulling out his or her “handy dandy” yellow pages book when they need to find a plumber, electrician, or any other business. Instead, prospective customers either flock to their PCs or pull out their smartphones to perform a quick Google search-and why shouldn’t they?
The internet has rendered the world of information accessible at any time and place. In the modern marketing milienium, businesses need to make their online presence “flashy and bold” on results yielded by search engines rather than in printed listings. Simply put, the new “flashy and bold” is search engine optimization.
Further still, rather than developing a gaudy listing, the businessman must realize that the consumer instinctively trusts the ratings of search engines like Google; the closer to the top of the search results your business listing appears, the higher the likelihood that your business listing gets a hit, and higher the likelihood that the advertising effort will result in a sale. There are many methods and options for getting your business ranked higher on Google, Bing, and Yahoo search results. However, some of those options can quickly drain both your wallet and your time.
For the computer novice, outsourcing search engine optimization is usually the wiser choice. There are countless variables and a vast array of knowledge about the intricacies of SEO, and one can often run into problems a novice computer user cannot solve, particularly a poorly designed website that one does not have the resources to optimize correctly.
The first step in building your online presence or SEO is to simply have a website. Amazingly almost 50 percent of businesses still do not have a website, even in 2013. You might think that this is impossible, but if you actually search online for a large sample size of small businesses, you will find that many of them don’t have websites, especially sole propierterships that lack time to invest in an online presence.
I would hire a professional web design firm that has search engine optimization skills and task them with building the website or cleaing up your website if you already have one with on page search engine optimization standard procedures. Make sure to provide the company with robust content and images, otherwise your website will not represent you, and you may have to pay extra to get stock images, graphics or have content written for you. Once all the on page search engine optimization is done, then it’s time to start with off page search engine optimization.
Getting backlinks to your website from other websites is one of the primary off page SEO methods to make your website show up higher on organic listings on the major search engines.
The first step in this process is to claim all of your local listings such as Google places, superpages.com, yellowpages.com, yellowbot.com etc… When this is completed, there are thousands of other search engine websites to get great back-links from that may not be as big as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, but nonetheless can really help you overall online presence.
Social bookmarking and article submissions are another easy way to generate backlinks to your websites. However, they can take hours and hours of time, so if you don’t have spare time to spend on SEO outside of your day to day business operations, hire a professional search engine optimization firm to do so rather than struggling to keep up with search engine updates and local search sites that fluctuate in and out of relevancy-a nightmare for business owners who have no time for internet browsing and SEO updates.
Social media can also dramatically enhance your off-page SEO if you make sure your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and all the other relevant social media platforms are efficiently integrated into your website. This is essential if you want to be competitive on tough keywords such as “restaurants New York” or “women’s clothes.”
Blogging is another component that most business owners do not take into consideration. Every business has its own niche, and if you can find an effective way to blog about this, the effort can greatly increase the relevant traffic to your website as well as helping you obtain more high quality back links from other popular websites. If you do not feel comfortable blogging, you may want to consider paying an SEO or blogging firm to assist you with building a blog for your business.
Video is also a great way to get more traffic to your website and to keep users on your website for a longer period of time. This improves what is called your “bounce rate,” or the percentage of visitors who arrive at your page and then “bounce” from website without viewing its other pages. A video can dramatically decrease your bounce rate and improve your search engine optimization rankings.
Last but certainly not least is refining your mobile accessibility. Converting your website to a mobile website for iPads, tablets, Androids, and all other smart phones is essential in today’s increasingly mobile world. Smartphone sales are exploding, and more and more people gain mobile internet access each year. Additionally, search engines are weighting mobile versions of a website more heavily on their search results, and they know whether a searcher is searching from mobile or not. So, make sure to your website has mobile capacities for both tablets and smart phones.
Finding the right professionals for search engine optimization is difficult. Often, a company will only hone one component of its search engine optimization techniques well such as back-linking, social media, or blogging. If you can find an SEO firm that plays to your weaknesses, it may offer the best strategy for improving your company’s website rankings. For instance, if you lack strong back-links, an SEO firm that specializes in back-linking may be right for you.
Take your time in finding the resource that best suits your goals, and don’t feel pressure to sign a long term contract when there are many options available. I would also suggest finding a local team, because an SEO firm in India is going to be building your off-page presence with websites and poor English, and Google knows this. Go local-it’s the best way to get truly organic results.