Once upon a time, being “found” in cyberspace was just about all most small businesses wanted. Usually, with a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that encompassed using some well-placed keywords, your website would start appearing in a search engine’s results list.
With more customers making greater use of search engines to locate products and service providers, SEO is now more than a good idea; it’s a must. Your website, and correspondingly, your business, has never faced so much competition from comparable firms down the street, or around the world. And it’s no longer enough to simply be included in Google or Bing results; you want to be at or near the top of the list. Unless a customer is doing some serious comparison shopping or looking for something specific, it’s likely he/she won’t go beyond the first few selections, let alone go on to page 2.
SEO has spawned a host of consultants that specialize in crafting strategies for various businesses. But there are several things you can do on your own to optimize your website.
The fundamental principle of targeted keywords remains critical. Think about phrases and multi-word search customers may use for businesses such as yours and incorporate them into your content.
Another SEO principle of fresh and timely content also continues to hold true. And there’s no easier way to continually keep your site up-to-date than with regular blog posts, tweets, Facebook fan page updates, and so forth. Catchy titles and headings in your posts and articles are also more likely to catch an automated searcher’s eye.
To attract more customers locally, encourage your current customers to post reviews of your company on sites such as Google Places, Yelp, and others. Make sure the reviews are brief, yet thorough, and not the kind of overly glowing raves that may raise a reader’s suspicions about its validity.
Because many of these searches are performed using mobile devices, make sure your website is optimized for smaller screens with basic information at the top. If you expect a significant number of searches by mobile users, a customized mobile domain may be in order.
To learn more about selling effectively on the Web, contact Raleigh SCORE. We provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. To schedule a free appointment with our experienced counselors, go to http://raleigh.score.org, or call us at 919-856-4739.