October 29, 2010
Many small businesses naively enter the web assuming that they will miraculously end up on search engines. All of them quickly find out that isn’t the case.
To get on those engines, you have to go through a process called search engine optimization (SEO).
For years now, there have been tons of people researching just how SEO works and how they could use it to their advantage. If you want your business to pick up, you have to do the same.
The easiest way to do this when you’re just starting out is to hire someone to help you with SEO.
This won’t cost you a lot of money, and it will help you get an insight on just how the internet actually works, and it will be valuable knowledge that you can take forward; perhaps quite soon you won’t need to pay at all because you’ll also be an expert.
Techniques for search engine marketing change all the time, so much so that it literally takes full time attention for anyone to understand everything out there. Seeing that you probably don’t have that kind of time, hiring someone that does SEO for a living would be quite logical. You can really benefit from their experience.
One of the first things that you will do with your SEO consultant is to determine who your target audience is and how they operate the internet. One integral part of this process is keyword research.
During that time, you will work out what words people are using to find your site and others like it. That way you can put those words on your site and in your marketing material, providing associations with you and the words. You will also use these keywords with the inbound links you put for your site on other sites so people click on them and already know what to expect from your services.
However, you should be aware that keywords are not the be all and end all as most amateur web builders think. The search engines use over 200 different scoring pointers to determine the ranking of your site; you need to get a lot of these right to be page 1 for your industry. Of course if you are a local business, you are competing against a smaller market, and so your chances are better, and the SEO is slightly easier, but just as finely balanced.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you are successful at SEO if you are on Page 1 for your own particular web address (URL). A URL is unique so it’s hardly surprising! (However, that does raise another point that could fill a whole day’s seminar, choosing a good URL!)
If you are planning on building your own website because it’s FREE. Think again. A website designer will be able to optimize your site right from the start. The chances are you won’t be able to without lots of research.
Your SEO expert will show you that SEO is not just about what is on your website, but also how you put the word out about your website. It’s not all technical, and it can be a lot of fun, especially if you are a budding author!
As your traffic begins to improve, you and your SEO chap will be able to monitor where you’re getting the most success so you can direct your search engine marketing down that route. The consultant will draft monthly reports for you so you can see just what is happening with your website. It may take some time for things to pick up initially, but after a few months of work, you should see a great deal of benefits for your small business.
Neil Holley-Williams runs HW marketing, a Chichester web design company providing very affordable websites and SEO for small and medium sized businesses. Neil has worked in the IT industry for over 25 years for companies such as IBM, Carnival UK, Invesco Perpetual and Skandia Life.