October 22, 2014
As a small business owner with a low marketing budget, how can you possibly compete with the larger organizations in your industry? If your competitors are established within the local community, they will likely have a considerable advantage when it comes to online marketing. Some of the resources that bigger businesses possess include additional manpower, heavily funded advertising budgets and top-notch marketing professionals on staff. It may feel as though your small business stands no chance to win a battle against these industry Goliaths, but there are many tools that you can utilize as a small business owner to boost your online presence.
This article has been written to provide small businesses with Internet marketing strategies that can boost their local online presence and provide them with powerful results, which lead to not just more website traffic, but more actual clients and customers.
SEO tactics are highly touted in the world of Internet marketing, and most business owners, large or small, are aware of them. (Assuming you are linking to an SEO article here?) This informative commentary focuses on some critical strategies for increasing online presence that are often overlooked by small businesses owners.
1. The Power of Google+: Do Not Underestimate This Influential Tool
Social media is by far one of the most efficient sources for attracting traffic to company websites. Some of the best marketers even consider social media to be the single greatest ingredient in a brand’s online success.
When it comes to local Internet marketing, one of the most powerful social networks to use is Google+. In fact, if you want your local business to be found online, you must use Google+, or you won’t stand a chance against the competition.
Why not? Because Google+ is an absolutely critical factor in determining the strength of your verified listing on Google search. Although you may have a verified business via Google My Business, potential customers won’t find you if you do not maintain a strong Google+ presence.
For example, let’s say that you run a home improvement business in Minneapolis. If you have a verified Google+ page, but only have one photo and no followers, it’s unlikely that your company local listing will show up when users search for “home improvement services Minneapolis.” Instead, the users will see a big map with your competitor’s marker on it. Even if you type in your company name without quotes, your business local listing may not appear.
What needs to be done for your local listing to appear? Your best option is to optimize your Google+ account. This means joining communities, adding dozens of friends to your circles and interacting with other Google+ users. As a home improvement contractor, you should join some communities related to home improvement. You can then share your thoughts, blog articles, photos, etc. By sharing posts that offer your professional thoughts and abilities, community members may find them interesting and you may gain shares and followers.
When posting on Google+, it’s important that you don’t simply post a link. Be sure to post a link and offer your thoughts and experiences on the linked topic. This will highlight your industry knowledge and expertise, and your followers will see you as a trustworthy source for useful information.
When you share content in Google+ communities, be certain not to share the same content in several different communities or your posts might get marked as spam.
2. Mobile Devices: A Critical Website Optimization Component
There is no denying it; the fact is that mobile devices are the way of the future when it comes to online presences. If you look up mobile statistics online, you’ll see proof that a website that isn’t easy to view on a mobile platform will not perform nearly as well as it could.
More and more users are searching the Internet on the go. In fact, today’s desktop and personal computer sales are lower than mobile sales. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, users will become frustrated and quickly leave your site to visit a more user-friendly website, most likely your competitor’s.
Mobile-responsive websites perform better in search engine rankings as well. Search engines simply want to provide the best websites for the topic that a user searches. If your website is not user friendly, then search engines will not rank it above your competition.
3. Website Pages: Create A Page on Your Website for Every Service You Offer
It’s a common misconception for new business owners that there is only one way to rank high on search results via Google. Using the home improvement example above, your home improvement company may not rank high for “Home Improvement Minneapolis.” That does not mean, however, that you will not rank high for “Home Builder Service in Minneapolis” or “Home Remodeling,” etc.
If you offer home improvement services, then you might offer additional services like kitchen remodeling, basement renovation, home redesign, plumbing and more. That’s why making a separate page for each service that your business offers is a crucial component of online marketing.
Be certain that each page is optimized as though it’s a separate website. Add links on your company home page to specific service pages, then be sure to add links on the service pages back to your company home page. This is a practice often overlooked by business owners, but it is an integral piece of successful online marketing.
The technique of linking pages provides the opportunity to rank each of your business services. If you’re not bringing in much web traffic and/or sales for your home remodeling service, adding these links to your bathroom remodeling page might increase rank results and drive traffic conversion to your site from people researching residential bathroom work.
If you’re a small business owner and you are not seeing the sales you expected from your website, try implementing the overlooked techniques above to boost your local online presence. If you have experience with SEO, what local SEO strategies would you recommend?
Marc Holt is a digital marketing specialist at DigitalParc, a Minneapolis-based online design and SEO company. Marc specializes in web marketing and SEO strategies.