Search Engine Optimization for Small Businesses
In my last post about Responsive Web Design (include hyperlink) I briefly mentioned the idea of search engine optimization and how a responsive website can help turn up more results. In this post I will go deeper into search engine optimization (SEO) and why it is so important for small or local businesses.
Search engine optimization is defined as the process of maximizing the number of visitors, in turn generating sales, to a website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. This article goes into detail on five methods for optimization that we use at Contemporary Media Group. These methods will ensure that customers will have an easier time finding your business online.
1. Social Media Activity
Over the past few years it is no secret that social media has been growing. Each month there are over 1.39 billion active Facebook users, and each day there are about 500 million tweets sent out.
Because of how much content is being shared on social media it is important to make your business stand out. In order to do that you must first understand who your audience is. Then you have to ask yourself, what do they need or want to see? Once you can answer that, then you can start sharing content. The more content you share the more likely it is someone will come across your page.
By sharing content it increases the likelihood a search engine robot will find you. So sharing content on social media can help you connect with your customers directly and indirectly. Essentially it will make you easier to find because your work and information is spread out all over the web.
2. Content Marketing
Much like social media, content marketing has recently become very popular. If you haven’t heard of content marketing yet, it is the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract and engage a clearly defined target audience. And, of course, the overall goal is to generate sales.
Many marketers use content marketing and SEO interchangeably, while they are similar they are not exactly the same. Content marketing is a part of SEO, perhaps one of the most important parts. The idea is that you share relevant information, videos, pictures, etc. with your customers, that way they can connect with you and eventually build a relationship with your business.
Additionally, by doing this you are also creating content for search engine robots to find. And when you share content relevant to your business those robots will rank you higher in search results. That is why many people use content marketing and SEO synonymously, because by doing content marketing you are also optimizing your search results.
The term citations, is a relatively new term, one that has resulted from the field of search engine optimization. And no, it is not a penalty of any sort. It’s actually a good thing for businesses.
A citation is just a fancy, technical word for a reference, or a shout-out. These shout-outs happen anytime that your company gets mentioned on an external site. Whether it is your company’s name, phone number, web site, Facebook page, or any combination thereof, this is called a citation. These are highly beneficial for businesses of all types because essentially it is free PR but at the same time it’s another chance for a search engine robot to find your company. Again, in the SEO worldthe more content you have linking back to your business the better.
4. Sponsoring Charities
There are plenty of charities out there looking for business sponsors. This is a great thing to do for several reasons. First of all, its always good to give back to the community your business is in. Second of all, when someone asks you about your business’s sustainability efforts you can talk to them about any charities you are a part of. And finally, many charities put their business sponsors on their website. That may not seem like a big deal but in terms of SEO, that’s a very big deal. It means that your business is gaining a citation online, and a highly reputable one at that!
So by sponsoring a charitable organization you are entering into a mutually beneficial relationship. For the charity, they gained a highly valuable partner to support their organization. And for your business, you now have a great SEO tool. Not only is your name getting more publicity, its also being associated with a charity, which is always positive.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, is to be consistent with your posting. Whether its on social media, or content marketing elsewhere it is critical that you post on a regular basis. Your followers/fans will be expecting that. And if you’re not giving them what they want, they have no reason to follow you.
In terms of search engine optimization if you’re not posting regularly, it’s likely someone else is. That means that if all else is equal, their pages will show up higher than yours on a search result.
So overall be consistent to your mission, meaning don’t post something that doesn’t fit with your company’s reputation. And be consistent to your followers; give them something to look at, at least once a week.
Be sure to let us know if these strategies work for you! And don’t forget if you’re having trouble with your search engine optimization, Contemporary Media Group can help! Check out our website or give us a call today!