Sometimes when I talk to business owners about SEO and web visibility, they throw their hands in the air and let out an exasperated sigh, expressing frustration with more than a dash of confusion. Let me clear some of the confusion by giving you four steps you can take right now to improve your business? visibility on the web.
1. Get on search engines? local listings.
For small businesses, local search will likely drive the majority of your traffic. Adding your business? website to local listing will give you a sporting chance of capturing some of that local love. Here are the places that will get you the most effective listings:
- Yahoo Local
- Google Local
- Bing Local
- Ask City
- CitySearch (also goes to ask.com and Bing)
- Yelp (also goes to Bing and Yahoo)
2. Add your website to local-specific and industry-specific directories.
You can search for ?[local city name] business directory,? or ?[specific industry] business directory? to list your website on niche directories. This is a quick and easy way to get visibility.
3. Reach out and link!
If you are keeping an eye on your competition — and let’s face it, we all are — you may notice they have better search rankings than you, but you might not understand why. There is a pretty good chance your competitors have more high-quality links back to their sites than you do.
Take some time and reach out to communities and individuals in your niche and ask them to link to you. It’s that simple!
If you have a referral program, this is a slam dunk. They get a cut, you get a link. If you don’t have a referral program, then you need to be a bit more charming. Consider offering a reciprocal link back to their site on yours so the situation is win-win.
Relationship marketing is not relegated to multilevel marketing (MLM); it works on the web too, and building relationships = building links.
4. Become a mind reader.
As business owners, we all want to appeal to our prospects by writing the kind of content that sends them to our site and ultimately turns them into customers. Let’s say for example you sell garden equipment online. Go to Google and type “how do I * my garden” and you will get a list of some of the most popular questions about gardening that people are searching for right now. As a business owner, this is a veritable wealth of useful information.
Congratulations, you just read your customers? minds in terms of what they want to know more about. If you can educate your customers, you can sell them. If you know what they are looking for, and they find it on your site, your job just became easier. You know your content is being actively searched for.
Maintaining online visibility is about diligence. It’s not difficult. Just put in a few hours a month to making sure you’re providing what your customers are looking for, and keep your content fresh.