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Top Ten SEO Tips For Small Businesses

Search engine optimisation is something that all business owners with a website need to be aware of. If you’ve got a site and want to drive relevant traffic to that site, you need to know what to do to help the search engines get a good understanding of your business, so they can rank it for the terms you feel are most suitable for visitors. It’s not about tricking the search engines, or trying to boost traffic numbers in general. You need to see an increase in relevant traffic to you site (10 relevant visitors are far better than 1000 non relevant visitors, who leave your site straight away), and Google wants to provide searchers with a list of high quality sites, relevant to their search query.

1. Research your keywords: Make sure that you know what people type into Google and the other search engines when looking for your products or services. Research into how competitive these phrases are – are there any phrases that are relevant, but aren’t quite so competitive? These are more likely to give you the results you want. Also think about plurals and synonyms.

2. Make sure each single page on your site has a unique title tag. If you’ve done your keyword research, you should also aim to use keyword/phrases in the title tag too.

3. Additionally, make sure that all the meta descriptions for each page are unique too. Since the search engines mostly show the title and description of a page in the search results, make sure your descriptions correlates to your title, includes keywords, and has some kind of call to action that persuades the searcher to click on your link rather than the result above or below you.

4. Using your keywords and phrases, look at the headers within your pages. Headers tags are like the headlines of a newspaper – your H1 header should contain your primary keyphrases, with any H2 headers containing your secondary phrases.

5. Look at your copy– does this contain keyphrases? Make sure you don’t keyword stuff your copy though – aim for about a 3% ratio of keywords to copy. The content of your site should be written with your visitors in mind first, SEO second, so make sure it still makes sense and adds value.

6. Analyse your website structure. Do you have a lot of deep pages, hidden within subfolder after subfolder? Aim to keep the architecture of your site nice and flat – you don’t want to make it difficult for search engines or visitors to find content. Try and keep everything within two clicks of the homepage.

7. Going back to content – how fresh is the content on your site? Google and the other search engines love new and unique content. So try and update your website on a regular basis. This could be through a blog, press releases, or new product pages. Just keep it fresh – no one likes anything stale!

8. Linking…. oh linking, everyone is always going on about the number links to your site…why? Because it’s important! Each link is like a vote of confidence in your site, so the more you have (from reputable, high quality sites), the better. Building the number of quality links to your site takes time. Register with industry directories, local directories, become active in social media, make the most of social bookmarking, create amazing relevant content that people will want to link to, create articles and post them out to article sites, comment in forums… there’s so many activities you can do to increase the number of links to your site. It’s an investment – in time and sometimes money, but it’s worth it.

9. Register with Google Webmaster and submit your xml sitemap. This is an xml file includes all the pages of your website in a way that makes it easy for Google to reference and index. Google Webmaster will also tell you if there are any errors with your site, what some popular keywords are surrounding your site, some of the links pointing to your site and more.

10. Register with Google Analytics and start using it on a regular basis to monitor your site. Google Analytics is a free piece of software that enables you to track all the activity on your site. It’s actually a bit scary the amount of information it can give you. But for a small business owner, or marketing professional, it’s an invaluable tool that can help you improve your website performance and growth.

This is just the tip of the SEO iceberg – there’s so much to SEO and it’s constantly changing and evolving. At the end of the day though, it’s all about creating a quality website, adding regular quality content and being active in the world wide web. It’s not rocket science, but it does take time.

Before You Launch Your Small Business, Read This

People start small businesses for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps, they have a passion for something and wish to share that passion with the world. Maybe, they are stuck in a job they feel will lead them nowhere, and they have a great desire to escape it. Many people want to be their own boss- to set their own hours and do their own thing. Others see a need for a particular item or service and decide that they are the perfect person to fill the vacuum. Oftentimes, people just desire a change in life and figure that a career switch and a small business launch is just the thing to fulfill that wish.

Whatever the reason that you might be considering undertaking such a venture, you would be wise to first take some time to plan out the launch of your small business. Nothing would forecast failure to your project more than a lack of proper planning and preparation. Take the time now, and you will not regret it later!

First, explore the small business resources available in your area to gain some invaluable help in putting together a business plan, applying for loans, and other essential tasks. Your local chamber of commerce, library, and bank are all good places to start with. Each of the above would most certainly offer some sort of small business help in the form of literature and classes or seminars. They would also potentially have people experienced in small business growth who would be willing to mentor you through the process.

Then take time to search out any competition you will have. Depending on the type of business you wish to start, that competition may be limited to local stores and companies. However, your competition may also be found elsewhere. The internet has opened up whole new worlds for businesses that were formerly limited to a certain mile radius of customers. Find out who your competitors are, and if possible, what their strengths and weaknesses are. Investigate their costs. Do your research as to how much it will cost you in supplies and overhead to provide those goods and services. Figure out what your profit margin will be, making sure to find a way that you will be able to make a good profit.

Be certain that you understand as much as possible the market you are trying to launch your small business in. Take time to ascertain the problems that will most certainly arise and prepare beforehand, strategies to deal with them. Get advice from others who have gone before you – learn from their mistakes. Figure out a way that you can bring something new to the table – be unique in the goods or services you will be offering. Give your customers a reason to choose YOU over your competition.

Proper planning and preparation will do more for the success of a small business launch than anything else so take the time beforehand for it and you will always be glad you did!

Local Internet Marketing Tools For Small Businesses With Google

Online advertising can be a very cost-effective form of advertising for small and local businesses if planned out correctly. In this article we will be covering specifically Google and their digital advertising opportunities for small businesses and internet marketing local strategies.

The Google advertising platform consists of

  • The Google Search Network,
  • The Google Display Network,
  • YouTube,
  • Google Places
  • Google Mobile

Where Google fits into the online advertising landscape and internet marketing local strategy

We have never seen a downturn in a digital economy and the economic slowdown or lag in the economy is actually fueling online growth. Consumers are more empowered than ever before having access through a variety of devices and are enabled through the wide penetration of the internet and the tools it brings to research, investigate, share opinions, compare and purchase. The economic downturn is going to increase the importance of digital in our lives because it helps us save money time and travel expenses. Any local business owner should learn how to use the tools and advertising capabilities for local internet marketing with Google.

Google is a top 3 internet property in terms of visit, between the display and search partner Google reaches ninety percent of the internet population making Google’s advertising platform number one in terms of audience reach. With over 2.5 billion page views per day and over 450 unique users per month Google provides a platform to reach any consumer in all industries making it very a very important variable for internet marketing local strategies.

Over the past five years the advertising landscape has changed dramatically with online marketing spend experiencing explosive growth and local internet marketing adding to that growth dramatically. While most other media have maintained relative levels of spend with global online advertising spend growing over all it is important to note that newspaper advertising revenue has been cannibalized by online media budgets, local internet marketing is becoming more and more cost-effective because of these changes.

Why is it that online has become so popular?

There are some key factors to take into consideration when determining what media is used in any marketing campaign. Consider the marketing objective of your campaign; is the campaign goal brand awareness, direct sales and accusation, or developing new markets? Also consider the production costs involved the ability to effectively target and measure audiences and the popularity with consumers. Online advertising has experienced immense growth because it allows advertisers the ability to reach a large number of consumers at home or abroad in an efficient and measurable manner. Given the range of advertising options available by combining search, display and video advertising, supported with sophisticated reporting and tracking tools and large audience reach, online marketing campaigns become a compelling concept for any small and local business developing a smart local internet marketing strategy.

When comparing traditional media advertising use to online advertising it is important to take into consideration the consumer buying cycle. Traditional media such as television, radio, print and outdoor advertising are broadcast and are non interactive media. Their primary purpose is to push a message out to an audience and is best suited to develop brand awareness within an audience, as well as attempting to influence consumers during the consideration phase of a buying cycle. These broadcast media are usually referred to as above the line media. Public relations activity, in store promotions and direct mail are used to engage consumers on a more personal and direct level and can be used in any campaign that wants to encourage product trial and establish or to establish loyalty and repurchase.

The introduction of the online advertising media changed the traditional models by giving small and local businesses the ability to cost effectively target potential customers at any time in the buying cycle depending on how the online campaign us constructed. Google search advertising can be used for brand awareness and has also been proven to be a very effective driver of direct sales and very effective for local internet marketing.

So why does Google play such an important part in the local internet marketing landscape?

To answer that we need to understand how the population consumes media. Google understands from researching user behavior that it acts as a core research point for consumers. So what are the other drivers that affect a user’s path? Once a user clicks on a search result they may move to a publisher or site within the display network to collect information. There is an opportunity here for advertisers that are implementing local internet marketing strategies to reinforce their message to the potential customer by using some pretty cool display features on YouTube, or within the vast display network. As the user gathers information they may come back to Google to gather more information. This process may repeat several times. For local and small businesses that want to implement branding and awareness campaigns, huge opportunities exist during this loop to capture attention and reinforce a message or a brand name with a potential customer who is actively collecting information.

Research has shown that television is the biggest driver of online search, in fact 67 percent of internet users have gone online to search for a product advertised offline, as users are exposed to offline messaging they will use Google to learn more about a product or service they may have encountered through another medium. This is how Google adds value to offline advertising and is such an important part for local internet marketing. Applying consistent integrated cross media campaigns will generate a higher return. The value of search does not just end in online clicks and conversions. Consumers use Google to research their purchase decisions in fact, 89 percent of consumer’s research products online, and 63 percent make their purchase offline. It is important to utilize online advertising with local businesses online conversions are not the end of the cycle in the brand awareness campaign and should be added to any effective local internet marketing strategy.

Better Local Internet Marketing Results With Google Services

One in five searches are related to a location-based service, searching on Google or Google maps will produce a map of a geographic location with specific businesses listed on the map. The business information has been aggregated from multiple sources such as phone book information. When the business takes control of their location and uses it in their local internet marketing campaign they can control the information that is presented. Features that enhance a business listing include allowing restaurants to provide a menu as well as the ability for a business to provide a coupon, and provide driving and walking directions.

Better Local Internet Marketing Results with Mobile Integration

Mobile use is growing at an astonishing rate, for each PC sold worldwide in 2009 3.3 phones were sold into the consumer market. Technology is advancing at a break neck rate in mobile computing, with smart phones, Wi-Fi and 3G coming standard in the mobile phone market. With an increasing population having access to a computer in their pocket many opportunities for location-based marketing campaigns are opening up for local businesses to harness local internet marketing and advertising strategies. According to recent figures at the time of this writing there are over five billion active mobile users worldwide and it is reported that smart phone sales have overtaken sales of the classic mobile models. Location targeting features are very effective for local and small businesses and local internet marketing effectiveness because 1 in 3 mobile search queries have local intent. Users could be looking for a nearby store, restaurant or travel destinations. Mobile applications also show a very high tendency to include local information this shows how tightly local and mobile are tied together. When you as a business owner have an ad in the mobile arena, features like click to call can be extremely effective in generating new customers.

As a local business owner teaming up with Google can be a very cost-effective way of advertising your business and staying in contact with your current customers and essential for any marketing campaign that applies local internet marketing.