One of the things we do here at Distillery Web Design and Marketing is to help small businesses in the Lebanon, Springfield, Camdenton, and Lake Area of Missouri reach their full online and social media potential or steer them in the right direction. There is so much to running a small business. Most people at some point in their lives have thought about being their own boss and opening a business. It would be great if it was like when you were a kid. You would get some neighborhood friends together, mix up a batch of lemonade, make a sign, ask your parents for some change, place a table on the corner, and sell some lemonade. Pretty simple. Product…check. Financing…check. Advertising…check. Customer(s)…check. Let’s face it, if you had any customers at all it was from your neighborhood. Unfortunately many business owners think the “Lemonade Stand Business Plan” will work for them. And worse yet, many area small business owners still do not see the need to really get out there and promote their business online.
So, I started researching ways to give small business owners a heads up on what they need to know and how they can make sure they understand the importance of SEO.
In brief, SEO stand for Search Engine Optimization. In other words, when someone uses a search engine like Google or Bing and types in keywords or the business name, sites appear. The closer to the top of the list, the more likely customers will click on the link that takes them to that particular business’s site or service’s site.
How can you get to the top of the list?
Step 1: Research Search Queries and Keywords
How are people going to find your business? What keywords will people use? Think about your business and how you would go about trying find it. Simply, what services do you provide or what products do you sell?
Step 2: Snoop Around at your Competition
Take a look at your competitors’ sites. If they rank high on the list, pay attention to the site’s images and especially the text. Remember those keywords from Step 1? Did your competitors use those keywords?
Step 3: SEO Now, Not SEO Later
If you already have a website, but it’s not showing up in searches then you are suffering from SEO Later. Don’t panic. It can be fixed. It just takes a little more time then if SEO had been implemented in the first place. Think about it this way. When you were in school, did you ever misunderstand an assignment? Maybe what you did was good, but it wasn’t right. So, you had to go back and redo the assignment. That’s SEO Later.
Step 4: Realizing SEO Takes Time
SEO is a working, “living” thing. Just having links on your site and updating every now and again isn’t going to cut it. Your business is not the same as when it was first started and neither is your website. There are many factors when working with SEO and a good company sets realistic expectations. Remember, SEO is about long term results, not over night results.
Step 5: Never, Under any Circumstances, Use Click Here.
I have done this in my naivety. As in Click Here to Read More. The article, blog, advice, sign-up, online class, etc. does not show up in search results. Guess what does show up? The words “Click Here to Read More”.
Step 6: Update, Update, Update
When speaking with clients, I refer to their website as a “living, changing entity”. If it stays the same the website won’t show up in search results. Any easy fix is to create a blog where you can share your expertise with customers and make sure you update it once to twice a week. A good rule to follow is to write roughly a 1000 words each week.
Step 7: You Don’t Have to Understand Everything about SEO
What you should do is hire a company that does understand SEO and will work with you in order to up your web presence. Having a basic understanding of what needs to be done with your website just makes you a better business owner. In short, it is important to understand the importance of regularly updating content, determining keywords, utilizing keywords, using a title tag, and analyzing the results to better improve the site over time.
A website is an extension of your business. You give your storefront time and attention it requires every day, and the same holds true for your website. What I have listed are SEO basics. SEO is not difficult, it is not magic, but it does take time and effort. This is way the most important decision is hiring a company that will help you and lead you in the right SEO direction.
Distillery Web Design and Marketing is a feature website builder, online marketer, and advertising specialty consulting group working with businesses in the Lebanon, Camdenton, Osage Beach, Springfield, and St. Robert areas of Missouri. Facebook, websites, online promotions, print media, radio promotions, online newsletters, graphic design and direct mail campaigns are our specialty. We know how to get the Internet, social networking and new media to work for you!