There is lots of talk out there about the importance of internet marketing and SEO for small businesses, and how vital it is to invest in these services. But what exactly does these blanket terms mean? How does internet marketing and SEO for small business involve? What are the costs? What are the benefits?
Internet Marketing and SEO for Small Businesses Means…
Your company offers products and/or services and needs to present these to potential clients. For any company to do this successfully today a website is necessary. Internet marketing means using the internet to present your products/services to these potential customers by means of a website.
But just having a website alone is not enough to bring you new customers from the internet. A website does no good if no one ever sees it! Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of increasing your website’s visibility so that more people find it and visit your site. It does this by making your site appear more prominently when people use search engines (like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing) to search the internet.
How Search Engines Work and Why Your Ranking Matters
People use search engines to find websites about whatever they are looking for. People type in a search term (known as keywords) and then the search engine shows them a list of websites related to those terms in order of relevance and importance (in effect grading them).
The difference between ranking high on the search engine results pages (commonly called SERPs) is significant. The majority of people click on the first few listings they see when they do a search. If your website is not at the top of those listings chances are the vast majority of people will not visit your website (and thus never see your products/services and never give you their business).
How SEO Makes Your Website Rank Higher
Google and other search engines designed to catalog as much of the internet as possible and then organize everything as best possible. When someone is searching for something on their site they want to find them the most useful and relevant websites as possible. To do this, they do two principle things: they scan as many websites as possible and then decide how to rank them. Needless to say, this is not an easy task.
SEO primarily involves making your website easier for Google to understand and index. It also includes making your website better in Google’s eyes that way they decide it deserves to be ranked higher on their search results.
How Do Search Engines Decide Which Websites Deserve to be Ranked Higher?
Google and other search engines like Yahoo! and Bing use slightly different grading criteria to determine the rank they will assign to a website for each keyword. In general, they look at a few key elements:
The text and images on your website. Does your website talk about selling filters or how to fix cars? Search engines read your site’s text looking for keywords and try to figure out what your site is about. If it sees the keyword “coffee makers” it will assume your site sells coffee makers and when someone searches for “coffee makers” it will associate you with that keyword and then list you on its search results pages.
How your site is laid out, the names of your pages, the description and title tags you use, how your pages are linked together, etc. all tell Google what your site is about and what you want it to say.
Links To and From Your Site
If a lot of other websites have links to your site, Google feels that it must be important and trustworthy. The more links you have the better. But only links from quality sites that are related to you are counted, links from just any site, or worse SPAM sites can actually harm your rankings!
Its not enough that your site is about a certain topic, it also needs to be useful for search engines to include you in their listings. Search engines place a high value on usefulness of a site to visitors. It judges this by looking at many factors. Sites with lots of well-written articles and posts about their how to install bathtubs are useful to people looking for information on bathroom remodeling. Videos showing how to play Let It Be on piano are useful to people looking for information on how to play Beatles music. etc.
SEO Helps Small Businesses Find New Customers For Minimal Investment
Having a website that ranks well on search engines for relevant keywords directly translates to more business for small businesses. If you are a small business you likely do not have huge sums of money to invest in traditional marketing that is not always sure to pay off. For this reason and more, internet marketing, including SEO, is the best method for small businesses to increase sales.
If you are a small business, have you considered internet marketing to grow your business? If you already have a website, have you considered how SEO could increase the amount of value you get from your website?
With a minimal investment you can have Ayres SEO apply its knowledge and experience to improving your website’s visibility and get your products and services in front of more of your potential customers. With plans starting at just $500 per month, search engine optimization with Ayres SEO need not brake the bank.