Leveraging Google Search for Small Business Advertising
You may have heard the phrase that we live in a Google world. To a certain extent that’s true. When we don’t know the answer to a question, we Google it. When we need to research a topic for a project, we Google it. Your small business is no different. If people are going to find your business online, they’re going to find you through Google if they don’t already have your web address. That’s why it’s important to understand how you can leverage Google and show up near the top of those search results.
To understand Google, you need to understand SEO — or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the practice that essentially determines how rich your website and the content on your website is. The stronger the SEO, the higher up in the search results. The weaker the SEO... well, don’t expect to see your website on the first page of a Google search.
Here’s a quick example: Let’s say you run a local auto mechanic shop that specifically serves high-end luxury vehicles like Mercedes, Audi and BMW. People searching for a mechanic to fix their car might Google “Mercedes repair” or “luxury vehicle repair.” Your website needs the content related to those search words (keywords) in order for Google to pick up on it and put your near the top of the search results list.
Why do you want to be at the top? Because people are always more likely to click the top result after performing a search. Like anything on the internet, SEO moves fast. It’s constantly changing and could really be a full-time job for someone in a marketing department. Being that most small businesses are a one-man show and don’t even have a marketing department, it’s up to you to know the basics of SEO.
There are several different kinds of SEO, including content, analytical, performance, technical, image and off-site. The easiest concept to grasp is content. Fill your website and the content on that website with a defined set of keywords. Those keywords relate to the industry that you’re advertising on your website. It’s important to note, however, that you just can’t fill content randomly with keywords. Google is smart and looks for quality content, so incorporate those keywords in a high-quality fashion. The other types of SEO can get very technical. If you don’t know what it means to maintain a proper XML sitemap, robots.txt, or file system structure — don’t worry. Many successful small businesses that leverage Google through strong SEO don’t understand that jargon either.
You may have heard the phrase “Content is king.” If you can focus on high quality content, rich with keywords, you’ll already be on the right path to having an SEO-friendly website. If you are determined to get to the top of Google’s search results, there are other options. Attend an SEO training session or hire an SEO consultant. Both won’t be cheap, but under the guidance of an expert, a small business owner can achieve even greater search results.
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If your small business is doing quite well financially, you may even want to consider hiring an agency to help increase your website traffic. Again, this can be pricey.
No matter how big or small your small business is, or what services it offers, building an online presence by investing in SEO could be some of the best money spent.
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