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The vast majority of the day-to-day things that we do are transacted online. We read news online, perform banking and other payment functions through customized Internet platforms and several communication channels are now relayed through the virtual world.

The Internet has greatly influenced our way of life and approach towards commerce. Thus, it has created a new battleground for businesses to covet market share.

In order to stay ahead of the competition you must incorporate Search Engine Optimization or SEO in your business development strategy.

Here are seven (7) reasons why you should do SEO in your business. As you will discover, the “why” will answer the question, “How early”.

1) Majority of businesses are online.

As of this writing, there are 982,891,480 websites actively operating in the Internet. There were also 3,180,213,300 Internet users when I wrote this sentence.

Think about that number for the moment. More than 3 Billion of the world’s population of 7.2 Billion people is online every single day.

The Internet presents a vast ocean of opportunities for businesses to expand their markets. It is no surprise that companies have incorporated online strategies to develop their businesses. Companies are now using the Internet to source suppliers, recruit people and of course, promote products and services.

That is why more than 50% of all small businesses have websites. But it is not enough to have one; your website must be found. SEO is the best strategy to enhance your online presence.

2) SEO remains a relevant strategy.

Despite its track record in building online businesses, there remain naysayers on the effectiveness of SEO. This is largely due to the fact they do not view SEO as an evolutionary process.

SEO techniques have evolved over the years because the markets have changed. Keyword analysis is no longer enough to assure high search rankings. Internet users demand great, engaging content not just keywords. So naturally, keyword research strategies had to evolve and integrate elements that complement effective content creation.

The end result of its evolution is more effective and efficient SEO; a process that produces greater and sustainable results. Integrating SEO with content management presents companies with a better value proposition than just a singular strategy. SEO provides the means, content management creates the purpose.

3) SEO builds your brand.

Google’s Quality Ratings Guidelines is proof the search engine giant is moving towards brand-related metrics in awarding search rankings.

And the biggest mistake most businesses make is overlooking the importance of brand building at the very start. They often believe the brand will follow once business gains traction. But without the identity of a brand, where will the traction come from?

SEO professionals conduct detailed research to identify the target audience of your business. This includes determining which keywords are frequently used to search similar products and services plus uncovering behavioral clues on how the markets respond and interact with the competitors in the industry.

These data are used as reference in the website development process, in your social media marketing program and your content marketing campaign.

So what does these all mean?

It means you should include SEO as early as your pre-operating stages! SEO techniques should already be factored in your web development phase.

4) SEO ties in with other online marketing strategies.

SEO is an effective strategy in building your online presence. But in conjunction with other digital marketing strategies, SEO becomes an even more potent weapon in the battle for search rankings.

The mistake some Digital Marketers make is to have a preference on one strategy over another. The most effective social media strategy would be one that encourages synergy between the different tools as the Digital Marketer’s disposal.

In addition to integrating SEO with content management, it can also be utilized with other techniques such as social media marketing and link building.

5) SEO is a cost-effective strategy.

The benefits of effective SEO is sustainable; it will continue to attract thousands even millions to your website because it is specifically designed to target your audience or the end-users of your products and services.

With SEO, the momentum generated by its campaign can be felt for many months, even years without much incremental cost in revising the program.

Plus an SEO campaign is customizable to your business’ needs and of course, your budget. The SEO professional will always conduct research and studies to determine who your business caters to, what their pressing needs and concerns are, how their purchasing or patronage decisions are influenced and their patterns of qualifying vendors or suppliers.

These are key information necessary to design an effective SEO campaign because search engines like Google have numerous ranking factors and it constantly changes the algorithm per year; sometimes up to 600 times.

The best SEO is not necessarily the most expensive proposal. It should be one that best fits your needs.

6) Your competition is using SEO.

As discussed earlier, most businesses are already plying their trade in the Internet. They could be allocating a larger chunk of the digital marketing budget toward SEO in order to give them a decided advantage in the search rankings.

While the evolution of digital technology has made the ways of doing business and life in general, more convenient, it has also increased the competitiveness in every industry.

Your competition will look for every conceivable advantage over everyone else. So while you remain stagnant, unsure of how to go about your SEO campaign, you are progressively losing ground to someone who is. Every lost opportunity is translated as foregone income.

7) The rise of mobile technology.

As of 2013, there were over six billion SIM cards operating in the world. At the time, the PC still accounted for majority of online traffic. Fast forward to 2014 and
mobile gadgets now account for 60% of online traffic
.

The rise of mobile technology will continue through the unseen future. Market analysts are projecting that by end-2015 there would be over two billion smart phone users in the entire world.

The increasing popularity of smart phones has opened new avenues for the continued development of SEO processes this time targeted toward local area marketing objectives. Techniques have to evolve and go through tweaks to conform to shifts in website design toward mobile responsiveness.

It is never too late to incorporate SEO techniques in your digital marketing plan. While it would certainly have been better to implement SEO at the start, with its ability to evolve and adapt to changes, you will still be able to reap the rewards and generate substantial ROI with SEO at the later stages.

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What is off page SEO?

Effective SEO strategy involves more than having a website with all the right things. It also requires making efforts elsewhere on the internet. The major search engines are programmed to think that the more other sites link back to your site, the better your content is. There are things you can do off-site to get the right type of notice and acknowledgement from the right places.

Is social media important for off page SEO?

Yes. But a company doesn’t need to post to social media outlets a certain numbers of time a day to reap SEO benefits from social media. What’s the minimum for social media engagement for off page SEO? You must have a business page or account on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for Business, as well as a professional personal page on LinkedIn. There’s a good chance if you’re on LinkedIn you have a professional personal page but not a business page. Get one and make sure all your pages are accurate and optimized. Do all of your pages have the exact same business info? Make sure they do and make sure it matches exactly what’s in Google My Business. Yes, you must be listed with Google My Business. Yes, it used to be Google Places. If you’re a social media fan and have the time to invest there are more ways to use these and other accounts to further improve your off page SEO. Pinterest has really gained business traction and is great for the visual businesses like photographers, interior decorators, etc.

DO NOT IGNORE Bing and Yahoo!

Along with creating a business listing and optimizing it on Google+ (aka Google Places) you MUST also do it on Yahoo Local! and Bing Local. As a matter of fact Google expects to find your listing there!

Are online directories a waste of time?

No! Not only do they create more of the all important high quality backlinks, they also let Google see you all over the internet, which it really likes. As a matter of fact if your business isn’t on a ton of directories your off page SEO will take a hit. Through manual creation and data aggregators your business can get into 400+ directories! On the flip side, the majority of businesses have misinformation about them on the internet and that can harm your search result standing. Never assume your info is not part of a particular directory or that the info about you is accurate.

How do I make the most of online directories?

Start by establishing the social media pages listed above if you haven’t. Next, check the main directories like SuperPages, MerchantCircle, Yelp, Manta, HotFrog and CityGrid (CitySearch), etc. Make sure your listings are accurate and identical. Then do the same with secondary and tertiary directories like JudysBook, Yellowbot, Yellowee, and MyHuckleberry. If your city has a hyperlocal directory, make sure you’re listed and listed accurately.

When searching for your listings, start with business name, then phone number. Don’t forget to check for any old phone numbers or business names. Make sure the info matches your Google My Business listing (aka Google Places). Correct any errors you find. If you don’t find a listing for your business then create one.

Optimize the directory listing by adding photos, video(s), payment types accepted, hours, description, email, website address, services, brands, categories, etc. By filling out your directory listing completely you can end up ranking higher within the local directory.

By the way, when you create these directory listings, use a “trash” email account. You will receive a bunch of garbage emails afterwards. Also use the same password for every account. If your business ever moves then you will need to go back to every listing and make the appropriate changes. If you don’t with time your off page SEO will most definitely suffer!

Also, expect directories to call your business. Do verify the business information, but as soon as they try to upsell you, shut them off by telling them you are sticking with the free listing and to take you off their solicitation list!

So, why start with making sure you have the right social media pages? When creating directory listings, or updating them, you’ll be asked where people can find you on social media. Be sure to include your social media business page links.

What is guest blogging and how can I use it to draw traffic to my website?

Many blogs welcome guest posts from industry experts, for single gigs here and there or as ongoing contributors. Are you familiar with the popular blogs of your industry? Your target audience is already hanging out there. You can reach out to them through people they already listen to, and bring in your audience. It’s part of the beauty of guest blogging. If everyone has worthwhile content, everyone wins. Make sure to include links back to your site in the text of your post or in the author bio.

Should I ask satisfied customers for reviews?

Why not? A testimonials page on your website is great to let prospects know you’re good at what you do. Make sure to try and have a keyword phrase within the review and the person’s city and state at the end of the review. This can help with local search results.

Reviews elsewhere on the internet are also great for your off-site SEO. Customers or clients should post their review in only one place. G+ is great for those with gmail accounts. Be very careful though when asking for reviews to be posted on a review site. Considering the industry you are in too many reviews and or too many reviews in a short time frame tells the sites like Google and Yelp that you “solicited” the review. If they get a whiff of that then those reviews will disappear!

How will I know if my SEO efforts are working?

An effective local SEO campaign will yield more phone calls and foot traffic. We highly encourage you and your staff to ask every new visitor or caller how they heard of you. For almost all service oriented local businesses just keeping track of how new customers discovered your business will provide all the confirmation needed.

You can also look for an increase in visits to your website and increased engagement with your content. Are people spending time on pages they land on, or bouncing? Do they click links? SEO isn’t just about getting people to your website, it’s about getting people there who will find it useful, informative and contact the business.

Off page SEO is only part of the local SEO program and strategy. There is also on page SEO. When both of them are properly created and maintained it can make for a powerful result. If only one of two is optimized, then the local SEO results will be weak. As Helen Keller said “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”.

 

 

 

CHALLENGE:

Bronzer Salon was referred to us by one of our peers from a few years back.  A mother and daughter started an airbrush tanning and makeup business in Edmonds in late September and were experiencing meager growth.  As always is the case with Small Biz Triage, there was not much budget to work with, and they needed more customers yesterday.

 

SOLUTION:

Rich and I threw around a LOT of ideas when we met with Bronzer last week.  Ultimately, we realized that they are driven / focused enough to implement some effective marketing strategies with some coaching.  So, I'm helping them get their marketing platforms and tools installed and configured (Facebook Page, Twitter, HootSuite, MailChimp, coupon design/printing) and will train them on using them.  Rich is going to coach them through a variety of sales techniques to increase the rate of prospects, covering everything from spurring referrals through targeted networking, to overcoming objections on phone and email inquiries.

It's a rare treat to work with such a fantastic pair, who truly care about helping their customers feel beautiful with every visit.  We were inspired to take a hard look at our own businesses and make sure

More updates to come ...

- Nate -

LaptopFIX.com Local Search Rankings

April 2010 Local Search Results

So I was doing my periodic google keyword searches to see how my clients' sites were doing ... I did a search for " laptop repair seattle" and ... well just look:

That's right folks ... LaptopFIX.com is sitting @ #1 ... They're having a killer Birthday Smash April 17th, 2011 (free lunch, ridiculous discounts, and a chance to smash some old computers and printers a la Office Space) ... hope you can make it out.

- Nate -

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Rowlett, TX
Oceanside, CA
Glendale, CA
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