Approximately 75%Â – 80% of website traffic comes through search engines. Whatâ€™s more, research shows that most people donâ€™t look beyond the first 2 pages of search results. This means if your website doesnâ€™t rank in the first 2 pages of the major search engines, itâ€™s only receiving 20Â30% of its rightful traffic… and revenue. (And remember, being ranked number 1 when you search for your company name or web address doesnâ€™t count. You need to rank highly for the words your customers use at search engines.)
Search Engine Results
The biggest concern for search engine companies like Google and Yahoo is finding content that will bring them more traffic (and thus more advertising revenue). In other words, their results must be relevant. Relevant results makes for a good search engine; irrelevant results makes for a shortÂlived search engine.
Most search engines these days return two types of results whenever you click Search:
Step 1 â€“ Understand what SEO means 9
When people use search engines to find content, they normally pay a lot more attention to the natural results than the paid results because they know these results are more relevant (and they know the â€œSponsored Linksâ€ are simply ads).
When we talk about search engine ranking, weâ€™re talking about ranking well in the natural search results. This eÂbook does not cover â€œSponsored Linksâ€.
How search engines decide what appears in the natural search results
IMPORTANT: You cannot pay a search engine in return for a high ranking in the natural results. You can only get a high ranking if your content is seen as relevant by the search engines.
Search engines identify relevant content for their search results by sending out â€˜spidersâ€™ or â€˜robotsâ€™ which â€˜crawlâ€™ (analyze) your site and â€˜indexâ€™ (record) its details. Complex algorithms are then employed to determine whether your site is useful and should be included in the search engineâ€™s search results.
Growing a business online takes hardwork and time. contrary to what you may have heard or read on the internet. It takes a sustainable, Â comprehensive marketing approach to build your leads, your sales, and ultimately the success. Many of the successful businesses you see (especially the larger ones) have a highly specialized Marketing staff running their daily operations. Most small business owners canâ€™t afford such a staff.
But with the right focus, you can become that specialized marketing department. Even though it will require a little bit of work up front. Invest some time in educating yourself on simple marketing strategies and resources. You will discover a whole new level of business growth you never thought possible.Â If you can become proficient in a few simple areas, you will be well on your way to success. Below are resource guide with the most important things you can be doing to grow your small business, starting right now! Don’t over do it, Take one step at a time and learn as you build. Just choose a few of the strategies you want to work on now and start there.
A great website wonâ€™t do you any good unless you can get some traffic flowing to it. A few simple steps can get people to your website. The more you put into traffic generation, the better your chances of converting the general public into paying customers.
SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of getting your website recognized more frequently when people perform searches on sites such as Google or Yahoo. Better SEO rankings mean you get seen by more people â€¦ and thatâ€™s a free way to increase traffic to your website. There are three easy ways you can increase your SEO rankings: keywords, inbound links, and local search listings.
KeywordsÂ – The first thing you should do is write down all of the keywords associated with your business. Try to think like someone who needs your product or service, but doesnâ€™t know where to go. What would they type into their search engine? If I were looking for a local plumber, I might type in â€œplumber Johannesburg.â€ If I were searching for a reasonably priced webmaster, I might type in â€œcheap websites.â€ Try to determine all of the possible (intuitive) combinations you might get. Once you know the best keywords to use on your site, itâ€™s time to put them to work for you. Search engines like to see your keywords in important placesâ€”places like the title, headlines, sub-headlines, and even the content that is toward the top of the page. The more keywords you use, the more search engines will take notice. But be sure to integrate your keywords into readable sentences and avoid â€œkeyword stuffing. Another good way to implement keywords into your site is by posting articles or other relevant pieces of content that are keyword rich. Search engines also love updated content, so donâ€™t hesitate to add new articles regularly that will bring more keywords to your site.
INBOUND LINKSÂ – Inbound links build your reputation and credibility among search engines (and potential customers, for that matter). These inbound links (often called back links) also allow search engines to more easily find you, rank you, and get you on the search lists. Not all back links are created equal, however. Links that come from legitimate sites are best. If you are linked from a very popular siteâ€”even better. But purchased links from â€œlink farmsâ€ might actually do more harm than good. It may sound daunting, but you can build a solid base of back links the right way if you are patient and consistent in your efforts. The first step is to set up links from all of your own domains. Your blog, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and any other social media outlets should all include links to your website. When you post entries on these outlets, include links to your site, as appropriate. When others â€œretweetâ€ these links, you get exponential exposure. You can also ask partners and affiliates to add links to their websites. Itâ€™s probably a good idea to return the favour too. Consider a section on your website that highlights the â€œproducts I useâ€ or â€œservices I recommend.â€ Youâ€™ll be amazed at how this will not only help your SEO rank, but it will increase your referrals too. When possible, try to insert keywords into the anchor text (the text that acts as the link, such as click here or learn more). A keyword-rich link might read The Gilbert Plumber or My Web design Business. This will greatly increase your keyword credibility and skyrocket your search engine rankings.
Paid advertising, or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – enables you to boost online traffic by paying a fixed amount to promote link clicks to your content and website. The best ways to get started in paid advertising are through Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. Google AdWordsâ€”Google is the simplest and most well-known platform for PPC advertising. Basically, you bid on keywords that are most relevant to your business, and then pay Google a certain amount for each time someone clicks on your ad. The more popular the keyword, the higher the per-click price. Facebook Ads â€” Facebook is second only to Google in terms of site visitors per day. Where Google allows you to target based on what people are searching for.
Get Social – Social media doesnâ€™t have to be daunting. And since 75% of consumers use social media in some format to learn about products and services, you canâ€™t afford to not be in the social sphere. Start a blog to talk about new products, industry news or company updates. Reward Twitter followers or customers who â€œLikeâ€ you on Facebook with exclusive offers and specials. And maintain your B2B connections on LinkedIn. All of these services are free and easy to manage with only a little effort. The keys to successful social engagement are being consistent and being real.
If your website is bad, I assume your business is bad. Your website is in most cases my first impression of your company, product, service, leadership, business processes, etc. Your website is the basis on which I form my thoughts and feelings about your business. This is especially true for software companies. A friend of mine says that in the absence of information is imagination. You do not want to give people a bad basis on which to let their imagination run wild, and it will.
I want to give a few more examples of how my mind works when I interact with a website. I come to your website and it looks really old and outdated. I consequently think that your entire business (product and/or service included) is old and outdated. I come to your website and it looks really complicated and not well organized. As a result, I think the same is true of your business. I come to your website and it looks very abstract and difficult to navigate. I assume it’s not even worth the time to explore more. You get the point.
It is completely your choice to have a bad website, if you’re in a position to make a decision on the matter. There are multiple platforms to easily build a fairly simple website on your own and plenty of ways to have web designers and developers build your site for you (in most cases the better option). Just search “website builder” or “web design” and you’ll start to see your plethora of options.
Let me free you. You don’t have to have a bad website! You can take steps today to get a project going to update and maintain your website. Your website can communicate what you want people to understand and feel about your business. Remember, the question isn’t “Is my website communicating to people?”. The question is “Is my website communicating to people what I want them to understand and feel about my company?”. I am begging you to please take action. It genuinely saddens me to think of so many great businesses communicating that their businesses are bad via their website. Social media is an entirely different subject that maybe we could cover in a future post.