Search engine optimization (SEO) has increasingly become an important aspect of marketing. Nearly every consumer uses search engines such as Google (or sometimes Yahoo! or Bing) to find information on a business that attracts their interest. This is often not easy, even when the user performs a search using the name of the business. To make sure this is not a problem for their enterprise, business owners must employ SEO techniques to be found on search engines. While employing a budget and a team to improve one’s social media presence is ideal, some of these techniques can be employed with zero budget.
When seeking a business of a certain type, users type in a series of keywords in a search engine. On top, users will find ads that are designed to target a series of keywords. Many businesses who have neglected SEO or wish to improve their search results may create an ad (or hire digital marketing specialists) to appear when certain keywords are used. However, the more respected results are the organic (meaning unpaid) results appearing below the ads. Users rarely venture past page one on these results, so being on the first page is critical. This is especially a problem for small businesses. Prospective customers will often type in the name of a restaurant only to get review sites such as Yelp, Google and other results that may mention the restaurant. In these circumstances, the actual restaurant website is nearly impossible to find.
Fortunately, many zero-cost strategies can be employed to counter this, the most prominent technique being social media. The good news is people will search sites such as Facebook to find a business, and setting up a Facebook business site is a simple, no-cost prospect. As the most widely-used social media site, no business should ignore Facebook. Twitter also adds value as it’s well-suited for short messages and is the easiest platform to find followers that may not necessarily have a connection to the business. Twitter and Facebook posts can also be linked to one another, and Twitter can be set up to send automated messages to new followers that can advertise a business’s other social media sites among other things. Additionally, building a Google+ page is helpful. Google+ has now combined with Google Maps and Google Search to form Google My Business. That platform can go far in promoting a business on Google, which is by far the most widely used search engine. Finally, a LinkedIn business page, though it won’t need to be frequently promoted or maintained, gives a business a foothold on what is becoming an increasingly important search engine. Posting at least weekly on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (and LinkedIn to some extent) serve to build advertising bases and give owners increased online exposure, which of course helps SEO ratings and search results.
Other techniques and sites can help as well depending on the business type. Sites such as Instagram and Snapchat can also have applications for some businesses, though wouldn’t be viewed as necessary for every business. Another common technique is blogging. Blogging allows businesses to write short articles that can be of interest to a customer base. A blog is a great opportunity to get business customer and search engine exposure and are a great way to keep a business on the minds of customers and direct customers to a website or a social media site. Blogs can also be added to RSS feeds and sites such as Tumblr and can serve as a press release, which of course yields advertising and SEO-related benefits. If blog posts cannot be written, it would still be helpful to perform a search on and copy the link to an existing article. Both a blog and the description tag on a blog can be an opportunity to add a business name and desired keywords which will contribute to better SEO results.
Business owners increasingly need and can easily employ web-based marketing to help its search engine prominence and advertise at no cost. Facebook, Twitter and Google+/Google My Business. These sites can be easy to set up and can be maintained with a minimal time commitment if the owner so chooses. It’s still recommended that entrepreneurs post at least weekly and venture beyond free techniques to more directly improve SEO. But even with a modest effort, a business can have a substantial online presence and be an enterprise that’s found by and engaged with its customer base.