A business cannot survive in the modern world without a strong presence on the internet. Simply having a website isn’t enough. Most potential customers use a search engine, like Google, to find and research businesses before they spend their hard-earned dollars.
Statistically speaking, nearly about 90 percent of customers only click on businesses that appear on the first page of Google search results. The top spot takes one-third of those results. This leaves many small businesses in a tough situation. How can they compete with larger businesses when it comes to search engine marketing?
1. Buy Ad Space for Guaranteed Results
Buying advertising space is a quick, guaranteed way to get your business name out there. AdWords may appear directly on the search engine as well as nearly every website. Google uses metrics to help your ads appear when prospective customers regularly use specific keywords, so you know your ads are only reaching those who desire your services.
The upside to AdWords is obvious, but there is a downside. Your business pays Google every time someone clicks on an ad, whether that leads to a sale or not. In addition, the amount you are willing to pay directly affects how many times your ad appears. If another business bids a higher ad rate, you may not reach your desired audience.
2. Google My Business
This free directory is a must for every business. You simply add your company to the database and suddenly people all over the world can find you. Unfortunately Google My Business is only supplemental. You cannot rely on this feature alone to get the word out about your company.
While Google My Business is slow to update and only includes contact information about your business, it is a nice way to create another point of reference. Along with Google My Business, include your company in Google Plus, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and as many social networking sites as possible. The more presence you have on the internet, the easier it is for potential customers to find you.
3. Use Organic SEO
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the key metric that Google uses to find your website and include it in the search results. It is relatively inexpensive to implement, though you do need to be able to pinpoint exactly which keywords your customers are likely to use. In addition, SEO must be readable. Keywords that are randomly inserted throughout your text may turn off customers as well as Google.
Local SEO is often preferred by smaller businesses. Local SEO combines your specific keywords with your geographic area. If a company only operates in Columbia, Missouri, for example, it may be wise to include the city, state, and county in the text along with organic keywords. In addition, regularly use your complete business address as a reference on webpages. Lastly, link to a Google Plus Local page.
Appearing as a top result on Google is not as difficult as it seems. Simply follow one or all of these three rules. Keep updating your page, always adding new, keyword-drive content. Eventually, you will see your business grow.