Image from Flickr creative commons via Phillie Casablanca
Having an online presence is something that is critical for businesses of all sizes these days. Even in the last year or so, the spread of smartphones and tablet computers has had a major impact not only on the number of people who have access to the internet, but also on the way that they connect and where they do it from. Buying products and researching goods and services on the go is now second nature to many people, and thanks to our busy lives it is not difficult to understand why consumers want to make the most of what would otherwise be dead time, sitting on a bus or travelling home on the train after work.
As a result, having a strong internet presence and ranking well for keywords that are central to a business’ trade has become more important than ever. The techniques employed by digital marketing agency specialists differ, but there are some essential elements to constructing a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy for a small business that will always feature strongly.
Rather than diving head first into trying to rank for the most competitive terms out there, step back and consider what you are actually hoping to get from an SEO campaign. Different goals will require different approaches, naturally. For example, if your main aim is to sign people up to a mailing list then you might well take a different approach than if you already have plenty of traffic coming to your website but are struggling to turn visits into conversions.
Small firms are always going to be at a disadvantage against larger competitors who have far greater budgets to work with. That’s not to say that a small businesses cannot launch an effective SEO campaign though – simply that sole traders and partnerships will have to think carefully about how money is spent and what areas are targeted to maximise the return on investment.
Getting the design of your site right is key. There is absolutely no point putting an SEO campaign into place to attract visitors to a website if they are likely to click away from the site immediately because of the way it looks. A good website will appeal to consumers, not drive them away and so the design of a site is always going to be a crucial element of a successful SEO strategy for small businesses. Likewise, a site also needs to be easy to navigate – if it looks great but a potential customer can’t actually work out how to contact the firm or buy a product then there’ll be trouble.
What’s right for the business?
Another important thing to get right is deciding on the approach that fits with the business. Many individuals who run their own firm are not only acting as managing director, but also as accountant, PA, packing department and customer service representative. Time is something that people running small businesses are short on, so launching a social media campaign that will require constant monitoring could well be a bad idea. In fact, if customers are trying to get in touch and are asking questions on social media and you are not answering them, this could well do more harm than good.