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How Search Engine Optimization Can Help Your Small Business

Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is the process of increasing your ranking on the search engines so you are found amongst the thousands of websites by visitors looking for your type of business.  It is a process that enables you to boost your site, increase your exposure and ensure you get listed on top of the search results so you are giving your business the competitive edge needed to compete online.  It is a process that is essential for businesses so they do not lose all opportunities to their competitors who are found online or even lose opportunities with potenial partners, the press and others who may be looking for opportunities to reach their type of business.

There are numerous studies that have shown over and over that the majority of people today go online first to search for any type business.  The Internet, whether we like it or not, has become the go-to-place for research, to look for jobs, to look for people, to look for business, to communicate, to socially engage, to find prospects, to look for partners, to look for competitors, to buy, to learn and to look for almost any information we need.  So as a result, we cannot underestimate the importance of the Internet, nor its significance in helping small businesses leverage its power to compete. 

Small business SEO is critical in helping small businesses compete today, even more so than for large corporations who already have a brand name, who have deep marketing pockets and who have many different strategies to build business. Small businesses and even solo-entrepreneurs are extremely resource-constrained to go out and continuously market their business.  In fact, over 50% of small businesses have less than 4 employees and most small businesses today even with staff up to 100 employees are partnering with web marketing service providers to help them make their businesses competitive online because they neither have the time nor do they actually know what to do to market their business on the web. Search Engine Optimization is one of the ways that small businesses can begin their web marketing journey to grow their presence online.

Seven Steps to Help You Get Started in SEO

Here are seven areas to consider in Search Engine Optimization to help you get started.

1. Keyword Research and Selection
Keywords are the key ingredient in search engine optimization because they are the words that are typed on a search bar that the search engines use to list their search results.So the first thing you want to do when optimizing is your website is to research the keywords that best fit your business based on a combination of volume, competition and the results that can give you the best chance to get placed on the first page.  Just changing the keyword phrases slightly can change your competitive advantage and will enable you to compete with businesses who have been online and optimizing their website for a long time. 

There are a number of keyword research tools to help you with that analysis and with data that provides intelligence into the behaviors of the target audience you want to attract.  

2. On-site Optimization
Onsite Optimization is the process of ensuring you are including the selected keywords into your page title, meta tags, image tags, headings and sub-headings, footer, content and links for each page of your site. Some onsite optimization efforts require more technical skills, while others require attention to the words you embed into your content and the formating of the elements on each web page.  

To measure the efforts of your optimization, you can run a baseline SEO position check to track your rankings from month to month and embed an anylytics tool into your website to measure the number of visitors coming to your website. The analytics tool can also provide you with information where your visitors are coming from and what keywords are driving the most traffic. The increase in visitors to a website also comes from offsite optimization efforts which include activities as those described below.

3. Local Search Engine Submissions
Create a page for each of the three local search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing.  Ensure that the images, geo location, map, description and categorization for your business is properly provided.   Submit your site to the most popular web directories so you can increase your rankings in search results.

4. Build Credibility through Articles
Writing short articles and submitting them in popular article directories is a very effective way to increase your exposure on the web and bring credibility to your business and to the people behind the business. There are many popular article directories that are already highly optimized by the search engines that small businesses can use to leverage the power of article marketing to increase their rankings and drive visitors to their website.      

Article marketing was abused by many unethical and black hat SEO providers, but Google has cracked down by banning such sites from their search engines and updated their algorithms to ensure that quality content is one of the key factors used to rank a site.  Article marketing, when done properly and professionally, is a very effective way to optimize your online marketing efforts.

5. Write and Submit a Press Release
Writing a press release is another great way to gain expoure on the web.  Similar to article marketing, writing and submitting press releases to press release directories is a highly effective way to build your presence and increase your rankings.

6. Expand Your Reach through Different Sharing Sites
Adding your website to social bookmarking sites and other sharing sites is another way to expand your reach and exposure

7. Engage on other People's Blogs or Forums
Google likes to see that you are active on the web by engaging on relevant blogs and forums.  It is good practice to identify what blogs and forums exist that are relevant to your business so you can collaborate, share, engage and make comments to increase value to visitors.  This also helps you in gaining increased rankings.

There are many different strategies to increase your rankings and market your business on line.  These are some of the basic ways to begin building your presence and to initially launch your website and gain your competitive edge online.

If you would like to learn more on how to perform each of these steps or to have someone help you get started, contact us and we will be happy to work with you to see how we can help. 



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About Eproneur

Eproneur empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses to promote their business online in the most affordable and effective way.

Eproneur is a full service web marketing firm located in Princeton, New Jersey. We offer a powerful suite of integrated web marketing software tools, website design services, search engine optimization and social media services.

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