An entire industry has risen in the last few years around helping businesses to get found in search engines, such as Google. A lot of these search marketing firms and consultants prey on small businesses, blasting them with emails and phone calls, scaring owners by saying things like, “I performed a keyword search for your business and it didn’t come up in the results.” It’s funny how these so-called gurus say your business can’t be found when they obviously found you online and called you unsolicited. Unfortunately, this fear-based selling approach sometimes works.
The truth is, search engine optimization and Internet marketing follows a simple set of basic parameters mostly anyone can learn to implement. However, even doing everything right does not guarantee that your business will come up number one in the search results, because ranking is based on mathematical algorithms that can change without warning. Don’t let that discourage you from trying. If you’re willing to do a little research, you’ll quickly discover the Internet is full of enough free resources to keep any business competitive on the keyword search playing field.
If you want your business to have the best opportunity to get found when people are searching, here are the areas to educate yourself and take action:
Step one: Use some free tools to determine what keywords you want to focus on ranking for. Keywords highly relevant to what you sell, with lower competition work best. Type “How to do keyword research” into Google’s search bar and the first few results should have you on your way to success in this area. Google also has helpful information available in their support for webmasters section.
Step two: Make sure your website is optimized for search. Type “optimizing your website for search engines” into Google and away you go. You’ll discover the most important things to consider are your site’s title tag and having content on the page relevant to the search. Using a search engine view tool to see how a search engine views your site is a great help.
Step three: Develop a link-building strategy. Sites that rank high are the ones that have lots of links from other high-ranking websites. How the link helps your site will be determined by the words used in the link to bring people to your site. For example, if you wanted to rank high for the term “embroidered patches” you would need links from other websites and blogs that make the term “embroidered patches” a hotlink pointing back to your site. Paying for a bunch of low ranking, untargeted links doesn’t help you at all and could actually get you banned from Google. Also, make sure the links you are going after aren’t ” nofollow ,” meaning search engine spiders won’t give you credit for them.
Focusing on these three areas, along with tracking your sites ranking and being aware when search engine updates have taken place, is basically all there is to it. So, why are companies paying thousands of dollars to hire a third-party company to do something they could do better themselves in just a few minutes a day or hours a week? Maybe they are really so busy managing their company and selling products that they can’t spare the extra time for SEO, but then, those types of businesses wouldn’t need to rank higher anyway. I think the real reason is they let the search-marketing zombies scare them.
About the Author
Marisa Brayman is Director of Web and Marketing at an embroidered patches company called Stadri Emblems. Besides blogging about custom promotional products, she also enjoys blogging about Marketing, SEO, and design.