You built a really great website. It’s taken you months to get it live. It’s sitting out there on the Internet and you KNOW it has to be working. Or is it?
In 2016, it’s not just enough to launch a great website. Your website has to work for you through Search Engine Optimization. I have found over the past few months that small businesses don’t have a history with SEO techniques and aren’t getting the pay-off for their hard website work.While a new website with a great user experience (UX) and great content is one GIANT leap forward — it’s not where the work ends. Getting your site known and seen are really where the rubber meets the road.
So as a small business owner – what does this mean? How do you get started? Here are some quick tips to making your smartest marketing investment for 2016:
You might have googled your new boyfriend or a recipe for the best Super Bowl chili – but you may not have google’d yourself. This is the best place to find out if you need an SEO strategy. Of course you can start with your name but really that’s too easy. Google what you want to be known for. Search for what you think your customers are looking for. Here are some examples: West Virginia inn, attorney in city-state, homes for sale in city-state, you get the picture. If your business isn’t showing up on page 1 of the results — you’re missing out on great leads through search.
Check Your Analytics.
Chances are if you have taken the time to build a professional site, you’ve linked it to Google Analytics. GA is great and can be a great way to get your feet wet with seeing who surfs your website and why. It also can tell you quickly how much of your traffic is coming from the search engines through what GA calls “Acquisition Channels.” To see if you need some SEO help, check your numbers. Small business sites should get upwards of 50-70% of their traffic from organic search. If your numbers are smaller than that — it’s likely something is wrong with your site’s content or setup.
Check out the Competition.
Google may be the giant of the search engine world (making up 66% of searches made) – but they aren’t the only game in town. Be sure and check out Bing and Yahoo to see how you appear in their search results as well.
Bing and Yahoo use completely different algorithms and rules than Google so it’s a matter of checking all the competitor search engines to make sure your customers can find your website easily. Wondering if those other search engines are worth the effort? They definitely are. Bing now makes up 21% of searches (mostly fueled by the introduction of Windows 10 and the Surface) and Yahoo makes up 10%. To us, reaching 97% of the people is always better than reaching just 66%.
So now that you’ve checked out your search engine presence, did you realize your site needs some search engine attention? Are there searches where you were surprised you weren’t showing up? Here’s a secret to getting you there. Hire someone who speaks the language.
Let’s face it. Marketing is hard. There are no tactics worthy of consideration that are a flash in the pan, overnight successes. And SEO is no exception. It takes research to find out what terms consumers are searching for; technological know-how to optimize websites in html and through content management systems; and research and trouble-shooting moxie to study the effects month after month. If all this seems daunting — hire an expert. I wouldn’t try to rewire my dishwasher because it sounds like a tank coming through the kitchen and I don’t recommend you do either. There are just certain things that are easier to buy than learn. SEO may well be one of them.
Remember the Internet is on 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. As a small business owner, don’t you want your website to be found just as frequently? While SEO may not be as shiny as a new ad campaign, it is something that works for you every single day. And that makes SEO your best marketing investment for 2016.