You are not Amazon. Or Zappos. You’re not Macy’s, or Wal-Mart, or any of the other top internet presences. Odds are that you are a small-small business and trying desperately to rise above the clamoring crowd and get yourself in front of potential customers. You may retain a hired gun to manage your online advertising, you might have someone in-house managing your web presence across you website, social media, and other customer-facing venues. However, if you are trying to compete with Goliath’s, you need to be a very nimble, patient, and clever David.
Building a web presence is just that, a building project. You have to lay a foundation and build from there. Despite what a lot of people will tell you, nothing is as simple as if you build it, the traffic will come. There are over 1 billion websites out there and the average internet citizen visits only about 96 distinct domains per month. Making your website or other customer-facing venue one of those stops is your goal, and the way to do it does not involve a magic wand. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is still the biggest bang for your marketing buck since people looking for item or service X will go to Google and Bing to find what they need.
SEO is the practice of optimizing your site in order to appeal to the bots or spiders used by search engines to index web pages and order their appearance in search results as well as appealing to the site visitor with long tailed keywords and relevant content that encourages them to spend more time on the site and to return. Let’s say that you are a pizza parlor in Fort Lauderdale. What would be the first thing you’d put in your keywords list?
Pizza. Then you need to add some more “tail” to that word. Pizza Fort Lauderdale. How about adding to that? Pizza Fort Lauderdale Delivery. Have something special that you want to make searchable? Try Pizza Fort Lauderdale 24 Hours, or Pizza Fort Lauderdale Wood Oven. Maybe someone saw you, but can’t remember your exact address, so how about Pizza North Ocean Drive? You see, long tailed keywording takes a generic search term, and makes it a more refined search term with interest to local consumers who are looking for goods and services near them.
Keep in mind that there are more search engines out there than Google, though they have the biggest market share. You’ll also need to consider Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and AOL in your marketing strategy. Each engine has its loyalists, and you want to be sure to reach all of them. There are other tips and tricks to building an online presences that you need to think about, such as social media presence, mobile-optimized sites and mobile apps, but SEO is the place that you start to build your online presence and bring the customers to your door or portal.