Small Business SEO Challenges

Small Business SEO Challenges
The challenges for small business owners are massive. Small business SEO and internet marketing add more challenges. Indeed, in some ways it presents a threat.

Imagine you own a store. Then, imagine that one out of every ten potential customers are blind to your store when they walk by. Then can’t see it at all. It doesn’t exist for them. Now imagine that was five years ago. Since then the blindness has increased to three of every ten and within another year it could be five or more.

This is exactly what is happening for business owners who don’t have a web presence or don’t have a web presence in the search engines. Local SEO is needed to make your business visible to search engines and visitors who buy what you sell.

The Three Challenges of Small Business SEO

Let’s categorize the challenges for small business owners when thinking about internet marketing. Here’s a story to illustrate.

Sergeant Johnson must do some crazy things to qualify for special forces. He must dive off a cliff, land in the water without hurting himself and then swim five miles across the channel to the other shore.

Sergeant Johnson has some thinking and deciding to do. First, is this special forces thing really worth it? Second, do I have the skills to jump off a cliff without hurting myself. Finally, do I have the stamina to swim five miles across open water?

The small business owner looking at internet marketing for the first time is a lot like Sergeant Johnson. Is it really worth it? Do I have the skills or can I find them without a huge hassle and expense? Will my efforts get me to the search engine rankings and how long will it take?

The Challenges of small business for local search engine optimization can be looked at in three steps:

  1. Deciding if internet marketing is worth it for my business
  2. Getting started
  3. Staying with it until it pays off

Deciding if Small Business SEO is Worth It

Let’s go back to the beginning of this article. How many potential customers are walking by your door because they never see you? It’s pretty simple but powerful question. If some percentage of customers in a business come from online searchers and your business is not where they search, they will never see you.

So, this decision comes down to two basic questions:

What percentage of potential customers start their search online? The National Association of Realtors reports:

Information sources used in home search:

  • Internet: 74%
  • Real estate agent: 69%
  • Yard sign: 22%
  • Open house: 12%
  • Newspaper ad: 9%
  • Home book or magazine: 6%

If you’re a real estate agent and you don’t have a solid internet presence, you will be missing out on a lot of business. What are the numbers in your business segment? Check with your industry association, talk to other people in the same business, but find out.

The second question is do you have the resources necessary to compete in the search engines and using other forms of marketing on the internet?

Budgets are critical for most small business owners and if you don’t have the money, you need to determine if you have the time to learn and do the work necessary for building a web site and ranking in the search engines. If you don’t have the time or the money you’re not going to make a dent in a competitive market.

But, let’s assume you have the resources necessary and you are sure of the need for small business SEO and a search engine presence. Now what do you do?

Getting Started With Small Business and Local SEO

What do you need to get started with SEO? If you are new to SEO, watch our Small Business SEO Explained Video that we created just for small business owners.

Whether you do the work or someone else do the work, to get started you need to get the technical aspect of site design and SEO right:

  • Site Structure
  • Site Design
  • Hosting
  • Content Management and Content Management Platform
  • Market Research
  • Competitive Research
  • Keyword Research
  • On Page SEO
  • Link Plans

Practical SEO – The Real Work

Once the technical aspects of SEO are complete, the work begins and the work is all about content. Content offers three challenges:

  • Creating Content
  • Creating Lots and Lots of Content
  • Staying With Content Creation

The quality of your content must be better than the competition. It’s that simple. Do whatever it takes to make your content the best in your industry. Then the content must be written for both customers (first) and SEO (second). Don’t be fooled into believing that only SEO content matters. It’s always customers first.

I believe in the very near future that content creation quality and volume will be barriers to entry into many business segments. If you’re not able to create good content and lots of it – you can’t play.

Blog rate abandonment is estimated to be 95%. If you spend a lot of time searching on the internet you see that many businesses fall into that category or they’re teetering on the edge. The rate of content creation and maintaining that rate are critical. If you are not in it for the long term, you are not in. You must stay with content creation forever. The rate of new content is based on your business segment and competition, but plan to create new content for as long as you are in business.

Not What You Wanted to Hear?

Sorry, I don’t pull punches. I don’t tell you BS to sell you. Internet Marketing and small business SEO are competitive and becoming more competitive by the moment. If there’s a market, then there is or will be competition for search engine rankings. It takes work, it takes resources, it takes skill and knowledge. If anyone is telling you it’s easy, they’re wrong. Easy rankings generally mean that there’s no competition or no market.

If you have questions call me (Mike Byrne) at 386-295-2049. You can also reach me by email. I am a Daytona Beach SEO Specialist, but I service the US and Canada and beyond.

Small Business SEO Investment

Small Business SEO Investment

Are you making a big mistake with your marketing and advertising dollars? Many business owners are now making a different marketing choice by making the small business SEO investment.

Small Business SEO Investment

This is the second 3x5xSEO index card article. Looking at the card, the left line shows cost and the bottom line shows time. I love the simplicity of this 3×5 card and what it shows. Traditional media buys include television, newspaper, magazine, radio, TV, billboards and signs, park benches, bus advertising and more. A new media buy platform has emerged in the past 10 years – internet advertising on other people’s platforms.

The biggest new media platform is Google and its Adwords program. This is PPC or pay per click advertising. Google puts your ad on its search results page and on other sites in their content network. You bid for a keyword term and the cost will be pretty high in competitive markets. PPC can be very effective, but you pay by the click. You are spending every time someone clicks on your ad. Other internet advertising opportunities are available too. You can put text ads or display ads on many sites. You may pay by the click or by the month, but you must continue to pay for your ad to display.

The Biggest Opportunity for Small Business Marketing

Never before in the history of business, has a small business owner had the opportunity to create their own platform to market their products and services. Only a few years ago, if a small business created a newsletter or catalog, they would still need to buy names or distribution for their creations. The internet has changed everything.

The New Marketing Model vs. Old Models

The internet gives you, the small business marketer, the opportunity to directly present your story, your unique vision, your character and your products and services to people who are actually looking for what you have to offer. Contrast this model or method to the old model. Let’s use newspapers as an example.

In the newspapers model, you pay for your ad placement. Unless you pay for multiple placements, your ad is in one place in the whole newspaper. If a reader happens to read the page your ad is on, happens to see your ad, and, is interested at that time, then they might call you or visit your business. That’s a lot of ifs. To get a regular stream of customers, you must pay over and over again. It’s call advertising expense – not investment.

Using small business SEO flips the old model upside down. First, SEO is targeted. You are presenting your business to people who are looking for you and your products. Second, there are still a few ifs, but they’re ifs you can control. If your content grabs their attention, and if your content keeps their attention, and if it provides what they’re looking for, they will take the next step to becoming a buying customer. Wow, what a difference. A precise targeted model vs. placing an ad and crossing your fingers.

Investment vs. Expense

Now for the harsh reality. If you are in a competitive market, you will need to invest your own time and resources in building your SEO presence, or you will need to engage an SEO consultancy. There will be initial costs in setting up your website, creating a good design, building the best possible content and then external link building to get your site ranked. The cost will be based on online competition in the market. In many markets the competition is light, in others its tough. But that’s good. If you see two or three other businesses competing hard, it means there’s business to be had.

Think And – Not Either / Or

You may be thinking, wait a minute. My advertising is working. I’m not going to give it up. You’re right, you shouldn’t give up somethings that working, but can you afford not to be in the space that the whole world is moving into? Internet marketing is exploding because internet usage is exploding. More and more people are using search engines and social media to find business products and services. If you are not in the internet space and you’re not already at a competitive disadvantage, it’s likely that you will be soon.

At a minimum, isn’t it time you assessed your small business SEO investment? Contact me at 386-295-2049 if you’d like to know more.

What the H is Internet Marketing?

Really, Are You Marketing The Internet?

Do you do magazine marketing when you advertise in magazines? Do you do newspaper marketing when you advertise in Newspapers? No, you market your business. If you sell homes, you market homes and your real estate business. You market and advertise homes and real estate marketing because you sell homes and real estate.

Distinctions Are Important

Okay, so what’s the big deal? First, I’m going to raise some eyebrows, but if you focus on internet marketing, you are going to waste time and money. If you focus on marketing your business and your products and services using the internet, you are going to make better choices. This distinction is very important.

Think of a small business owner who knows he must improve her online marketing results. She is in the retail flowers business and is not getting the results she needs from her marketing on the internet. She is at a critical point. When she sits down at her computer to begin her search to improve her marketing, what will she type into the Google search box?

If she types “flower shop internet marketing” rather than internet marketing, she is on her way to a better result. Note: make sure to use quotation marks in your searches. There are 11,800 results for “flower shop internet marketing” and 5,070,000 results without the quotation marks. You will get better and more specific results using the quotation marks.

Get Targeted

Get targeted early in your marketing campaigns using the internet. If you want to learn internet marketing, that’s one thing. If you want to market your products and services using the internet, here are the things you need to target:

  • What are you selling in terms of products and services?
  • What are the benefits of your products and services?
  • How do you want people to feel about your company and your products?
  • Who are your ideal customers? Create multiple customer personas if you have more than one customer type.
  • How do you build your web presence to reflect your business purpose, style and unique qualities?
  • How will marketing on the internet affect your current marketing?
  • How will current marketing affect your marketing on the internet?

You get the idea. Notice none of these questions are really about “internet marketing.” They’re about your business. If you don’t answer these questions and others that are important to your business, you are ripe for the hype and hucksters. You should not begin building your website or begin SEO (search engine optimization) before answering these questions.

Internet Hype and Hucksters

I Made $123, 817 from My Kitchen Table Last Month – for $29.95, I’ll show you how. Well, if they make that kind of money, it was probably $29.95 at a time. Claims like this are out there when you start investigating internet marketing. This may be a bit exaggerated, but only a bit. It may come in different forms, but you can bet the hypsters and hucksters have targeted you in some way.

Here’s my claim: I switched my real estate marketing from print media and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to natural or organic search (“free results”) on Google, Yahoo! and Bing. I increased my company sales by 400% over 2-1/2 years. I dropped my advertising budget from $50,000 per year to $5,000 a year. It took six months to get good results, a year to recover the cost up to that point and two years to realize great results.

How did I do it? A lot of research, testing and hard work. I spent a lot time and money learning marketing on the internet and SEO. Much of what I tested did not work. Enough of what I tested worked to make the effort successful. So, I built a model. Then, I tested the model on other sites to make sure it worked. It does and that’s why I’ve started this site and the business that goes with it.

What My Journey Can Mean For You

You’re focused on your business and its success. That’s where I started when necessity caused me to jump into marketing my real estate business on the internet. You can leverage my investment in developing that working model. First, come back here often. Sign up for email updates in the box at the top of the right column, or, subscribe to my RSS feed if you use an RSS Reader. Over time, you’ll learn what you need to do it yourself or hire someone to help you market your business using the internet.

If you are ready to get started, call me at 386-295-2049 or use the contact page and we can discuss the options.

 

SEO Tips – What is The Purpose of Your Website?

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What Do You Want Your Website to Do?

The purpose of your website is _________? The purpose of my real estate website is lead generation. Everything I do on that site is designed to engage the visitor to eventually call, send an email or register to save property searches.

Different sites have different purposes, but unless you clearly and specifically articulate that purpose, much of your website and SEO efforts will be wasted. You may hear the question asked, how well does your site convert?

Conversion is basically getting visitors to take the action you have defined. It can be lead generation, product sales, customer service support, information for clients, list building and more.

The SEO Foundation

Many factors go into driving traffic to your website, but if you haven’t defined your ideal customer(s) and what you want them to do, who are you creating the site for? The foundation of SEO is targeting traffic. That’s what keyword selection, competitive analysis, link building and site design lead you to in the end. Targeted Traffic is targeting the buyers, subscribers or other customer most likely to buy your offerings.

This is a big part of the problem of throwing your website design and SEO efforts over the fence. By that I mean handing it off to someone else without giving them the proper specifications for what you required. Just build me a website or just get me traffic will not be enough in way too many cases.

Who Knows Your Business Best?

Do you believe there is another person in the world who knows your business better than you? Do they know your customer better? You know why your customers come to your business. You know if you have one ideal customer type or ten.

It’s extremely rare that an outside party will know enough about your business to design a great website and bring the most targeted traffic without your guidance. You must demand that your website brings you more of what makes your business successful.

State Your Purpose

To be effective, state your purpose. State the purpose of your website, first to yourself and then to anyone who touches the design, technical aspects or SEO. The purpose of the website your visiting now is to help business owners and managers improve business results through internet marketing and SEO. My ideal client knows their business well and wants to know how internet marketing can improve results.

I’m an owner of multiple businesses. I rely on internet marketing almost exclusively in several businesses and not at all in one business. There is no one size fits all for web marketing and SEO. Knowing the purpose of your site can can you tons of money.

Contact Mike at 386-295-2049 for more information or to discuss your options. I’m a Daytona Beach SEO specialist, but I serve clients regardless of where they’re located.

Content for SEO

SEO Tips Image

Content for SEO – The Cornerstone of Your Marketing

 

SEO Content Book and Tea Image

Site design, site structure, links and content determine your traffic, but your content determines whether people stay long enough to respond to your call to action. SEO success without conversion success is largely a waste of time and effort.

Conversion is the action target for the page or post. The action target is what you want people to do. In real estate, a phone call is the desired action. To lead to that action, the phone number must be prominently displayed. Often, mentioning it again at the end of the page or post will reinforce the desired action. Asking open ended questions in the content can lead to the reader picking up the phone and making the call.

Other forms are conversion are capturing an email address through a form, registration for the use of site services, visits to a store or restaurant.

The point of the content is to inform the visitor, but also to lead them to your desired action.

Why Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the fuel for you website. Imagine having your Ferrari sitting in your garage. You have it, but no one knows it. You need fuel to drive it around town so people know. It’s the same with your website. You may have the greatest information, the best products, the best deals – but if no one knows, they won’t visit.