What is SEO? (Part 1)

This might just be the million-dollar question…unfortunately, it can’t be answered in one post. The answers to SEO take years and years to figure out and are found in thousands of books. Our goal is to put together a series of posts to help you better understand how SEO works and why it is important. So if you are looking for answers read on and check back for the next post for more information.

Users turn Online

Now, whether your business is just getting started, or you’re in need of some improvements and looking for your business to grow, your website will play a key role. Today’s consumers are turning to the Internet to research products and services and to purchase items rather than shopping in person. The convenience of shopping online makes it more necessary than ever before for businesses to have a high impact website and Internet marketing strategy to stand above their competitors. If you want to be found easier online and help your organization find success, an understanding of Internet marketing strategies is a must.

Search Engine Optimization

Internet marketing is centered around one thing, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. SEO is a system by which search engines are able to find and index content on a site. By using this system, websites are able to rank themselves higher on search engine results, which will put them ahead of their competitors when customers are in search of products or services. Based on the SEO strategies used by a business, it’s possible to be ranked at the top of results for search terms related to the products and services offered by the company. When building a business or fine-tuning a marketing strategy, SEO professionals will put various techniques to work in order to achieve the best online rankings.

Understanding How Search Engines Work

Your understanding of SEO will rely on your ability to grasp the ways in which search engines work. SEO professionals use various tools and methods to make your site “search engine friendly”. This will make it so search engines can easily find content on your site, index it, and rank your site higher in the query results. Because search engines are so text-driven, the content of your site will be the biggest influence on how search engines respond to your website. SEO companies will recommend making use of several strategies for best results and as they are all important, keyword usage is perhaps the most powerful optimization tool of them all. The secret is how to use all the strategies together to find the best formula to be found.

Having an understanding of search engines and SEO as a whole will come into play when you work with an SEO company. Your understanding of the process will assist in your ability to work with the company for the best possible rankings for your company. The right SEO professional will be able to create a customized method based on your businesses objectives, which will be much easier to communicate with you with a better understanding of optimization tools and strategies.

Check back next time for a more in-depth look and understanding of “Keywords”.


10 Reasons Small Businesses Need to Blog

Yes, 10 reasons your small business NEEDS to blog, with the emphasis on the word needs.

Now I’m not talking about your everyday “mommy blog,” as that is the impression most people get when hearing the word blog. The word blog should actually be used in your business vocabulary more than you think. Blogging is a very versatile tool, and can serve a bigger purpose in areas of your business that you already spend lots of time, energy and money in.

For those that already blog, I hope you’ll agree with these 10 reasons. For those who do not, my goal is for you to start up a blog for your small business within hours of reading this.

1. SEO

Blogging, when done correctly, can rank you higher on Google and other search engines. The secret is to use your businesses keywords strategically and consistently throughout posts. Not only does a blog give your business another platform to be found on, but also if done regularly, provides current and fresh content.

2. Social Media content

Most, if not all, businesses have adopted social media into their business plan. The issue that most of these businesses are facing is finding valuable content to share. In fact, most of these businesses are posting and sharing content from other businesses blogs driving traffic and clients away from themselves. Why not use content that drives those potential clients to your website?

3. Credibility

Every business out there believes they are worthy of the business they bring in. Blogs give you an opportunity to quickly establish yourself as an industry expert in their field. But be careful, this is a double-edged sword…if not careful you can lose credibility just as fast.

4. Visibility

Blogs can be a great source to remind consumers you are out there. So many small businesses are not visible online. The use of certain plugins can automatically attach a link to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ account to remind your followers that you are still there.

5. Public Relations

Press releases are and will always be very important when communicating with the media and your targeted audience. Unfortunately, small businesses don’t attract the media very often. Blogs give you the opportunity to release information as well as receive feedback.

6. Customer Service

As stated above, blogs can give instant feedback on issues or services your business offers. If monitored correctly, businesses can address conflicts and concerns just as fast as they hear about them. At the same time use positive feedback to understand what your consumers like, and use that feedback to build stronger relationships.

7. Marketing

A blog can be your best friend when trying to establish your brand image. You control the content and voice of your business when you blog. Your blog will brand your business whether you are trying to or not. Just for fun check out the blogs of a few businesses and see if the first impression they give off matches the audience they are trying to reach.

8. “Free Sample”

You know what I, and 99% of people love about Costco and Sams Club…free samples! There is nothing that sells frozen egg rolls better than sampling one while it is hot, fresh and free. Your goods and services are no different than that little frozen egg roll. The Internet gives consumers the opportunity to research a business before they buy or invest in what they offer. What better way can you think of to showcase your knowledge and strengths than a blog that you control? Remember, no one ever buys nasty samples.

9. Education

I’ve already hit on the idea of educating your audience, but blogging is an educational tool for yourself. As you start to blog you are going to want to stand out in your field or areas of expertise. By putting your thoughts and ideas into words your knowledge will grow. This is not a new concept and will expand your mind as you research new ideas to blog about for your audience.

10. History 101

If we have learned one thing in the last few years, it would have to be that our economy can flip like a switch. One week business can be great and the very next week dead. Blogs are a great way to record and study your own business. Looking back how you adapted to a certain issue could help avoid certain bumps down the road. You can leave posts up on your blog longer than a lifetime if you choose. Who knows, just as we look back at history to solve problems today, others will be doing down the road…your blog might just be the answer to solve their issues.