By Jobbinghood’s editor
There are two ways to promote your business online: One is through paid search advertising and the other is through free or low cost Organic Search techniques. Paid advertising, also known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are sponsored ads that appear with the results of search engines. Organic search results on the other hand are natural results that appear from the internal analysis of search engines based on their own algorithms that for the most part have to do with the relevance of your website to the query placed by the user and for which you don’t have to pay. Organic search is achieved by implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques.
As we know most businesses are small companies with very little or no advertising budget available who would benefit greatly from Organic, Free or low cost advertising to promote their businesses. So, we will focus this time in Organic Search or SEO techniques.
Search engine optimization, regularly referred to as SEO, is a set of methods, techniques and strategies implemented to achieve higher internet search engine rankings for a web site. As the name implies, SEO methods are focused towards ensuring that search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and many others can “read and understand” your web site’s content and decide how relevant your web site is to the search terms or phrases entered by an Internet user on a particular search engine.
So, if for example you were to “google” the term: “top online retailers” you will most likely get Amazon and Walmart (and other large retailers) at the top of the ranking list. If you own a small online retail shop, your chances of getting at the top of the list are very slim given the tough competition. However, there are ways to increase your chances of improving your search engine rankings and these ways are called Search Engine Optimization techniques or SEO.
Contrary to popular belief, your small online business could be considered more relevant by search engines based on many other factors such as your location, specialty, niche and many more items impossible to list in this short article.
Although SEO has become almost a science and an art in and of itself, there are some basics that every business owner should know and be aware of when launching a web site or hiring an agency to manage their SEO efforts.
Assuming your business already exists and you already have a web site with a domain name, here is a short 7 item list to begin promoting your business with little or no money by implementing an SEO strategy:
1. Know and define what your business is all about. Define your mission, your product, what it is that you sell, who are your clients, who is your target audience. You will be surprise to know how often business owners fail to describe their business goals with clarity.
2. Create a relevant title for your web site based on the exercise completed in point number one above. So, for instance if you came to the conclusion that the main goal of your business is to sell Hawaiian Pizzas to teenagers in orange county florida, then you might want to create a web site title that could look like this: “MyAloha.com, The best Hawaiian Pizzas in Orange county Florida”.
3. Write a list of keywords relevant to your business. To do this you should ask yourself: what are those words that respond to queries “goggled” by internet users if they were searching for a product or service such as yours. Continuing with the Pizza example above, some keywords in that list could be: Hawaiian pizzas in orange county florida, best hawaiian pizzas in florida, hawaiian pizza special coupons, hawaiian pizza delivery in orange county…..
4. Create a sitemap. A site map is precisely a map of your website’s URLs and data contents expressed in a computer data standard format generally XML, HTML or TXT formats. Therefore, sitemaps are a primary source for search engines to find your website. Although search engines can find your website without a sitemap and they are not absolutely necessary, it has become a good practice to create and submit sitemaps to major search engines like Google to improve your website’s chances of being found. There are many ways to create a site map, however a good place to get started is http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/
6. Get BackLinks. A backlink is a link from another website to your website. It works like book citations. One of the most important things you can do to significantly improve your website’s ranking in search engines is getting back links. However getting back links is not easy as it requires that other web sites agree to put a link back to your website. The are several ways to achieve this, some of which are adding your listing to business directories, submitting press releases, submitting articles and getting published in relevant news portals and blogs.
7. Submit your site to business directories. There are many business directories out there. However some of the most important are:
Google MyBusiness. Google Mybusiness is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. Customers can leave reviews on your profile, and you can respond from your Google My Business account.
Yelp. Yelp is a local business directory, known for including business information and reviews. You can list or claim your business and obtain many marketing tools for your business.
Yellow Pages Directory. Yellow Pages Directory Inc. is a comprehensive, digital, web based, online advertising agency. They provide many advertising options to promote your business.
Veneportal . Spanish language business directory and News channel. You can list your business and obtain a Live 24/7 chat account to connect with your clients or potential customers in The United States, Latin America and Around the world. The site offers advertising plans to ensure full cycle SEO for your website like Back links and content marketing, press releases and promotional news.
There are many other strategies and techniques to get your website ranked better in search engines. This article only covers some basic but crucial strategies that will put your business on the map in a short period of time with little or no investment at all.