Is your Small Business Website and SEO Strategy Forward Thinking?

I want to cover a topic I think many small business owners rarely think about, the viability, and scale-ability of their current advertising efforts for the future. In times past, for many small business owners, thinking about the future of their advertising was as simple as knowing what ad size they wanted to purchase in the next edition of the local yellow pages, or perhaps the next ad they ran in the newspaper. Unfortunately, this type of thinking does not, and will not translate into a successful and long term internet marketing strategy.

Why internet marketing is different than older forms of advertising

When it came to older forms of advertising such as yellow pages, direct mail, and newspapers, shelf life was limited, and research options for consumers were even more limited. Ad positions were determined by factors such as who was willing to pay more for their ads, how long they had advertised in that particular medium, and the frequency they advertised. Fast forward from those times years back, and you get to 2015, the age where consumers rely on online mediums to make buying decisions.

Unlike times past, search engine rankings are not determined by who pays the most, but instead businesses are graded and ranked by who does the best. If you think about all the different options out there when it comes to online properties to use when making buying decisions, search engines like Google have become experts in delivering the results their users want. Search engines rely on people coming back to their properties to use them over and over again. If they lose users, they lose market share, if they lose market share, then they lose revenues generated by advertising platforms such as pay per click.

The wrong way to think about internet advertising when it comes to hiring a SEO Company

Can’t you just get my website ranked for the keywords I want, then I stop paying?

We here at City Ranked get asked this at least once a week, if not more, and sure we’d love this to be the case, but unfortunately it’s just not the way that quality internet marketing works. Rankings on major search Choosing an SEO Comapny in Vancouver WA can be confusingengines are highly sought after, as they can equal new customers and business growth. Competition for first page rankings is fierce, and there’s always someone looking to take the top position on these searches.

Getting to the top of search engines, and staying there takes hard dedicated work, and it gets harder every year as more and more small businesses compete for the very same keywords you want to rank for.

The search engines judge your business all the time

You may not know it, but the search engines are keeping track of your business, every day. The search engines, especially Google have become very good at understanding consumer needs and wants, then matches them up to businesses that meet their needs and wants. Google delivers personalized search results for virtually every person that regularly uses their search engine. Google has been able to deliver these personalized results because they’ve become experts in understanding information provided to them through a variety of sources.

Search engines like Google judge and grade virtually every business on the internet. This grading system, also commonly referred to as a Search Engine Algorithm is the tool they use.

Search engines change their algorithmsSEO changes for 2015 and into the future

The determining factors on how a business ranks for top keywords is nothing more than a mathematical equation fed by hundreds of inputs to determine specific rankings delivered by the search engines. These algorithms are being changed all the time to improve search results, and keep up with consumer demands. Businesses that are serious about generating leads from the internet over the long term will need to keep up on these changes and the ever changing landscape online to remain competitive.

Understanding SEO, Web Design, and Internet Marketing for the Future

Whether you decide that outsourcing your efforts or keeping them in house is the right thing for your business, the same thing will be true for both situations, forward thinking. With changes in search engine algorithms, and the consumer driven demand for changes online, one thing is certain; change will occur. This change is happening right now, and companies are stepping up to meet the demands of the new consumer. Everyday companies like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and many others are delivering goods and services once reserved for the small business segment. Have they infiltrated your business vertical? It will only be a matter of time before someone figures it out.

Understanding how to anticipate, adapt, and maximize return with these changes will be the key to ongoing and successful small business advertising online, well into the future. Those businesses that make continually smarter decisions now will position themselves as the competitor to beat well into the future as long as these marketing exercises are completed regularly and adapted to meet the ever changing demands of the consumer. Businesses that are willing to take calculated and educated risks with their marketing stand to become the trail blazers of the future, and the new game to beat in their specific business segment.

The risk of the “wait and see” approach to Internet Marketing & SEO

The concept of “first to market” with ideas is no greater than it is now. Those that wait and follow the crowd when it comes to blazing their own path online will always be just that, followers, and as such, never leaders online. Sure when it comes to internet marketing and rankings, there are always areas to exploit to help your business grow, but being behind the times, and playing catch up to a game that should have been started long ago is no position any business wants to be in. So when deciding on a viable, long term internet marketing strategy, small business owners need to determine the viability and growth potential of their strategy for long term success.

Determining if your SEO & Internet Marketing Strategy is Future Viable

No one can tell the future, but savvy internet marketers can certainly see which direction it’s going. Do you understand how your target audience is changing? Are you taking advantage of technological advances in your industry? Are you keeping your website and marketing up to date with these changes, and changes in your business? If not, you’re missing the boat, and your competition is doing exactly what you’re not.

Understanding what your customers want, how to engage them (and I’m not talking about a phone call), and how to turn someone that’s shopping into a customer. These are all paramount exercises for a small business owner to complete when it comes to completing an honest assessment of their online marketing.

Poor Man’s Guide: Website and internet advertising on a budget (Part 2 of 3)

Website SEO on a Budget

Self guide to getting your business website on the search engines

Awhile back I wrote the first part of this series,  Building a website and doing your own SEO on a budget, sorry it’s been so long for the second article in this series.  In this article I’m going to assume that you’ve already launched your website and are now ready to get it out on the net and make it start working for your business.  If you’re having trouble with setting up the structure of your website, I encourage you to read my three part series, Website Ranking Factors for Small Business.  It was written 2 years ago, but the practices are still essentially the same.Continue reading

How to set-up a Facebook Deal for your small business.

Facebook Deals

Facebook Deals is something that has been in testing for as far as I know the last few months, and only a few businesses were allowed to post deals via Facebook, until now.  I am setting up a Facebook Deal for one of my customers, so thought I would take this opportunity to put together a brief step-by-step on how to create a deal for your Facebook Small Business Page.

First of all, log in to your account and make sure you are logged in as the business.  Go to your “wall” and look for the “edit info” button as pictured below.

edit info picture
click the “edit info” link

Once you click that link, the left column of your Facebook page will populate with different options of areas to edit.  Go to the last option labeled “Deals” and click.

Facebook Deals linkFrom there a screen will populate to the right of this link, with a hyperlink that says “Create a Check-In Deal For This Page”, click it.  The next screen that populates will notify you that you must switch to using Facebook as yourself, not as the business, click the button that says “Continue as “Your Name””.

Choosing The Type of Deal

There are currently four types of Facebook Deals for you as a business owner to choose from.

  1. Individual Deal – Reward individual customers when they check in at your business.  Best for simple discounts or gifts with purchase.
  2. Friend Deal – Reward groups of customers when they check in together. Help spread the word about your business more rapidly.
  3. Loyalty Deal – Reward customers for visiting your business a certain number of times, similar to a traditional punch card.
  4. Charity Deal – Pledge to donate to a charity of your choice when customers check in at your business. A win-win for everyone!

Now obviously you will want to pick the type of deal that will engage your customers and Facebook likes.  An Auto Repair Shop probobly wouldn’t want to choose the “Loyalty Deal” as most people get their vehicle worked on once or twice per year, so having someone check-in over that long of a span for some type of “Loyalty Deal” might be a stretch, but for a Coffee Stand, Bowling Alley, or Deli, a loyalty deal would be great.

Facebook Deal OptionsAfter choosing your offer type, scroll down to define your offer.  Clearly think your offer out.  This is not a time to think about how much money you can make of a Facebook Deal, remember you will have plenty of opportunity to upsell, and sell over and over again if the people come in.  If your offer isn’t good enough, well they just won’t come at all.

As you can see below, one of my clients decided to offer a Full Service Oil Change for $14.95.  At that price he looses money in labor and covers his costs in materials…but he’s thinking of the bigger picture.

Decide if you want a “max redemption” and “repeat claims” for the offer, make sure your read Zuck’s Terms, as it is his playground, then hit submit.

Define your Facebook OfferOnce you submit, you will come to a screen that will let you know that your offer is in review.  Typically from my experience, it take approx. two days to receive notification if the offer was accepted.

Promote your Facebook Deal

Remember this is something you want to go viral…the more people that see it, the better the offer, the more people are exposed to your business.  When someone checks into your business to redeem this offer, all their friends on Facebook see it, imagine the possibilities.  Promote the deal on your website, as your Facebook likes to share it with their friends and family, promote it in your store, anywhere you can.  Then sit back, watch your Facebook likes climb and start thinking of how your going to engage your new found followers.