Is it necessary to do SEO and SMM
This is a question often asked by small and medium business owners/managers. They see the giants like Nike and Coca Cola doing amazing stuff and decide without trying that they can’t do that.
Or they see those giants and decide that they too must start a Facebook fan page and get tweeting on Twitter. They post a couple of things and find no one ‘follows’ or ‘likes’ them and so they give up.
As for SEO – well they’ve probably decided that SEO companies are rather like loan sharks, you give them money and they don’t bite your head off! So they dismiss SEO as a waste of time. That is, if they even have a website, around 50% of SME’s still don’t have a website and still believe that the web is not for them.
Well I have news for you my friends, regardless of whether you want to or not, the web probably has some pages about you and your business. Someone somewhere may have already posted your info on a review site or social media site. If you have a business listing in a print directory, chances are some company like Google has purchased that information to populate an online business directory.
Not only that but companies like Google allow you to ‘claim’ free of charge the page they’ve created for you. If you don’t claim your listing, it’s very possible that a competitor will because they know that having that page under their control will bring them in more business.
You as a small to medium business owner cannot afford to ignore the benefits of having a well formulated and executed web presence to take advantage of the exploding smart phone search and buy phenomenon.
Whereas in the past people looking for a local business would probably look in their local paper or Yellow Pages directory, today, they’ll pull out their smart phone and search online. The first place they’ll probably look is the results presented by Google, which will be the pages they created from offline directory information.
This is something over which you have no control unless you get in there and take control. So claim your Google places listing. It’s simple to do, you must first have a free Google account. Just go to Google and create your account, once that’s done you can sign in and go to Google Places and claim your listing. If you’re a new business then you can create a listing and the best part is that it’s all free.
This is not an article about how to claim your Google and other listings but why you should, so let’s move on to the ‘other’ listings.
SEO is what you do to make your website more appealing to the search engines, it’s about creating a website that is clear in its purpose. Relevant to its keywords and useful to its visitors.
We’ll start with purpose. Businesses have websites for many reasons, unfortunately a lot of SME’s have a website because they’ve read an article like this, where someone tells them that they ‘should’ have one. While I believe that to be true, it’s also true that you should decide what you want your website to do before you build it or have someone do it for you.
One of the most common uses for a small local business that does not sell its products or services online is as an electronic ‘brochure’. Research shows that somewhere around 50% of all online searches are related to local businesses, that is people searching for a local business, and that around 70% of those searches will lead to an offline visit or call to a local business. This means that having an electronic brochure online can help get people calling or through the door. But, just having a list of what you do along with contact details is not enough.
Take a local coffee shop, it doesn’t sell online but it wants to be found online. So it creates a really cool and funky looking site specifically tailored to its target market of young tech smart executives and ‘ladies who lunch’.
The site utilizes all the latest web technology and has a slick smooth look with lots of cool graphics. It wins countless awards for design excellence, unfortunately it never shows in the search engine results. The question is why?
The answer is that search engines prefer text based websites with lots of content and at least a ratio of 15% text to code. More is better because what the search engines want to do is decide how relevant the site is to the search term someone has punched in. It can’t read images, unless in the code there is analternative tag describing the image.
The text on the page and the way it’s laid out tells the search engine what the page (and site) is about. So our coffee shop would do better to have text about how they make the perfect cup of coffee as well as the brilliant image of a perfect cup of coffee.
SEO is a subject that can never be fully known as the search engines constantly ‘tweak’ their algorithms (the software that decides where you rank), and this is an article about why you should do it not how.