Remember the good old days when advertising in the local phone book was all you needed to make the phone ring at your business? Unfortunately, few people use the Yellow Pages these days, and they’re not reading the local newspapers or magazines either. So how can you reach out and touch your prospective customers?
The best way to generate new business is through your website because these days the internet is where most people head when seeking a product or service. And the first place they go is to a search engine like Google.
More than 80% of those people follow up an online search by visiting the store, placing a phone call or making a purchase from the business.
So what does this all mean to business owners like you? If you can get more visitors to your website, especially people who are specifically searching for the products or services you offer, you’ll increase your sales.
When you go to a search engine and put in a term, up pops the results, 10 to a page. How many pages do you usually go through? One? Two? Three at the most?
If you’re like 90% of searchers today, you won’t go past page one of search engine results. Therefore, if you want to lure searchers, your site must rank high for its main keywords. Websites on that first page get the most traffic, traffic that can easily translate into sales.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website the best it can be in the eyes of the search engines to increase its ranking. Generally speaking, the quality of your website and the information it provides are what determine its placement on search engines.
The goal of search engines is to return results that best answer the search query. If your website is the most relevant to the search request, it will rank high.
Interesting, well-written content that incorporates keywords will appeal to the search engines. However, keep in mind that your content must also engage your visitors. After all, they’re your potential customers, not the search engines.
If writing copy isn’t your strong suit, consider hiring a professional SEO copywriter, one who understands search engine optimization. The one-time investment in good content will come back to you many times over in website visibility and resulting sales.
If your business depends on local customers, then your website should target your local area. Focus on your city, region or state. When people use a search engine to find a product or service, they often type in their location with a search phrase.
For example, if you have a limo company in Flagstaff, Arizona, you’ll want to come up in searches for “Flagstaff limos.” Trying to get ranked for a term as general as “limos” isn’t practical.
Generic keyword phrases are too popular and have too much competition. By including your geographical area in your keyword phrases as you create content, you’ll have more success on the search engines and also attract better targeted traffic to your site.
One of the factors that affects your ranking on search engines is the number of links pointing TO your site FROM other sites on the web. Think of them as silent testimonials, telling the search engines that your website has good content worth linking to.
You can obtain links through social media sites and directories. You can also place informational articles that include your link on article websites and blogs. Ideally, you should continually be adding links from a variety of sources.
Don’t think of your website as an online brochure. Brochures, once published, stay the same, even as some of the information becomes outdated. Websites, however, should be forever growing, changing and improving.
The websites that rank highest are constantly updating their information and adding new, useful content such as informational articles and press releases. They’re also continually gaining more inbound links from other sites.
In the old days, you created your Yellow Pages ad and then forgot about it until the deadline for the next year’s directory. But that’s not how you should treat your online promotions. They require on-going attention. If you want to achieve success through your website, you’ve got to keep it current.
Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. That’s a gigantic audience of searchers, one that offers a world of opportunity to businesses that know how to grab attention online.
Yes, the long-standing domination of the Yellow Pages may be history, but it’s been replaced by a more affordable and effective promotional alternative – the Internet. Learn to make the most of it, and your potential is truly unlimited.