by John Eberhard
If you have a small or medium sized business, here is a summary of the website marketing actions you can take online to grow your business.
If you have a business that serves a local community, such as a restaurant, a health care practice, or a home improvement company, probably the first thing you should do is to set up a Google Maps account (and save the login info so you can get in later and make adjustments).
Google has created Google Maps recently so that whenever someone types in a search query that appears to be a local business, either by the nature of the business (pizza, plumber) or by the fact that searcher included the name of a city, they will provide a Google Map. And just recently they changed the format to make the Google Maps listings look like regular organic listings in the left hand column. So if you’re a local business, this is the place to be.
By the way, there is a formula to getting your listing to the top. And failing this, in competitive areas you can find your listing doesn’t even appear on the first page. Contact us for more details.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay per click advertising (PPC) on Google AdWords, MSN Ad Center (just merged with Yahoo Search Marketing) and Facebook, is a great way to drive traffic and get leads. However, due to the competition which has driven up the bid costs, for the most part this works best for promoting high ticket items these days, i.e. items over say $500. I do have some clients using PPC where the cost per lead is very low and it’s working for a low ticket item, but these are in the minority.
So PPC is a great way to drive traffic for businesses like home improvement companies, health care practices, or consulting companies. And it can be set up and start generating leads fast, i.e. in a couple of days.
For the right types of businesses pay per click can provide a constant flow of good quality leads or sales, month in and month out. If you’re not sure PPC is right for your business, contact me.
Blogging can be a great way to drive traffic to your web site. Here’s the formula:
- Write something to post on the blog at least once a week.
- If your blog is a WordPress blog, make sure it is configured to send out notifications (called “pings”) to blog search engines after every post. If your blog is not a WordPress blog, use www.pingomatic.com to send out pings after every single post.
- Have your blog set up so that you have links to your main web site in the sidebars.
- Have a picture of yourself on the blog to personalize it.
If you follow this formula you can drive a high volume of traffic to your blog and best of all, once your blog is all set up, posting to it is free.
SEO and Link Building
I don’t like it, but I have to accept that many people have sort of merged these two terms together, with link building now sort of considered to be a part of SEO. To clarify, search engine optimization, or SEO, consists of keyword research to find the best keywords to use, then inserting those keywords in all the appropriate places on your web site so it will have a better chance at ranking well on the search engines for those keywords.
Link building is the process of creating links on other web sites that point to your site, since Google says this is their top criteria for deciding how high to rank your site for any given keywords.
The best way to build links, that we have discovered to date, are:
- Writing articles and submitting them to hundreds of article directories
- Writing press releases and submitting them to online PR sites
- Having several blogs and posting both the articles and press releases from above to the blogs, and including text links to pages in our main web site in the articles and releases
SEO (keyword research and inserting the keywords into your web site) is a one time process, while link building is an ongoing process that is done each month and should be continued for 6-12 months or more.
Good luck with your online growth strategies.