Small Business News from 4imprint
According to a 2012 report on the use of the Internet when making buying decisions, 89% of consumers use Google, Bing or other search engines to find out more about products, services or businesses before they make a purchase.

If such a high percentage of us are making these checks on a regular basis, it definitely underlines the importance that people need to be able to find your business quickly and easily.

But how do you get to the top of the listings? In a nutshell there are two ways; firstly you can pay to advertise, this is referred to as pay per click advertising (PPC) whereby you select search words or phrases that your customers are likely to use to find you or your products/services and you bid for a top place listing. Below the paid search advertisements are the organic or natural listings – this is the second option. Search engines use complex algorithms that ‘score’ websites for relevance and popularity and then display/rank the sites according to their calculations.

So if you’re looking to increase your website’s visibility to the almighty search engines and drive new, qualified leads to it without paying for ads, keep reading.

Tips to help customers find you online
So as we began, if potential customers can’t find you when searching online, it’s likely you are missing out on valuable business and the opportunity to form invaluable future relationships.

Here are some simple tips to help you to stand out and be found among the masses:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): SEO involves increasing your website’s visibility in the eyes of search engines. Using meaningful and relevant keywords in your website’s content is one of the methods often used to increase a company’s ranking. One way to do this is by writing your site’s content to include such keywords; but even more importantly, by providing valuable content those searching will want to read. To get started, try using an online keyword tool such as Google Keyword Planner (although designed to be used for PPC it is just as handy for SEO) which is a free programme that combines a keyword tool with a traffic estimator to identify and assess the importance of various keywords and phrases.
  • Blog: Blogging can be a great way to provide value to those who visit your site and to keep them coming back for more. Use your blog to write about your industry or the products and services you offer. Include relevant keywords in your content to boost SEO. Don’t overlook the impact of promoting your blog offline to find new customers. For instance, if you are a pet retailer, promote your blog’s URL on Can Lid Covers or on Pet Food Bag Clips and distribute them at veterinary practices and animal shelters.
  • Post video: Creating and posting video to YouTube can help potential customers find your business and drive them to your website. Video content should be instructional, informative and even inspirational – yet the most important thing is that it should provide value and a call to action. If you’re a manufacturer, consider sharing video that outlines a complex process you’re proficient in. Let’s say you’re in the motor trade, post an instructional video with helpful tips on buying a new car. Include a link to your website and encourage people to click on it by offering free test drives, valuations or a competition with printed items such as Ice Scrapers, Tax Disc Holders or Sun Shades sent out to all who enter.
  • Social media: Social media outlets can be yet another great way to communicate with potential customers and drive them to your website. Get readers to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter by sharing relevant, meaningful content. If your industry is highly visual, say you’re in fashion retail, linking Pinterest or Instagram to your website is a great way to keep your message fresh and relevant. Post links to blogs or information on new products or services you offer to drive those seeking knowledge to your site. Keep people engaged and coming back for more by offering consistent, valuable content. You can further engage users with competitions for liking your page or commenting on your posts, you can then reward participants with company logo’d Stylus Pens or USB.

Building web traffic doesn’t have to break the bank – but being invisible online certainly can! Try these starter SEO tips and begin to raise your company’s visibility and rankings.

Sources/Further Reading
89 percent of consumers use search engines for purchase decisions. Brafton
Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Google