By Bruce Freeman The Small Business Professor.
My colleague and search engine optimization content strategist Melanie Rembrandt of Rembrandt Communications, LLC, receives this question from many small business owners: As a small business owner, how can I use SEO optimization to help my business?
A: There is a lot of buzz out there about SEO. And while it may seem pretty technical, it's simply a way of using content so that your customers and the search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo! and more) can find you online.
For example, if someone types "fruit gift baskets" into a search engine, that person will receive a list of links to websites where that keyword phrase appears. And if your business shows up on the top of the list, guess where that consumer is going to go to find more information ... and possibly buy your fruit-basket products?
Being at the top of the search engines is important to small businesses.
However, most small business owners don't have time to learn or conduct full SEO activities. To avoid wasting resources, here are a few tips:
OFFER UNIQUE CONTENT IN VARIOUS WAYS Be creative and think of all the ways you can provide your customers with the information they want. Develop articles, newsletters, tip sheets, infographics, blogs, videos, Webinars, case studies, expert interviews and more on a regular basis.
USE KEYWORD TERMS IN YOUR CONTENT When you write your content, include titles, subtitles, headers, and quotes that use your top, keyword terms. And what are these words? At first, keep it simple and think about the words your customers would use to find your products and services online. You can conduct more detailed keyword searches or hire a professional to help you later.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS Use your keywords in your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social-media posts. Also, distribute press releases, and let the media know what you are doing. You'll boost online awareness, links back to your site and word-of-mouth that can't be generated in any other way.
MONITOR YOUR CONTENT Once your content is online, use a free service like Google Analytics to track the results. Are people clicking on your content? What is the most popular content? Use this information to give your customers what they want. SEO can significantly help a small business boost online awareness cost-effectively.
For further information, please visit www.rembrandtwrites.com. ___ ABOUT THE WRITER Bruce Freeman, a small business consultant, is adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Seton Hall and Kean universities. He also is co-author of "Birthing the Elephant: The Woman's Go-For-It Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business."