Increase Your Online Visibility
This article is provided by the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.
Okay, so you’ve hired the best designers around and pulled out all the stops to build a full-service Web site. Sorry to say, that’s not enough. Even business owners armed with a fantastic Web site can still feel invisible if they haven’t taken the next step—generating visibility for the site.
Your goal now should be to pull more prospects to your site and start realizing a return on your online investment. It’s all about visibility. If prospects don’t know who or where you are, you’re sunk. A well-done Web site offers great potential for boosting your business visibility. But with a millions of sites vying for customer attention, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.
Search engines are your secret weapons. They are the key to Internet success for most small businesses. Millions of people use search engines daily by typing in words or phrases to describe what they want. If your name pops up in the results list at Google, Yahoo!, AOL Search, MSN, Ask Jeeves or others, the benefits are golden.
The art of increasing online visibility is one of the newest marketing and Internet skills small business owners are having to master. In tech lingo, this is called “search engine optimization” (SEO). To win at this game, you must do three things:
1) Create just the right keywords to describe what you offer.
2) Organize each page on your site properly to capture search engine attention.
3) Periodically submit updated information on your site and your business to search engines and online directories.
You can do much of this yourself or seek help from search engine submission services catering to small business. Don’t expect search engines and online directories to find you. Submit your site to them. The best way to do this is through a paid submission service. Most such services are effective and inexpensive.
Improve your visibility to the search engines by placing your most important content first, in a clear, uncluttered fashion. Write titles and descriptions that are clear, factual and free of superlatives such as best, cheapest, biggest, etc. People prefer listings that are more factual and less “sales talk.” If your geographic location is relevant, use it in the description. Some search engines now offer ad programs geared specifically to small, local businesses.
To learn more about selling effectively on the Web, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call (570) 851.1608 or visit www.scorescranton.org to contact the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.