Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO for Small Business

Small businesses in small towns have been the backbone of America for centuries. In the early days the most common way to find a business was through word of mouth. In later years, as technology advanced, tools like the printing press, radio, television and other resources were used in promotion. When people wanted to find a product or service right away, a vast number turned to the yellow pages.

the yellow pages

Search Engines Have Replaced the Yellow Pages

Today, when people want to find providers of goods or services, they go to the search engines. This has been going on for years, but it has become more dominant as the use of smart phones has increased. Businesses need to be found in these searches.

There are two ways for a small business to get into the search results that they don’t have to pay for. First, they can open an account on the search engine and sign up their business. This will list their location, their website and their contact information. The search engine also gives preference to local business websites in the rankings below the local results section. Second, they can target a niche market. With a specialized good or service it is easier to get ranked due to the lack of competition for the phrases that describe the good or service. Not all small businesses have a niche market they can target. So they need to focus on the local listing features of the search engines.

Small businesses can be found in local searches many ways.

Business Websites Must Go Mobile

With the majority of searches taking place on mobile devices and the sale of desktop computers going down, a business today must have a website that will work well on mobile devices. There are a surprising number of businesses that do not have pages that will accommodate the smaller screens. They need to redesign their websites.

Business Website Redesign

For small businesses to get the maximum benefit from the web and the search engines, they must have pages that work on all devices. A website can be redesigned for a fraction of what it cost to build it. The website designer already has the content from the existing site to work with. All that has got to be done is to put that content in a different code format that will work with mobile devices.

This is an example of the redesign of a business website.

Let us redesign your website.

SEO and Website Redesign

For a business that has an outdated website, redesign has two benefits. First, the site is easier to view and use on mobile devices. Second, it shows the search engines that you are targeting the mobile market. That will improve your search engine ranks for both mobile and desktop searches. Website redesign will pay for itself many times over for a small business.

Local Businesses and SEO

Local businesses sometimes feel pushed out by big companies in the search engines. But this shouldn’t be the case. The search engines have done a lot to accommodate local businesses in their local markets. They favor local websites for area searches and they have created local maps that focus strictly on the businesses in the local area. All a business has got to do is work with the tools available in Google and Bing to get into those searches. If you want help getting your website working in these searches then just contact us.

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Small Business Marketing in 2017

Changing Times

“The times they are a-changin’” (-Bob Dylan, 1963). One of the most famous lines in rock history is as true today as it was over 50 years ago. Even more so, if that’s possible. This holds true for every element of our society, and especially in small business marketing. Change is exciting. And changing times create opportunities.

Look what marketing was like thirty years ago. The small business had to pay for a spot in the local Yellow Pages. They ran regular ads in the local newspaper. They put ads on the local radio station. They sent flyers to potential customers in their local markets. Most small businesses were somewhat confined to their local markets.

Expanded Market Area

The web has allowed a range of businesses to expand their market areas. Thirty years ago my family was in the building supply business in a small town. We would have customers that wanted specialty products, like custom designed arch windows. The fact that we knew where to find carpentry shops that would create these items gave us a competitive advantage. Our builder client didn’t know where he could get the work done. So he ordered it from us. Now, the builder who needs the window can search for carpentry shops and find them on the web. Then he can make the purchase and cut out the middle man. Today, this happens across a wide range of goods and services.

The Local Information Shift

As time passes fewer people are using the Yellow Pages. Local newspapers are losing subscribers. Local radio stations must create a local element to retain existing listeners. When the members of our communities are looking for goods and services, most go to the same place, the web. Many of these newspapers, radio stations and other mediums have tried to make their place on the web with websites and social media. The effort is failing to attract followers and advertisers. When the public is looking for goods and services it goes to the search engines instead, even in their search for local goods and services.

Continued Transformation

Web Changes

Ten years ago PC sales were hitting records. More and more people wanted a home computer so they could have access to the web. Millions of businesses were designing websites for those devices to provide information and to influence their share of the market. Today, PC sales are declining while the public has found less expensive and more convenient products in mobile devices.

This is a bar chart showing the decline in PC sales.
PC sales are in decline (Statista.com).

The traditional website has had to be redesigned to fit these devices. The “mobile first” strategy is taking hold. It will be considered the norm very soon.

Another element that websites must accommodate today is the offering of interactive capabilities. Al Agrawal, a contributor at Forbes.com, gives some valuable advice: “Think of ways to get readers to actively participate instead of passively consume. Interactive content can include assessments (such as the classic Cosmo Quiz setup), polls, surveys, infographics, brackets and contests” (17 Marketing Trends to Watch Out For In 2017 – Forbes) Participation is a way to connect in a proactive manner.

Change is Constant

Don’t expect the changes in small business marketing to slow down any time soon. Our capabilities in information handling continue to increase. Moore’s law certainly appears to be holding true today. That is, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles every two years (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law). This allows us to put more information into the market place through a growing range of mediums.

Be a Leader

Small businesses that don’t change will fall behind. This has been the case for centuries. Keeping up shouldn’t intimidate you. Through vendors, trade associations, trade journals and research of your competitors you can stay aware of the latest changes. Trade contacts should help you make educated decisions concerning the changes you decide to make. And those changes will make you a leader in your market.

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Redesign Outdated Websites

Many Small Businesses Have Outdated Websites

Over ten years ago many small businesses were creating their websites with a lot of excitement. They were excited about getting on the web and gaining new business from those sites.  Today, too many of those businesses have lost that enthusiasm and have done very little to keep their sites up-to-date.

The Old Desktop Design

A decade ago the premium website was designed for desktop devices. But in January of 2007 Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. And we all know what happened after that.

Mobile phone visitors were able to view websites on the small screens of their phones. In the early years those websites were hard to work with on a smart phone. This created a problem for some small businesses and an opportunity for others. Those that didn’t redesign their websites lost mobile visitors. Businesses that invested in site redesigns picked up those visitors.

Website redesign in the early years was expensive. It required web designers with special skills. In effect, two websites had to be created. One for desktop devices, one for mobile devices.  As a result, many businesses did not update their sites.

This is an outdated website

Small print on mobile devices is hard to read and must me manipulated.

Redesign is Cost Effective

Today website redesign is not nearly as expensive as it was years ago. Software and code improvements have been created to make website pages automatically adjust to the viewers device. Businesses that have outdated websites need to consider redesigning those sites. This will improve their search engine positions and will help them acquire new visitors. And it won’t cost as much as it did several years ago. Improvements in technology have caused the cost of website design to go down.

This is a redesigned website.
Mobile friendly sites are easy to read on various screens.

Learn more about website redesign.

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