Saturday, February 14, 2009

Start making money online with seo : business tips

How important is search engine optimization to small and midsize businesses?
Search is the second most common activity on the Internet after e-mail; 99.5% of Web users are searching. People are searching for things and will find your competitor. If I'm searching for pizza and your pizza parlor isn't there, I'll order from the other guy. Would you have a business without a sign out front? An unlisted number? A secret address?
But even without a Web site, your business can be found on the Internet. On the online Yellow Pages you can have a clear description of your business. You can have a map to your business. You can submit your business to relevant listing services. There are city guides and various directories--even without a Web site, you can make sure your business is included in all these vertical directories. Not having a Web site does not preclude an Internet presence. There are all kinds of ways of doing business on the Web without a domain name site--think of eBay.
But getting listed in the directories is contingent on search optimization because they all contain links and you want to maximize the search engine's ability to find your business. Search engines follow those links, and you want your business to be listed and linked from as many of those links to increase the odds of the search engines finding you.
How should small and midsize businesses get started with SEO?
One of the first steps is keyword research. What words are people going to use to find your business? Any basic analytics package, like Google's free Web analytics, has that information. If you have a Web-based business based on traffic, you can pay for a more expensive Web analytics tool, but anyone can benefit from Google's analytics tool. Analytics over time is the most valuable, so you can see history and usage patterns. You can also use paid search ad tools. You can open accounts on Yahoo! or Google for free and use their free keyword research tools--it's part of those products.
The more specific the term, the closer the searcher is to making a decision or a purchase. People are in research mode or in buying mode, and you want to optimize your site for terms those searchers use. Also, make sure it's the terms people use and not the terms the industry use. I went searching for handles for my cabinet, and I couldn't find anything because the industry calls them pulls. A bank might use the term "lender," but people are looking to borrow. Think from a searcher's perspective and what the words are that they would use.
Where can entrepreneurs educate themselves about searching?
Search Engine Watch, ClickZ and Search Engine Land all contain massive and massive amounts of free information on searching.
What about hiring a SEO consultant?
It's a tricky question: in-house SEO vs. outsourced SEO? You can hire a professional to develop an overall strategy and build a search map and then do it yourself. It depends upon your budget, your needs and on what proportion of your business comes in through your Web site. How important is your Web site to your business? How important do you want it to be?
How can you track the results of SEO efforts?
SEO is not an immediate fix. It's an ongoing process. I think of it as public relations. It's trying to influence. Just like a press release sent to the media, you can't guarantee what will happen. But you can continually refine your message and continually add fresh, new content to your site. This is why blogging has become so popular. It gives you an opportunity to continually update your site. You can also add new products, services, product descriptions, executive bios--it's endless!
Look at how consumer patterns are changing. SEO should ideally start before you build a Web site so meta-tags and keywords are all search engine friendly. But you need to keep at it. Don't forget, search engine algorithms are always changing, so you need to stay on top of it.

1 comment:

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