This is branded content.
The start of this new decade has been one of rapid change for businesses across the globe, with many organisations having to shift their processes and structures to fit within the forming landscape.
Because of this, small businesses that would have otherwise maintained their standing as brick and mortar locations are now staring into the deep depths of the online world not knowing where to start when adapting their offerings to digital.
This can be challenging on a number of levels, especially for those that have been relatively unfamiliar with eCommerce and the idea of running an online business before. So, it's important that there is information for those small businesses that are looking to succeed when marketing themselves online.
We're going to take a look at the various ways in which businesses can improve their online presence and increase their visibility on search engines. Let's get started:
Try various platforms
For many new small businesses, their social media presence begins and ends with Facebook. Whilst Facebook is a fantastic platform for stores and services of many different kinds, it is, as the most ubiquitous platform, also one of the most general.
This will mean that you end up receiving a lot of irrelevant traffic and that it will be more difficult for your potential customers to find you in a sea of other names and services.
To combat this issue, it's important that you try to diversify your platforms. Whether you have an experienced digital marketing agency managing your accounts or you're still a solo venture, try to find more niche sites that cater to your preferred demographics.
Places like TripAdvisor and Yelp can get you in front of an audience that is ready for action, whilst even larger sites like Instagram can allow you to better show off your business' unique style.
By being on more sites and trying to maintain a regular update schedule, you will start to naturally build up your online presence.
So, when people look at your Google listings, they will be more likely to find you, and more likely to see you as authoritative/trustworthy.
Just remember that good content is better than a lot of content, so it's sometimes worth putting some of your resources into a quality writer if you don't feel up to the task of making updates yourself.
Keep your website updated
As we lightly touched on in the last point, search engines love regular updates. So, if you want to gain traction for your business online, a great way to do that is to add content on a frequent or semi-frequent basis.
The most obvious way of doing this is through the use of on-site blogs, which inform the readers about topics within your field.
By creating posts that are well-written and inform readers on topics within your business' industry, you let search engines know that your site is active, and also that you are likely an authority within your field.
These blogs can also interlink with relevant service pages on your site, diversifying your sales funnel and allowing you to potentially increase your conversion rate.
With all that said, gaining rankings is good, but it's also important to know what you're ranking for, which leads to our next point.
Stay keen with keywords
Your keyword choices will dictate the direction of your digital marketing efforts and form the basis for your search engine presence as a whole.
For those that haven't heard the term in this context before, keywords are phrases that a search engine's crawlers will look for on your site and on pages that link to your site in an attempt to categorise your services for their users.
For example, if you're a business that sells used designer shoes online, your content is about selling used designer shoes online, and the term "used designer shoes online" appears across your homepage and the external pages that link to it, then search engines will have a much easier time categorising you than they would otherwise.
On the topic of external pages, your keywords will also form the backbone of any link building campaign you take part in.
The power of link building
In a lot of ways, the internet is just a series of links connecting websites together with invisible threads, and search engines pay a lot of attention to where those threads are coming from.
One of the most valuable parts of a digital marketing strategy is ensuring that other reputable websites are linking to yours. We call these backlinks, and they allow a little bit of the authority that a website has to be shared with the one it's linking to.
There are a number of factors to look for when creating a backlink plan, such as relevancy to your business, domain authority, whether the site appears legitimate and gets traffic, etc., but one thing that people often misunderstand is the impact that the link itself has.
By having a site link to you from your chosen keywords (eg. if you find yourself looking for used designer shoes online, then you have a lot of options to choose from), you are once again telling search engines that you are an authority on the subject that you are being linked from.
So, if a person was to look up that phrase, you would be ranked much more favourably than if you didn't have anyone linking to/talking about you.
As with all of the other tips discussed above, it's important to note that quality is key above all else. Search engine algorithms have become savvier over the last few decades and ensuring that your writing is informative and easy to understand will provide a wide array of benefits in the long run.
The digital world can seem complicated at first, especially if you're just dipping into it for the first time. However, with the right tools and a little bit of research, you can create a successful online presence for your business. Good luck.