Tag Archives: Colleagues
How To Do Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a very mysterious and confusing marketing tool for many small business owners and managers. Based on conversations I have had with colleagues and business owners, there seems to be a disconnect between the perceived need to implement SEO and an understanding of why SEO may be important & exactly what is involved in the process…”I’m not sure what SEO is and what the benefits are…but I think I need it”. Why should your small business embrace SEO? What are some of the benefits? What are some of the pitfalls to look out for?

Why SEO is Important

Most consumers use search engines i.e. Google to find what they are looking for on the internet. If lead generation is one of your website objectives, then it will be important for your site to come up near the top of those search results (preferably on the first page). Here are a couple of interesting statistics regarding online search and the importance of page ranking:

74% of consumers use search engines to research local businesses, products and services 69% of consumers will click on a website link on the 1st page of their search results Only 10% of consumers will view past the 3rd page of a search result

Basically, 7 out of 10 consumers won’t go to the second page of their search results. “If your website relies on customers finding you when they’re ready to consider your product or service, then SEO is an absolute must for you – and it can generate long-term rewards,” says Rudy Lopes, Vice President of The Smartacus Corporation , “One of our websites, college-cram.com, provides help to students looking to study; advertising to them when they’re not studying is a waste of resources. Showing up on the first page of Google when they look for help is what keeps our numbers so high.”

Benefits

Drew McKenzie, Brand Leader for Creative Department, has experienced the benefits of SEO. “Results have indicated we are getting 5-10 new web generated leads per week, whereas before we received none. In general, via SEO, we have claimed our rightful spot in Google, where, in the past, we did not have a presence. It is resulting in a significant advantage over companies who have not optimized their sites. In my opinion, SEO is mandatory and not optional.”

The primary benefit of a good SEO strategy should be improved page rankings for your small business website. It seems simple enough…implement SEO and watch your website move up the search engine rankings. But there are some other factors that need to be taken into consideration. “The main benefits to using SEO are improved ranking against search queries and ability to extend the exposure of your site” says Nick Dimitrakiou, Partner of the media practice at Kinesis Marketing, “Yes, your results will improve, but you need to be very focused on identifying which keywords are most important to your business, and optimize the site based on those key phrases. Generally, you can expect to see results after a couple of months, but be patient as it is a slow build.”

Manage Your Expectations

It’s important to manage your expectations with respect to the results of your SEO initiatives – Going in to your SEO project with a long term view as opposed to a quick fix is your safest bet. In some cases, results may present themselves sooner than later. On a recent project, the local SEO that I work with suggested that a reasonable waiting period prior to seeing tangible results was 6-9 months. As it turns out, we ended up getting some great results within 3 months. It can really depend on the depth and breadth of the SEO initiative that is required. After an extensive SEO effort, Shannon Kavanaugh, President of Go-To-Market Strategies, saw results within weeks. She is also careful to point out that maintaining positioning required an ongoing effort, “It’s much more time consuming than one might think – You have to keep up on it constantly. Also, the SEO rules change all the time, but all the effort is definitely worth it.”

Pitfalls

Finally, your small business also needs to be aware of some of the SEO pitfalls and what to look for if you’re hiring a SEO consultant. Lopes from Smartacus commented on the fact that a lot of companies do little bits of the process and blanket their service as SEO. “The trick for owners that want SEO for their sites is to make sure that their potential SEO vendor has previously demonstrated success, and in a proper white-hat way – Just like the old cowboy movies, white hats indicate the good guys; black hat techniques are frowned upon by the search engines and can get you penalized or even kicked out off a results page.”

If properly researched, implemented and managed, SEO can provide a real competitive advantage for your small business – but there are pitfalls to avoid. A final word of advice from Nick Dimitrakiou at Kinesis Marketing…”Never go with a provider who claims they will guarantee you positioning!”

By: Mark Smiciklas

About the Author:

Mark Smiciklas is a Vancouver Marketing Consultant. His firm, Intersection Consulting, helps small to mid-sized businesses address challenges in the areas of marketing, management and business development.To find out more about Intersection Consulting, please visit http://www.intersectionconsulting.comFor more thoughts and ideas on marketing and management for small business please visit the Intersection Blog at http://www.intersectionconsulting.com/blog