SEO for Small Business (part 3 of 3)

In the last two installments, we talked a bit about ways that you can optimize your site on your own and, hopefully, increase your sites visibility in search engine results.  The ultimate aim of search engine optimization is to increase traffic to your site so that, assuming you have a good site, your business can become more profitable.  However, site traffic isn’t all generated from search engines.  Because search engine use has become so prevalent, we sometimes forget that there is more to bringing in business than just making the first page of search engine results.  So, part 3 isn’t really about search engine optimization at all, it’s about total internet marketing optimization.

The problem with relying on search engine generated traffic is that search engines are constantly evolving and modifying their algorithms.  Your site can be number one today and not even be on the first page tomorrow, without anything on your site having changed.  Your SEO strategy needs to be part of a larger internet marketing strategy that provides your business with the strength to maintain stability whatever may happen with search engines in the future.

The first order of business should be to establish channels of communication with users who have already visited your site.  Subscription-based content, such as e-newsletters and email promotions are a great way to do this.  It keeps your business fresh in user’s conscious, regardless of your visibility on search result pages.  Make sure that your site provides a highly-visible means for signing up for ongoing communication, that sign up is simple and that you give visitors a reason to want to sign up (such as receiving coupons or special promotional deals).
Press releases are also a good means of keeping your business in the public eye.  Establishing a relationship with industry-relevant media can also provide those ever-important quality external links to your site.  However, don’t abuse your media connections by submitting irrelevant press releases just for the sake of keeping your business’s name out there, or you may find those connections severed.

Don’t underestimate the importance of blogging, either.  Blogging is an excellent tool for boosting your search engine relevancy, building links and establishing your credibility to users.  Establish yourself as an expert in your field and give readers a reason to keep coming back to your site.
You should also market yourself through other forms of social media.  Become an expert on Yahoo! Answer or eHow.  Post photos of your new products on Flickr.  Tweet about what’s new in your business.  The truth is, you can never be too visible online.  The more social media sites that you participate in, the better.  The key word there is “participate”.  Be an active member.  Interact, contribute, be involved.  However, even though you can’t be too visible online, you can be too active.  Don’t go overboard.  Being active promotes your business and draws customers to your site.  Spamming, on the other hand, drives away customers and may get you banned from social media sites.

Of course, everything mentioned here has the added benefit of making your business more search engine relevant and can, potentially, boost your ranking.  Nevertheless, if you build a strong online presence,  then your business will continue to grow even if you should happen to fall off of the first page of the search engine results.