Your local business needs to be marketing and right now. Internet marketing and local search is the most cost effective way to gain customers attention. When all else fails you only have to think of one thing to save your business from the black hole of being unknown, and that is search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). You cannot do everything on your own since you are not superhuman so you have to let other people in to help you with your business. With content optimized for “City Name” “Keyword (s)” you are able to make your business known to many relevant customers, and specifically target your local area or region. You might not be one of those business owners that is up to speed with the latest tech of Internet marketing or SEO, but it is absolutely vital that you understand the need for content that is keyword optimized to target your local area, and gain the impressions of potential customers on your website and digital content.Now is the time to jump ahead of your competition. Internet marketing and social media marketing are still relatively new to most small businesses, and odds are some ” if not most” of your local competitors still don’t know how to capitalize on it. If you get on top of this now, you will have very little “online” competition, which could turn the tides against your “offline” competitors. Customers search online for products and services in your local market every day.
You cannot get ahead of the pack if you are not ranked within the first ten searches on Google and Bing; you have to make use of certain tools to excel. -Jeremy Cissell
Social Networking is a great way to enhance your business. You can make an account of your own and tag or add friends from your local city or state so that your business will be known, and grow your brand awareness. We currently use over 15 different social media tools for Internet marketing and networking. I will talk about a few that I believe are gaining the most ground, and will be the most important to your small business in 2013.Google+ will have the biggest role upgrade in 2013 SEO, it is quickly becoming the “must use” social medium for SMB owners and Local Search enthusiasts. Mainly because Facebook and Twitter are losing some SERP weight on Google’s search engine algorithms, in an effort to rank there Google+ traffic over there competitors. (Who could blame them?) Initiatives such as AuthorRank and the authorship markup (rel=”author”) will lead this channel to become even more essential to search engine rankings, particularly Google’s.Creating videos and publishing them on and sharing those out via blogs and social networks have quickly become popular among CEO’s and marketing managers to grow their brand. YouTube is also owned by Google and as such your YouTube videos are included into their search results. Currently a well optimized video with a keyword optimized title, description, and transcript will rank much faster than traditional text content.Pinterest; Uploading and tagging pictures “pinning” and cross-promoting with other social networks is becoming a quick and effective way to build an image search real-estate. As other image sites links are mostly “NoFollow” and Pinterest are DoFollow, these links can add some much needed weight to your link profile in 2013. Your business should create “boards” and name them after your target local city, brand names, and Products. Fill your boards with high quality and original images that your customers would enoy looking at. As with all social networks remember to spend some time on other user’s boards and leave feedback.Creating a blog is usually the first step for small business owners. A Blog is an online journal, and can enhance the popularity of your business very quickly. WordPress is a very powerful tool to get you started; I would recommend adding a blog page to your main website. Adding a /blog page is a very effective way to build links and boost your status on your search engine results page (SERP). As I mentioned earlier goggle’s AuthorRank is adding a little weight to your posts, and as you publish content with your Google+ author tag your content will get more and more valuable to the SERP.Customers are actively searching for the kind of products & services you offer. Optimize all of your content for the keywords relevant to your business niche and indicate your target location(s).The key to blogging is providing consistent unique content to your audience. Set a schedule and stick to it. Publishing content is only half of what blogging is all about; the other factor is networking and contributing to other bloggers and their blogs. Make sure you set aside a few hours a week to read other blogs relevant to your niche and provide comments and feedback.It pays to glean as much knowledge as you possibly can about SEO & social media marketing wherever you can find it. The info you gain today will help you improve awareness for your brand and the potential customers tomorrow. The internet is such a great opportunity to stand out and make your business popular. Subscribe to SEO blogs and read as much as possible. There are a ton of books to read in this area, remember to stay with anything that is published within the past year, as anything older will be out of date with almost everything, or will lack the updates of new technology. I spend at least 2 hours every day reading my blogs and content to stay up to speed, and another 2-3 on my social networks interacting with my customers and followers. If you only have time for 1 thing, I recommend staying up to date with everything Google+, AuthorRank, as that will have the most benefit to your company’s blog.Small business Internet marketing can be done several different ways. You can invest in marketing services by highly trained professionals, do it all yourself “in house”, or a combination of the two. It is all up to your time available, skill level, motivation, and of course money. Be sure to check freelance and other service providers in order to make the most out of your budget if you plan to hire professional service. My recommendation would be to start small and do it all yourself, maximize the time you have, and be very consistent with the tools you choose to use (2-3). Once you are 100% on-board you will realize SEO and internet marketing is a full time job, and outsourcing some of the more time consuming SEO tasks is well worth the monthly fee.