To compete in today’s marketplace, most local business owners have come to realize that having a website is a necessity rather than an option. And although the Yellow Pages directories still exist, the majority of people who are looking to find a local business are more likely to check the online version rather than wade through a printed copy. Once they’ve located a certain business listing, they expect to navigate to a company website to get more information about their products or services.
When looking for almost anything, including businesses in their own area, most people will simply turn to a keyword search in a search engine like Google or Bing™. If your business does not show up within those results, chances are people are not going to find you, and they’ll choose one of your “better placed” competitors instead. Your small business not only needs its own website, but one that attracts search engine bots as well as human traffic.
As the Internet landscape has changed over the last decade, and continues to change every day, simply having a Web presence is no longer good enough. For it to be effective, for your company to be found, your small business website needs to be attractive, engaging, and search engine friendly, which is a little more complicated to achieve than you might imagine.
What does the term “search engine friendly” actually mean? When determining where a website will display in their search results (both national and local), Google takes dozens of factors about an individual website into account before it adds it to its results. The way the website is set up as well as the content it contains can make all the difference. To get it right, a little professional guidance is called for.
Building the website is just the beginning though. Getting it found is the crucial next step if you want it to generate leads and get those phones ringing or the customers coming in. For a small local business, getting listed on the local side of a search engine is the most important factor.
Although there are many search engines—and it’s important that your business is visible on as many as possible—the leader of the pack is of course Google. Google Maps features an enhanced listing service for local businesses that maps its exact location and provides a link to your website, as well as the opportunity to add a coupon as an extra incentive to potential clients and customers. Ranking well there can be a huge boost to even the smallest local business.
When choosing a company to design and build your small business website, ensure that they understand not just how to create a nice design, but how to optimize it for the search engines as well, since even the best looking of websites is of little value if no one can find it.
Getting a professionally designed and built website that’s uniquely tailored to serve your customers, represent your company, and rank well with search engines is far more affordable than you might imagine, and it’s an investment that could pay for itself over and over again.