Online Marketing is a Growing Priority for Small Business
Increase Business Opportunities with Online Marketing
THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Online marketing is a growing priority for small businesses everywhere. As part of its Digital Resources and Outreach service, The Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre (EC) provides information and consulting to small businesses in the area of web development and social media, including assistance with strategy, content writing, and search engine optimization. As Digital Resources and Outreach Coordinator, I enjoy helping businesses find new ways of reaching their target markets and promoting their offerings. I had a chance to talk with strategic content marketer Shelley Jacobson of KillerCopy4U to get some of the latest information regarding mobile and search engine marketing. To learn more about how you can promote your business online, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (807) 624-3452.
You may have heard the buzz about Google’s new algorithm change. In continuing its ongoing efforts to produce the most relevant search results for its users, Google is now favouring responsive (ie. mobile friendly) websites to non-responsive websites in all searches conducted from a mobile phone. Dubbed ‘mobilegeddon’, this algorithmic adjustment may be the most dramatic change Google has ever made.
Responsive websites automatically adjust to different screen sizes, so that when they are viewed on a mobile device, such as a smart phone or tablet, they display vertically to be easily read. A great mobile website will have the following main features:
- Images that scale properly to fit smaller screens
- Menu items that are designed for user friendly navigation – making it easier to find information
- Content displayed vertically – eliminating horizontal pinching and zooming
- Larger buttons and links that are easier to select
Mobile friendly websites that load fast and are easy to navigate, are more likely to impress Google and create a better experience for smartphone users. Easy-to-navigate websites combined with useful content that provide solutions to problems, is a big part of what search engine optimization (SEO) is all about.
Mobile Marketing Exploding
Shelley Jacobson, SEO certified professional copywriter and content strategist at KillerCopy4U, says mobile marketing is too big to ignore: “Everyone’s using their mobile phones to locate products and services. Potential clients don’t rely on phonebooks. Instead, they use their mobile devices to locate information and reviews. If your business isn’t listed in Google, you’re invisible.”
Of course there are other important factors that determine your search engine rankings on both mobile devices and desktops – “Every aspect matters when it comes to a website visitor’s user experience. If Google determines a website provides useful content, even if it isn’t totally up to date and optimized for mobile, it can still maintain a reputable ranking. But with mobile marketing becoming the norm, it’s imperative to ensure your site is mobile compatible.”
For an overall better Google rank, here are Shelley’s suggestions:
- Use keywords effectively
Avoid keyword stuffing (no more than a 4% density rate) and place keywords strategically:
- In your content (only where it makes sense and is relevant to the topic)
- In title tags (start with the keyword)
- In the description tag
- Into headings and subheadings
Google will look at how your content is organized, and will favour websites that make good use of chunking, streamlining, and bulleted lists. “Use keywords in your subheads to convey what each section is about, and only use five lines or less in each paragraph.”
- Optimize page titles and description tags
Well written and accurate page titles and descriptions tell Google what your website is about. Shelley advises small businesses, “Start with a competitive analysis of three of your competitors and study how they’re promoting their sites. Also, ensure you create a keyword strategy for each page of your site that aligns with your marketing goals and objectives.”
Page titles and keywords must be relevant to the content on your page and unique to the other pages within your website.
“Your description tag also functions as a Google sales snippet, which is the information that shows up in a search result listing. That information should contain a combination of your keywords, location and a strong call to action. Ex…Call 807 123-4567”
- Take advantage of WordPress features
Sometimes, boosting your SEO is just a matter of downloading the right plugins.
“Google loves WordPress sites that use the SEO plugin by Yoast.”
- Start blogging
Search engines look for websites that have high traffic and are active on social media platforms with content that gets liked and shared. Adding a blog to your website is a great way to accomplish both of those things. “Small and large businesses need to incorporate and maintain a blog. A blog is instrumental in promoting content and driving traffic back to your site through appropriate social media channels.”
- Install Google Analytics
Analytics software is essential in monitoring and evaluating the performance of your website. This tracking software provides you with visitor behavior stats that determine what’s working and what’s not on your website.
“Negative statistics, such as high bounce rates, inform Google that you’re not providing a great user experience, which can decrease your rankings. Google will always favour maintained websites that are regularly updated.”
Search engine optimization is an ongoing process, but a well ranked website is one of the best forms of advertisement your business can have. Focus on bringing a positive user experience by providing useful information to your website visitors. Continue to analyze, optimize and create great content that resonates with your audience, and your website will continue to climb the ranks.
To learn more about how you can more effectively market your business, contact the Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre (EC) at (807) 625-3960 or visit www.EntrepreneurCentre.ca. All Entrepreneur Centre services are FREE and confidential.