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Whether you have a website or not, your online presence is crucial to the success of your business. These days, your online presence is often your first impression. It’s the first thing potential customers will encounter and their impression of your business will determine whether or not they decide to be your customer or look somewhere else.
This article will explain several ways to improve your business’s online presence and why that’s so important. But first, there are two very important things to keep in mind if you’re about to do the “Google test.”
There are two types of potential customers out there – the ones who have heard of your business and the ones who haven’t. So it’s very important to search for your store both ways. For this article, we’ll use a vitamin store as an example.
1. Google your business type (“vitamins”)and location (Fort Oglethorpe GA)
2. Google your actual business name (“H&M Herbs and Vitamins”)
In the first search, you’re trying to see if potential customers can find you easily…or if they’re finding your competition instead.
If you have a brick and mortar store, even if you do not have a website, you’re going to want to be found in the various local listings that show up on Google or any internet search. So using the vitamin shop example from above, someone who needs vitamins might search “vitamins in Fort Oglethorpe, GA.” So try that kind of search for your business (making sure you’re logged out of Google so you don’t get personalized results based on your history) and see what you find.
You may think that showing up on the second or third page isn’t that bad. But in a study published by eConsultancy, researchers took a sampling of 1.4 BILLION searches and found that…
Those results are quite shocking, of course. But they really drive home the point that:
If you’re store isn’t found on the first page, it won’t be found at all.
Having a website would be the first step. But even if you don’t currently have a website, there are more than 30 different local directories you could submit your business to so you’d at least show up on Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yelp directories. This would show your location and provide a phone number for anyone who finds you.
If you do have a website, but still aren’t showing up on the first page of Google searches, there are three main things you can do.
All three of these topics will be covered on this blog, in depth, in the coming weeks in a series on improving your web presence. But for now, here is a brief overview:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of adjusting the content and coding on your site to be considered more relevant to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. Essentially, search engines will crawl your site’s meta tags, keywords, descriptions content and code and determine whether or not you have the information someone is searching for. The more relevant your site appears to search engines, the higher your site will rank.
Adding relevant content to your site goes along with SEO. Your content should always use key search terms. However, content itself is important simply because it makes your site richer. Adding a blog to your website is probably the most common way to add a lot of additional content. However, you can also write more detailed product and service descriptions. You could add product reviews. You could add more information about your business’s background and history. All of these things add more information for Google and other search engines to scan when someone searches for a business like yours. The more content you have, the more information you can provide and the more relevant your site becomes to search engines.
Using social media also helps you improve your online presence. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and other sites like them are free and they each have the potential to reach more customers.
Social media adds value to your business. These days, so many businesses have Facebook and Twitter pages that it can be questionable if a business doesn’t have these. It’s something people look for when researching your business and the more likes and positive reviews you have, the better impression you’ll make.
Not only that, as you get more followers, there’s a higher chance they’ll share something you post with all of their friends…then those friends might share it as well. One post could reach hundreds if not thousands of people in just a few hours. Plus, on Facebook, followers can add reviews.
The most important thing to keep in mind with each of these strategies, is that the more relevant your content is, the better your website and social media pages will do. It’s also important to post unique and original content. Original, helpful or thought-provoking content is the kind of content that gets noticed. If your site or social media pages provide newer or better information than your competition, your site will start ranking higher and more customers will find you.
Improving your online presence can feel like a slow process but it’s well worth it once customers find you before your competition down the street.
ioVista can help improve your business’s online presence and increase your search rank on Google. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your specific needs, call us at 248-233-0628 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you.
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