Competitive edge over rivals is a must for survival or any kind of business, but how do you gain an edge on competitors with deep pockets for radio ads, TV commercials, and huge Pay-Per-Click budgets? It’s been my experience that by using your marketing dollars wisely you can not only swim with the big fish, but become one. Here are a few recommendations:
KEYWORD RICH DOMAIN NAME
Keyword –rich domain (www.dallasspeechtherapy.com) names are an impactful way for small-businesses to gain relevant traffic and better organic search engine placement. Search engines such as Google.com place emphasis on keyword rich domains as they view these domains as relevant indicators for what the website is about.
If you’re playing in a competitive pay-per-click (PPC) market where larger companies with deep pockets can out bid your keywords, invest in organic search engine optimization. While more and more companies are willing to invest in organic search traffic there are very few that do it well and have success stories to back them up.
Organic search is optimization relies on good content and the ability to get others linking to your content. Start now by writing articles relevant to your business. If you’re an accountant write articles about accounting best practices, setup a blog and write about accounting related news, get your website listed in top directories (DMOZ, Business.com, Yahoo! Business Directory).
The more localized your business is, the easier it is to rank organically in search engines. Optimize your website around keywords with your city or nearest metropolitan area. Localized search has grown in popularity over the years so take advantage of optimizing your website with those keywords as well.
OPTIMIZE YOUR TITLE BARS
In the grand scheme of organic placement, optimizing your title bars around relevant keywords could be the difference between placing well, or not placing at all. I’m not saying spam the search engines by adding tons of keywords. Search engine algorithms have accounted for this and it can hurt you if you add too many words or irrelevant words, but be mindful of your titles. Don’t just add your company name on every page. Add relevant titles that let the search engines know what the page is about.
Example: Think of all the sites you’ve seen with an About Us page. What does that title say about your company? Nothing.
Be more creative. Instead, maybe provide your company name and slogan, or use part of your mission statement. Search engines as well as site visitors want to scan your website to ensure they’re in the right place and that you provide the right solutions. Let them know that immediately!
If you’re website is relatively new and has had little organic optimization, start by identifying broad, industry related keywords, then optimize the website around more specific keyword clusters. Web Design for example is a very difficult term to place organically for, but then again, why would you want to? It’s been my experience that if you optimize around a very broad term you will get a very broad audience that isn’t necessarily your target audience. For years LevelTen optimized around broad terms and received a ton of traffic from students wanting to learn how to build websites, to competitors looking for ideas on how to optimize their own website. We’ve since focused on long-tail terms like Professional Web Design Company, Dallas Drupal Developers, etc and not only have better positioning in search, but drive more relevant visitors to our website.
OPEN-SOURCE CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Investing in a proven open-source content management system like Drupal or Joomla is another sound investment most small businesses can make. Because they are open-source, most of the development a small business needs to be successful can be provided at a much lower cost. Because they manage content, you will not get caught in the trap of having to buy a solution and then find that you don’t actually own the website and can’t take it with you if you need to.
Another advantage is that content management systems allow you to update your website’s content whenever YOU want to update it. No more waiting weeks on developers to make changes, add pages or edit your content.
While this article is fairly broad, I’ve provided you with some quick recommendations that can give you the necessary advantages you need overcome your competition on the web. I’m a firm believer in hiring experts, but if you’re determined to do it yourself, it can be done. You’ll make mistakes, but so do the experts. By continuously improving your site content, being smart about the keywords you optimize for, and reaching out to 3rd party sites for endorsements, you’ll see dramatic improvement in traffic and leads and sales.