It seems like small businesses are sprouting up everywhere, like mushrooms after a rainstorm. It is true that there are a variety of tools available to them - social media platforms, website production and content creation - that help to make the time ripe for such an explosive growth, but that does not mean these tools, and others like them, are reserved only for them. Many older businesses could also stand to benefit from some of these new strategies, and the best option for most is search engine optimization.
It is a pretty simple concept to understand on the face of it. The internet has replaced the Yellow Pages as the tool people use when they are looking for a business. Instead of reaching for that old familiar book, they pick up their tablet or smartphone, or turn on their computer, go to a search engine and type in what they are looking for. A list will come up, usually with one or two sponsored ads at the top, and then a listing of results that best fits the search criteria.
That list is not generated simply out of the blue. There is a science that goes into how the search engine works, hence the phrase search engine optimization. It is not a matter of how many times the words show up, or the order in which they do, but rather the inclusion of a collection of words that best matches the most popular collection of words that the search engine - think Google or Bing - uses to create the result list.
What makes this a far more efficient and effective use of advertising dollars than some of the other traditional methods that have been used in the past is that it directly targets the people who are most interested in a particular business. Compare the search engine with a popular method used previously, the direct mailer. A company would pay for an item of mail to be delivered to every single address in a specific area. It still happens today, most people refer to it as junk mail, and there is a reason for that. Most people never wanted that mail in the first place. If there was a three percent response, meaning three out of every one hundred people who got the mailer read it and visited that business, it was considered a success.
With search engine optimization, a company can be assured that almost everyone who looks at their listing is interested in what that business has to offer. Utilizing an SEO company will help that business get their listing near the top of the results, the modern equivalent of being a piece of mail that is read versus one that is thrown into the recycling.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer who focuses on emerging small business trends and the place of the internet in today's industy. http://www.teamwildflower.com/