Blah, blah, blah. Search engine optimization is important, SEO is time consuming, but really why is it worth it? Here’s 3 reasons.
1. Your Competitors Aren’t Ignoring It
Search engine optimization (SEO) is like a race, the longer you wait to start, the further behind your competitors you’ll be. While it’s true that SEO is more difficult for new mom and pop shops to outrank more established web sites, it’s no excuse to not try at all. I’m not saying that SEO is the perfect fit for every business, it’s not. But an important point to note is that people are no longer searching just Google & Yahoo from their computers. Iphones, Blackberries, universal search, and social media all change up the playing field. Small companies have the advantage with less red tape than most large companies to implement these new features into their online marketing strategies
Tip: These are the sites you want to control
Flickr – Why should a customer’s gross and poorly lit photo of your most expensive plate come up first on Flickr for a search of your restaurant? Control this, post up professional photographs of your food menu and restaurant.
YouTube – What comes up first for your business? Is it a competitor’s video who has strategically placed your company name in their tags or is it your company video blog or introduction video? Control this, record an intro video with the CEO, upload a product infomercial, or do a company tour. Something is better than nothing.
Twitter – What’s coming up, complaints from dissatisfied customers? Control this, setup a Twitter account, engage in active conversation with customers, and network with potential business partners.
Google Knol, HubPages, Squidoo – What type of content comes up for a search? Control this, setup accounts and write original and useful content for these sites.
Yelp – Are you controlling your Yelp page, or is this flooded with negative reviews? Control this, claim your business listing, upload photos, and verify all your information is correct.
* Google Map listings have been hijacked in the past, you’ll also want to verify your information is correct.
2. SEO Your Web Site To Protect Your Brand
Online reputation management is a growing industry and as more employers Google prospective employees online, what search engines say about you is almost as important as what’s on a resume. Ask any SEO and you’ll get the same answer, playing damage control with negative or inaccurate search results is a much more difficult task than populating search results with positive results in the first place. When SEO is done correctly, you should control a large portion of the first page results for searches of your brand name.
Tip: Learn how to or hire someone to SEO your web site
3. You’re Throwing Away Free Traffic
Dominating your first page search results is like cleaning your house before the in-laws visit. Sure, it’s not mandatory, but the difference the impression makes can be day and night.
Stop letting Yelp, Yahoo! Local, CitySearch or worst a pissed off customer’s blog rant tell your potential customers about your business, tell them yourself! Don’t take this the wrong way, we Yelp! and similar sites are great for the valuable information they provide, but when it comes down to it, your business should rank #1 for a search of its own name, not another web site.
Tip: Start controlling your first page results
Populate them with accurate information, positive customer testimonials, professionally photos and video. Setup new profiles on relevant social networks.
Stop waiting, stop giving away free traffic, and start optimizing. Best of luck!
photo credit: ebruli