Marketing your business these days is not just a matter of flyers in the street or a quick mention on local radio – any business must have an online presence to reach the maximum audience and there are various different ways to do this. Because of the popularity of social networking sites, some businesses have made the –understandable – mistake of thinking they can do without a website, but this is generally not a good idea.
Social Media alone is not enough
Social media – Facebook and Twitter being the main ones in use – certainly has its place in marketing but there are certain things which any small business owner must bear in mind if they decide to go down that route alone. The most important thing to remember is that Google’s algorithms don’t take into account anything that is going on in any of the social media sites because they don’t routinely crawl them. This is mainly because they are so fast moving that any ‘snapshot’ of a page is likely to be out of date by the time any data is properly assessed and this can actually cause a lot of problems. Add to this the fact that many of this type of page is blocked, it has been found to not be in Google’s best interests to crawl. So if you think that your thousands of ‘likes’ on Facebook will translate to a higher profile on the internet for any other web presence you may have, you would be wrong. That is why having a social media page as a stopgap before a website is created is not going to make the website pop up high in the rankings from day one – it will have to work for it from scratch.
Keep your pages separate
Twitter accounts can turn and bite you as many celebrities have found to their cost. Unless a business account is kept totally separate from any business tweets or Facebook pages, embarrassment can easily be the result. No one wants to know that their, for example, dentist had an all-night drinking session ending on a stranger’s floor – if you have any links from your confession-style personal pages to your business one you could end up with some publicity you really don’t want. Privacy settings are also vital – you either need to allow no posts or to monitor them scrupulously. Anything unacceptable on the page can do a lot of damage in a matter of minutes and undoing the damage can take months. All of that said, social media certainly does have a place, especially if your goods and services appeal specifically to a certain demographic who will spread the word.
Good SEO content can work wonders
A website doesn’t have to have bells and whistles to be effective if it is well-written, informative and to the point. Writing good content isn’t just a matter of shoe-horning a single phrase or word into the text, but also thinking outside the box and making sure that different versions of the same thing are mentioned at least once. When searching online people don’t always type what you would expect so you need to try and put yourself in their shoes – just think of as many different ways as you can to describe your goods or services and even think way outside the box to things that people who like your stuff are also likely to be interested in. For example, if you sell fencing, have a couple of paragraphs on how to plant a herbaceous border or how to lay a drive. Neither is exactly what you sell, but anyone who is searching for those may also be in the market for a new fence. SEO writing used to be rather rudimentary with poorly written pieces with often appalling grammar and spelling but nowadays it is something of an art form, with its writers being justly proud of what they do. A crawlable website with no hidden pages is a good start for anyone wanting to climb the ranking, linked if it seems right to social media for full coverage of the whole market.