8 Steps to Boost Visibility and Make Your Business Shine Online
Getting seen on the Web can feel next to impossible. Here's how your small business can overcome the odds and stand out
Thu, March 21, 2013
PC World — It has become harder than ever to stake your claim on the Web. SearchesA for your small business's name don't always lead to your website. Companies with similar names or splashier domain names--along with random online product listings and completely unrelated results--too often beat your business to the top of Google's results. If you're in a commoditized industry, such as plumbing, dry cleaning, or coffee sales, standing out online is increasingly difficult.
Managing your own website and submitting it to Google are good first steps, but they're no longer enough. Read on to learn how to upgrade your online presence on your own website and on third-party sites, so that people canA find you on the Web when they come looking.
Build up your website
Today, a one-page website is the equivalent of an ad in birdseed type in the Yellow Pages. If you know exactly what you're looking for, you can find it--but most shoppers will skip right past you.
Fortunately, the first key to standing out involves a tactic that lies completely within your control: building up the size of your website. Though Google's algorithms aren't public, sites with more pages tend to rank higher in search engine results. Google also devotes more links and real estate to pages that have a deeper page structure, embedding secondary links called Google Sitelinks to subsidiary pages on your website.A A Google result of this type can consume up to three times as much screen space as a standard search result.
How many pages do you need to have to get results like this? There's no "official" number (nor are Sitelinks under your control to a significant extent), but even taking your website from one page to five should help. Once you've expand beyond a few dozen pages, bonus links should start showing up in your search engine results.
Start by segmenting your home page content into obvious secondary pages, under headings like "About Us," "Contact," "Services," "Rate Information," "Customer Testimonials," and "Locations." You don't need to put a lot of information on each page, but try to be verbose rather than succinct, place unique content on each page, and use keywords, especially in the page title. Photos help, too.
Beyond these measures, the easiest way to add pages to your website is by maintaining a blog. Make sure that the blog is part of your company domain, and not hosted on a separate URL. Blog as often as you can. Daily is great, but a few times a month is enough for Google to take notice. Again, photos are a good idea, even if you use nothing but free stock art.