Due to the size of the company, small businesses tend to be more limited with their marketing budget and are slower to get into the online marketing game. They “get” traditional media and have built their business based on referrals, word of mouth, direct mail, flyers, coupons, ads, etc. Due to limited time and resources, it can be overwhelming to think about getting involved in online marketing which involves a whole new set of strategies and tactics that need to be learned. However, in today’s day and age a business really needs to have an online presence- no matter how big or small they may be. People aren’t looking for products or services in the Yellow Pages. They are looking in Google, and if your small business can’t be found you will lose out to the competition.
There are many ways to market a small business online, but one of the most important ways is to invest time and resources in SEO. For a small business that has limited resources and is just getting started in the online space, the SEO campaign process will be different than it is for a large corporation that has an established website and has gotten started with online marketing.
The first step that a small business owner should take when they want to get started with SEO is to conduct some research. There are plenty of free SEO resources out there that provide a wealth of information. Business owners should be protective of their brand image and it’s important to know the right way and the wrong way to approach SEO. Heading down the wrong path (even if it’s unintentionally) can result in search engine penalties. Small business owners should spend time understanding the SEO basics and know the difference between a white hat SEO campaign and black hat tactics in order to know the proper ways to optimize a site and build links.
The next step is to get started with SEO right away, on your own. If the website just launched it’s going to take some time for that site to become “trusted” so it’s advisable to do SEO on a small scale on your own first. Attend a training session or hire and SEO consultant that can guide you down the right path. As long as things are implemented correctly, small results can be made on your own. In addition, having this experience and knowledge will help you become a much better SEO client when the time is right.
For a small company with a limited budget, it’s best to hold off on paying for services until those services will be able to make a profound impact. After getting started with SEO on your own and seeing a gradual increase in website traffic and conversions, it is time to take it to the next level by hiring an SEO firm. Since the website already has some momentum the SEO agency will be able to do much more since the website has aged and gained some search engine trust.
Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, a full service SEO services and social SEO company based in Boston. With over 12 years of Internet marketing experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting daily SEO articles to his blog, the Search Engine Optimization Journal and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers.
Read other articles by Nick Stamoulis