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Search Engine Marketing Builds Awareness

February 13, 2010

As the old saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. In the same sense, the high-visibility Web site gets the business. A great way to make your business Web site shine is to utilize Internet search engines. You probably already know how easily search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, AOL Search, MSN, and Ask.com can locate products, services, and information. So make sure you tap that same power for your small business. 

A good place to start is to understand the process of “search engine optimization” (SEO). Basically, this requires you to:

1)     Create just the right keywords to describe what you offer.

2)     Organize each page on your site properly to capture search engine attention.

3)     Periodically submit updated information on your site and your business to search engines and online directories.

 You can do much of this yourself or seek help from search engine submission services catering to small business. Don’t expect search engines and online directories to find you. Submit your site to them through a paid submission service. Most such services are effective and inexpensive. Your Web designer or hosting service can also help you with search engine marketing (SEM) and submission needs. 

The content of your Web site drives your chances of being spotted by a search engine. Your most important content should appear first, while titles and descriptions should be clear, factual, and relevant to your target base. Incorporate terms your prospective customers are likely to use in searching for products or services such as yours (e.g., specialties, geographic location, etc.). 

Depending on your ad budget, consider investing in search engine marketing (SEM) — paid ads that show up as “sponsored links” or “sponsor results” when someone searches for a keyword/phrase that your company has bid on. Approach SEM like any other advertising opportunity—start with a small campaign, judge the results and build from there. You can change anything on your Web site or in your paid campaign at any time, so it is easy to make adjustments based on your results. 

To learn more about e-marketing, contact Lancaster SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business. SCORE is a nonprofit association of more than 50 business experts who volunteer as mentors to emerging and existing small businesses in Lancaster County. SCORE offers free mentoring, business plan reviews, business roundtables, and low-cost workshops.   

Explore our SEO workshops – April 1, June 23, or November 18 – at  “Special Workshops.”  Or call us at 717-397-3092.

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