SEO to Know: 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Compete With Giants

Small businesses are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to competing in a crowded marketplace—and no marketplace is more crowded than the Web. That’s a lot of competition for those precious few spots on the first page of search engine results.

SEOIn almost every industry, there are giants. You know them; everyone does. They’ve been around since the beginning of the Internet, have a natural audience, and have everything they need to dominate in the realm of search engine optimization (SEO).

How can a small business hope to compete?

The secret is in how SEO works. If you have the answers your customers are searching for, you wind up on top. Here’s how to get attention.

1. Work Your Niche

Big businesses try pretty hard to be all things to all people. You win if you concentrate on one thing. Find your niche and dominate it. Make your content relevant to your niche and repeat your message in different ways on every page. What’s unique about your business? Find your unique selling point and let it permeate your company culture, social media, and website content.

2. Go Hyper-Local

Small businesses have the advantage when it comes to location-specific goods and services. Google’s Pigeon update put local businesses at the forefront of mobile search. Using geo-location built into smartphones, Google shows users businesses that meet their needs and are in closest proximity. By mentioning specific neighborhoods or location-specific ingredients or interests, you move closer to the top of the search.

Location-specific ingredients, you ask? Local brewery Black Husky Brewing makes a beer called Sproose II IPA, which has the true taste of the great Northwest. It’s made with spruce tips. Chipotle grew quickly from a small business to a big business with a unique selling proposition: “fast casual dining.” It’s fast, but not fast food, locally sourced, fresh, and far more nutritious than traditional fast food…but still cheap and ready to serve.

3. Become the Authority

Remember, big businesses don’t have to work that hard. They concentrate big budgets on traditional advertising. Your best bet is to do the opposite and drive traffic through content and social media. Share your industry expertise on your blog and on major publications. The more relevant content you can produce, the more likely you are to add the value Google is looking for.

Every business has the opportunity to become a publisher. Use your platform to provide as much information as you can—and be sure it’s the information your customers are searching for.

4. Spread Your Fame

Link juice is still valuable. To gain valuable inbound links, you can approach influential writers in your industry or write interesting content and submit it for publication on big-time or industry sites. You can also sponsor an industry report. Good quality reports, like Deloitte Digital’s survey “Navigating the new digital divide,” earn more inbound links and mentions than any other type of content.

5. Be Human

Big corporations can appear to be cold and faceless. Call them and you may spend hours on hold, or get lost in the phone system twists and turns. Small businesses have an easier time being warm and human. Make everything about your customer service and social media personable and friendly—and that will become your reputation. Personal service makes you stand out, plus, it earns you recommendations and social media mentions, which pump up your SEO.

One last thing: If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, build one. It’s useless to work on SEO if more than 60% of your potential customers won’t see your website when they search on their mobile devices. It’s time to go mobile in 2016!

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

Getting to the top of search engine results and staying there takes constant and consistent content marketing maintenance—and it’s totally worth it. Solid SEO strategy can help you compete with the biggest of the big boys for prime real estate on search engine results pages. Try these 5 tips to work your way to the top!

 

Responsive Website Design: A Smart Long-Term Investment

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Your website isn’t just an online brochure. Done well, it’s an efficient lead generation machine and the centerpiece of your marketing strategy—as long as it works on all the devices your customers are likely to use. If not, you’re missing opportunities.

When businesses grow, expansion is necessary: over time, you may need bigger space requirements, more stock, or you may even open new locations. You get bigger; you get more business. Mobile-friendly responsive website design (RWD) is another booster to business growth. Similar to opening a new location, launching a mobile-friendly website helps you reach a new audience and draw in new customers.

Responsive website design (RWD) isn’t a temporary or quick fix. It’s a long-term investment that allows you to build a dynamic website that can automatically adapt to new technologies. This means you won’t need to manually respond to each new device or screen size as it hits the market. Instead of playing catch up, you’ll be prepared and poised for growth.

The ROI on RWD: Get More Out of Your Site Design

Redesigning your website might seem like an unnecessary expense, but with responsive design, it’ll pay for itself in customer satisfaction and sales. Here are 5 ways you’ll see return on your investment.
 

1. Enhanced User Experience

Responsive web design maximizes your investment through user experience. Customers will get the same quality of content on any device, so they can find your website no matter what device they choose. And if they recommend your content to friends who are using different devices, responsive website design (RWD) adapts to show the same content in a readable and accessible format.
 

2. Reduced Update Time

In the long run, you’ll save time and money. Anticipating the needs of mobile and tablet users used to involve creating all sorts of different websites and each site had to be updated with new content, which meant at least triple the man-hours spent doing the same updates over and over with every change. Responsive website design (RWD) means one site and one update—which also reduces the number of possible mistakes—and the time it takes to correct them.
 

3. Increased Reach

More than 60% of all web searches are performed on smartphones nowadays. Responsive web design ensures user searches will be successful, your website will load quickly, and buyers will find the information they need to make an informed decision.
 

4. Increased Conversion Rates

While it’s difficult to predict how your customers will respond to your new mobile site, other businesses have been reporting significant boosts in conversion rates for years.
 

5. You’re Prepared for the Future

Updating your website now will prepare you for the foreseeable future. While it may not be 3D-hologram-compatible, as long as we’re still using screens, responsive website design (RWD) will dynamically respond to any size device that might hit the market. You won’t be scrambling to adapt to whatever the next big thing might be.

 

Investing in a responsive website design (RWD) now will create an enhanced user experience, boost your SEO, and cost you less on maintenance in the long run. If you’re ready to expand your business and reap the benefits of your investment, RWD is the way to go.

To learn more about mobile web design, download our free mobile-friendly guide below!

 
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Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly
 

5 BIG Reasons Why You NEED to Be Mobile Ready for 2016

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2016 is coming up fast, so you’re already thinking about how to grow your business next year. If your business strategy doesn’t include a mobile version of your website, you’re already missing out on hot leads. It’s time to turn the mobile web into a lead generation machine for your business.

Not convinced it’ll be worth the money to build a mobile site? Here are 5 reasons why you should reconsider.

1. The Growing Number of Mobile Users

Mobile is BIG. Roughly 2.16 billion people will be using smartphones in 2016. That’s 198.5 million in the U.S. alone—and B2B isn’t exempt: Executives and decision-makers use mobile technology. In fact, 72% use their smartphone to conduct research on products or services for their business. This represents an upward trend reaching critical mass. There are more active mobile devices in play today than there are people.

2. It’s All About the Mobile Search

At Recode’s recent Code Mobile conference, Google’s senior vice president of search, Amit Singhal, said more than 50% of Google’s 100 billion searches originate on mobile devices—plus, he was only referring to screens smaller than six inches. That’s a lot of traffic to leave on the table if your site isn’t mobile friendly.

3. Inbound Marketing Strategy is Must

If social media and inbound marketing are part of your marketing strategy, you’re wasting your time without a mobile website. 71% of social media access happens on mobile devices. So what happens when you tweet out your awesome new content? Your page won’t load, your readers get ticked, and your visitors bounce without ever reading that blog post you crafted so carefully.

4. The Need for Speed…Loading Speed

Speed is key to customer satisfaction. Web surfers don’t have much patience. If your site doesn’t fully load in 3 seconds, they’ll move on and you’ll lose business. Or worse, you’ll lose that coveted customer loyalty.

Pro-tip: Check your mobile speed here.

5. Dominate Local Search

More than 90% of smartphone users use their mobiles to find local businesses. What’s more, people who use their phones to search are likely to act on that information within 24 hours. Mobile presence puts your business in front of people who are looking for answers on the way to buy. It’s point-of-sale web. When customers are in a buying mood, you need to be accessible.

Let’s Get Ready to Go Mobile in 2016

Mobile presence is crucial for any growing business, whether B2B or B2C. The most popular activities on mobile devices include social media and opening email. Isn’t that where most of your customer reach is centered?

How you go mobile matters. There are multiple design options and each has strengths and weaknesses. You can read all about your options (plus common mistakes) in this comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

No matter how you choose to implement your mobile site, it should be optimized for usability, speed, and SEO. To truly engage your audience, you need to go where they are—on their mobile devices.

Becoming mobile ready may seem like a big step, but with the growing dominance of mobile search and commerce, it’s the best way to move forward with a strategic marketing plan in 2016. Choosing a responsive mobile web design prepares your business for the future. No matter what screen size or screen configuration comes with the next big thing, your site will respond and you won’t have to scramble to update or revamp. A worthwhile investment now can make a huge impact on your bottom line now and for the foreseeable future. It’s time to go mobile!

 

The Strongest & Simplest Approach to Solid SEO Strategy

strongest & simplest approach to solid SEO strategy

SEO is a complicated subject and a constantly moving target, but if you keep Google’s stated purpose in mind, you can craft a solid SEO strategy that works now and into the future. What is that purpose? To deliver the highest quality, most relevant results to users.

It sounds simple enough, but past efforts to game the system have landed many website owners in Google Hell…not always for their own actions. Many “SEO experts” are infamous for shady practices meant to deliver fast results. It makes them look good for a little while, until an algorithm update brings it all tumbling down. A major loss in pagerank can destroy your bottom line.

That’s why we’re going to give you the strongest & simplest approach to solid SEO strategy. No tricks. No gaming. Just real, evergreen tactics that will never get you in trouble—and will always push your site to the top of the search engine results page.

Focus on: Keywords

Even with semantic search, keywords are still important. Make a list of industry keywords you want to shoot for, and ensure your website content on your site is focused around those topics and words. Forget repeating keywords x number of times on each page. Longtail keywords also have their limits. Just write naturally about the subjects native to your industry.

Best keyword practices:

  • Do thorough keyword research.
  • Use your primary keyword or keyword phrase in your title.
  • Write a short, pretty URL that contains your keyword.
  • Use keywords in your subheaders.
  • Include keywords in your first paragraph.

Focus on: Links

Every link is important, even those coming in to your website. Be sure you link in and out only to quality, relevant sites. Linking to internal pages is great SEO, but the links should fit naturally into the text.

Incoming links are equal parts awesome and terrifying. If industry bloggers on high-traffic sites link to your content or mention your site in any context, it’s a real SEO boost. Ditto if you share your knowledge to be published on other sites. Guest blogging extends your audience and raises your authority.

You just have to be careful. Backlinks coming in from low-quality sites can hurt your SEO. It’s a good idea to regularly evaluate your site’s links, fix any broken ones you find, and make sure your incoming links are from authoritative links related to your industry.

Focus on: Load Time

The length of time it takes your page to load is critical to SEO for several reasons. Slow-loading pages are frustrating to visitors and increase your bounce rate—which is indicative of how fast and how often visitors leave your page. Load times are influenced by the amount of code that loads when a visitor arrives and by image size.

If your page is loading slowly, the cause might be ads, videos or music set to play automatically, or other scripts. Code errors may also result in loading issues.

Large graphics are also a common issue. Even if graphics appear to be small in dimension, they might be large files controlled by specifying size in the code. If you right-click a small image and open it in a new window and it’s huge, it’s not optimized, and it’s probably slowing your load time.

Focus on: Content

All basic SEO strategy should focus on high-quality content. Publishing great content attracts traffic by giving customers and prospects information about your industry and your products, provides endless opportunities to bolster your keyword strategy, and establishes your site as authoritative…a good reason for bloggers and journalists to write about you.

Whether you write content in-house or outsource, it should be informative and tailored to the interests of your audience.

Focus on: Location-Based SEO

Google’s latest algorithm makes location far more important than it’s ever been before. While city searches are still relevant, the search now drills down to a more granular neighborhood level. If you’re a brick-and-mortar, raising your rank, especially for mobile search, means adding more location information to your page. Instead of sticking to New York City references, be sure to mention you’re in SoHo or the Village.

Focus on: Mobile-Friendliness

If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, your SEO isn’t up to par. Mobile search makes up 61% of all website traffic today and sites that aren’t optimized do not appear in the mobile search results. It’s a simple rule. If your site is not optimized for mobile, you lose any mobile traffic you might have earned.

There are a lot of details to SEO, but this is the strongest & simplest approach to solid SEO strategy on a broad level. Google is looking to deliver high quality results, and, if your website meets those high standards, that means your SEO is solid—and you’ll see boosts in both customer engagement and search engine results rankings. It’s worth it.

 
related-resources_01

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

Why Your Website Must Be Mobile Friendly Right Now

Transitioning to a mobile friendly website is no longer a maybe--it's a must. Learn why and how to go mobile friendly here...

Mobile users have taken over the Internet—so if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you might already be in trouble. The days of being chained to a desktop are long gone. Users have more options than ever before and what used to be downtime (commutes, a stop at Starbucks for an overpriced latte, or even a relaxing day at the pool) has turned into time spent browsing, checking emails, and making purchases.

Google responded to this mobile tsunami in a predictable way, by changing its search algorithm last April to prioritize websites optimized for mobile devices. What does that mean for non-optimized websites? Say goodbye to up to 60% of your traffic. No wonder marketers were quick to dub the change “Mobilegeddon.”

Don’t know if your website meets Google standards? It’s easy to check using the Google Mobile Friendly Test tool.

It All Comes Down to Enhanced Customer Experience

Repeat web traffic is all about great user experience. Customers who find themselves on a site that’s not mobile friendly bounce…and buy from your competitor.

You only have a few initial seconds to get a visitor’s attention, so if your website doesn’t fit on their screen or your links are difficult to click, your visitor will never get to the next page…or click your call to action (CTA). They certainly won’t sign up for your mailing list. Every visitor you lose to poor mobile display is a lost opportunity.

Load time is another argument for mobile optimization. Non-optimized sites load excruciatingly slowly on a mobile device. You have about 6 – 10 seconds (if you’re lucky) before visitor patience is strained to the breaking point.

“But I’m B2B…Why Bother?”

This is a surprisingly common argument—and the answer is just as simple. Corporate decision-makers act exactly like other human beings. The 2014 State Of B2B Procurement Study by the Acquity Group found that 94% of them research purchase online before making a decision. More to the point, 44% have used mobile devices to do their research.

Sounds like the move to mobile is essential for B2B and B2C businesses alike.

Advertising Benefits of Mobile-Friendly Websites: The Push

A “push” is a message sent directly to a user’s phone. With integrated social media and a team that’s on top of it, you can offer information, special pricing, or coupon codes while customers are doing product research.

Mobile advertising offers businesses the opportunity to tailor ads to personal browsing habits and social media cues. Research by Neustar shows that targeting an engaged audience can lead to a huge increase in conversion rates, ranging from 6 times more conversions in the health industry to 56 times more conversions in the retail sector.

Mobile-friendly websites are no longer an option for business owners who want to remain competitive. To improve your mobile ranking, attract a larger audience, and gain more sales, ensure your website is easy to browse from any device.

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Have questions about going mobile? No problem. Download this FREE GUIDE, The Smart Marketer’s Guide to Making Your Website Mobile Friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly
You’ll learn how to:

  • Identify if your website is mobile friendly, plus learn why the answer matters
  • Use your mobile-friendly website to gain big-time lead generation and superior SEO
  • Strategically choose the best mobile-friendly design options for your business
  • Create a mobile-friendly website designed to grow with your business
  • Go mobile-friendly without breaking the bank

DOWNLOAD NOW.