Now that you have a shiny new website, how do you to get potential customers to visit it? Or, if you already have a website, but it’s very lonely, how can you improve the amount of people visiting it? To do this you need to improve your website’s online visibility. Online visibility simply means how visible your website is on the Internet. There are several ways to improve online visibility…
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Where do most people go when looking for products or services? It used to be cinder block-sized books of business listings like the Yellow Pages. Now, of course, everyone goes straight to a search engine like (primarily) Google or Bing. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is how you “tell” these search engines what your site is about by making your site and its pages highly relevant to what you sell so that when people go searching for your products or services search engines know that your website might be a good suggestion for them. This requires both “on-site SEO” – SEO work done directly on your site – and “off-site SEO” – work done off of your site by getting legitimate* links and recommendations from other sites on the web. However, it’s not as cut-and-dry as that. With hundreds, or even thousands, of competing websites selling the same things, well-strategized and executed SEO is required to ensure search engines rank your site over theirs.
Similar to general SEO, which works across the web globally, if you service a local market it’s important to make sure the SEO work done on your site is relevant to the specific regions you service. This will help Google and Bing understand that when a user is searching for something you sell in a specific area you service, your site would be a good suggestion for them. In addition to this, both Google and Bing offer dedicated business pages that can also be optimized with relevant information.
Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC)
Pay-Per-Click, or PPC, is another way of making sure your website appears in search engines when people search for the products and services you sell. Unlike, SEO however, it’s not reliant purely on making your site’s pages relevant and hoping Google and Bing rank you well, PPC allows you to simply pay for visibility in search results. You do this by creating short advertisements, targeting specific keywords, and then bidding in a marketplace of competing websites for visibility in search results for those key words. For example, if you’re a plumber based in Huntsville, Texas you can choose to bid on keywords such as “huntsville tx plumbers” or “plumbers in huntsville”. You only pay when someone clicks your advertisement. Hence the name Pay-Per-Click.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Most people – including your potential customers – use at least one of these social media platforms, often times several of them…A LOT. Given the high usage of these platforms by people it’s important that your site has a presence on those social media sites that make sense for your business. These offer a way for you to get your brand’s messages directly into the public sphere by engaging with people. Also, all of these platforms offer paid marketing options with highly specific targeting so you can guarantee your advertising will be seen by a demographic specific to your desired client base.
Real World Visibility
Despite how the Internet has come to dominate our world, there’s still no point in ignoring real world options for spreading word about your website, especially if you serve a specific geographic region. Business cards, vehicle decals, and ads in local newspapers are all very good ways to ensure people in your area are aware of your business.
*This is a very important distinction that we will go into greater detail on in a future post, but the long and the short of it is you should always avoid getting involved in link schemes! Links from your site should come because you create great content that other sites want to link to such as…oh, I don’t know…a post about 5 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website…not because you paid some shady SEO character in a dank Internet back alley for them in bulk.