Do I Really Need to Hire an SEO Expert?

This article is primarily geared for the small business owner who is just beginning to appreciate the value of establishing an internet presence to supplement his offline marketing efforts. One of the major questions small business owners making a jump for the online bandwagon is if they have the right competencies to manage both their offline operations and online endeavors or would it simply make sense to just hire an SEO expert for the online stuff?

Small local businesses rely heavily on the more traditional methods of marketing such as word of mouth, distribution of leaflets and flyers, leaving business cards on a retail shop, using posters and banners, and posting advertisements on the classifieds section of the local news daily, as well as other offline marketing strategies. The good news is that, small businesses who have already run the whole gamut of these activities will be interested to learn that there are actually online versions of these activities. The question however is, how technologically-competent are they to transform these offline marketing activities into meaningful and very productive digital versions? Do small business owners have the technical competence needed to mount a full digital marketing campaign while at the same time overseeing the entire operation of their businesses?

Here are 9 very simple yet equally effective tactics you can use to build confidence as you initiate your business to the ways of online marketing.

  1. One of the most important aspects of developing an online presence is the look of your website. It should be clean, neat, and very well-organized. Unfortunately, we cannot show you the step-by-step procedure on how to develop a website. The point that you have to understand is that your website is your business’ face in the virtual world. So it must contain all the necessary information about your business including the products that you sell or the services that you provide. What is very important is to keep it very organized. You have to think carefully about your domain name as this should reflect the image that you want other people to see and will come to expect from your online business. While there are plenty of free web-hosting platforms, it is a lot better if you get some of those that provide web hosting for a minimal fee where you can have your very own unique domain name. As much as possible a web designer and developer will have to be hired to help you with this.
  1. Having a website is just the beginning of your online journey. Since you own a small local business, you would want to create a Google Places account so you can list your small business online. This helps local searches narrow down their parameters so your business will show in the search results page every time someone searches within your locality.
  1. Make sure to list your business accurately on Google’s services particularly Google Places. Here, you need to fill up all the necessary information such as your business name, business address, your business website’s URL, phone numbers, and other pertinent information such as office hours or hours of operation. Make sure whatever you place here is the same as what you have in your website because Google will make a verification of your contact information before putting your business on a map listing.
  1. Encourage your loyal offline customers to visit your Google Places profile and ask them to leave honest reviews about your business particularly your products and/or services. This helps improve the credibility of your business especially when compared to other businesses without reviews.
  1. List your business in other local business websites such as Insider Pages, Yellow Pages, and Craigslist, just to name a few. Provide exactly the same business and contact information found in your website and on Google Places in order to leverage the more expansive reach of your online business.
  1. Keep on updating the content and quality of user interface of your website. Remember that fresh quality and relevant content is what your online customers would like to see. If you don’t have the time for the regular updating of your website, you can opt to hire a webmaster or even a copywriter instead.
  1. Customers will discover you not only through organic local searches. Like your traditional method of word of mouth marketing, you can use the same principles in online marketing. Here you need to create an account in at least the major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter just to name a few. The point is for you to create a social media page solely dedicated for your business. This becomes the platform where you can engage both your customers and your potential customers. The more followers you have, the greater is the chance of generating more customers. Just make sure the consistency of business information you are using across all digital platforms.
  1. If you are selling products, make sure to tie up with e-commerce sites so you can capitalize on their already-expansive network of loyal customers. This way your business will be recognized as well.
  1. There are plenty of online classifieds platforms like eBay and Craigslist as well as other classified ad websites.

These are just some of the simple things that you can do to get your business started on its online revolution. Of course, there is another more technical way of doing things including search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and even on-site optimization. The point is if you can do all of these simple things without your business operations suffering, then you don’t need to hire an SEO expert.

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