Great- so you made the investment of having an online presence. And if you worked some search engine optimization (SEO) into your site, then you are at least on the way to being seen. But now what? I often hear people wonder about why their Google ratings were high for awhile and then are starting to slip or why they aren’t immediately on page one of searches right when they launch a new website.
I am not an SEO company and do not specialize in SEO nor am I Google or Yahoo and know the most current algorithms that search engines are using. However, I do know that having a website and promoting it is not a one-time event, it is a process. That is why there are SEO companies and advertising firms that specialize in making your website seen.
If you are on a budget and cannot afford to hire one of these firms, there are some things you can do yourself to try to get your website noticed by not only the search engines, but your target market as well.
Standard Marketing Materials:
Be sure that your new website and email address are all over your printed marketing materials and products. Then, be sure that you draw a focus to it when you are handing it out. Example: “Here’s my card with my website address on it. We just launched it so please take a moment to visit it.” Make a list of where you think your printed materials will be seen and replenish those areas on a weekly basis. Think about driving people to the website to find a coupon code. If you have a product, be sure to make a label that includes your website.
Social networking has become one of the most powerful tools of business these days. It helps you establish a core fan base who has decided that yes, they want to hear about your updates. The best way to utilize social networking is to 1.) determine how much time you want to dedicate to it each week once it is set up and running, 2.) decide which social network(s) your target market is using and 3.) start creating relative posts that regularly link back to your site with info that is either interesting or helpful to your audience.
Blogging is a great way to have a regular online presence to report updates, new products, changes, events, or useful information. It is also a great way for people to keep you in mind: “In sight, in mind.” Writing and posting useful information weekly (or daily for some businesses) keeps people thinking of you. Once you have a blog, you can then promote the posts on your social networks. But if you are trying to drive traffic back to your website, then spending the extra money and integrate a blog into your site makes the most financial sense. It gets people coming to your site AND has you making weekly (or daily) changes therefore can eventually help your rankings.
Your Power Team:
Think of your power team (I am borrowing this term from Business Networking International (BNI). Your power team is a group of people that you can promote and in turn, they will promote you or use your services. For instance, if you are a general contractor, your power team could consist of a realtor, an interior decorator, and all of your subcontractors. If you are an alternative health practitioner, your power team could consist of a masseuse, a physical therapist, chiropractor, etc. You figure out who you can promote and soon, you have that whole team promoting you. Provide them with business cards and your website information that they can easily give to prospective clients.
Reciprocal Links and Posts:
Now that you have a power team, link to them from your website and have them link to your website. The more valid links you have back to your site can also help your ratings.
Once you launch your website, tell the world. Write a press release and send it to the local papers or industry journals, especially if your site is going to have regular, useful information on it.
Have a contest or offer a promotional code only through your website. Promote this through your other marketing materials.
These are just a handful of suggestions. There are literally thousands of ways to self-promote your site. But it takes just that: promotion. Just having a website up will not attract the crowd that you are hoping to attract, (that is, unless your business is so obscure that you don’t have any competitors). So figure out your budget and time you want to put into it and make a plan. Either hire someone to help you so it gets done on a regular basis or work it into your weekly schedule.