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Stephen Logan

Why Small Businesses with Big Online Aspirations Need SEO and Pragmatism

7th Jan 2011 SEO 3 minutes to read

If you’re a small or brand new company, there’s a fair chance that you won’t have the presence of some of your larger, more established competitors. This is as true in the real world as it is online, with the only real solutions being effective marketing and biding your time.

Results don’t happen instantly. If you opened a store on a high street without any fanfare, most would pass it by in complete ignorance. Occasional visits do not a reputation make; that is unless you offer something exceptional or that is unavailable elsewhere. But over reliance on word of mouth or repeat visits could leave you in success/failure limbo – or, more simply put, anonymity.

The same is true online. You can’t have a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. You have to be proactive and put all your effort into developing a website that is first and foremost designed with customers in mind, but also optimised for search engines.  This will take time and considerable effort.

Long-Term Marketing Investment

But if you’re determined to rise to the top in your industry, a little elbow grease and investment should be expected. Remember that you will be starting with a huge disadvantage, in so far as your competitors will have spent months, if not years building their website and developing its SEO strength. Therefore rankings for primary keywords won’t be easy to come by.

Taking this back a step for a moment, SEO has been one of the foremost online marketing methods ever since search engines began ranking sites on relevance. Google can provide you with high volumes of targeted traffic.  PPC and social media are more than able running mates, but to build regular traffic for a website decent rankings are a must.

But SEO isn’t just about flicking a switch and you’re top. You can’t buy your way to the number one position either. Rankings are achieved through continued development of a site and adherence with the rules set out by the search engines. It requires effective copywriting, link building and website development skills to really succeed – which is where many fail.

No Quick Fix

Modern business owners don’t generally have all these skills. Yes, they might be able to put together some reasonable content, secure a couple of links and develop a simple site framework, but more often than not, it won’t be enough. This is why the vast majority turn to individuals or expert SEO companies to manage their site’s optimisation. Unfortunately, assuming that you have chosen a reputable agency, this won’t be the end of your work though.

It would be a dangerous thing indeed to simply assume that professional SEO services are your ticket to instant success and you can sit back and watch the site’s rankings rise majestically. As the foremost expert in of the business, your input will be required throughout. Whether it’s just to sign off documents or implement changes, participation and parallel efforts will be required.

Don’t expect instant results either. It can take months for content and links to be indexed fully, which means that the changes you’ve made won’t instantly impact rankings. This can be frustrating, but unfortunately frustration is a part of the SEO process, which is why being realistic and even pragmatic can be a huge advantage.

You can look to develop your social media profile by signing up for Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook and do a little paid advertising on PPC at the same time if you have the resources, but never write-off SEO. Whilst some of the practices used might have their critics, effective implementation of site-wide optimisation will invariably have results – if not immediately, certainly in the long-term.

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