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The Small Business Challenge of Blending SEO and Social Media

by Brian Rideout • September 11, 2015

SEO and Social MediaLike looking out of the window while riding on a train, the virtual landscape of SEO is ever changing. This reality has caused more than one small business owner to question what is real and what is not, when it comes to deciding how they should allocate their limited online advertising budgets. In order to cut through all of the noise made by social media and SEO promotion, we should look closely at the latest trends and statistics to see what really does work. The statistics demonstrate a reliable path to follow when advertising your business online.
 

First, a Little Refresher Course on SEO Terminology:

SEO - Search Engine Optimization - Think of Dragonfly wings; while they are almost invisible and difficult to see, their effect is unmistakable. Good SEO is like that, promoting quality website construction and frequently adding useful, interesting, and relevant content (on-site), while promoting quality connections with other high-value websites (off-site).  Done properly, this will improve your website's organic ranking and visibility on the Internet. At BANG! Web Site Design, we do not always know why a particular thing either works or does not work for SEO (Remember, Google doesn't reveal the "rules of the game"), but through diligence, networking and observation we know which "White-Hat" techniques do work - right now, and we promote the "Heck" out of them. 

On-Page SEO - The foundation of all successful SEO work is the actual construction of the website. I know many small business website owners who built their own websites. While cheap to build, these websites are ineffective, and always problematic to correct. When rescuing these poor misguided souls, we simply start over using a trusted website design format that is SEO proven.

Off-Page SEO -  Consider the dairy farmer. Every day without fail, he organizes the feeding and care of his livestock, while milking profits out of his business one drop at a time. Off-page SEO does essentially the same thing. Every day without fail, we must connect with other like-minded websites (Relevancy), we must constantly put our brand out in front of the public in a variety of forums and formats, not the least of which is social media.

SERPS - Search Engine Results Page - When you query a search engine, SERPS are the pages that come up. Page 1 of the SERPS is very expensive real estate, indeed. Businesses who have managed to position themselves  on page 1 of the organic results have invested thousands of dollars over time, not only in the design of their website, but in off-page activities as well.

Organic Results - Search engine results that are ranked by Google based upon a very complex mathematical formula. These results, by far, are the most sought after listings; especially on page 1 of the SERPS, because Google is essentially calling these listings the "Most Authoritative" for the keyword phrase searched. The paid ads on the SERPS, however, are usually businesses that have paid Google for their positioning. They are not necessarily the best results available and are often overlooked and rarely clicked by searchers.

Responsive Websites - These are websites, constructed to conform to any size screen, from desktop monitors, to cell phones. This was the latest emergency in SEO. Earlier in 2015, Google declared they would not reward websites in the search rankings that were unresponsive. Many business owners are completely unaware of this fact today. As a result, most non-responsive websites are losing ranking stature, and those businesses are bleeding potential customers.

Some Statistics to Show Us Our Path

1) 70 percent of U.S. households now use the Internet when shopping locally for products and services (The Kelsey Group; ConStat).

There is no question any longer - if you own a business and you want to succeed, you must be found on the Internet - easily. Your online marketing efforts can motivate 50% - 75% of your customer base.

2) 84 percent of people say that the biggest difference in small businesses between now and 5 years ago is the use of more online marketing tools (Constant Contact)

This is so true. In your mind, do not limit your perception of what an online marketing tool is. It can be software or hardware. In fact, an online marketing tool is anything that promotes your business, your website, or your website's ranking. An effective online marketing tool is one that brings more customers to your business.

3) 72% of marketers see the importance of online personalization but don't know how to incorporate it (Realities of Online Personalization)

Statistics 3, 4, and 5 are closely related.

4) 50 percent of small businesses have seen listings for their business that are not accurate (Constant Contact)

This is easily fixed if you know how and have access to the tools, and we do.

5) 60% of local businesses don't have their phone number on their website - BIA Kelsey

Directory Listings:
There are literally, hundreds of thousands of places on the Internet where information about you or your business may be found. Typically, these sites are known as directory sites. In the early days of SEO, websites were rank-rewarded based on the sheer number of other websites they were linked to. Many disreputable directories cloned their database from some other directory to get their start. If your website has been around for as little as 1 year, your website is most likely linked from another website that you may wish to avoid. 

Today the idea is to promote your business by listing only on directory sites that are relevant, and PR Rank 3 or higher (PR or Page Rank... Google's measure of a site's importance). We must show care that we do not associate with poor directory sites. At BANG! Web Site Design, we recommend that our clients evaluate their backlinks annually, and seek removal from any questionable websites immediately.

Social Media:
The increasing popularity of social media websites like, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even YouTube, have created a much more complex arena for SEO activity. For example, five years ago Google announced that websites linked to social media websites would be rank-rewarded as their "Likes" and "Follows" increased. Recently - this year, Google announced that they no longer used the number of connections you might have on a social media site to measure your website's search-ranking. 

Savvy businesses will move toward either hiring a media marketing specialist, or contracting their social media responsibilities with others who specialize social media marketing.

Best Advice:
Get your business website listed on as many social media sites as you can, but make sure that your information on each website is correct and up-to-date. At BANG! Web Site Design, we can help you with this. We can make sure that your listings are where they should be, and that they are consistent and accurate.

6) 70% of small business are using social media to improve their SEO (SEO.com)

I wonder how well social media is being used by these 70% of small businesses?  

Here's the bottom line: 
If your business is depending on a faulty website that gets no traction in the SERPS; or if your business is represented on websites like YouTube, or Facebook, but the information about your business is outdated; or if you belong to Facebook or Twitter and have not posted anything in weeks about your business, then you need our help. Feel free to contact us, and we will do all we can to help your website succeed and grow your business.

 

About the Author

Brian Rideout is the Chief Pixel Pusher of BANG! Web Site Design. A veteran in the industry (sounds better than saying he's old) he's been helping businesses succeed in the game of Internet Marketing since 1996.