American small business is the backbone of the nation’s economic success. There are tens of millions of small business owners across the United States, and they generate the bulk of new jobs each year and operate some of the most robust online presences of any industry. That’s because small business owners know that their operations are dependent on word of mouth diffusion across their potential client base — including the expansive presence of platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
With the internet serving such an integral role in the success or failure of today’s businesses, the importance of a killer website is obvious, right? This is true, but far too many entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of an intuitive outreach and design on their homepage.
Web presence mistakes
Millions of entrepreneurs are novices in the world of business, and even newer to the concept of creating a successful online presence to drive traffic to their startup. Because of this, many site owners sell themselves and their products as they would to a live audience.
As a small business, many visitors to your site will be unfamiliar with you or your product. Their first impression could be that your web presence is just a shameless plug for your business if you don’t focus on creating a user experience that visitors walk away happy with. The importance of a customer-focused approach to online sales and information cannot be overstated, especially for small business operations.
However, this isn’t the only pitfall of online stores and services. Many site managers create and launch a well-designed site, but they still don’t see the traffic they hoped for. This is likely due to a simple oversight in the content creation process: search engine optimization (or SEO for short). Anyone with a computer can draft a few paragraphs about themselves and their business, but often overlooked in the process is this critical addition. Simply put, most of us are unfamiliar with the crucial features of SEO.
Measuring your progress
SEO is the process through which a website increases its ranking in search engine results with few changes to the actual content within their pages. It’s not actually difficult to improve your hit rate, but it serves such an important role in your business’ success because it’s often overlooked as unnecessary, or forgotten about altogether. You don’t want to be on the third page of Google search results; you want to be at the top of the first page, and that’s what SEO is all about.
Your competitors are facing the same difficulties, so with a leg up, you can get a jump at the market of potential buyers or users before they even know that you have competition. This works because Google and other search engines use programs to find keywords appearing in searches. They then retrieve a list of results based on the likely relevancy to the original search parameters. By implementing a domain authority checker and upgrading the content of your library of pages, your page “rank” will jump up the list when a prospective client searches for something related to your business.
Domain authority is simply a ranking of the proximity of your page to what the searcher was likely looking for. So if a user looks up “swimming with the fishes”, they may see results for aquariums, local pets stores, and gangster movie suggestions. The selections pop out as fairly diverse, and this is because each of those pages is optimized for non-specific searches. Search engine users are often just browsing, and the likelihood that they will click on your page (even if it wasn’t their initial intention) is actually somewhat reasonable. However, that likelihood is zero without SEO functions in place.
Traffic drives business for smaller shops. If you are planning an online launch, make sure you remember this critical job before going online. Without SEO, you are doomed to a hard-fought uphill battle that can easily be avoided with simple foresight.