Evaluating the Presence of Your Business Online

Thu, Oct 4, 2012


Your business must have an online presence. These day’s there’s simply no two ways around this fact. While there are plenty of local businesses that are perfectly comfortable with their brick-and-mortar-bound presence, the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who adapt with the changing times, taking advantage of the rapidly-developing tools that can help you spread the word about your company as they develop right in front of our eyes. Even if your business is a simple, local shop — imagine the number of people you might not already be reaching, and how you can change that simply by giving yourself a more thorough online presence. Individuals are turning to the Internet to find the things they need more than ever before, and you can take advantage of this fact by leveraging your business’ online presence in the most effective ways possible.

Local search should be one of the foundations of your online presence. You’ll need a central hub to which everything is tied, and we’ll get to that in a minute. In terms of your extended online presence, however, local search is more important than it has ever been. Sites like Yelp! and CitySearch have been connecting people with the events, locations, and services that they need, and now even Google has jumped on the local search bandwagon with its impressively robust (and Zagat-partnered) Google Local web app. As such, it’s important to make sure that your business is listed on all of the main local search players, and that your listing is optimized in as many ways as possible, including as many keywords as you can fit in without sounding awkward.

Your local search should complement your social media profile, which is the main method by which you’ll communicate with your customers and clientele, both present and future. It’s important to remember the golden rule of your business’ social media presence — do not peddle yourself. If you want to run a successful social media campaign, it’s a good idea to follow the widely-respected rule of “70-20-10.” This means that about 70% of the content you share should be curated, which is to say it should be content from elsewhere that you’re sharing because it relates to, would entertain, or would be found useful by your audience. About 20% of your content should feature your business or brand in a more personal, off-the-record sense so your audience can truly connect with the individuals behind it. That final 10% is how much of your content should be actually devoted to advertising you explicitly.

All of these efforts should be giving your online visitors and readers a clear path back to your website, which is where your conversion will ostensibly take place. Look at your web design and make sure it’s doing everything it can be doing for your online presence. Make sure all of the most important information about your company — what you do and why you’re of value to your visitors — is all featured prominently above the fold (this refers to the space on a web page that’s visible before the visitor scrolls down at all), as well as your contact details. If it applies to your business, an information capture is perfect for your home page. Finally, have a look at your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. The foundation of this campaign should be the collection of keywords for which you’ve chosen to optimize your site. These keywords should be a combination of no-brainer words that would be used to describe your business, and what’s called “long tail” keywords, which require a bit more strategy, research, and forethought. These are the highly specific keyword phrases that might lead a customer to your site.

These easy items are a few great ways to start making sure your business’ online presence is exactly as it should be. In fact, almost all of these elements can be put in place completely for free, using many of the tools and resources that are already available. No matter what direction you choose, it’s never been easier to successfully leverage your business online.

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