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Small Business Search Engine Optimization 101

Operating a small business is one of the toughest experiences ever. Research indicates that many small enterprises don’t even pass the one year mark before they disintegrate, while many others fail before the elapse of five years. This doesn’t mean that prominent businesses don’t fail too, they also face the same predicament if they fail to recognize and adapt to the ever-changing environment.

Among the most daunting tasks in business is marketing, to a great extent digital marketing. More so, the new wave of SEO has proved to be a nightmare to many enterprises. Despite being a mystery to many, when expertly executed, it can provide any business with a competitive edge by helping to generate organic listings that will allow you to build trust with customers.

This piece seeks to expound on how SEO can be used in the marketing of small businesses. Using the in-depth knowledge and expertise we have gained in this field, we will provide essential skills and information you will require when deciding whether to integrate an SEO strategy into your business model.

Since there are vast resources on the internet with conflicting information on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I know you have a myriad of questions running through your mind right now. Maybe you want to know if SEO is copywriting, keyword research, link building or SEO market research. Is it all about having an optimized website, creating a positive image, optimizing your website for mobile phones or the use of sophisticated analytics and marketing via search engines?

Pretty much, SEO is a more complicated and rounded field than you anticipate, and it involves all the above and more. Since there are many types of SEO and a broad range of factors that need to be put into consideration, it is imperative for a business owner to consult an SEO expert to understand which type will correctly align with their business. Among the things to be factored in include the industry, the niche, and the SEO SWOT analysis.

When a user writes something on the search engine, it directs them to the best answers on the internet. For your small business to have a competitive edge on this platform, you need to do whatever you can to ensure that it is highly ranked on the search engine, and then ascertain that it is not only visible to prospective customers but also offers useful information that will help them in decision making. If the resources you provide are exceptional, you will not only attract more prospects but also convert a great deal of them to long-term customers.

Here are some of the SEO aspects to consider for your small business:

  • Create a well laid out site that is easily navigable and mobile optimized.
  • Once you have a functional website, it should have expertly written content that sets you apart from the rest.
  • You should also market the content. Blogs are the best in content marketing since they offer detailed information and reach a broad spectrum.
  • On-page optimization is also essential. Use meta descriptions and title pages to make your site exceptional.
  • Integrate local SEO practices to build trust with local customers.
  • Add links to your site in a practice that is known as authority building.
  • Attach portfolios, referrals, case studies and testimonials to speak to your credibility

Considering the complexity of SEO, it is essential to understand the market situation before you make a decision. Unfortunately, the fact that you are operating a small business makes it difficult to shun complications. This leaves the most critical areas to consider as the website design and layout, links, and content.

When is the right time to use SEO in a small business?

In the modern age and era, most of the people are buying products and services online, and those that don’t conduct thorough research on the internet before they buy something from a physical location. Since SEO is what elevates your visibility on the web, it is a perfect means of marketing your business at any stage.

However, there are various items you should put into consideration.

  • Budget – SEO can range from simple affordable practices to complex elements that can cost a fortune, so make sure you operate within your means. 
  • Time – Sometimes SEO strategies may require a more extended period to yield noticeable results. 
  • Disruptive ads – Some ads are a nuisance, and they may take much of the screen space or keep popping up on top of your content. 
  • Competition – Since you are operating in a free market, you will come across stiff competition from prominent businesses that have extended financial muscles that can send you to oblivion.

We all agree that SEO is an integral part of your online marketing strategy. However, it should not be the only tactic used primarily for a business that needs immediate results. Take time and evaluate whether you have the capital to delve into it right now, or maybe you need to use other techniques that deliver fast results such as PPC advertising, and then come back to SEO later.

What to consider when selecting an SEO provider

With thousands of companies and agencies on the internet claiming to be the best in this field, finding the right SEO provider requires some due diligence on your part. You can start by checking out satisfied customer reviews, and then dig deep into knowing the owner of the agency, its consultants, and their reputation in the industry.

Here are tips that will help you get the best SEO provider

  • Find out the type of strategy the SEO Company at hand utilizes. Among the things that should be in their basket include on-page optimization, technical audits and corrections, mobile optimization, authority and link building, and content optimization among others. If they fail to mention any of this, please move on to the next one.
  • Seek to know their area of specialty when it comes to SEO. The black-box nature of SEO makes it have several categories that include Content, Local, Technical, National, and Links and Authority. The agency you select should deal with a plethora of SEO elements, not just one area.
  • What specific tasks will be given undivided attention and for how long? Will the SEO Company take one month or a year in content creation, link building, and technical audit and fixes or spend five years performing all aspects of enhancing your business’ online visibility.
  • How will they build links and authority for your site? Do some digging to determine if the company at hand uses links that are considered standard and acceptable by Google and not some exaggerated schemes that may cost your business. Usually, natural links and created content, as well as guest posts and digital PR are pointers of a competent firm.
  • Find out if their strategies and techniques adhere and meet the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This is one of the things that help business owners separate the chaff from the grains. Reputable agencies will be glad to show you how their processes align with the Webmaster guidelines but unqualified schemers will try to escape this part.
  • Look for supporting reviews and ask for testimonials of the businesses they have worked with before. If they have worked with other companies from your industry, you can trust that they will help you achieve your SEO marketing goals
  • Establish the measures they use to gauge their success. The company needs to explain to you how they will determine if their strategy is working. While a small business may not have much to show, things like keyword ranking and the total organic search traffic are paramount in evaluating the progress of the SEO marketing strategy.
  • Seek to know how they charge their services. Is it through contracts or monthly plans? Make sure you take the minimum term so that you can opt out if the results are not favorable or when you realize that you are dealing with a low-quality provider.
  • Companies and agencies that provide progress reports are the best. While it might cost you an extra buck, having monthly reports will help you see the gradual change and understand how each task affects your business.
  • When you will be able to see substantial results. Is it three months or six months or longer?

Can SEO be a DIY marketing strategy?

Yes! Much of SEO can be done by any dedicated person. If you are operating a professional website, you must have touched a part SEO, even if it was unknowingly. Small business owners who wish to do SEO by themselves can access the myriad of resources on the internet.

Need Help with Your Small Business Search Engine Optimization?  92 West can Help!  Call us at 402.620.2633 or by clicking to request a quote.  We’ll be happy to assist and most of our programs run from $375 – $750 a month for local campaigns.

Omaha Web Design

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Red One Insurance Responsive Website Redesign Launched!

A long time client, Red One Insurance, needed a website update to incorporate modernize their online brand and bring in a responsive site to comply with the needs of Google’s mobile first approach to search. 92 West was happy to assist with an updated interface and simplified approach to the layout; making the user first.  

Our goal with all sites is to make it easy to contact and purchase services which is why we take great efforts to get the various points of contact front and center (while not sacrificing design).  Our process is proven and the results from the launch truly verify our thought processes in lead generation.

Please visit https://www.redoneinsurance.com for your insurance needs.

Omaha Web Design

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Modern Website Design Elements and Trends

Modern trends for Website Design

This year we’ve seen a number of trends come into play and we’ve taken a moment to look at some of the more impactful elements that can assist you and your team with your web design / development projects.

Semi-Flat Design

3D is still one of the common trends when it comes to modern web design. It creates shadows that are supposed to be more attractive. However, the latest trends show that people are switching back to a semi-flat design and a good example is Apple in 2013.

Why is it beneficial?

Flat and semi-flat designs assist a visitor to understand your goal or message much faster. This is because there are minimal distractions from the design itself and other things such as shadows. It also requires lesser space and loads much faster. This is critical to the modern consumer who seems to have less time to deeply peruse a website and its contents.

Large and Receptive Hero Images

Generally, websites focused on social buttons and CTA. The key here is that we want to focus on the 3 – 5 items that make the site useful / profitable.  Eliminating the slider and giving the user 1 key visual with “Easy Buttons” to get them were they need to go is the best for lead generation.

Why is it beneficial?

Gone is the time when the customer accessed the website via the desktop PC. Nowadays, the will visit it via tablets, smartphones, laptops, netbook and much more. And since images play a critical role, it is becoming more effective to use an image as the main medium for its visual effects.

You should also make certain the images are receptive for the best user experience. Users should still get the same message whether looking at product or background images.

Large and Exclusive Typography

More and more companies are realizing that moving away from the fonts they normally use and embracing larger ones is having a positive impact. It is also becoming common for the websites to feature a unique font, which makes it more noticeable and stand out from the crowd. A good example is The New Yorker, which switched to Adobe Caslon Pro. Be Bold. Say what you need in 5 – 7 words for any headline and you’ll be in good shape.

Why is it beneficial?

Typography is what guides a user across the website, on the different pages. It normally has the same design and visitors and users will definitely notice it. 

The kind of typography you use tells the user who you are and what you aim to offer. Is it information, entertainment, or functionality? Are you laidback or serious? Is the site formal or informal? Answers to such questions will be found in the typography.

It is essential to pick fonts that are compatible with common computers and browsers to avoid awkwardness.

Background Videos

Incorporating videos in the background adds a lot of value and page on the page without taking too much space. By automatically playing in the background, it will be able to tell a story or explain why your business is all about.

Why is it beneficial?

Background videos aim to attract customers in the shortest time possible. Unlike texts, which require a customer to read the contents before actually understanding what you are up to, and background videos will catch their attention from the word go. 

Studies show that our brains process videos up to 60,000 times faster than text. This means that a good one can be equated to a single line of text. It is also known that people do not like long or blocks of texts and many will move to the next page before finishing reading.

Giant Product Images

If you gave closely looked at B2B websites, you have probably noticed that they are displaying giant product images instead of the smaller ones. In so doing, they are able to highlight the most important features of the product. You can easily zoom in on a specific point without leaving the page.

Why is it beneficial?

A large product image assists a designer to focus on the main areas of concern. This means that fewer pages or space will be needs to further explain a product. Also, a consumer doesn’t need to leave the page for better understanding.

Another advantage is that it minimizes the text on the page and thus reducing the clutter. A prospective consumer simply needs to scroll the mouse or touchpad at different points to fully understand the product. And since it’s bigger, then he/she can get the fine details.

Hamburger/Hidden Menus

One of the trends in many website designs is to feature a long menu on its page. This allows you to easily and quickly find what you need. However, this design takes up quite a substantial amount of screen space that would have otherwise been used for something more valuable.

A better alternative is using the hamburger, also known as a hidden menu. It is referred to as “hamburger” because of the 3-line stacking that resembles a hamburger. This can be seen in Google Chrome, where it lists the contents on the right side of the page

Why is it beneficial?

It creates a clear and direct path to the contents and thus saving the visitor valuable time. It also requires little screen pace which allows you to place more valuable space. By getting rid of the busy navigation, the user experience becomes better.

Card Design

The popularity of cards in B2B and B2C websites has risen thanks to the growth of Pinterest. The fascination surrounding cards is forcing marketing and designers to incorporate them into a website as part of reaching the masses. The individual cards not only make the website more appealing but also help to disseminate the information faster. This is because they offer bite-sized information, which is easier to consume.

By splitting the contents into small bits and laying it individually, a consumer is able to identify what suits him/her best and focus on a particular section. This strategy also helps to make the website less cluttered and saving space.

Why is it beneficial?

Cards deliver information in a clearer and better manner in comparison to other formats. This is due to the limited information and the appealing nature. Designing individual cards is also easier and this helps to focus on a specific goal. Nevertheless, you should make certain the cards are responsive and they accordingly adapt to the website or design.

Short Feature/Product Videos

Truth is that many people prefer watching videos to reading texts. Data from the Inc. magazine indicates that 92% of customers in B2B and 43% of the B2C customers prefer watching online videos to other methods. They do so to research a particular product or service. With such information, it makes senses to include more videos on the website to take advantage of the growing market.

The companies use features videos, product videos as well as background videos in the modern web design. And since they are very short, a consumer will more than likely watch all of it.

Why is it beneficial?

Human beings love visual contents and will prefer videos to blocks of text. The short videos are a few minutes long and the likelihood of a consumer not watching the entire video because of its length is unlikely. Although brief, the videos do a great job of summarizing the contents.

Need Help with Your WordPress or ExpressionEngine Site?  

92 West can assist in a custom or theme based approach for any WordPress / ExpressionEngine development project. Please call us at 402.620.CODE or click to request a quote today!

At 92 West we help business with brand and create commerce with culture!

Omaha Web Design

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Branding is the Convergence of Language and Intent

At 92 West one of our core focuses is on the
convergence of language and brand. If you are looking for a proven partner to help guide you through the waters of branding your firm then we would be happy to talk on your goals and what problems you are facing with your existing identity.

Need more information on what branding is? Great!

With brand development we key on multiple angles of approach, but really it boils down to six key aspects.

  1. Naming
  2. Strategy & Story
  3. Copywriting
  4. Brand Messaging
  5. Brand Voice
  6. Taglines

Naming. It’s a must to get it right the first time.

Why does a name matter?

Your brand name lies at the center of everything your business entails which is why it’s important that you get it right from the onset. This is how others identify with your firm or perhaps you personally. Frankly, you don’t want to get into a situation where you’re forced to change it later as this can pose quite a significant challenge to your business and how customers perceive you.

At
92 West, we help you in all types of brand name development including naming companies, events, services, campaigns and more. This has seen us get involved in naming numerous brands for nearly all sectors in different parts of the nation.

Below are the seven key steps we follow in our naming – although we are often flexible and can thus alter the process depending on particular client’s needs.

Branding Brief

This involves getting some basic info and materials needed from the client as regards to what we’re naming.

Discovery

We conduct competition analysis, craft a naming strategy before getting down to brainstorming.

Discuss and Verify

Here, we get back to the client and share with them our findings and the strategy we aim to adopt going forward. This helps to ensure that we’re on the same page.

Brand Development

At this stage, we unleash our creative magic. With this, we’re able to generate lots of names to choose from.

Screening

Once we’ve compiled a list of possible names, we screen them for linguistic viability, URL availability, as well as trademarks.

Present

We formally present all the viable names while also explaining how each can be used optimally.

Finalize

Finally, we let you make the final decision. Still, we’re available anytime you need our counsel.

Keeping your Options Open

We’ve always aimed to remain as flexible as possible which is why we are able to fit most budgets, projects, and timing. With that in mind we offer a variety of services including linguistic disaster checks, culture acceptability evaluations among others and can connect you with the appropriate parties to do global trademark screening . This way, we’re able to help you step into the market with the strongest brand possible.

Strategies and Stories

At
92 West, we’re of the opinion that your brand’s essence entails your worldview, personality, promise, and values.

Crafting Your Story

Having challenges relaying your message to the world? You’re not alone. Luckily, we’re here to help you.

Our objective is to uncover your core strengths and use your vision for your business to help you create a robust strategy that caters for all key aspects of your brand.

We’ll assist you tell it like it is…

Let’s face it. We all love engaging stories. Indeed, most of today’s cultures have been shaped by stories told thousands of years ago and passed down through generations. In the business environment, it is the unique stories brands give that help to differentiate them from their competitors.

Ours, therefore, is to guide you in strategically developing interactive stories that engage your audience, capture their hearts and communicate who you really are; thus why your brand matters.

Brand Copywriting

Let us guide you in crafting the right message, in the tone / voice, to the right target audience and at the right time.

Our Approach to Copywriting — The Road to Home

We intend to tell stories that easily engage your target audience while also defining your brand. Engaging your audience. Telling them why they should believe in you and how you differentiate yourself from the competition.

Our love for copy is why we’ve brought together a formattable team of talented writers to help you dig deep; getting to the bottom of what your communications need to be successful. Our intent is to craft words that work; polished content, story driven… content that works for your business, your website and beyond.

Helping you Achieve your Communications Objectives: How do we get there?

First, we help you formulate guiding principles to follow when building your brand and connecting with your audience. This way, you’re able to learn what really makes you tick and also understand how to make your audience choose you over the competition.

Together, we’ll unearth all your communication needs and ultimately assist you create a clear message that your audience loves.

Brand Messaging

What matters is whether your brand is able to send a message that your unique audience can relate to.

Your brand communicates to different stakeholders each day including the media, employees, and most importantly the consumers. However, you’ll hardly find a one-suit-all message for all these entities. Indeed, messaging is about finding a suitable language that engages a specific audience and ultimately remaining relevant to their unique needs.

At
92 West, we believe in helping you develop a compelling messaging strategy that aligns perfectly with your core brand values while also resonating seamlessly with your target audiences. We achieve this through organizing workshops and discussions with you as well as providing you with the right tools that enable your company communicate meaningfully across all of the key channels.

Brand Voice

How effective is your brand’s tone in capturing its unique essence and your audience attention?

Want to attract customers to your brand? Mind the voice of your brand. As such, set strategic brand voice guidelines which help you communicate in an easily recognizable tone across various channels of communication that you use.

Think of it like this… if messaging is what you say, your voice is HOW YOU SAY IT (all caps means something… it might not be right… but it’s a clear example). Is your brand warm? Clever? Cutting Edge? Calm? The way we speak often determines perception. This is true with brand communication as well; consistent tone across all points of contact.

At
92 West, we help you define how your brand speaks to your audience by creating a distinctive brand voice while that leverages a sound strategy with proven tactics; bringing your voice to life. Our ultimate goal is to enable both your internal teams and the external partners speak in one recognizable tone across all brand channels.

Taglines

How about we capture your brand’s entire story in less than four words that wow?

Looking for a tagline or slogan that consumers can easily memorize and relate to your business any time they hear it? We can assist you craft this incredibly powerful tool. With it, you’ll be able to express your vision, position your brand, or even describe what your audience can expect from your business in the fewest possible words.

Delivering Above the Obvious

Considering that each tagline project is unique in its own way, we’ve learned to always start with an open mind. In fact, for tagline development, we follow a 7-step development approach (another article for another day) that mirrors our naming process as described earlier. However, we can still tailor this process so that it fits your unique needs.

I hope this was informative and helped give shape to the overarching process that is brand development.

Now my pitch (you knew it was coming right smile)

Looking for a reputable branding partner? Check out how we can help you meet your goals by developing an approach that works with your brand and speaks the language that drives home the message that you are great and are worth action.

Give us a shout at 402.620.2633 or fill out a quick form to
request pricing and set-up a meeting. Truly to hone your message we need to understand your branding problems which will drive questions and deliver the solution.

Omaha Web Design