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Understanding the Online Advertising Needs of Local Business

small business open sign

Advertising and marketing have been around for much longer than you might think! This means, generally, the average person – and certainly the average business owner – is familiar with the basic process of advertising their goods, services, and labor.

What has changed since marketing’s year one, however, are the forms of media that potential customers watch, listen to, and read. Sellers and buyers must necessarily find each other in some common medium, and so the most popular forms of media during any given time are what will make the richest waters when fishing for new business, clients, and customers.

The internet

The exponential growth of the internet over the last 20 years has changed the advertising landscape unrecognizably, along with our general habits and financial behaviors. In those early pioneering days of the world wide web, and perhaps even as late as five years ago, only the largest companies, or those specializing in the tech industry, needed to worry about things like web presence, online reputation, and search engine optimization (SEO).

However, with the popularization of always-connected smartphones and the convenience of online shopping, booking, and reviewing, even small businesses can’t afford to go without an advertising and marketing strategy specifically for the internet. Word of mouth remains, and will always remain, greatly important, but more and more people rarely speak on the phone anymore, preferring to text or chat through their mobile devices. Additionally, the Yellow Pages, which were once a physical book you could search through, is now hosted online. Coming with this movement is a whole host factors, including making sure your company is listed with the correct address, phone number, and other information.

The importance of a well-built website

Understanding that an online presence is essential in the modern business environment leads us to consider how critical a well-designed and effective web page is to our marketing strategies. And though the ins and outs of page layout and graphic design can factor heavily into a potential customer’s likelihood of choosing your business, the dynamic nature of the search engine model makes getting those eyes to your webpage in the first place a sometimes difficult and confounding task. This is why SEO is just as important as web page design: web traffic is a combination of people knowing about your site and then wanting to visit it.

The three most popular and powerful search engines familiar to North American internet users are Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Personal preference determines which of these any person will use, but by far the biggest hitter is Google. Google’s success has always lain in its genius search strategy (their algorithm) in which the most popular websites are returned as the highest ranked results. Of course, Google’s exact mathematical algorithm is a strictly guarded trade secret, and is changed every day (or more often than that) so that clever advertising strategists and powerful analytical software programs cannot reverse engineer the formula and thereby gain an unfair advantage in the never-ending game of one-upmanship.

Why is the competition so fierce?

The reason is because SEO is so powerful as an advertising tool. Numerous studies have been conducted, throughout different countries and economic classes and age groups, which show us that, generally, the first three unsponsored results in a Google search are all that matter. Past that point, the searcher has either found the information or offer they were searching for or no longer trust the page or business ranked so lowly. This means if someone, maybe from the other side of the world, but maybe from the other side of town, is searching for a product you sell or a service you provide, you have about six inches of screen space and five seconds of thought-time to direct them to your webpage.

Google and other search engine providers routinely change their exact mathematical formulae to keep their results rankings dynamic. However, there are certain known and proven techniques that serve to push a certain web page higher up the list. One is content creation, where positive and targeted articles are written about what a business offers and are tailored to a certain customer base. Another is social media presence, which gets more people referencing the business or service, sharing those references, which in turn generates further web searches and even more references. Specialty firms exist catering to the many and varied needs of a business’ SEO goals.

All businesses from taco houses, to financial planning centers, to automobile maintenance shops need a properly designed web page and effectively managed SEO strategy in today’s world of online advertising. Business can only increase from this critical step, but the initial step must be taken.

If you’re ready to get started or want to learn more about how SEO and website design can improve the visibility of your business, give us a call today!