Small business owners going online need to consider just how local their keywords need to be when creating their content. If I was a business owner who had a brick and mortar location, with items for sale to the public, I would be including all kinds of local terms in as much content as possible, to drive new traffic to the location, and to find clients willing to support local business, even online. When I personally search online for a product, I not only look for the best price, the best guarantee, and if the product is in stock, but I also check to see how close the business is to my location. I like to support local business, (and online local to me is within the state). It is better for our local economy, and that makes sense to me. (Sorry, you can’t take the Economics degree out of my thought processes). I am sure there are others who think like this, and if there isn’t, there should be…
If I were only an online business, and my sales were not at least partially reliant on customers dropping by the shop. I would first spend most my content creation time on the product lines, each product individually, the business, the history, vision, etc. Being very careful to use all possible keywords I think searchers might use to find my business within this content. Unfortunately there is still a degree of distrust when dealing online, there are a lot of scammers out there, and most of us kind of want to get the product we pay for, so a cautious evaluation process is a good idea. By spending some time to write thoughtfully about your business, the history, your goals, your vision, you can humanize your online business and put others at ease. If you can get them to take ownership in your business pursuit and feel like they are contributing to it, then you are a step closer to the sell. I love to read customer reviews of sites and stores, many do, so a small business owner needs to create and manage their online reputation. One great way to get started is to sign up for LeaveFeedback.org. LeaveFeedback.org was created by my partner, Michael Jensen, to help small businesses build and grow their online feedback. Once you have established yourself as a trustworthy online business, more qualified buyers will feel comfortable buying from you when they find you. In fact even businesses looking to improve their local traffic should sign up for LeaveFeedback.org, I read about local businesses too, before I will take the time to drive over there and check them out.
Once a local-centric or an online-centric business has established themselves with some good solid content, then they can branch out and become more creative with their content creation. Dabble with video, attempt to use more interesting keywords, try some Pay-Per-Click, I even have seen some online business using local keywords outside their geographical area in an attempt to hijack local business traffic,. This is a perfectly legal practice, and I guess could bring a few extra clients, as long as you have taken careful steps to establish your business as trustworthy and reliable online. But I must say this sort of online marketing kind of ticks me off, as does much of the black hat SEO tricks discussed at SMX Advanced. When I search, I just want to find what I am looking for, I don’t want to come across some spammed out site just trying to slime any traffic possible. Some use their despicable, silly tricks to get a higher ranking. When folks use tricks to game the search engines, they are just making the rest of us suffer for very greedy and selfish reasons. I have talked about this spamming mess in the past… My opinion, just run a good business, satisfy your clients, sell good products, and have your site reflect your values and you will do well online, just as you can in the real world. Don’t buy the hype that some whiz-kid has a few SEO tricks up his sleeve, and for a few bucks he can take a site to online Nirvana, its crap.
The differences between content for a local/online and only online business are subtle, but important. Those business looking for local traffic, need to add local keywords. Those firms that are solely online really don’t. But in all cases, make sure the content is unique, a good read, and sincere and good things will happen. Shoppers prefer businesses which care enough to communicate a message and take the time to address potential concerns, if our sites do this, we will be in good shape.