If you’re a small business owner who’s looking to maximize your online presence in 2012, then you should be aware that search and discovery for small businesses is increasing in importance to create a consistently profitable business. And to sustain success, or become successful, via the World Wide Web, a small business will need to focus on the following trends for 2012 in way of search, discovery and optimization:
#1: Diversity of traffic. Google continues to run strong as it dominates online search. However, it’s ever changing. Thus this dominance that Google has is both good and bad for small business. If your business is too dominant on Google, and they make a change that impacts your traffic significantly, it could really hurt your business; such was the case for many businesses when Google made significant changes to their search algorithms back in February of 2011, a change that’s known as Google Panda. Thus, a business must create multiple traffic sources and diversify to mitigate any damage that such changes can create in way of lead generation and conversions.
#2: Authority is most important. Businesses need to have a strategy to get more links from more high authority sites to build their own website’s authority. This will protect a business from the changes with search engines mentioned in #1 above. Make sure you take advantage of Google Authorship and create a Google and Google + Profile, and then link your Google authorship to your online content. In addition, focus on high ranking sites to post articles and blogs to.
#3: Panda is all about “the page”. Panda is geared towards the promotion of quality websites, so be sure you have great content that’s relevant and is updated and changed frequently.
#4: Active blogs bring results. Research proves that an active blog is the most productive way to drive SEO for a website. Have one yesterday if you don’t already.
#5: Location is important. Location search is becoming as important as information search. Make sure you leverage your physical location and geo location metadata in media like pics, videos, social media, and any content or sites where it’s possible to do so.
#6: Short tail keywords are being squeezed by more paid ads. Google is redesigning pages, especially for popular long tail keywords, that push natural search results to the bottom of a Search Engine Result Page, or even to the second page, etc. Long tail is going to become more important for natural search, so create a keyword strategy geared towards this.
#7: Social/Web 2.0 and Search need to work together. To get more long tail phrases working (ranking), use a strategy that links social media content with targeted keywords and URLs. Have a great content strategy around long tail keywords, and use social/Web 2.0 sites as link leverage and content pumps.
#8: Mobile Search. Google treats mobile search with more trust, not to mention more and more users are using mobile devices to research businesses online. Be sure to optimize your website for mobile search and viewing.
#9: Google privacy will limit Google Analytics for some of your keywords. Due to this, some industry verticals may need to buy PPC to mirror keywords to get data and create a conversion funnel.
Taking all of this into consideration, the savvy business owner will focus on search and discovery to boost their online business, and can take action today by:
- Implementing a content strategy with a vengeance
- Implementing a keyword strategy that’s coupled with the content strategy
- Creating a mobile friendly website
- Always integrating their Web 2.0 presence and social media sites with their business website.
And if it all seems a bit overwhelming, then hire a professional to help you. It could be vital to your business’ heartbeat in 2012, and will be worth every penny.