5 Ways to Make Sure Your Business Web Site is Ready

Universal Search is Coming to your Home Business Web Site
By Caroline Melberg

Just when you think you’ve come to understand search engine optimization (SEO) for your small business web site, a new term crops up and leaves you scrambling to figure out your next step. When it comes to small business SEO, the new term that has begun to creep into the vocabulary is “universal search.” To understand universal search and what it means for your business, let’s take a look at how search engines work.

Currently, most search engines operate on the basis of vertical search. This means that when someone is searching for news content, their search will be conducted within sites that have been indexed as news sites; when someone is searching for product reviews, the search will be conducted using sites that have been classified as retail sites, product reviews sites, or consumer reports sites.

Universal search will change all of that. Rather than searching only within a specific category for information, universal search will look for content across a broader spectrum. Rather than searching blogs for the specified content, universal searches will scan blogs, videos, news, and even catalogs for relevant information.

If you have already taken small business SEO tips and techniques and implemented them into your web site based on the vertical search model, this does not mean that all of your efforts have been in vain. Small business web sites that have been optimized for vertical search will still be included in the search results; however, you may find that as universal search becomes more common, your site rankings may drop a bit.
There are a few things that you can do, however, to ensure that your small business SEO is ready to meet the challenges of universal search.

Don’t Skip the Basics
First of all, remember that keywords and phrases are still extremely important, as are meta tags, descriptions, keyword rich title tags, and quality in-bound links. Provide clear links to all your content throughout your site, particularly from your home page and to new pages as you add them. Just because there’s a new technology on the block doesn’t mean that you can skip basic SEO for your site.

Add a Blog
No longer is a blog simply on online diary that anyone can read; soon a blog will be essential for small business SEO and online marketing. With a small business blog, you will be able to delve into information about individual products or services that your company offers, to answer questions and to form a relationship with your clients. As an added advantage to small business SEO before universal search is widely implemented, you will find that adding fresh content to your web site on a regular basis will also increase your current page ranking.

Include More Images and Videos
With article marketing as a key to web site promotion, with a focus on words and information as content, many small business web sites have been designed around providing information. With universal search, however, the videos that you use on your small business web site, along with photographs and other images that are relevant to the products and services that you offer, will also help to draw additional web traffic.

Submit Press Releases
Get your news releases into Google News and Yahoo News, as well as the variety of Press Release directories available online. If not currently doing press releases, start now! It’s one more way to add tons of quality, relevant in-bound links to your site — and maybe grab some PR coverage, too!

Add Location Specific Info 
Include specific information on your small business web site that is relevant to your location as well as your services. This is particularly relevant if your small business operates in a brick and mortar location as well as online; as universal search takes off, more and more people will look to find businesses that are near another location.

In other words, in order to take your small business SEO to the next level and to prepare yourself for universal search, one of the best things that you can do is to remember the basics, and then add new content — in a variety of types — to your site. You’ll see the benefits now – and in the future, too! HBM<

Entrepreneur and outdoor photography adventurer Caroline Melberg is President and CEO of Small Business Mavericks, a division of Melberg Marketing. She has over 20 years of experience creating marketing communications materials and writing copy for some of the largest and most successful companies in the world, and she’s a leading expert on Internet Marketing for small businesses. Her small business columns are syndicated online, and she publishes the award-winning weekly ezine, “Small Business Maverick Secrets.” To learn more about Search Engine Optimization for your small business web site, visit her at http://www.SmallBusinessMavericks.com today!

V15-3 Add: 07/09  HP: ? CAR: 3/14/11

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