The best tool, in my humble opinion, doesn’t involve technology at all. It’s as simple as a pen and paper. Put a notepad and pen next to every phone in your office. Ask every member of your team who answers the phone or speaks to customers to listen very closely to the terms your callers use. Have them write those words down—each of them is a golden keyword straight from the horse’s mouth. Listen even closer to the people calling who aren’t yet clients—you know, the individuals who need a quote for an upcoming project, “Do you guys do fancy cards with raised lettering?” (139,000 results on Google). By the way, don’t use the term thermography as a keyword.
How Can I Help People Find Me?
Now that you understand a bit about the importance of keywords and you know the best keywords to use in your business, you need to put them to work. You are going to use keywords in every form of communication you use with your customers. We’re talking email, direct mail, signage, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your blog, your daily conversation, the Yellow Pages (do people still use phonebooks?), and—the most important marketing tool of all—your company website.
If any of the following suggestions sound too complicated to perform, and especially if your provider is not suggesting or, at the very least, asking you for this information, then you might shop around for a different provider. You and I don’t have time to learn a bunch of technical stuff. Good, reasonable consulting is out there.
So, back to keywords and how to incorporate them into your website. Where to start on the website, your title tags. Title tags are the words that appear in the clickable link on the search engine results page. Title tags are not only read by searchers and webpage visitors, they also carry a lot of weight when it comes to search rankings. An example of a title tag is to include your company name, type of business, and location: Abc123PrintersDallas.
Use keywords in text, especially on your homepage. If the first words of your page are “welcome” or “save money,” it’s time for an update. Your company name should be among the first words written on your homepage. Here’s a good rule of thumb: Use at least three keywords in at least three areas on your homepage. Once you’ve accomplished that foundation, begin incorporating keywords into the rest of your pages. FYI, phone numbers are keywords. So are misspellings of your company name or variations on your company name, such as shortened versions, abbreviations, and nicknames.
Forge the Links
The last technique we’ll talk about that can help increase online traffic to your company is building links to your website. These links appear on other websites that have a connection to your company.
Get started by submitting your website to online directories, such as dir.yahoo.com and www.botw.com. Next, add links (on your website) to associations that you belong to, such as your local chamber of commerce and the Better Business Bureau. Also, add links to organizations which you sponsor, make donations to, or volunteer your time or services. Finally, don’t ever pay to have your link added to a webpage. You’ll only be buying your way onto a list of links that nobody ever uses.
Search engine optimization sounds intimidating at first. As it turns out, SEO is a way for your company to be listed when a potential or existing client seeks your service out on a search engine. All you need to do is talk to people in a way that catches their attention…and their business.
Tawnya Starr is a former successful print shop owner who is now president of FireSpring’s PrinterPresence. She has dedicated her career to educating the printing industry on proven website and marketing strategies. In 2005, she received the Industry Award of Distinction from NAQP for her service as a consultant and educator to the industry. Contact her at Tawnya.Starr@Firespring.com.