SEO FAQ For Small Business 7 of 10 – How Long For SEO Results? (SEO Results Time Frame)

As we’ve discussed in previous articles, search engine optimization takes time and effort. In this article we’ll discuss the basic time frame in which you could expect results.

The hours and effort needed to increase the visibility of your small business website depend greatly on your marketing plan and which keyword you’re going after. Let’s take the term mortgage calculator. If you were to advertise your mortgage calculator with Google, the Google Traffic Estimator shows an estimated 600 to 752 clicks per day with a projected AdWords cost of $2,070 – $3,680 PER DAY for this keyword. There are 24,900,000 Google results for this term, and 510 associated keywords. Google Keyword Tools also reveals approx 890,000 searches for this term in a month.

This is some serious competition and your chances of getting on the first page of Google in less than a year is possible, but not probable. The top Google site for this term is Alexa ranked at about 7700 in the US with over 60% of the traffic coming from search engines. There are still ways to compete with this particular website on this particular keyword, but it would take a while. This top site gets a majority of the traffic for the term.

As a minimum time investment, you should be committed to performing (or contracting for) at least two hours a day, three days a week, for at least three to six months, with a review of progress and re-evaluation at the three and six month mark. You may very well experience a noticeable traffic increase in only four or six weeks, but to get onto the front page of a search engine will require two or three crawls of the site by the search engines after optimization, and you have no control over when, and if, that happens. A year-long optimization campaign is not unheard of for a large site. If your site is less than three or four months old, or the domain is expiring in less than a year, you may have issues with high rank despite your best efforts as these are ‘red flags’ to the search engines.

Don’t forget your off-page efforts as well. This will be the subject of the next article. Take into consideration your other sources of product or service promotion and notification. I’m speaking of your existent customer base, your business related social network (or lack thereof) and your business blog. These are invaluable resources for the formation of ‘inbound links’, article or video reviews, and “join the conversation”. Remember that “joining the conversation” is customer service and a means to an end. Talking about your site or services is a fine thing, and handling issues is a must, but if you’re not converting your conversation or generating calls to action and practicing the ‘principle of reciprocity’, then you are not using your off-site network to its fullest potential. Conversations are mostly listening, but more importantly hearing.

No matter your business battle plan, it will take time to formulate and execute. Tell the principals involved (CEO, CFO and CIO) that they need to budget at least six months for the project, with reviews occurring every ninety days to check on progress toward the pre-defined goal. And please don’t end the project when you’ve exceeded your goals. You’ve gotten more than you expected and should continue to reap the benefits. If it works for you, continue to work it until your growth curve begins to flatten, and then do it again with another ‘angle of attack’. You can have “too much exposure” in the same respect you can have “too many customers”.

Next time: Social Media and SEO.

Internet Marketing for Small Home-Based Businesses

Small home-based businesses battle to stay on search engine listings and gain the advertising and marketing exposure they deserve. Small home-based business owners typically don’t have the money for expensive advertising and marketing. It is for this reason that popular big name companies seem to have taken over the online market by advertising on television, in magazines, and at the top of almost every search engine listing. Small home-based businesses should not be discouraged. It is possible for small home-based internet businesses to move up the ladder of success through effective and creative internet marketing. Small home-based internet businesses are able to gain the exposure they deserve, but they must use strategies other than standard marketing and advertising methods used by big name companies.

Small home-based businesses striving for marketing and advertising success need to grab the attention of potential customers. After grabbing the attention of potential customers, it’s critical to keep their attention. Home-based business owners should consider offering potential customers and those looking for information on the internet the high-quality information they are looking for through opt-in newsletters.

Small home-based business owners can bring in new customers and keep customers coming back by giving them the information or news they’re seeking online. For example, if a small home-based internet business sells craft items, the home-based business owner can offer valuable free information on craft projects. Those seeking craft project ideas and instructions through a craft project newsletter will find links to materials and supplies. Marketing small home-based businesses through newsletters can greatly increase earnings.

The owner of a small home-based internet business doesn’t have to be a great writer to develop an internet newsletter full of valuable information. There are a number of helpful internet programs to assist owners of small home-based businesses with developing and marketing products and newsletters. Offer people the information they are seeking, and they will sign up to receive the information. Before long, newsletter marketing efforts will pay off through ever increasing sales.

Home-based small business owners who don’t have time for newsletters should consider joining one of the many popular link exchange programs. Marketing small home-based businesses becomes effortless, and home-based businesses literally begin marketing themselves. Link exchange members assist each other with marketing, and they help increase website traffic. Potential customers gain access to small business websites they otherwise wouldn’t have found.

Marketing efforts can be increased by directly exchanging links with otherbusiness websites. Small home-based businesses can offer their banners and links in exchange for banner and links from other small business websites.There is no cost for this type of marketing, and small home-based business websites can increase traffic and sales considerably. Choose link exchange partners wisely to gain the most marketing benefits and exposure for your small home-based internet business.

Business Strategy For Facilitative Leaders

Business Strategy

Did you know that business strategy is the art of deception? The study and design of your business strategy will have far reaching effects on your business. Many business leaders overlook the importance of understanding business strategy. As a result, many businesses fail or operate at sub par levels. There are many areas of business strategy to study, but the key components are (1) gaining a competitive advantage, (2) being an effective leader, and (3) winning with ease. These are all essential principles found in the book by Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

Gaining a Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantage can be won through avoiding commodity business models, knowing when to compete, gaining higher ground first, and by being original.

Avoiding the Commodity Business

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, once said, “We are all just one stroke away from commodity hell”. The commodity is something that any business should stay away from. A commodity is a good that a business is powerless to change the price. For example, farmers are price takers and can only sell their goods for the price the world is willing to put on them. No matter how well the farmers does in raising up goods, the price will be what the market gives. There are many service businesses that have very little ability to change raise prices. If they do, they will not get any business. The bad thing about a commodity business is that the only way to sell is on price and that makes the profits go way down for everyone. The only way to get out of the price war is to gain higher ground.

To avoid commodity hell, the business must find an advantage. Some of the ways to get out of commodity hell are through branding, developing superior technology, and having top notch employees. Some companies develop a superior system that is efficient and that can manage a vast network well. There is a lot that can be said about each of these items.

Know When to Compete

In trying to gain the higher ground, there are a some good things to know. You should only compete when you know that you can win. You should never compete on a level playing field unless forced to do so. And, you should never ever compete in a battle that you are at a disadvantage.

Get Competitive Advantage First

In other words, take the higher ground before you compete. In that way, you will have a good chance to win. In business, battles are won before the competition ever begins. The best companies develop technology or intellectual capital first and then choose to compete when they think they can win.

Be Original

It is unlikely that any firm can gain the competitive advantage by trying to copy another. The reason is that the competitor will always be one step ahead of you and a smart competitor will even mislead you purposefully. Any business that wants a real market advantage will most likely need to develop their own ideas, keep them secret, and follow through.

Being an Effective Leader

A great leader must be strict, reward bravery, and avoid personal character downfalls.

Strictness as a Leader
Discipline must be swiftly carried out against the disobedient. There must be an effective system of rewards and punishments in place. The effective leader will be able to persuade others to the importance of the mission and commit them to work hard for the goal. Any leader that can’t manage their people must be removed.

Leader Character Downfalls

Some of the traits that can cause a leader harm are cowardice, recklessness, worry, hasty temper, and honor sensitivities. According to Sun Tzu, these are the five sins of a leader that lead you to get captured, bring destruction, trouble, shame, and poor decisions.

Rewarding Bravery

A great leader should reward people that are brave. People that step up and get things done that are risky or not popular should be rewarded for their efforts. The act of rewarding bravery has a great deal with keeping a company in competitive advantage. When employees are willing to take risks and give it their all, the intellectual contributions will give the company great advantage.

Winning With Ease

One of the greatest things that Sun Tzu said was, “What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease”. The greatest leaders know when to fight and when not to fight. They know how to compete in areas that are not well defended. They know how to use their people to win. When leaders win with ease, they are rarely given credit because it looks so easy. What many people don’t realize is that the battle was won before the fight began due to careful planning and strategy.

Final Thoughts

Business strategy is complicated. The businesses that do the best often the best at deceiving their opponents, balking their competitors plans, or, even better, have the best employees and constantly break new and higher ground before anyone else gets there.