Online Business – page ranking is key

I started a small business last year and went ‘live’ online in December (after many many hard months of analysis, research, development, testing etc). What an exciting day!!! But as the weeks passed, the reality of a page 17 (google page ranking) business started to dawn on me. When I started the business, it was always about being online. I was hoping to minimise the wholesale discussions and go direct to the public via the internet thus being able to provide a good value and high quality product to people without a ‘middleman’. But being on page 17 really limits your exposure to potential customers.

So the SEO work began……I had so many offers from organisations to guarantee me page 1 placement, emails and phone calls from sales people claiming to have the key to good google page ranking. So is it true? Is there some secret behind SEO and achieving a high page ranking? Can you do it yourself? Does it make a difference to the potential for your business?

I don’t know all the answers (or even many), I don’t think anyone does. Google is an amazing and every changing mechanism. I didn’t engage the services of any of the offers I received (couldn’t afford to anyway, being a startup small business).  I have managed to achieve good page ranking though. Luck? Maybe. But here are a few very basic ideas and guidelines:

1. Know your market and competitors before you start. Make sure you have done your homework.

2. Start with a good website. One that is compliant with the standards expected of google (it is easy to be penalised by google for breaking the rules).

3. Make sure you target your key words well. Be specific in the search criteria you are targeting.

4. Update your site regularly.

5. Join forums and blogs relevant to your product – this is extremely time consuming and I have no idea of the contribution it makes to page ranking but worth a try I guess.

6. Social networking can be extremely valuable – facebook, myspace, twitter.

7. Persist! Keep working hard.

I am not sure how helpful this is nor the extent to which it all contributes to the bigger picture, but I just thought I would capture the high level elements – none of which are new or groundbreaking. But if you are starting out online, read as much as you can. You will learn along the way.

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