Getting the Little Guy Online Is Still Tough. Yes, but …

The first part of the title is an extremely good article by Danny Sullivan, the world-acknowledged Search Engine Marketing expert. It’s a fun read and there’s a lot of truth in what he says. I heartily recommend it. Indeed the article applies not only to one man operations but even to small businesses as well. A quote will give a sense of what it’s all about.

The crux of the problem? His business is too small. He doesn’t even do Yellow Page advertising right now, having gained his clients through word of mouth.

People are probably looking for him online, but the time for the search engines to service him hasn’t yet arrived. … he probably won’t go jumping into the search marketing world for another year or so.

Well yes, but if ‘people are probably looking for him online’, then what should he do about that? Use of the Internet is still growing. When you’re a small or mid-sized company, when should you go “online”. Is this implying that you should wait until you’ve got enough money to do search engine marketing before you have a website and go “online”?

I believe you can do something useful on the Internet and the earlier you start the better. More and more people do Google searches to find anything and if your company does not have a website then you certainly won’t come up in their search. It can be just a web page or perhaps two if you need to be in both French and English. But at least if someone searches for your company name in Google, they should find it. That’s a possible customer and if they don’t find you, then they may keep looking and perhaps find your competitor.

The first step is to type your company name in a Google search even if you don’t yet have a website. If Google says there are no results, then you can make sure you put up a simple web page to be found for that name. More likely you will find a large number of entries. This is a sign of trouble whenever you decide to go “online”. You should immediately huddle and try to find a new operating name that you can “own” on the Internet. Ideally you should be able to register the .com domain for that name. This new operating name should also be one that’s easy for your telephone receptionist to use when he or she answers the telephone.

If you think your business will grow and you’ll want to use the Internet some time, then it’s important you develop this new name earlier rather than later. The longer you leave it, the tougher it will be. However the first step is to get “online”. You can then start to improve your visibility in the search engines even without spending serious money.

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