There are probably a handful of people who use the yellow pages, or their local equivalent, to find a business, but the rest of us just type what we want to find in a search address bar and look through the results. This is fine if you have an online business. But what do the old “bricks and mortar” businesses do? (This term refers to businesses that have a physical presence only, such as a restaurant or small retail store, and no true inline presence.) The answer is fairly obvious: create an online presence.
The first thing a business needs is a webpage. This is such a common concept today that most businesses can hire a web designer relatively inexpensively. If money is still a problem, it is also fairly easy to develop your own website, using a template driven platform such as Godaddy.com. The main thing is that you have to have some information about your business online so that people can find you. The caveat is that the information you have online is the same information people will be searching for.
This is what keywords and search engine optimization are all about. SEO has become a very technical and complex topic as it became fine tuned through analysis of search engine users. The simple explanation is that search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) help their users by placing the most relevant results of their search at the top of the search result pages. The key here is “relevant”. If you own a restaurant, you are sure to have the word restaurant on your site, but so will thousands of others. You have to narrow it down so that people are looking for restaurants like yours.
Here is where keywords play an important role. If you have an Italian restaurant in New York city, the competition for that combination of keywords will be tremendous. You are going to have a lot of “content” (pages of information) on your site that mention those keywords, so that the search engines are more likely to feel yours is the site with the most relevant information about Italian restaurants in New York City.
If you own an Italian restaurant in Bohunk, Idaho, the chances are the competition for that group of keywords will be very small. But will your prospective customers be searching for Italian restaurants, or, just hoping that are any restaurants in Bohunk at all, entering restaurants or places to eat, or some other term that they think will help them find what they want? You need to know which keywords such online searchers are using. (The search engines themselves will help you do this.)
Good content, mentioning the most appropriate keywords, is how your offline business will find its online customers.
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