5 practical tips to compete online

Article taken from Australian Small Business Comission Blog.
Guest post by Luke Imbong, Inspire Education.
Standing out online can be challenging for small businesses. If you’re thinking of starting your own business (or already have), then you’re probably wondering about this, right?
In today's internet age, your website needs to be easy for search engines to find or you risk missing out on customers and therefore sales. The problem is your competitors are probably doing the same thing. So, how can you standout?
Below are 5 practical tips we’ve learned that may help you get started.

1. Help search engines find you
Search engines work out what’s on web pages by looking at lots of different factors. Improve your visibility by using:    Exciting and accurate page titles
    Keywords in your page title, text and URL
    Written alternate text to describe the content of images
    Pages that are indexed and crawlable
2. Answer questions
Do you get asked questions about your products or services? Answer those questions on your website.Answering FAQs, explaining concepts and exploring ideas can be valuable to your customers. It can also help your website show up for a wide variety of web searches beyond your core products.

3. Reach out to local businesses
Finding other local websites that will link to yours will improve your local search ranking when people look for products.Think about:    Other small businesses in your local area
    Related products or services
    What can you do for the other business    

4. Register on relevant directories
Make your business easier to find by signing up for relevant online directories. DO NOT overdo this by joining every directory as it can have the opposite effect. Instead, choose directories that:    Are genuinely helpful to users
    Don’t look spammy
    Are specific to your location or industry
5. Be personal (and professional) on social media
Adding a personal touch to Facebook and Twitter posts helps your business be more memorable. Take advantage of your relationship with local customers by posting about local events, places and people.Most Facebook messages go unanswered. Check your page every day and respond to any customer questions promptly.

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