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Small Businesses Need to Step up Online Presence

By Bob Lewis-Basson

In the 21st century, a good online presence is almost essential for a business to succeed. So, is there a way to enhance your online profile without parting with much-needed cash?

The answer is yes, but businesses need to be innovative to attract traffic. Successful small businesses quickly learn about their customers and adapt their marketing activities to fit. As you’d expect, many startups have no choice but to rely on low cost and creative means such as word-of-mouth and social media due to a limited budget which more often than not rules out traditional advertising.

Social Media

The emergence of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been hugely beneficial for small businesses, allowing them to connect directly with their users and amplify the “online word-of-mouth” that is usually associated with satisfied customers endorsing you offline.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

In additional to using social media platforms, good SEO can be a very effective way to ensure you have a strong online presence, and can be broken down to three key areas: code, links and content.

Firstly, code. Search engines send out web crawlers to find relevant information that relay into web results. These crawlers, which are also known as Web spiders, use things called backlinks – essentially code that is not visible to visitors to your site – to find keywords and bits of code that categorise websites. These web crawlers are constantly being updated and the search engines are savvy enough to filter out any blatant code manipulation. So, sorry, but adding long lists of keywords at the bottom of your homepage is not going to help!

Secondly, Google gives more prominence to sites that have incoming links from respected sites. This naturally happens when a site has good content, deals and reasons for other sites to link to, but you can help enhance the natural evolution of your site’s links by making connections on social media platforms such as twitter and getting involved in online forums. Links from other sites add weight to your own – and a ‘heavy’ site is more likely to be found by search engines than its ‘lighter’ peers.

Finally, good SEO starts with good content. This means adding relevant and fresh product descriptions, articles and blog entries. Make sure your site’s content is as unique, relevant and well written as possible. This should hopefully mean that the visitors you attract to your site will stay there, find the information you’ve provided of use, which will make them want to come back, or even do business with you.

If you don’t have the technical know-how to do this yourself, which most small businesses will not, it’s worth shopping around to find a trustworthy agency that can help you with your SEO.

Contact us for help.

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