OK, so you are writing a business plan to pursue a web-based business, or maybe you are an existing business creating a business plan to transition wholly or partially to the world of e-commerce. This is a situation more and more entrepreneurs are experiencing as the Internet becomes a ubiquitous tool for consumers and other businesses to find what they want. But how exactly is this done, how do people find your business over on the net, and what should you be doing to place your company in front of consumers? The answer to these questions might show up in your business plan as one short acronym: SEO.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of structuring a website to gain high search engine ranking for a specific keyword term in order to drive traffic to a website. So, what exactly does this mean to you and your business plan? It means that if your business plan is to sell widgets, and you want to show up on the first page of Yahoo!, Google, MSN or any other search engine, your website must be the most relevant to a searcher that types the keyword term "widget" into the search engine. Sound easy enough right? WRONG!
The complexity of the issue of "reaching the first page" for nearly any widely-searched keyword term has spawned an entirely new industry of SEO consultants. However, you must proceed with caution when integrating an outsourced SEO consultant into your business plan, and you must learn to determine the snake-oil SEO consultants from the real ones. A real SEO consultant is a web-savvy individual or group that enjoys the problem solving of reverse engineering a search engine's algorithm and then creating a website to coincide with that algorithm. In order to avoid a seriously expensive accident and promote the success of more business plan strategies, we offer up some information that might help you determine the studs from the duds in the SEO arena.
When we write your business plan for a web-based business or an extenstion of a brick and mortar business onto the web, we will refer you to some of the best SEO consultants that we feel follow best practices in their industry. When creating a small business SEO plan a good source for information is SEOPros.org, a non-profit group committed to establishing SEO best practices.
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