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Ask the experts: Use effective keywords for online visibility

By Virginia Bridges
vbridges@newsobserver.com

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Martin Brossman, business coach, marketing consultant, author and founder of Martin Brossman & Associates, a social-media training firm in Raleigh, said it can be overwhelming for a small business to create a Web presence on a tight budget.

Here are Brossman’s edited comments on how to give your business visibility with social media and free online directories, and easily manage a website on your own.

•  Establish a social-media presence. Think about where your customers are and how to reach them.

This is as simple as starting a Facebook business page, Google+ business page, Pinterest pinboard or LinkedIn profile. Social-media sites have different target audiences; Facebook is ideal for business-to-consumer deals, and LinkedIn is suited for business-to-business sales.

If you have a physical location, set up online listings in the two top directories – Google+ Local and Yelp. These sites allow smartphones to draw on them when someone is searching.

•  Learn about keywords and how to use them. Make your content search-engine-friendly by using the exact words people use when searching for your type of business.

Websites such as Google Keyword Tool Box can help generate popular keywords. Use the tool by typing in search terms that customers might use to find your business. Use keywords in your written content on your website and social-media platforms.

•  Develop a website you can manage yourself. A content management system features dashboards that allow users to make changes to the content on their own websites.

Sites such as WordPress offer free blogging programs. The Web coding is free but requires a Web hosting company to run the site. These websites are generally inexpensive, costing less than $100 per year, including the domain name.

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•  Link all of your business’ social media and directory sites to your website with buttons that are positioned at the top of your website’s homepage.

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