SEO Suggestions For New Biz

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I need a second opinion. I’m an undergraduate student majoring in marketing and advertising. I’ve been truly enjoying the classes and professors in the program so far and learning a ton. I love that it blends compelling writing, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence. Unfortunately, I might have been raving too much about my coursework, because my parents recently asked me to help them with a business website.


More accurately, they don’t have a website yet. I also have zero experience when it comes to building one. They probably believe I do because I’ve dabbled in graphic design using Photoshop.


My parents help franchise fast-casual restaurants in different states, mostly in the South and Southwest. It began with my dad and then my mom joined him a few years ago. They now want to launch a new pilot restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, and they apparently need my help. I don’t really know what they’re expecting but hope to give them something substantive.


It sounds like the first thing you should do is proactively manage expectations. Dispel any confusion between a web developer and graphic designer. People all too often leap to making false assumptions, especially when it comes to technical subjects. Educating your parents will help everyone involved and prevent future issues. The next suggestion is to play a more consultative role and explain the rationale behind it. You’ll be much more useful to them as a conduit for salient information than a grunt working in the trenches. It’s also important to remember that doing the work is more time intensive, which could inadvertently undermine your academic studies (surely your parents wouldn’t want that).


Forbes contributor Michel Theriault highlighted several key steps to building your first business website. Reading this a great way to begin because he immediately suggests avoiding a customized website until and/or unless it becomes essential to your business. Utilizing a content management system (CMS) like WordPress tends to be a much better option for small businesses. You should also review the series of informative website tips published by Annie Pilon on Small Business Trends. Having a website isn’t enough to guarantee success. The site needs to serve a meaningful purpose. In this case, the goals are driving patrons to a physical restaurant location and building the brand’s reputation, both of which contribute to the bottom line.


Your parents should consider the marketing aspects of the website while it’s being built. Delaying those activities until the website is finished can result in countless lost opportunities. Most important to your parents and their fledgling business is the notion of local search. Thought leaders report that local search traffic represents 35% of all organic traffic. Those figures are even more compelling when you consider how much more qualified users tend to be when they originate from local search results. This applies across the board regardless of whether you run a dentist’s office in New Jersey or a beer and beverage distributor in Santa Rosa.


The last sound strategy is directing them to more nuanced guidance specific to the hospitality industry. An author at Search Engine Land covered four especially insightful local SEO tips for restaurants. Unfortunately, some of the pointers could be too complex for a layperson to understand and then implement. That’s why you might want to advise tapping into an SEO company in Charleston, SC. Consulting outside experts local to the area will give your parents an even greater advantage. Such an arrangement also frees them to focus on separate aspects of the business no less critical to its success.


“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” — William James


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