Way back in the day, I had a client who owned a transmission shop in a city of 100,000 people. His transmission shop was named 'AAA Transmission'. He chose this name because this would be the first listing in the yellow pages when someone searched for 'transmission' (yellow page optimization was and is much simpler than search engine optimization). This placement in the yellow pages was responsible for bringing in nearly 90% of his new business.

One year, due to an oversight, the phone book company failed to place his ad in the yellow pages section. He lost 90% of his call-in business practically overnight. The phone stopped ringing. This simple oversight nearly destroyed his business. As a result, he was then forced to run large ads in the local newspaper week after week after week - a very expensive proposition.

As a business owner, you would likely find this story to be sad indeed. However, believe it or not, this is most likely your story if you have not taken the time to develop a laser sharp Internet search engine strategy for your business. The Internet has replaced the old phone book for a very high percentage of the population. In your case, however, you may be invisible to the entire world, not just a city of 100,000.

Imagine for a moment a directory containing nearly half a billion entries (this is close to the truth, assuming we count both websites and blogs). Your goal is to have your business appear on the first page of that directory under an appropriate heading such as ‘printer’ or ‘accountant’. How would you do that? That is what search engine optimization is all about.

Most businesses find this to be a very daunting, if not completely overwhelming task. Very few people will every type your business name directly into the search engine query box as most of the world population does not yet know you even exist. Instead, they will use a broader term, describing what they are looking for. They will use words like ‘printer’ or ‘accountant’ or 'transmission'. If your competition appears and you do not, this is the same as having no listing in the yellow pages. If nearly everyone is using that search engine to make decisions about where to place their business, you are in trouble indeed.

Take just a moment and do this. Type in that very broad term that relates to your business. Look at the total number of sites returned. That is the number of sites that make up your competition in this 500 million entry directory known as the search engine.

The search engine will always hold the final say regarding where you are placed in this directory. Again, for some, getting to that first or perhaps second or third page can be likened to finding the Holy Grail buried in your back yard. This is not likely to happen. And, for most, this seems to be a nearly impossible task.

But it is not difficult if you have done your homework. All that is required is a strategy that incorporates three key components

1. You must know how your potential client thinks and which words your client will use to find you – not the words you might use, but rather the words THEY will use. This keyword analysis is a vital first step in the process.

2. You must know and fully understand how search engines work. This will require some hours of serious study and research.

3. You must design a strategy that incorporates both of the above and simultaneously outshines the strategy of the millions of sites who are your competitors.

You have two options. You can take the time to learn what you need to know and to develop that strategy based on your particular situation or you must hire someone you trust to do this for your business. Failure to do either will certainly cause you to be nearly invisible to those who matter – your potential clients.

Author's Bio: 

Don McCauley is a marketing strategist with over 30 years of experience. He helps individuals, small businesses and professionals create low cost publicity and marketing campaigns to increase sales. He demonstrates how anyone can develop a massive marketing and publicity campaign for little or no money by utilizing cutting edge strategic marketing and publicity resources. The goal is always to produce bottom line results

Don serves as facilitator of the Free Publicity Focus Group. He is an author and currently writes for regional and national print and electronic publications. He serves as host of The Authors Show radio program, a production of eBroadcastMedia.com. He is an Inbound Marketing Certified Professional and is Web CEO University Certified. He is co-founder of Book Marketing - The Authors Marketing Powerhouse.

Prior to establishing his marketing and publicity consulting business, Don spent many years as a marketing manager and trainer for several large US corporations. He has also personally built three highly successful service businesses from scratch across three different industries.

He spent 8 years as marketing director of a regional corporation. During this time he was responsible for developing, implementing and managing marketing and publicity campaigns.

After a period of time serving as Director of Sales for a regional newspaper, he eventually moved on to start a highly successful regional magazine, serving as editor.

It was here, during his time in print media, that he began to realize the enormous potential for building publicity and marketing campaigns using free publicity resources in both traditional and electronic media.

Based on this he started the Free Publicity Focus Group. He brings a unique perspective to any situation, as he has sat on both sides of the table. He now shares his successful, real world experience, his strategies for gaining free publicity and his methods for building campaigns for little or no money with hundreds of companies and individual clients.