The rules for online marketing change every day. Something simple, like having a web site that ranks high in Google’s search results, is turning into something barely comprehensible as search results become more individual, influenced by each person’s search history and social networks and Likes and +1s. Search engine optimization has become a dark art, complex beyond belief, far more than just sprinkling a handful of metatags into your web site header. Some of the companies offering to help you rise in the search rankings are scam artists; others provide valuable services that you could not duplicate yourself. It’s not easy to tell them apart.
I’m not qualified to help you decide how to market your business and your web site, but I can point you to two resources that might be helpful.
FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS
It has become commonplace for businesses to set up Facebook Pages to connect with potential customers. When I set up the wildly popular Bruceb Consulting Facebook page, I found it to be a difficult task to deal with barely documented procedures that seldom worked in an intuitive way. (Come to think of it, that’s my overall impression of Facebook.)
Facebook has just set up Facebook For Business, an “online education center” with step-by-step instructions for businesses to help set up profile pages, interact with clients, and create ads.
Facebook’s push to be more friendly to businesses comes on the heels of Google’s decision to shut off company profiles on Google+ until it does more to prepare for them. Facebook has a few months to cement itself as the best choice for business marketing before Google+ will come online with a full-blown rollout of Google+ business profiles.
To be honest, my impression is that the Facebook process for setting up a business page is still a poorly documented mess and all this new page does is pull together all of the poor documentation in one place.
My favorite puzzle – and believe me, it’s only one example: I signed up for a page and was quickly set up with http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bruceb-Consulting/156174261095475. This was not my first choice for a beautiful URL. You’ll get the same kind of URL when you set up your business page. Your challenge: try to figure out what is required to get a short URL. How did I get the (comparatively) lovely URL http://www.facebook.com/brucebconsulting? Finding the answer will give you a quick introduction to Facebook’s labyrinth of confusing names and processes.
Google has made itself into the largest company in the galaxy by selling little text advertisements next to search results. You can buy your own place in those ads but you have to be aware that the various Google programs for placing ads are complex and can quickly become ruinously expensive. Don’t go into that world without doing your research! You will long for the comparative simplicity of Yellow Pages ads and radio spots.
Lawyerist.com put together a brief overview of Google AdWords for Lawyers, with some useful background to help you understand the big picture and lots of links to resources with more details. It’s a good read for anyone who wants to dip their toes into the Google ad waters.