As the leader of a business, a constant concern is always increasing revenue. Of course the two primary ways to do this are to either increase the revenue current customers provide, or to increase your total number of customers. The simplest and most direct way to reach your audience, and allow them to reach back, is through online media. Continuing this 5 article series, I hope to enlighten you on the 5 most important facets of online media and how to leverage them to benefit your business.

Today we’re focusing on search engine visibility. If you’d like to catch up, you can catch last week’s article Increasing Your Revenue Through Your Website: Part 1 of 5

Today we’re focusing on search visibility.

“Why don’t you Google it?” “Did you try searching it?” “Check Bing.” Very likely something you’ve heard someone say, and it’s becoming more common by the day. The web is the first resource used by over 70% of Americans across all age ranges to find more information on a topic or company. Ensuring you or your company appear easily in search engines is a critical component to any marketing strategy. Conversely, you want to ensure negative rumors or lies don’t show up as readily.

Search engine rankings adjust quickly, and with real time search becoming increasingly popular, it is more important now than it has ever been to keep an eye your online reputation. As with each of the recommendations we make, if you have an available budget, it is often well worth it to hire a consultant or firm that knows the ins and outs of search engines and how to make the best use of them.

If hiring someone isn’t an option, there are a number of tools available to help you get a beat on your search engine status, and find ways to adjust and improve it. If at first you’d like a briefing on how search engines work, I recommend these articles: HowStuffWorks, Search Engine Watch, and SEOmoz.

First things first, you’ll want to see how you rank currently. For this example, we’ll use a website but if you’re interested in finding out about your name or brand itself, you can also use some of the tools we’ll showcase. (If you’re interested in learning more about how to find and change your personal reputation online, let us know in the comments.)

To start, figure out where you currently stand:

There are a ton of tools out there to help you do this. One of my favorites is Hubspots Website Grader – – which not only gives you an idea of where you stand now, but provides some advice about what you can do to better these rankings. Make sure you know what you’re doing before following all of its advice blindly as it does make mistakes.

If you’d prefer a simpler tool to check your status amongst search engines, Mike offers a simple tool to see how your website fares across one or more keywords through each of the major search engines.

Once you know where you stand, improve those rankings:

There are three basic ways to affect your presence in search engines.

  1. The easiest and most basic is the content of your website itself. Make sure that not only your metadata (keywords and descriptions) are in order, but that your titles, headers and content are geared appropriately as well. Nick has made a great cheat sheet which all our employees have on hand.
  2. The next is sites that link to your website. This may be profiles you’ve created on other websites (like here at Under30CEO) media outlets, friends’ pages – anything that links back to your website. The better a resource your website is, and the more active you are online, the more you’ll be linked to.
  3. The third option is search engine marketing, buying up keywords for search engines that relate to your business. You see them all the time, the “Sponsored Links” on your favorite search engine. You can spend as little as cents a day, up to hundreds of dollars to guarantee that your website will at least be shown when certain keywords are searched.

Ideally a combination of all three of these strategies will be included in your marketing mix. They will aid you in making the most of online traffic. If you have some other tips, or links to other articles that can help let us know in the comments.

Author Chris Yoko is the president of Yoko Consulting, an interactive marketing firm that helps clients make the most of their web presence, from website development and social media to email and mobile marketing. You can also find him right here at Under30CEO.