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Small business
how can a small business create an online presence

 4:25 pm on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I work for a small travel company in the uk, we currently have three websites up and running of which two of the rely on web visits as the other has an actual physical base, an office on a main road. the businesses are small, 3 employees and we all have mixed roles within the company, i tend the shop answering enquires and im alos in charge of SEO for all three websites. Im 19 and have no other experience within the SEO feild, as i read more and more of this forum i struggle to see how a web based company - such as ourselves can become highly ranked within google. Our keyword is student travel and we are located within meters of a large uk one, this websites requires little SEO as we presume flyers, the shop and word of mouth will be enough to generate business - which it is. The other two companies manage to tick over through word of mouth as they are too travel related, mainly villa rental in Spain and also african safari's.

As u can see we are quite diverse but we do have a mother website which interlinks all our websites hoping to make some sort of small network.

we have bought a number of domains and the ones we are not using currently redirect to the mother page - this is done by the hosting company not ourselves - for some reason google has picked up one of these pages and index's that instead of the mother page? dont understand why? only explination is that because google picked it up on its own it rates it higher than the mother page, plus we have recently submitted the mother page to be spidered by google? who know not me?

I have brought on a lot of changes to the way our desinger builds and constructs his pages as he is slowly becoming aware of SEO practices - H1 tages title tags all that basic stuff, but we need to move on - we've been wating for an ODP listing for four months now to no avail,

what can a possibly do to give us a larger online presence?

after writing all this im thinking greater content and inbound links and anchor text? but getting hold of these things is quite hard as we are very small, the advice in this forum obviously applies to all websites but generall is appliedto larger websites, where can i start?




 5:11 pm on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would say, start an affiliate program and let the others do the work for you.


 6:37 pm on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

try adwords or Overture pay per click.

The cheapest way ive found promoting to students was giving away pens folders etc at freshers week and sponsoring a beer and pizza weekends in the second (easter) term.

I do think your right when you say youll find it hard to get a good place on Google.


 6:54 pm on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Buy some anchor advertising on websites with high page rank. This will bring some traffic and will develop your pagerank. Make sure your anchors have your keywords and are pure - no javascript.
<A HREF="http://www.widgets.com">travel widgets...</A>


 7:03 pm on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

added problem, we cant advertise on campus, STA a popular student travel company has an office on campus and has alos bought the rights to advertise travel on the campus, that means no flyers posters anything on campus, freshers fair was last week we went and looked around at STA fancy stand! ohh pretty lol!

it basically boils down to the fact that we will never get number one spot for student travel, sta have over 40 websites of individual content! thats why there top and fair play, they alos have a lot of university websites behind them!

what do u mean by start an affiliate?

its gonna be hard work to build up those links, specially relevant links!

many thanks for wot you have said so far, im keeping my eyes peeled!

i cant even see us getting a return on visitors, we dont have the expertise for a fancy database or dynmic driven website, sticking to telephone and email? arrrgh1!

whio are we kidding?


 7:08 pm on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

after writing all this im thinking greater content and inbound links and anchor text? but getting hold of these things is quite hard as we are very small, the advice in this forum obviously applies to all websites but generall is appliedto larger websites, where can i start?

So, you are a small travel site. You want to get some unique content, then write some. Write articles about places that you have visited. Everyone else at the company should dop the same. Submit these articles to other sites in exchange for a byline link.

You don't have to have nice articles for each destination, just start building them for some of the destinations. If your articles are good, informitive, and not just sales pitches, you will start accumulating those smaller links that start adding up.


 7:44 pm on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

its not that hard to get incoming links - they don't have to be related. put up a links page, and start searching for links to exchange. there are plenty of directories and other webmasters willing to exchange links. all it takes is elbow grease (not sure if that is just an american term or not, but anyway, all it takes is time and effort to search for link exchanges). read the forums thoroughly, apply all the normal seo stuff to your pages, build your content as others have suggested, and you can rank well! i'm just a one-person gal working from home who managed to make it to number one. it took about 5 months, a lot of time and quite a few mistakes, but i did it. you CAN compete.


 10:13 am on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

ive started to build my onw persoanl webpage and try and target that towards travel, i can try new ideas and designs to help create a template for future SEO designs on our business pages, hopefully being able to use the incoming PR on my own site and distribute that to business pages, but with all the spammers out there its getting harder and harder to become a page 1'er!


 4:54 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, you can be #1, it doesn't matter how big you are. It's only your knowledge and your action. But ...

Before I would start to push anything to the top, I would think about whether it gives me real satisfaction or at least some hard dollars.

I think not many things are worse than being #1 in an industry you never really liked and/or with product sales that can only earn you so much and not more ...

Michael Weir

 6:07 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

humpingdan - travel is a competitive industry on the web. You have to ask yourself if you're ready to stand up and compete? Work hard and try to build up a solid presence on the web. Like many have already suggested, a good place to start would be finding sites to exchange links with. Focus on more than one keyphrase "student travel location 1" "student travel location 2", etc. Find websites about 'location 1' - offer to exchange a link. Make sure the anchortext contains 'location 1'. Start with the basics...good old fashioned organic SEO. You'll learn a lot here. Set up stats and start tracking your traffic - this will be important. You'll wanna find out where you're geting leads from.

When you start generating some extra revenue, go after PPC and ad placement. Don't let that other travel company intimidate you. Intimidate them! At one time they were just a small company too you know. ;) You won't have success overnight, you just need hard work and dedication. Good luck to you!


 6:37 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Are you in a position to sell to any visitor worldwide? If you're targeting the UK then start optimising first for more specific terms, e.g. "student travel" in Google UK or "student travel UK" in Google.com - that knocks out a lot of the competition. If you can only sell within your particular city, go for "student travel shop [your city]". Start less competitive, build more content and links, become more competitive.

There are other ways of targeting students than advertising on campus with posters. Are you sponsoring a big university club? Ballroom dancing is usually one of the largest. They have Christmas and summer balls. The city will have particular favourite student nightspots with events. What about talking to the RAG association? Any society you sponsor in general or for a particular event is likely to be happy to give you a link from their site to yours.

Remember the ROI principle - if the effort doesn't get you increased sales then there's no point. Internet is no different - don't bother making an effort to get traffic from the US if you can't sell them anything.

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