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Kentaro Roy

In an era of flaming high tuition rates, it's enough for students to cover their own bills, let alone fund the education of others. Kentaro Roy, president of Kentaro Web Design + SEO and funder of a scholarship at EMU, writes about being a student entrepreneur and keeping young talent in-state.

The Place is Here, The Time is Now: Why This is the Perfect Time to Invest in SEO in Michigan

Unlike Washington or California, which have thriving SEO (Search Engine Optimization) industries, Michigan is a little behind. While businesses that survived the recession are growing rapidly here, SEO hasn't fully caught on yet in many industries. Here's what that means: it is the perfect time for a few forward-thinking companies to jump in and get a leg up on their competitors, taking advantage one of the most common consumer behaviors today: Internet search.

Almost everyone uses search engines to find information online. By optimizing your website, you're making it easier for people to find your business when they need you. Usability and relevance are two crucial elements of SEO, which sets it apart from other marketing methods, since making your information more findable and user-friendly directly benefits the consumer. Some search terms (keywords) are more competitive than others because they have high search volumes (think "shoes" or "low fat recipes"), so it is difficult to get your website to rank well in search engines for these keywords. Less competitive, but highly-relevant keywords can help you more narrowly focus on your target market and qualify your website visitors. Businesses that start SEO campaigns before anyone else have the advantage, and will be ranking for keywords long before their competitors even enter the arena.

Geo-targeted (or localized) SEO helps Michigan businesses place themselves in front of the customers who will be walking through their doors: the locals who are using the Internet to look for a service like "barber" or "coffee shop". Though increasing your web traffic can definitely help your business, a million hits doesn't do anything for you if none of those visitors convert. Geo-targeted SEO allows you to qualify your visitors and market directly to your target audience.

Just how important is search in modern marketing? A PEW Research survey taken earlier this year found that 74% of all Americans use search engines, with 91% of those users reporting that they "always or most of the time" find what they needed when using a search engine. Internet users of all ages have faith in the power of search engines to help them find what they need, and satisfaction is high.

Because SEO is an ongoing endeavor, the sooner Michigan businesses begin optimization, the more visible their site becomes online, leaving their competitors far behind.


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