Search engines have changed the way consumers interact with a whole plethora of products, services and offerings. Many now choose to turn on their laptop, rather than head to the shops, when considering purchasing something new.
Consequently, ranking highly in the returns of search engines should be a priority for small businesses, but can they really compete with bigger peers?
The top-searched companies in August 2015 were Air New Zealand, The Warehouse and Harvey Norman.
Recognised brands top the charts
The top-searched companies in August 2015 were Air New Zealand, The Warehouse and Harvey Norman, according to a list collated by industry giant Google, and published by the NZ Herald. Naturally, all three of those are big, well-establish New Zealand brands, but small businesses can learn from them.
Simply, it's a case of choosing a strategy that localises efforts.
Forbes contributor Steve Olenski highlighted the fact that it's important to start out small, aiming to get your company listed through local searches first. For example, someone who types in 'Pizza delivery Grey Lynn' on Google will likely be looking for a food outlet that's situated close to their particular suburb of Auckland.
Accounting for this, and optimising your company's website for a local, sought-after audience is the first step in making some kind of impact in online search returns.
More Kiwi consumers are pursuing businesses on their tablets and smartphones. Consequently, it's important to ensure that your small business has a website that is mobile-friendly. This not only makes it easier for customers to look into your products on the move, but can also boost your company up search rankings as well.
In fact, research collated by Latitude found that 61 per cent of consumers have a better opinion of a brand when their digital presence is mobile optimised.
"Mobile really is essential for all companies, and if you're not thinking with a mobile first mentality then you're really going to be missing out," explained Richard Flanagan, Google's head of small business for Australia and New Zealand, as quoted by the NZ Herald.
Search engines spend much of their time assessing what's unique and what isn't. Consequently, Entrepreneur contributor, and founder of AudienceBloom, Jayson Demers explained that content is eminently more searchable when it's personalised.
To that end, companies should try and tailor their correspondence in the digital space to each individual customer they are dealing with. This is especially relevant when it comes to any activities on social media.
Ultimately, technology is revolutionising the way many small organisations carry out even simple processes. Complex communications can be executed through the internet, while small business software such as CashManager from Accomplish can help enterprise owners keep a handle on finances.
Search engines are a form of tech that's central to many consumers day-to-day lives. The sooner small business owners appreciate its importance, the sooner they can start leveraging search as a tool to unlock more business.