Every business is happiest when they're growing their customer or client base, and for nearly every industry in every city, the best place to find new faces is online.
You've seen the studies, and you've definitely done it yourself – when you find yourself in a new place or looking for a new service, you get out your phone and do a search for it. But have you ever thought about how the various search engines decide which businesses to highlight?
If you're the owner of a small business like a catering company who's interested in a website or an online presence, odds are you've probably heard of Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO. Simply put, SEO is the ability for your website to be found when someone searches for things related to your company on the internet. For a business specialising in catering, you want to pop up when someone searches for things like 'Caterer,' 'Catering Company', or 'Dinner Catering' – especially in the neighbourhood where you work.
The better your SEO, the more likely you will appear toward the top of the list when people look for businesses like yours. When people talk about the importance of SEO for a business like a catering company, that's what they're talking about. And you've probably sussed that the competition for that coveted first-page result can be stiff.
Some companies avoiding their own websites entirely in the search for new online customers – opting for a Facebook page, an Instagram account, or some other type of social media presence instead.
While these social media websites are immensely popular, and can provide you with a wide audience of potential customers, they're tricky when it comes to promoting your business online because it's often difficult to easily share the business-centric aspects of your business, like your hours or directions to your shop, rather than photos or status updates. Social media also won't help you when people are looking for a “Catering Company” in your area on Google Maps, since they won't see an Instagram account or a Facebook page – and since Google Maps is driving more and more local search traffic for businesses and service providers, this can cost you a significant portion of potential customers.
Taking all of that into consideration, the best course of action is to have social media pages for your business that are linked to your catering business website, not only can people interact with you on social media, search engines will be able to translate the practical information (like your opening hours and services) into information it can easily present to someone searching for a caterer on their mobile to book buffet catering.
Remember, over 50% of small businesses don't even have a basic website, but 48% of consumers say they won't buy from a business if they don't have a website (see more here: https://smarterbusiness.telstra.com.au/2018-telstra-small-business-intelligence-report). Is it any wonder that more than four of every five small businesses with a website feel confident that they have a competitive edge by being online?