I am the owner of a Twin Cities footwear company called Bokos. Like any small business, a focus for our brand is driving traffic to our website through major search engines. Are there any ways for a small business like ours to compete with massive companies when it comes to showing up on search engines, without heavy investments in advertising?

Matt McManus, Bokos,


An associate of mine at St. Thomas, Mykola Sarazhynskyy, and I reviewed your site and noted that you have a limited number of metatag keywords and other link-building elements to support search engine optimization (SEO). While these, and your social media links and presence on Facebook and Twitter, are a start, Mykola recommends looking deeper into basic SEO.

Further, he strongly suggests that you pursue a presence on Google+.

A recent Moz ( report on search engine ranking placed Google+ second among the multitude of factors it considers, and according to Mykola, "You have to play by Google's rules."

In lay person's terms, engagement in Google+, particularly being active posting images and video, helps establish your business as the "authority" in your space.

"This leads Google+ to increase its recognition of your business in searches," asserts Mykola. "Encouraging people to engage with your presence there will also help optimize your presence in search results."

It is important to note that engaging in Google+ represents an addition to your arsenal of social media efforts, so don't trim back on Facebook and Twitter. You may also consider a service like Hootsuite ( to help manage your social media presence across the channels in which you choose to engage.

About the author: Mike Porter,, director, Master of Business Communication program, University of St. Thomas, Opus College of Business