The internet opens a world of opportunities for small businesses. Connecting with potential customers around the globe is only a few keystrokes away. With so much information streaming from the internet, how can you ensure that your business stands out? SEO or search engine optimization is a key component of the answer.
All of us search the internet for answers to just about everything. We type in a question or a few words to help narrow in our search. Even focused searches can result in hundreds of thousands of matches. Not all the results can appear on one page. Search engines sort through the requests and rank what they find. Those rankings are displayed on the searcher’s screen.
As a small business, you need to find ways to ensure your website appears in the first few pages. Most people do not scan beyond page 3 of their results. Search engines can use up to 200 factors to rank their search findings. While that seems daunting, concentrating on the factors that earn the most credibility with search engines is critical to increase your website’s visibility.
You do not need a huge budget or an IT department to enhance your SEO. Some tools are available through search engine companies and your company’s website builder. Many changes can be completed by following a few steps.
When each of us begins searching on the internet for a product or service, we try a mix of keywords. As a small business, one of your first steps is to identify the keywords that you think prospective customers would use. Brainstorm all terms that connect to your business.
During this process, do not self-edit or judge any of the words. The idea is to flush out all options. Continue brainstorming until you have exhausted all your thoughts. Then you can access an online keyword tools search. These websites will assist you in analyzing the strength and “searchability” of words on your list.
Another step is to take your brainstormed list of keywords and search the internet. Check the results that are ranked to appear on the first couple of pages. These are your competitors. View their websites and the keywords that they are using. This will give you other ideas of keywords and phrases to add to your website.
While you want to infuse your top keywords into your website, you still want your website to be beneficial to your users, not just search engines. Add keywords in titles, headings, and meta summaries on your pages.
You want your content to flow and make sense to your readers. Do not add so many iterations of keywords that the meaning and message of your website and business are altered.
Another component of SEO and search engine rankings include the format of your website pages. Once visitors have found your page with the keyword search, you want it apparent that they have reached the right place.
Most viewers will be accessing your website from their smartphones. Setting up multiple headings with keywords in those headings makes navigation easier and adds to your SEO rankings. Search engines are expecting easy mobile displays, or your ranking will suffer.
Formatting of your site and its contents should include titles, snippets or meta descriptions/summaries, and headings. Page titles are clickable links that appear below your URL on the search results page. Snippets or meta descriptions are shown on the same results page. Headings will be displayed on the webpage once the viewer has accessed your website.
For each of these important components, there are suggested guidelines. These recommendations will improve the clarity of your business and its purpose. Titles should have keywords in them to draw visitors to your business.
The snippet or meta description needs to be clear and concise. You want people to understand why they should visit your page. Meta descriptions should not be longer than three lines of text. Keywords should be woven in the description as well, without being redundant to the title.
Headings are employed to make the page content easy to read. Once people have arrived at this part of your web presence, you are writing for your potential customers not for search engines. Depending upon the length of the page is the number of headings you should have. Each heading will frame out the next section of text.
Now that you have the structure of your page, it is important to ensure your content is relevant and current. Brainstorm ideas about the information that you want your customers to know about your products and services. This will provide a great list of ideas for content.
Think through how your business improves the life of your customer. Provide information to educate readers about your product. Show why you are the business to choose. Ensure that your content assists customers. These steps will draw more views to your site. Content clarity provides search engines more information about your company, increasing your ranking.
Measuring SEO Success
Now that you have improved your website visibility, how do you know if you were successful? SEO rankings and the criteria used are continually evolving. Continue to post new content and adapt to any other changes in SEO rankings. It can take a few weeks or months for your rankings to change dramatically.
There are tools available that will track the number of visitors to your website, how long they stayed on your site, and their geographical location. Some tools are provided by search engine companies or your website builder. Some of the tools available to analyze the effectiveness of your SEO are costly. Others are free of charge.
The best measure will be an increase in customers and revenue.