Deploying an effective SEO strategy is critical for the success of your small business in the Internet age. If you rank below your competitors for important keywords related to your niche, product, or service, then you stand to lose business like a sieve loses water!
In this article you are going to learn how to optimise your small business website for SEO in just three easy steps. You have probably heard of SEO in the past but thought it was too complex or difficult to ever have any hope of getting started. However, you are going to discover just how simple it is to get more traffic and leads (and ultimately customers) for free by optimising your site for top rankings.
SEO starts with keywords. These are phrases that real people type into search engines to get answers to their questions, or to find information or pricing for a product. For example, a Google search for “XYZ widgets New York” is also a keyword. Keywords are how customers arrive at your site through search engine listings.
The science behind keywords and how to best use them can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. From the perspective of a small business owner attempting to launch a successful SEO campaign, you will want to take a narrow approach to the keywords you use.
This means avoiding so-called “broad” phrases that are too generic. For example, if you have a business website about a dog training service, then a broad keyword would be something like “dog training”. This keyword would get plenty of searches every month, but the level of competition you would face to rank for it in Google would be all-but-impossible to overcome. Such broad keywords have the added downside of being too generic to effectively focus your marketing efforts. It is impossible to know whether a person searching
For the purposes of small business SEO you should instead focus your attention to long-tail keywords; these are phrases that attract far less search traffic, but which are closely targeted and have less competition to outrank. Returning to the dog training niche, an example long-tail keyword would be something like “best dog training collar under $100”.
The second step to winning the SEO war with your small business website is to nurture quality content. There is a common phrase within the Internet marketing community that “content is king” – this is certainly the case when it comes to optimising a website for high rankings in Google.
Fundamentally, quality content is all about ensuring that your website provides your visitors with exactly what they were looking for when they came to your site. If you write an article about how customers can replicate your bakery’s famous donut recipe in their own kitchen, then you need to ensure that your article really does teach everything that person needs to know.
Even if you have an eCommerce website (where the content is effectively the products that you sell) you can still ensure you are delivering quality. Write accurate and up-to-date product descriptions, provide clear images of your goods, and use appropriate keywords to help siphon buyers in from outside.
For bonus marks you should also ensure that your content is displayed in a slick and attractive manner. Get your site loading rapidly and looking professional and consistent across all browsers and device types.
The final angle of the small business SEO triangle is all about signals. If you have any prior knowledge of search optimisation, then you will probably be familiar with the importance web masters place on links.
Inbound links (i.e. hyperlinks that point to your website from somewhere else on the Internet) have long been touted as one of the most crucial elements of successful SEO. Links act as signals that help Google to understand the relative value of your website, and then place it accordingly in the search rankings for a given keyword.
However, SEO signals now go beyond links. Social metrics – things Facebook Likes, Tweets, and Google +1s – now constitute equally powerful inbound signals.
The growing value of social signals is great news for small businesses; you will find it far easier to get positive social votes (such as Facebook Likes from your loyal customers) than you will getting high quality back links from potentially competing sites.
To tap into the inbound signals aspect of SEO, you need to make sure your business website or blog is set up to allow easy social sharing of your content and products. If you run a WordPress-powered site, or use a popular eCommerce platform, then configuring social sharing is usually as simple as installing a free plugin.
However, if you have a custom website, then you will need to get in touch with your web designer and ask them to install a social sharing platform on your website.
Once this is set up you should actively encourage your visitors to share your website on their favourite social network – using the social sharing buttons that will now be installed on your web pages. As the number of social shares you receive grows, your website will gain authority and hopefully start climbing the rankings for your keywords in Google.
Launching a basic SEO campaign for your small business website should not be an impossible hurdle. Instead, you can start optimising effectively by focusing on three basic concepts.
Research long-tail keywords that potential customers are using to find your product or service, and then get them hooked with quality content on your site. From there it is a case of using this new traffic to grow your site’s online profile and authority with social sharing.
Start working on SEO for your business website now, and you will reap the rewards for years to come.