Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an important component of the online marketing strategies employed by small businesses.
SEO is the process of implementing strategies or techniques to improve the visibility (ranking) of a website in a search engine’s organic (unpaid) search results.
Why should you bother with SEO? The better your site is optimized, the higher it will rank on search engine results. A higher ranking means that more people will see your site, resulting in more web traffic. Ideally, this web traffic will convert to sales, leads, etc. for your small business. Though it may seem intimidating, implementing a few SEO techniques has the potential to greatly improve your site’s search engine ranking. Whether you are an SEO expert or are looking to implement SEO strategies for the first time, here are some of the most important SEO ranking factors to prioritize.
One of the most important components in an SEO strategy is to have relevant, engaging content on your website. Google and all other search engines exist to provide accurate answers and data to their users. Search engines determine what your website is about by analyzing the text on your site. If your site has content that answers search queries, you will rank higher. It is also important to keep your content regularly updated. Consider adding a blog to your site.
As you develop fresh content, make sure that you have done some keyword research. How are people finding your site? Chances are good that existing customers might search for your site/products differently than someone who has never heard of your company. Having content that reflects long-tail search queries pertaining to your industry/product is the most effective way to attract quality visitors who end up purchasing your product. For example, a keyword search might be “camping,” while a long-tail search could include “beach family camping in Michigan.”
Your site’s Google Analytics will give you the most accurate information on what keywords are drawing traffic to your site. If you aren’t using Google Analytics, you can find information on how to add them to your site here.
These are hyperlinks from other sites that point to your site. Inbound links act as a letter of recommendation for your site, meaning that some links are more valuable than others. For example, popular pages like cnn.com, google.com, or sites with a .gov, .edu, or .org domain extension tend to have higher authority. If they link to your site, they pass some of this authority on to you. SEO and traditional PR will work closely together, as earning quality inbound links has a significant impact on your website’s ranking. These inbound links are the most influential sign of your site’s trust and authority, and will continue to be in 2015.
Optimize for mobile viewing
Recent research has found that mobile Internet usage (smartphones and tablets) has exceeded PC Internet usage for the first time in history. If your site is not mobile responsive, now is the time to make that happen. Mobile devices have become the preferred web browsing device, and Google has said that responsive designs provide a better user experience. Updating your website with responsive design, or creating a custom mobile site, will better position you against your competitors. You can see how mobile-friendly your website is by using Google’s test.
Though SEO is just one component of an overall marketing strategy, it consistently and effectively attracts organic web traffic. What SEO strategies are you interested in implementing?