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SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS


Search Engine Optimization

There is a lot written on Search Engine Optimization, but it needs to be more understood by business owners how it works and what has to be done to make it work for your small business website. Though I initially used search engine optimization (SEO) on my website, I couldn't understand why my rankings were not improving. As a small business owner, I looked at the different tools. I couldn't understand why they cost so much and why SEO professionals charged so much. It was when I started using an SEO tool and spending time on my website for a few hours each week making changes and seeing the results that I truly understood. It can become a full-time job keeping your ranking in search engines.

You need to keep up with SEO regularly and have the basics down when developing a website. I have compiled a list of facts and tips about SEO that might help you when you are deciding how important this is for your small business website.

Here are a few Basic Tips to help you with your SEO.


Keywords

Sometimes as business owners, we can be short-sighted on what prospects "search on" for the products or services we sell. Understand what keywords your prospects will search on to find your company, products, or services. If you decide this without understanding their search strings, your website will most likely not be seen by the prospects you want. If you are not sure, ask some of your actual customers.

Do not just add 150 keywords and hope someone will find your site, as this will not happen. You need to have ten or so keywords to rank the highest on, and work on those to start. There is no way to write/optimize text, titles, descriptions, or other SEO options for 150 words. Find out the rankings on Google and the competition for those keywords. There are tools out there to help you do this. If you choose ten keywords that ten people search a month, that will not help you build traffic.

Know what keywords your competition is using. Finding keywords is as simple as going to their page, right-clicking the mouse, viewing the source code, and seeing if they list them on their site. Look near the top of the page, and you should see a list of keywords. Finding keywords may not work for newer sites this way, as SEO is no longer required to have this within your website. If they rank higher than you, they are utilizing the proper organic SEO techniques or paying for other advertising to rank higher.


Meta Descriptions and Title Tags

Create meaningful meta descriptions and title tags for your web pages so that when they are found in the rankings. It will give searchers enough information to click on your link versus your competition. A meta description appears as the text on a search engine below the title tag in the list of websites found for your search. Your title tag also appears on the tab on the web browser when you open a web page. Ensure you utilize keywords in your meta descriptions and title tags. Using the geographical locations of your business or where you do business can also add value.


Backlinks

Utilize backlinks on your site. A backlink is a URL from another website to yours. The best backlinks are from relevant websites such as partners, customers, complementary services, products, or information related to your site. You can get backlinks by adding your site to directories and social media sites. Please ensure they are relevant, or this can count against you versus help.

Headings

Make sure you utilize headings and different heading levels in your pages, and use keywords when it makes sense. If you had a web developer create the site and are now maintaining it, make sure you understand the heading structure, they set up on your site.

Fresh Content

Keep your content fresh. Whether modifying a page, adding new pages, or posting an original blog article, this will help. After a while, the content gets old, and your pages will not get re-indexed by the search engines. Besides that, you want users to keep coming back to see new content.


Social Media and Other Medium

Take advantage of other items that can help increase your traffic and rankings, such as Social Media, video, Google Business Profile and Google Maps. Be sure to have like, share, and Social Media site buttons on all your pages for the sites you use. Putting this in the footer is best, so it is on every page automatically.

Have a video made and add it to your site or link to it from YouTube. Include a Google Map from your Google Business Profile on your Contact Us page.


Fonts

A tip that has nothing to do with rankings but aesthetics and functional web design is to ensure your fonts are large enough to be read and are a readable colour. Use bold and italic fonts to highlight keywords or emphasize key points. Search engines look at this.

Pictures

Optimize your pictures for the web. If you have pictures on your website, use alternate text for each image, which outlines the picture content. The alternate text needs to reflect what is in the image. If the picture is relevant to a keyword, include the keyword in the text. Also, ensure that your photos are manageable and do not keep your page from loading quickly.


Google Analytics

Use Google Analytics and understand how to read it or have someone interpret the results. If you did not have a professional web developer create your site, the code might still need to be added to your site. If a web developer added it, make sure they give you access to the tool to access the reports to see how your website is performing.


Google Analytics tells you information such as:

  • What geographical locations are site visitors from

  • What pages the prospects are visiting.

  • What browsers and mobile devices they are using.

  • What sites referred traffic to your site.

  • What bounce rate is occurring on each page.

  • How long a prospect stayed on a page.

This information and much more can help determine what changes you need to make to your site.


Summary

This list is not inclusive and will not make you an SEO expert. If you make sure your website is submitted to the main search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) and use the tips above, this will put you ahead of the game. If you understand the basics, you can utilize an SEO tool to help you. Most of them are offered now as Software as a Service to increase your rankings by following their recommendations. If this sounds like Greek to you, hire an SEO professional to help you.


Be sure to check out the firm you are using. We have often seen our clients spend thousands of dollars monthly on a large firm and have yet to see a return. The firm is focused on large clients paying 10's of thousands a month, and the owner gets reports that they produce and does not understand what it means. We had a client paying 7500 a month, and they used his business name as a keyword and bragged about ranking for it. You need to rank for your business name, which is usually unique, or else you have larger issues. There are some excellent firms out there, be sure to check them out before signing the contract. Make sure they sit with you regularly and explain the reports and their meaning.


If you want to learn some of these techniques yourself, there is plenty of training available on the subject. We also have helped clients learn many of these techniques through business coaching.

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