As a small or medium sized business, you may be curious as to how your business can benefit from SEO, especially if you mainly obtain leads by word of mouth or referrals. And you may have heard the terms SEO, SEM, and SERP tossed around but are unsure of what they mean or how they are different from each other.
By investing in your SEO strategies, you are showing your audience that you are working to make your content more accessible and easier to find. Additionally, if a search engine likes how your website looks (at least SEO-wise) the more likely it will be to show your website in the SERP (search engine results page). Your company’s SERP ranking is where it ranks on the search engines.
This article will take a look at all of the different aspects of SEO for small business and SEM and how they can boost your business faster than you thought possible!
Let’s start with the basics. Terminology.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
What is SEO made up of?
To better understand SEO for small business, it is sometimes easier to break it down into its different elements:
- Quality of traffic. Attracting traffic can be easy if you’re using certain keywords, but you want to make sure that people are coming to your website for the right reasons. If people find you because search engines tell them your business is the popular game Farmville when really you’re a farmer’s market website, that is not quality traffic. Instead you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in products that you offer.
- Quantity of traffic. After you have found the correct keywords for your audience, increasing traffic is the next step.
- Organic results. People who find your website for free, or by not clicking on an ad to get there, is organic traffic.
Here are a few ways to boost your ranking on the results page:
- Produce quality content. Producing quality content that is unique and substantial is by far the best way to boost your ranking. The more information that the search engines have to evaluate your site by, the better.
- Do your keyword research. Make sure that you are using relevant keywords as mentioned above. Focus on a few of the keywords that best describe your business and then branch out from there.
- Make sure your site is mobile friendly. Not being mobile optimized is a sure-fire way to get on Google’s bad side. These days it can be very easy to turn a desktop site into a mobile optimized site. If this is something you are unsure of, feel free to reach out to me!
All about Google My Business
If your business is a brick and mortar store (or rather, has a physical location), it qualifies for a Google My Business listing. This can also help you to improve your SEO ranking as it helps Google to understand the tie between your website and where your store is located, its’ phone number, and more.
Not only can Google My Business help your rankings, it also shows you insights into what aspects of your SEO for small business strategy are working the best. For instance, do most people look you up so they can find your phone to call you? Is it to get directions to your store? Maybe they want to know if you have any special sales going on. Whatever it is, this information can be priceless as you’ll know what aspects of marketing you need to work on, and which areas you are doing well so you can capitalize on that.
Check out everything Google My Business can do for you here: https://www.google.com/business/ and go ahead and sign up, claim your business. They just released a new app, which makes managing your business through Google even easier!
- Write your content for the user, not the search engine.
- Don’t use click-bait headlines to attract readers to an article about something unrelated.
- Make sure that your website has an SSL certificate. Google has publicly stated that having an SSL Certificate is the easiest thing site owners can do to boost SEO ranking.
- Is your site optimized technically? This includes items such as compressing images, having a mobile version, and more. If you aren’t sure contact us for a technical audit here.
- Don’t try any tricks you see that are intended to trick the search engines. Would you feel comfortable explaining what you did to a Google staff member? If not, you might want to rethink your actions.
- Does this content provide your readers with something unique, valuable, or engaging.
Things to avoid:
- Robots that generate content
- Not using original content
- Cloaking — this is a SEO technique in which the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user’s browser.
- Hidden text and links (a lot of people create text using the color as the background of the webpage, this is dishonest and frowned upon)
- Doorway pages — these are pages that will rank well but feature content unrelated to your page. The user is then funneled to your business page. This is a great way to increase your bounce rate, or how long a user will stay on your website. The lower the bounce rate, the better!
Don’t let it overwhelm you! If you get bogged down in the technical details, forget about them and think about SEO for small business from a human standpoint. Think about it like “how can I help a visitor to my site?”
And if you do find yourself overwhelmed, contact me for an SEO audit and I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to your specific site and can even do it for you if you want.
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