As a small business owner with a website, you have probably heard the term “SEO”. SEO stands for search engine optimization. Simply put, SEO increases the probability of your website being found by search engines such as Google and Bing. As your search rankings increase, your exposure to more and more potential customers broadens.
How do search engines rank results?
The inner workings of giants such as Google are well-kept secrets. However, we do know that they prize relevancy and authority above all else. What this means is when you design your website and write the content, you must do so as the top expert in your field. If you have a dog-sitting business, your website must explain how exactly you are the best and provide helpful information that answers any potential customer inquiry. The more helpful and relevant your site is to a customer, Google will suggest you more often.
What are keywords?
Keywords are the words and phrases someone may use to search for your website. One of the most valuable things you can do for your website and business is keyword research. Spend some time looking to see how people might talk about your business. Look at the websites of local and national competitors. What words do they use? Make a list of several keywords and use them throughout your website. It is crucial that your words be used in relevant, meaningful, conversational ways. Cramming all of your keywords into one paragraph or even one page, is called keyword stuffing. This is a big no-no. Keyword stuffing will cause you to be penalized by Google and your website will be virtually lost.
What is backlinking?
Backlinks are hyperlinks from one website to another. How do these affect your SEO? Backlinks give your website credibility just as much as a good reference makes your resume shine. For example, your dog-sitting website: get vendors, chambers of commerce and other upstanding organizations to link to your website. Google sees these as recommendations, thus making your site more relevant and authoritative. Some not-so-honest marketing companies may tell you that you can purchase links. While this is an option, Google does not look kindly on this practice and may penalize you. Having your site link in a database of millions of other random sites does not make you look great. It is better to have two or three great links than to have 20 bad links.
Can I “set it and forget it”?
In short, no. Websites are like living things. They must be updated and refreshed on a regular basis. You must not only keep your software up to date, but you must also keep your information current. A very easy way to do this is through blogs. Blogs are a great way to talk about new business insights and to publish helpful articles. Your goal is to offer the best and most current information to your customer. Keep your keywords in mind when writing. Google will see them in your blog and add credibility to your website.
We all know that when small businesses are getting off the ground, budgets are tight and sometimes you have to do things for yourself. If you do, keep these tips in mind to put your business on the right track to good web presence and success.