Search Engine Optimization Tips for Small Businesses
More often than not, I hear from entrepreneurs and small businesses who would like to do nothing but rank on the first page of search engines and use their ranking to drive customers to their site and eventually turn them into a sale or a lead. This is a great goal to have since almost 95 percent of customers do not go past the first page of results when searching for a product or service.
The main problem small businesses and entrepreneurs encounter is not only knowing where to start when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), but also having a game plan to reach their goals. Following these tips can help boost rankings and establish a stronger online presence:
Set Your Goals
Write down your goals and be sure to ask yourself, why are you doing this? Why do you want people to find your site? Is simply a customer viewing your site enough or does your site need a stronger call to action? A similar goal could be “I want local pet owners to find my website and be persuaded to register themselves and their pet.”
Next, brainstorm and make a list of search queries that customers would most likely use when searching for your company. For instance, with the pet store example, search queries could range from “Pet Suppliers in Colorado” to the brands of pet supplies the store will carry. However, do not rely solely on yourself when establishing search phrases and keywords, use analytics tools like Google Adwords and survey a third party to see what keywords they would use.
Be sure that during the research phase you also create a list of your competition and take note of who they are linking to and who is linking to them. This list will be useful later when you search for links.
Build Links to Your Site
Link building is the process of building links to your site from other reputable sites. This can be difficult, but is also one of the best ways to boost your search rankings. When Google recognizes quality sites linking your site, this can automatically help turn your site into a higher quality site. Legitimate strategies for building links include:
- Simply asking for the link
- Giving away content or tools
- Developing a widget
- Social media campaigns
- Using public relations
Other important strategies to add to your link building would be to submit your site to industry specific directories and take advantage of your list of competitor’s links and go after those sites as well. Keep in mind that buying links is frowned upon by Google and if caught, Google will penalize you in the search rankings.
Content is King
After Google’s Panda update, content has become an important ranking factor; however, not just any content will do, Google expects original, relevant, and fresh high quality content. A company blog is a great way to keep new and fresh content flowing on your site. Remember to make sure the content is relevant, for example, the pet store from above should post pet related topics. A blog also provides the opportunity for you to show off your expertise in an area, which gives other sites more reason to naturally link to you.
If you are not that great of a writer, it is a good idea to hire a freelance writer to produce the articles you request. You can expect freelance writers to charge, on average, anywhere from $10 to $30 per article.
Is Social Media the Future?
Social media has recently become an indexed factor for search engines such as Google with the +1 button and Bing with Facebook likes. As SEO moves forward it is a good idea to establish accounts on the major social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google + once business profiles are allowed. Be aware that social media SEO moves from keywords to conversations. The more interactions you have the better.
Social media not only helps your search strategy, but also doubles as a great way to connect with customers and build brand advocates. For social media to succeed, you will need to post frequently and respond to any comments placed on your sites. Customers like to be a integral part of your brand and this is a great way to connect with them.
SEO is constantly changing and can be a difficult task to master, but with patience, the right keywords, and keeping up with the latest trends, your business can land at the top of search results and stay there.
What is the toughest thing about SEO for your business?