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SEO Basics fo Small Businesses

March 3, 2011

Your small business likely has a website. And, if you’re serious about growth and profitability, then you should also have a strategy for Search Engine Optimization.

For those entirely new to SEO, its most basic definition is this: the process of improving the visibility of your website by those doing unpaid search (i.e. via Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search engines). Making your site discoverable by search bots (and therefore, potential customers and investors) requires a little forethought when building and coding it.

 Here are some basics to get the SEO Overlords smiling in your favor:

  • To target a suitable market, try to be specific with your keywords, and remember that people no longer use single keyword search phrases. The average search phrase contains 3-5 related words.
  • Unsure how many websites are competing with your keywords? Find out. Do a search on Google and see how many results come back. The more sites competing for your same keywords, the less likely you’ll be to appear on the front page of search results.
  • Have your web developer optimize title tags, page content, and your site’s architecture, so a web “spider” can easily examine and identify your site. These search bots don’t “see” images and certain types of text, making site maps and page tags crucial to your site’s SEO visibility.
  • Work links to your favor. Backlinks (websites that link directly to your website) suggest to search spiders that your site must be good if others are linking to it. The more backlinks you have, the higher your pages will be ranked. But never trade links or take money for links, which can subject you to penalties plus hurt the user experience. Better strategies for getting links are to: provide something on your website that others will want to link to; blog regularly and leave comments on others’ blogs; participate in online forums; and submit your site and blog posts to relevant industry directories.
  • Work local terms into your site copy. More than 20% of searches have a local intent (and 80% of smart phones will have GPS by 2011), making where you are as important as who you are.
  • Remember that good content drives good traffic. More than anything, create useful, quality content and use social media to promote it to like-minded people. Refresh your site regularly to keep people coming back.

Lastly, set up analytics so you can track traffic, especially conversion. Looking only at clicks won’t reveal the most important thing: that the search terms leading people to your site are turning them into customers. Nothing’s more important than that!

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From → SMB Issues

One Comment
  1. I would have to disagree with your first tip. Specificity in keywords aren’t gauged by the length of the keywords (3-5 as you mentioned in your tip). SEOs should understand the user research process in the industry they are working on. A surfer may be deep in their research process while still using 2 word keywords. Other than that, your tips are solid. Thanks for the share.

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