Here, marketing and branding specialist Blair Collins-Thomas gives small business owners a ten-point strategy to boost their website’s SEO ranking and strengthen their company’s online presence.
In today’s ever-connected environment, small businesses have as much potential to reach customers with products and services as global companies do. The digital realm makes it possible, but it takes time and effort to get the job done right.
Search engine optimization, lovingly referred to as SEO, makes a small business website thrive – when it’s done correctly. The higher the rank on a specific search engine, the greater the opportunity to have prospective clients and customers visit your digital storefront.
If you don’t have much experience with SEO, you’re not out of luck. Here are ten ways small business owners can improve SEO to make their online presence a true selling machine.
Know your keywords
SEO thrives on keywords, which makes perfect sense given potential customers type in a word or phrase in hopes of being connected with the product or service they want or need. Getting this right can make all the difference in ranking high on a search engine.
Take time to research the keywords that are most relevant to your business, and identify the gaps competitors large or small are missing. Be sure to include keywords throughout your site, but in a natural, easy-to-read way.
Publish strong content
From new articles and blog posts to ebooks and guides, content is king when it comes to SEO. But it needs to be informative and accurate to help with SEO. Be sure that you have a mix of timely content as well as evergreen information, and use your researched keywords in each.
Also, be consistent with posting, as this helps boost your search engine position.
In addition to publishing quality content, be sure to include internal links to other pages on your business website as well as external links to reliable sources. You can also work with other businesses and websites to get your content linked on their pages to improve SEO.
Although search engines can’t necessarily “read” images, they do scan for the alt text of an image. Add a description that includes a keyword when an image is uploaded to your website.
The website you started with may not be the website you want or need currently, and that’s okay. Whether it is a small change you want to make or a complete overhaul, it’s necessary to understand how these changes can impact your SEO.
If you aren’t sure where to start, this resource from an online marketing company is a great point of reference.
Get comfortable with Google
It goes without saying that Google is the most widely used search engine, but did you know it has countless services and tools available to business owners wanting to optimise their SEO?
Trends, analytics, local SEO tools are all available for free, and they can make a significant difference in keeping up with SEO changes over time.
Ask for reviews
Customer reviews through sites like Yelp and Google+ help improve your business standing on the web, but be sure these are genuine. Spamming review sites or incentivizing customers to leave positive reviews will work against you in the long run. Be sure to give several options to customers so they can select the review site that’s most convenient for them.
Optimise social profiles
The use of social media is beneficial in driving more traffic to your business online, and that means optimizing each profile is a must. Add pertinent information, including physical address, the business name, a link back to the business website, and contact information, to each social media profile to improve SEO.
Focus on user experience
A slow loading website or one that is difficult to navigate can be detrimental to your SEO. Algorithms used for search engine results take into account the time a user spends on each site, and with lackluster user experience, you’ll fall short in this area. Invest in a fast site and one that is easy to get around.
Also, be sure your website is optimised for mobile use, given more and more consumers are using mobile devices to find products and services.
Once some or all of these strategies to improve SEO for your business are in place, don’t forget to monitor your results. If things aren’t moving in the direction you want, reevaluate your keywords, the design of your site, and your content as a start.
But most importantly, know that improving SEO takes time, so pack your patience throughout the process.
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