Easy SEO for small business

Marketing budgets for small businesses can vary widely as you might expect, revenue varies widely, so there may or may not be enough to do radio ads, TV spots or hire a web marketing expert. How can a small business with limited funds for marketing get their business noticed? One way is to show up in search engine results, preferably on the first page or the first 10 results. The way this is done is using a process call “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO.

Definition

According to the Google dictionary, Search Engine Optimization is “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” Also, “the key to getting more traffic lies in integrating content with search engine optimization and social media marketing”.

Simply put, SEO is optimizing your website so Search Engines will rank you higher so more customers will find your website.

Benefits

When done well, SEO will help you get to the top of search engine results, putting you and your website in front of potential client’s eyes by appearing on the first page of search results. That’s way easier said than done.

As company owners and webmasters, we want our websites to be #1. Right? To get noticed and invoke a click to your website means you really need to be as high in the results as possible. Getting to the top spot is huge! Getting on page 1 of the search results is a big and a notable accomplishment. Staying on top requires diligence. When you make it to page 1 of the results you’re in the hunt, you’re one of 10 horses in the race.

But what about the other 2.5million results that returned in less than a second. If other people are like me, I rarely go to the second page simply because experience has taught me that going there has rarely, if ever, yielded a page with what I was searching.

Getting your website found and especially found on page one of search results requires effort. You need to plan your content, titles, meta-data, image alt-text, sitemaps, site speed and so on. These efforts and more fall under the purview of SEO.

Focus your efforts

The following is not a complete list, but it will help you understand what your SEO Analyst or Specialist needs to do.

Sitemaps

These are XML files that contain the URLs of all the pages that you consider important or essential to your website. Some pages may only be accessible by a URL you’ve shared in a media item and not navigable via the website. If you have those, you’ll need to decide whether to include them in your sitemap. A sitemap will contain all the pages you want search engines to search. Per Google’s documentation, XML sitemaps are especially beneficial for very large websites, websites with large archives, new websites with just a few external links to it and websites with rich media content. It costs nothing to submit them to search engines, so I do.

https://yoast.com/what-is-an-xml-sitemap-and-why-should-you-have-one/

Robots.txt

Using the robots.txt file, you can tell search engines to ignore or include certain files and folders and even point search engines to content, like a sitemap you want them to know about. Having said that, denying access to files and folders may not yield the desired results. Google fetches everything it can fetch about your website and renders it. This means that it will need the CSS files and the JavaScript files that we have always prevented. Don’t throw caution to the wind and do be careful about what you include in your robots.txt file.

https://yoast.com/wordpress-robots-txt-example/

https://developers.google.com/search/reference/robots_txt

Tips for content

Well written content making use of keywords is extremely important. I use Yoast SEO on my websites. Yoast has tools in WordPress that will help you with your content. It will tell you about readability and whether are featuring your keywords enough and where that could be better.

Key words and more

– Key words in key places – are they in the title, headers, mentioned in the lead paragraph, added as alt-text on images and so forth.

– Links to other pages/posts on your own site – SEO ratings like to see you link to your own content, so try to link to other relevant content on your own site.

– Links to resources offsite – it’s also a good idea to link to information outside of your own website.

– images with alt text – having keywords in there helps too as was mentioned before.

– get rid of broken links and fix images that are broken

Advanced SEO strategies

– Reviewing what your customers use in search engines – using a tool like Google’s Search Console. Go to Search Traffic and then Search Analytics. This will show you impressions (people saw it) and clicks (people clicked on it). Impressions are important as they tell you that eyes are seeing it and if they aren’t clicking, then you have work to do to get them to click.

– Failed search terms on your own site’s search – this can show you where you may need to add content or fix tagging, etc.

– site speed – not always easy with sites built on a CMS like WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal to name a few, but there may be some changes you can make to speed it up, such as image size, minified style sheets and JavaScript, etc.

– mobile friendliness – this is very important to Google. The largest percent of web browsers are running on a mobile device, so you need to make sure your site is mobile friendly.

Helpful links

Technical SEO checklist: 7 essential tips to implement now for 2017

https://moz.com/blog/launching-new-website-seo-checklist-whiteboard-friday

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