As a small business owner, using search engine optimization (SEO) as part of your marketing strategy might seem overly technical and time consuming. But the truth is, almost any business can benefit from learning simple SEO methods that are quick and easy to implement.
How SEO Works
To put it simply, SEO is what you do in order to show up in search results on popular search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The virtual web crawlers used by these popular search platforms scan the web with sophisticated algorithms to determine the quality and context of each site. Nearly every web page on the internet is indexed by these web crawlers.
Your site will be ranked by the following set of criteria:
- Geographic location in relation to the searcher
- Performance (clicks, bounce rates, number of visitors)
- Internal and external links
- Quality of links
- HTML coding
If you want to improve your SERP (search engine results page) rankings, optimizing all of the elements listed above will go a long way. You can do this yourself or hire a professional. Either way, it's important to have a grasp on local business SEO basics to ensure the success of your small business.
The Basics of SEO
With so many people turning to the internet to get information and find businesses, it's crucial to improve the quality of your site if you want to improve rankings and get more traffic. But to do this, you must know how to optimize your site for both your visitors and search engines.
Focus on the following elements when optimizing your site for local business SEO:
High-quality content: Posting original and high quality content is perhaps the most effective SEO tool. Start a blog and get people interested in your content by promoting it through social media.
Long-tail keywords: Every time somebody searches for something on the web, they use a a unique set of keywords (long-tail keywords). Do some research to come up with a list of relevant long-tail keywords and include them throughout your site.
URL Structure: Creating URL's that are based on the content of the web page will allow search engines to quickly gauge what your website is about. Structure each URL without using numbers, letters, or random words.
Title and Headline Tags: The title and headline tags used by a website are among the first things analyzed by search engines. Include keywords on each tag so the search engines can easily include you in the appropriate database.
Link Building: Including links to authoritative sites lets the search engines know the information you're posting is trustworthy. And if some of those sites reciprocate by posting links to your site, the search engines will definitely take notice and rank you accordingly.
Social Media: Social media posts are also indexed by search engines and can dramatically impact your traffic and SERP rankings. Regularly contribute to the conversation on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Analytics: Using software such as Google analytics will allow you to fine tune your local business SEO efforts by showing you exactly what's working and what isn't. You can easily connect an analytics account to your website if you want to start collecting data.
Local Business SEO
Even though some of these terms might seem overwhelming at first, especially for those of you who are unfamiliar with web design, they will become second nature with a little bit of research and practice. It may take some time for your SEO efforts to pay off, but your increased visibility and profits will be well worth in the end.