Website SEO For Small Business

SEO What's the big deal?

Everybody's talking about SEO, Search Engine Optimization. Everybody agrees that it is important, if you want to get traffic to your website. But what is it?

If you've built your beautiful website, stocked it full of delightful products, and prepared yourself to ship out truck loads full of product, you may be sitting around wondering where your customers are. Search engines are responsible for telling your customers that your website is THE place to buy XYZ. And search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others, want to tell people who you are. But first they have to KNOW who you are and what your website is all about.

The process of explaining to the Search Engines who you are, what you do, and what products you offer is what Search Engine Optimization is all about. Search engines are just computer programs, trying to offer their users the very best information about what the user is looking for. They crawl through the internet cataloguing information about everything and everybody, taking notes and making files about everything. So when you pull up Google and search for the best Chinese food in your area, Google can look at all of the information it has on file and give you the best answer.

What determines the "best" answer?

Search engines like Google use an algorithm to determine the "best" answer to their user's queries. What exactly makes up that algorithm is top secret, but there are clues as to what it considers important. First they examine the way the website is set up. What does the website SAY it is about? Then they examine the content on the page to determine what the website is REALLY about. The also look at user behavior to determine whether people are finding answers here. Finally, they check to see if other websites consider this one a good authority on the subject that it claims to be about.

Pieces Of SEO For Small Business

There are three main parts to a good SEO strategy for a small business website. First you have to organize your website in a way that makes it clear to the search engines that you are about XYZ. You need to assure the search engine that you have made your website easy to use and navigate. This is Technical SEO. Then there's the words on your pages, your text content. This is the most recognizable part of SEO and is vital to a good SEO strategy. Finally, gaining links to your website from other, trusted, sites is the final touch for a great SEO plan.

Technical SEO

The way you organize your website is the first clue to the search engines as to what YOU say your website is all about. While it's fun to choose a catchy name that speaks to you on a creative level, you need to be sure that it also speaks to What You Are Selling, whether that's a product, a service, or information. Then, using your page titles, meta tags, and alt text descriptions you give the search engines even more information on what you are selling or what your site is about. These are the parts of your website, like your URL, off page tags and attributes, that  your customer never sees, but is ultra important to the search engine trying to understand who you want to have visiting your website.

On Page Content

One of the most commonly missed opportunities for small business in their SEO is a failure to put enough words on the page. The words on your pages tell, not only your customers, but also the search engines, what your site is about, what services you offer, and what products you sell. Often you'll see e-Commerce sites with nothing but two line descriptions of their products, a brief overview of what they sell on the home page, and a contact us page. This gives the search engine very little to go on, when seeking out answers to search queries, and doesn't offer much of an opportunity for potential customers to be directed to your site. When optimizing your site for on page content, you have to first put some time and research into thinking about your customer, who they are and what they are looking for, in order to build content that will meet their needs. Meeting the needs of the customer is what search engines are all about, and you have to convince them, with the value of the content on your site, that you are the best answer for whatever problem the customer has.

Link Building Strategies

Link building is the social networking of websites. When someone links to your site from theirs, they are basically endorsing your site and lending their trustworthiness to you. Having a solid link building strategy is key to successful SEO for your company.

There are right and wrong ways to go about gaining links to your website. Leaving your URL in the comment section of a blog or discussion board is NOT the way to gain links. And doing too much of the wrong kind of link building can end up getting you demoted in search result rankings by Google. Gaining quality links, the right way, can be a lengthy and time consuming process, but is worth the effort.

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