The numbers are in – using the online space as your primary marketing platform has the best ROI. Although any business can set up a website; there are still far too many who don’t understand the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). This method of improving your search engine rank can cause huge jumps in traffic when used properly and consistently. Below, we’ll see the basic – but powerful – methods of SEO for small businesses that have propelled companies to the top of the search engines.
- On-Page Optimization
This entails many things; but they’re all of the same type – it involves some markup language work (HTML and CSS) to make sure that the search engines can identify your website by the relevant keywords. The title tag, for instance, should consist of fewer than 65 characters; this is what will show up as the title when your website is listed in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Next is the meta description, which is a short description of your content. It’s considered good SEO to put the name of your company somewhere inside this description. The entire meta description should not be more than about 2-3 sentences. It helps people quickly determine if your site meets their needs – a good meta will have higher click-through rates than a bad one.
- Link Building Using Appropriate Sources
When you think of link-building, think of arrows that direct visitors from elsewhere to your website. Building viable links is the single most important aspect of off-page SEO – as it tells the search engines and readers that your site has value and relevance.
For optimal results, you want a huge variety of links to different websites – especially government, education, and organization-based websites such as charities and local community activities. If you’re involved in any partnerships for business, be sure to request a backlink from your site to theirs – these can grow to be very valuable over time.
- Local Marketing
One of the most powerful actions you can take is to set up and maintain a Google+ Local Page that is targeted to your region of the country. This rings true even if you have an ecommerce store that resides primarily in cyberspace; use your home address if you have to, or set up a Google+ Page without the need of a physical location.
The above was the first step; the second is even more important. Treat your Google+ page like a social media account in that you update it regularly with news about your business. Text, high-resolution images, video – anything that’s relevant and includes keywords and anchor text referring to your products and services.
- Social Media
More people log on to Facebook than Google; that’s how incredibly popular the king of social media is. There are other social networks you should be joining and building a presence on, however: Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and even Tumblr. Social media doesn’t have a direct contribution to SEO; but because of its popularity, it can be a significant driver of traffic to your website. If your business has the budget, consider hiring a social media manager to post daily updates to your Facebook Wall and other properties. College students work the best in this regard, from experience.
- Blogging and Guest Posting Are Important
By having a blog section on your website, you give notice to the search engines that they should continue updating your rank because you’re active. Write a useful post several times a week – once or twice should be enough – but make sure you provide utility in the content. Answer a customer’s need instead of making a sales pitch. This will drive more traffic to your site and elevate the visibility of your products/services.
Similarly, feel free to approach similar blogs and offer to provide content for a backlink to your site. This works wonders for SEO, as long as your anchor text is varied, and you’re putting your best effort into the writing.
SEO used to be very simple about a decade ago; these days, however, it’s quite the competitive space. Despite this, most companies still don’t understand the importance of many of the above functions; which is why the ones that do are outcompeting them heftily. Join the winning crowd; get your SEO in order.