The internet has changed the way people do business, and if you will pardon the cliche, it is a game changer. People not only go online for entertainment purposes, but they also go online for information and to buy things. SEO (short for search engine optimization) refers to a wide variety of methods that are used to help a site rank higher in the results when someone does a search. SEO for small business evens the playing field and gives the smallest business a chance to rank higher than a big business.
Step #1 – Research
Before you do anything else, you need to know who your market is, and what it is that they are using the search engines to look for. The more you know about your target market, the better. Having a detailed image of who they are and what problems they need solved will help you craft your marketing message and also help you when doing SEO. You also need to know what keywords they are entering into the search engines, and then use those keywords accordingly. There are several tools (free and paid) that can give you a good idea of how many searches a particular keyword is getting.
Step #2 – Implementation
Once you have done your research you can start doing your SEO. This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Entire books have been dedicated to effective SEO, but here are a few things you can do to improve your site’s position in the search engine results.
* Write keyword-rich content, but always write for people first and search engines second.
* Use both on-site and off-site linking. On-site linking refers to the links on your site that point to other parts of your site. Off-site linking covers any links back to your site that are placed on a different site, which may be owned by you or somebody else.
* Make use of SEO on every part of your site. For example, use alt tags on images, and fill in the meta tags when creating your site.
Step #3 – Maintenance
SEO for small business is not a one-time thing, you need to be constantly working on it. Every time you add something to your website, you should have SEO in mind. If you are using a backlink strategy, then you need to keep adding links on a regular basis. Search engines change their results algorithms frequently, so you need to pay attention to where your site is ranked, and change your overall SEO strategy if needed.
If you own a small business you can always do the SEO yourself. Following the advice in this article is a good start, but it only covers some of the basics. SEO for small business is an ongoing process that requires continuing education and regular maintenance. If you don’t have the time to do this, or would prefer to have someone do it that already understands SEO, then you can always hire a firm to do your SEO work for you. Either way, search engine optimization is necessary in today’s marketplace.