Search Engine Journal reports that more than 70 percent of online consumers start searching for a product through search engines. As a small business driving sales, you need to employ a strategy to show up in these search results.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can generate thousands of sales leads for your business at no monetary cost. When properly used, it increases your organic search ranking so that you are found by a larger number of prospective customers. It also levels the playing field as you compete with larger corporations spending gobs of money on advertising to attract the same customer. Click thrus on organic search results are at least eight times higher than a pay-per-click (PPC) ad. So, here are six simple steps to help you start optimizing your small business website for SEO:
Step 1: Select Your Keywords Carefully
Search for keywords that are relevant to your business. Your keywords should depict the image of your products or services. You can go for ideal or exact keywords for your small business products, but keep in mind they can be more difficult to rank high for due to increased competition. A good idea is to go for keywords or phrases (also referred to as “longtail” terms) that are unique and highly targeted, but generate less competition and volume. The more longtail terms your can quickly rank high for, the more volume of qualified traffic you’ll generate from those collective terms.
Step 2: Optimize Your Content
Regularly optimize the content of your website by focusing on these four basic principles:
- Onsite optimization
- Social media
- Local search
- Link building
Make sure you have the ability to modify content on your website directly. This will allow you to add content focused around the keywords your are targeting to attract new visitors to your website organically. Also, add your primary and secondary keywords for your small business on the homepage title and meta tags.
Step 3: Generate Inbound Links
By asking other trusted websites to feature the information of your business or just by writing great content that others want to refer to, you can increase the ranking of your business. You can also enlist your business in paid and unpaid directories to earn inbound links. But, ensure the sites you are creating linking relationships with are highly relevant to your website. Also, refrain from engaging in blackhat SEO practices such as “paying” for links on other websites. This is frowned upon by Google and can cause your website to be blacklisted and not appear in any search results.
Step 4: Mark Your Presence on Local Sites Too
Small businesses can take advantage of sites who display lists of small businesses for free. Get yourself registered at sites such as Google, Yahoo and Bing local sites. Many of these listings include a location map of your business along with contact and product information. These type of listings help you get in front of local users searching for similar products as yours.
Step 5: Get Active on Social Media
A good way to increase SEO for your business is to interact on social media. Engage directly with customers through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Search engines like high ranking content on social media platforms, so get active and get found. Social media can be fun, but also very strategic to your business when used with a purpose.
Step 6: Evaluate Your Ranking
The most important step is to evaluate your SEO strategy by measuring your search engine results pages (SERPs). Measure ranking, resulting traffic, and conversion to leads. You may discover that a certain keyword may be popular in driving volume but not conversion. If so, it’s better for you to focus your efforts on driving less overall traffic, but more from high conversion keywords.
Rajan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BIG Marketing for Small Business. He's an award-winning marketing strategist who is passionate about branding, digital marketing and social media. He spent nearly a decade as the marketing executive at global IT firm Peer 1 Hosting and was instrumental in their explosive growth.