There are a lot of things to worry about when you own a small business. You have to make sure your products and services are top-notch, you need to market yourself effectively, and you always have to be on the lookout for new opportunities.
But one thing that’s often overlooked is search engine optimization (SEO). Many small business owners believe that if they create a great website, customers will magically find them. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. In order to attract customers online, you need to ensure your website is visible on search engine results pages.
The only way to do that is through SEO. So if you’re not familiar with SEO or haven’t been doing it lately, now is the time to start. Here are three reasons why SEO matters for small businesses:
- Increased visibility on search engines means more traffic to your website
- Improved organic search rankings can result in increased leads and sales
- Effective SEO can help you dominate your competition online
What is SEO and how does it work?
SEO stands for search engine optimization.
At its core, SEO is the process and methods used to rank a website as high as possible on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Basically, when someone types in taco cat (or whatever it is your business offers) into a search engine your website needs to rank high on the list so your business is more visible, resulting in more traffic and sales for your business.
Search engines work by reading what a website says on it. Both what’s visible to the human eye and what’s not visible in the background. But a search engine doesn’t read like a human. It reads like a machine because essentially it is a program ( a sophisticated one but nonetheless a program).
This means a website with good SEO has to act like a double-sided mirror – outward facing making perfect sense for the user (your customer) and inward facing making perfect sense for the search engine (the machine).
Essentially, search engine optimization works by ensuring that your website is readable to search engines.
Why do you need SEO for your website or blog?
Most small businesses rely on word of mouth, do a good job and your customers will get new customers for you. But what about those times they still want to check out your website, can’t remember your actual business name, or only know what you offer, etc. ?
For those times, or for times people looking something up, in steps your website or blog article (blog articles are a great way to hone in on those searching for very specific terms).
We all still use Google, (be honest you have just googled taco cat) and for all those times it’s key that your business has a website that is continually being optimized for the continually changing search algorithm.
If you want to be a recognized leader in your city or community your website has to be optimized.
How can you improve your SEO ranking on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing?
There are a number of ways to improve your website and ranking on search engines. A few basic things any business owner can implement are:
- Using Keywords in your Titles and Headings on your content
- Ensuring your business and website are listed on Google Business Profile and Bing Places
- Updating your website with blog articles that are relevant to your business and contain important keywords.
What are some common mistakes people make when trying to optimize their website for SEO purposes?
- Not using the right keywords – we encounter countless clients who don’t actually know what keywords are being used to find a business such as theirs. Keyword research is actually the most important part of SEO – it lays the foundation for everything else.
- Inserting a plug-in (in the backend) of their website and thinking their work is done. Plug-ins are important but if you’re not optimizing it, updating, or doing anything with them, it will not help your SEO.
- Keyword stuffing – using your keywords so much on your website that it stops making sense to users. Search engines are sophisticated and ever-changing and although they still read things like a machine they will also notice unusual content and will actually demote your ranking.
Your website has to be a delicate balance between being user-friendly and search engine friendly.
If you’re running a website for a small business, it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of SEO and how it works. SEO is what helps you rank higher on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, and ultimately drives more traffic to your website.
While there are a lot of factors that go into SEO, there are some simple things you can do to improve your ranking. And avoiding common mistakes people make is also crucial for success. With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to improving your website’s SEO and driving more traffic (and potential customers) to your site.
Are you looking for more personalized tips and tricks for your website?
We offer a 30-minute free consultation as well as a free custom report.