For any business with an online presence, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will become a part of your regular business jargon. It’s not enough to throw up a website and hope people find you; there’s just too much competition for that to work.
Optimizing your website to obtain the very best search results possible, however, is one way you can help your website work for you. The better you understand SEO, the more potential customers will find you. And the better you understand your customers, the better optimized your site will be.
On Page SEO
This phrase simply means optimizing your website (as opposed to Off Page SEO which we’ll discuss in a moment). The three most important facets of on page SEO include:
- Using keywords. These are simply the words or phrases your audience uses to find your site. Do your research and find those key phrases so you can add them to the content of your web pages. Just remember, keeping your keywords too broad will not give you the results you want. It’s much better to search for long tail keywords, which are more detailed phrases with 3 or more words, especially if you have a physical location and want to expand your local market. In this case, always include your town and surrounding town names in your keywords.
- Optimize your photos. Whenever you add photos or images to your website or blog posts, always change the title and ‘alt’ tag information to include an accurate description of the image. And if you can use a keyword phrase, even better. This is a ‘behind the scenes’ way of optimizing for the search engine bots that troll your site. If the bots can understand what each photo is based on your word choice, it can help with your rankings.
- Set up metadata. Again, this is more behind the scenes stuff but if it will help the bots and ultimately your search engine results, then it’s worth it, right? If you’re using WordPress, there are dozens of SEO plugins which help you craft a meta description and optimized page title right from the editor. Our SmallBiz Theme comes with this SEO feature built in, so no need for an extra plugin.
Off Page SEO
This phrase refers to other places online where your business name appears, thus giving backlinks to your main website (and quality backlinks are very good for your search engine rankings). These strategies require more work than the on page SEO but to gain any success, you need to proactively market your business and your website.
- Write guest blog posts. Find some other complimentary blogs and volunteer to write a guest blog post. Always do research to find the best pairing, otherwise it will be a waste of your time and the blog owner’s time. If your post is approved, be sure to include an author’s byline, which usually can include a link to your website or newsletter sign up. Optimize this author’s box with your keywords so this guest article shows up in search engine results.
- Submit your best articles to online article directories. There is some discussion about whether this is still a worthwhile task. When article directories first appeared, the idea was to have a slew of articles available for other people to publish on their websites or newsletters. That practice may have weaned in recent years but submitting articles with optimized author boxes still give you a backlink to your site and another way to show up in the search engine results.
- Optimize your social media profiles. Yes, your social media profiles will show up in search results if well-optimized with your keywords! Again, make it super easy for your audience to find you so choose keywords that they would type in to Google to search for your service or product. You can also use posts that have keywords or hashtags that are optimized.
Many SEO strategies evolve or change over time but these are some basic steps any business owner can implement right away to maximize their website’s effectiveness.
Infographic courtesy of Andy Jenkins
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