According to recent data, 85% of consumers find local businesses online.
63% of small businesses online don’t have a website and out of the ones that do, 25% don’t even appear in the search engines. It’s one thing to appear at all in the search engines and it’s another thing to rank for keywords of your choice.
While this article will be giving you a few tips to help your small business website rank well in the search engines, it’s important to realize that the reason why most small business websites fail to appear in the search engines is because of how they’re built.
If your website isn’t built with an effective site builder or your website has poor code that can’t be crawled by search engine spiders, it won’t appear in the search engines.
With that said, here are a few tips to help you effectively optimize your website to appear in the search engine rankings.
1. Have Your Own Domain Name
The most critical mistake you can make for your small business in terms of SEO is not having your domain name.
Having a website hosted on Blogger.com or WordPress.com won’t suffice; you need to have your own domain name, that you have control over – when it is online, how active it is and what you can do with it etc. – and that you can see analytics of. Not only will this give you more control of your site and as a result help you make changes to get results from your SEO efforts, it also helps you look more professional online.
2. Publish Content that Can be Crawled
Not all content can easily be crawled.
While having a website is important, your website isn’t what will be ranked to appear in the search engines. It’s your content. For this reason, to enjoy better search rankings, if you publish a lot of videos, or images, make sure they’re accompanied with text content as a description.
Also, avoid using flash for your website since flash content can’t be crawled.
3. Duplicate Tags
While you want to rank for main keywords, you don’t want to trigger search engine filters and get your website penalized. Make sure you only include your main keyword once in your title tag and your meta description. Let your main keyword be included in a phrase and not stand alone.
For example, if you are targeting the keyword “photography website”, your website shouldn’t have the following title tag:
“Photography website | best photography website | top photography website” etc.
That’s abusing your title tag and stuffing it with keywords, and it’s bad for SEO. Instead, having a title tag like the following will the more effective:
“The premier photography website in Seattle”
You see how natural the second example looks? It also contains the main keyword “photography website.”
4. No Backlinks
To get ranked, content alone won’t suffice. You need backlinks and you need a lot of the right ones.
Try commenting on other blogs, writing guest posts and publishing articles on industry newsletter and magazines. Try getting press and getting links back to your website in as many publications as possible.
The more people link to your website, the more visible you become in the search engines.
5. Local Listings
Around 20% of searches on Google are local searches.
That could result in thousands of customers for your business monthly from local SEO if your website is properly optimized.
Google makes special provisions for local businesses that want to get online; getting listed locally can have phenomenal impact on your visibility in the search engines, especially since local results are appearing more prominently in the search engines.
For a more comprehensive resource on SEO for small businesses, you should check out this article.