Without search engine optimization (SEO), you will struggle to get visitors to your website. Sure there are other traffic sources out there, but visitors coming through Google searches is one of the top ways people will find you. As a small business, you need to give it a serious consideration. Here are top tips to get yourself started.
Start Right Away
Even if you have just 10 minutes a day to work on SEO right now, it’s better than nothing. The longer you leave the SEO, the more likely it is your competitors will rise above you. Google looks at the age and popularity of a site. If a competitor has already proven to be reliable and trusted, Google will continue to offer some juice to that site despite your SEO attempts.
There’s no time to start like the present. Go one step at a time and put in the effort to learn the current techniques that work well. You want good techniques that work with the system, rather than playing it.
Always Keep an Eye on SEO Updates
Algorithm updates are a thorn in the side for many website and business owners. Google loves to make them and will never give you warning before it does. In fact, you may not even realize an update has happened until you start seeing a drop in your traffic.
You can’t do anything about the algorithm changes. Rather than moaning about them (okay, moan a little at the annoyance of extra work) get onto learning what the updates are. SEO experts will have the answers on how to make changes to your site and your SEO to rank better again. Always ask trusted SEO experts that don’t “guarantee” results. There’s no such thing as a sure thing in SEO.
Understand More About Penalties
Google can penalize your site and it does. After the Google Panda update in 2010, a number of once high-traffic websites found themselves failing to rank highly in search results. The terms that they used to rank well for were now ones that they were on page 10 and under. This was all because of Google penalties.
When Google sees or believes that you’re playing the SEO game, you will be dinged. This means your page rank will drop, as Google views you as a poor website. There are all types of reasons people are penalized, including due to poor content, too many ads, and even bad backlinks. Once you’re penalized it’s very hard to get rid of it, so you want to avoid it as much as possible.
Research Long Tail Keywords
Gone are the days where you can use a keyword like “weddings” and expect to rank well. You now need to use long tail keywords. After all, these are the keyword phrases you’re potential readers are going to use. Google changed the way it considered results because people were fed up of finding poor quality content that had nothing to do with what they were searching for.
Keyword research is a must. You can start with a simple term and then look at all the other terms people are using. Find out about the popularity of the phrases and the competition from other websites. You want to find keywords that are popular with searches but not so much with the competitors. That will help you rank higher, faster.
Location keywords can be beneficial, but only if you’re a local business. If there’s no need for someone to search for someone local to them, you’re narrowing your field a little too much for Google.
Don’t Overlook the Metadata
Metadata isn’t included on your website pages, so it is easy to overlook it. However it’s essential for Google and other search engines to crawl your website. You want to add in meta titles, meta descriptions, and alt text into images. These areas all need to include the keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for.
The metadata is then used in the search engine results. When someone searches for a phrase, they will see your meta title and description. This tells them what your content is about and gives them an idea of whether it will help them or not. If they feel it does, then they’ll click on the content to read.
Reduce Your Bounce Rate
This links slightly to your metadata. Your bounce rate is when people click on your website and then click the back button. In other words, they bounce back rather than looking at another page on your website. A high bounce rate tells Google that your website didn’t offer the relevant content and the results need to be changed because of that.
You can find your ranking drops. After all, there’s no point Google offering content that isn’t relevant to the searchers.
But what if your content was relevant? It could be something else on your site that’s making people click the back button. They may not know where to go after reading, which suggests you don’t have enough information to encourage people to click around your site. Your website may have been too slow to read or not have good quality content. This all works against you when it comes to ranking.
It’s time to make some changes. As a small business you can do SEO without spending a fortune in your marketing budget. Follow the above tips and you’ll find your page rank slowly starts to increase.