Now that you have a polished, professional small business website, it’s time to drive some eyes to all your hard work. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a way to format your website so search engines like Google can read your site, understand your content, and recommend your business through search result pages and rankings. The goal of every business is to land on the first page of Google’s search results. The bulk of your customers find the answers they need in the first few suggested sites; only about 6% of website traffic comes from the second page of Google’s search results.
SEO can be a frustrating and convoluted journey in figuring out what Google likes best. Don’t make the mistake of giving up and tossing SEO strategy out the window. Establishing a name for your small business within Google’s local results might not be as tricky as you think. With a few helpful pointers from the SEO experts here at GreenCup Digital, you’ll be well on your way to earning first-page rankings. Let’s go!
The very first thing you want to do when developing your small business SEO strategy is to determine the proper keywords for your website. Keywords are like breadcrumbs. They’re relevantly scattered around your website so Google has something to follow when scanning your site. The more frequently you use the keywords, the better Google understands the focus of your content. Google is pretty smart, too, so if you’re tempted to just fill your site with out-of-context keywords (a trick called “stuffing”), don’t. Google can see right through sneaky SEO tactics and will actually rank you lower when they detect these types of techniques.
Instead, aim to find keywords that represent what you want your business to be known for. What do your customers type into the search box when looking for products and services like yours? Think back to when you did your market research and tried to identify your competitors. What search terms did you use? You want to create content within your website that amplifies those words so Google can recommend your site in their search results.
It can be tricky to balance keyword frequency against your business’s overall brand and tone without it sounding forced or obvious. Try adding some diversity to your keywords by using an online keyword tool to find the most and least common keywords in your industry. Go for a blend of high-frequency keywords and medium-frequency keywords; doing so will allow you to rank high for local search results and less common keywords.
Don’t forget to stay flexible with your keywords! If you find the most common keywords for your industry are knowledge-based (for example, you’re selling soap and the most common keywords deal with soapmaking or how to make soap), try creating instructional content that gives just enough info for customers to want to connect with you more!
Google is constantly scanning websites to find the latest and greatest search results for their users. Keep your content fresh by consistently adding new things for Google (and your customers!) to enjoy. Establish a blog schedule, update product descriptions, create seasonal collections with new pages, headlines, and featured products, and update your old material. The fresher the content, the better your chances of catching attention! Pro Tip: Check out our next article in the GreenCup Digital Marketing Series for content suggestions and helpful tricks!
Search engines always return a link to the site they hope will help you…but they also provide a short, brief snippet of text from the website that explains why it’s a good match for your inquiry. These short summaries are called meta descriptions and are vital pieces of the SEO puzzle. Customers want to know what they’re clicking on before they click, so make the most of this space by crafting enticing, keyword-rich meta descriptions whenever you publish new content.
Did you know photos and images impact your website’s search engine optimization? Photos with large file sizes take longer to load and can bog down your website speed (something we’ll talk about more in a minute). Every photo also has something called alt text or alt title, which displays when your image can’t be shown (like when customers turn off images on their browsers due to preferences or visual impairments). Take full advantage of this accessibility feature by ensuring your alt text/alt titles are descriptive and keyword-focused. Follow the same formula with file names and photo captions to maximize image-impacted SEO.
Google takes its job very seriously. They want the best possible search results with the quickest, most reliable answers for their customers. This is why your website’s loading speed plays a major role in your Google rankings. Google doesn’t want to be known as the search engine that sends users to broken, slow sites. They want to be known as the best, most reliable search engine in the world. The faster your website loads, the more likely Google will refer to it.
The more places your website can be found, the better! Google likes to see your site show up in directories and other places throughout the internet. Backlinking to your website builds authority and increases the chances of users finding your website when they search. Check out some of GreenCup Digital’s favorite small business directories to get started with backlinking.
Search engine optimization is constantly changing and requires all small business owners to stay on top of trends and rules to keep ahead of the competition. If SEO makes your head spin and you don’t know where to start, schedule a GreenCup Digital SEO audit. We’ll do the work for you by extensively scouring your website and detailing how it stacks up against your competitors. We provide detailed keyword lists, barriers or pain points to focus on, and suggestions for maximizing your SEO potential. Reach out to us today to schedule your SEO audit and learn which SEO improvements you can make to land your small business website on Google’s first page.