The BusinessInsider.com has a great article for small business owners about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
The main concept of SEO is that the listings are organic, natural. This is in contrast to the PPC (Pay Per Click) listings on the right hand side which are paid listings. Of course, the SEO listings cost much less than PPC but they are harder to attain simply because the search engine rules apply to them (and believe me, there are MANY rules!).
The article gave 5 very good tips for small business owners about what it takes to get higher SEO status.
1. Build your site for users
The idea here is to make the website as user friendly as possible. I know, it’s “more fun” and “more unique” to make your website look different from other websites. From an artistic point of view, that is very true. But when was the last time you re-visited a website because it looked different? Aesthetics are important, absolutely. But usability is more important.
Of course, if you’re a small business that is in the business of aesthetics, then of course, the colour scheme and graphics on your website will be very important. But if you’re an attorney, or a plumber, or a doctor or a million other “business type” of industries, your visitors aren’t looking for artwork or colour schemes. Your users are searching for what you have to offer, your prices and how qualified you are.
Stick to what your potential clients want and give it to them. Market your website to that. Don’t spend months focusing on just the right background colour.
2. Become a subject matter-authority
I say this to everyone, clients, potential clients, people who ask me “What can I do to get more visitors to my website?” – the answer is simply, “Showcase yourself as an expert in your field.” The way to do that on the Internet is with information. The more information you put out, the better.
I just had a client tell me the other day that he doesn’t want to put out too much information, he would rather that the visitor see his site and then call him. That may have worked years ago but these days, it’s just too easy to click the button and look for the information elsewhere. And the user will find it. Internet users for the most part want to engage via the Internet. They want to email or make the purchase. They want the easiest method possible. And as a side note, as mobile usage gets bigger and bigger, this scenario will become even truer.
3. Do stuff to attract links
This goes in conjunction with the #2 tip. If you have information on your website that is unique, that is relevant, that is important – others WILL link to you. Just like I’m linking to this article. I can’t say it any better than they did in the article so I’m just going to quote them.
The easier answer is that to attract links you have to do stuff. You have to give people a reason to talk about you. And on the Web, talking about you means linking to you.
“You have to give people a reason to talk about you. And on the Web, talking about you means linking to you.”
4. Increase social and be social
One of the most difficult things these days, for small business owners, is to become involved and to be consistent about social media. (I know I struggle with it as well). But the fact is that these days, social media is your online Chamber of Commerce, your online Networking Groups. It’s simply part of doing business.
5. Think about performance
The final tip they gave is a great one. It’s one that I argue with clients over almost every day. Website Performance. I literally have to beg some clients to remove huge flash movies or slide shows from their websites so that the site loads faster, content is seen easier and of course, it’s more mobile friendly. I argue about buttons that aren’t seen easily (hard to read) and colours or patterns that make it difficult to read the content. I argue about placement of buttons and size of graphics.
My goal is to get visitors TO the website, I have to do that first. Then I have to get them to convert. As an SEO webmaster, that’s my entire job. But, in order to do that job, there are some features that have to be sacrificed. Again, this loops back to the #1 tip. Usability. And not only usability for the Internet user, but Usability for the search engines as well. If your large graphics or flash movies impede the search engines from scanning your site, then what’s the point?
A business website should be bringing in business. Period. If it doesn’t, stop fighting with your SEO webmaster, listen to them. Hopefully they’re giving you these 5 excellent tips!
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