If you own a small or medium enterprise, I suggest that you consider building a website for your business. You may read our previous post about the 25 benefits of having a website for your business. A website will give your business an online presence, which is already a must nowadays. With most of people already spending most of their time in the online world relying information and communication from the Internet, it is wise that we bring our business in the Internet arena.
Google logs billions of searches every day, not to mention other search engines, like Yahoo and Bing. This means that if your business is not visible on the search engines, you will miss a great opportunity to be found by potential customers. This also means that if your competitors have already leveraged the power of search engine optimization, they will likely beat you in the Internet marketing competition.
SEO or search engine optimization is the process of improving a web site’s structure, content, and quality to increase its visibility and ranking in the search engines, thereby increasing traffic from them. In layman’s term, SEO is optimizing your web site to attract more traffic from the search engines. If you’re new to SEO, you may read SEOmoz’s beginners guide to SEO here.
With the recent updates from Google’s algorithm (Panda, Penguin, et cetera), SEO is becoming more fundamental and essential, rather than technical. In other words, it is giving more importance now on the quality, value and usefulness of website content, rather than the quantity of its backlinks. This also means that you don’t need to be an expert in getting massive number of backlinks and in using different SEO software to have the chance of ranking high in the search engines results page (SERP). Today’s SEO is favoring Internet marketers and web site owners who know how to provide quality and value to their users and audience.
If you have a website or a blog for your small business, here are 20 simple SEO tips that will improve your business visibility online and boost your traffic from the search engines.
1. Plan your SEO
Don’t just start without a direction. Make a SEO plan. Here’s one insanely simple SEO plan I found while searching on the Internet.
2. Publish more quality and useful content
With Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, you have to concentrate on providing quality content. Actually, it has to be like that from the beginning. Quality content means content that RUN (relevant, unique, and natural). Avoid creating contents that are copied, spinned, made for the search engines instead of users, and contents that don’t provide value to your audience.
3. Improve your internal linking
Improve your site’s architectural structure and navigation by linking your pages to other related pages. Internal links guide your users to navigate your website more effectively and efficiently. These links include your menu, categories, and links to your related pages in the same domain. To learn more, check out this article about increasing website traffic through internal linking.
4. Link to authority external links
If you are publishing articles or blog posts, try to link from other authority sites. This will give your posts more solid references and make them more reliable. Moreover, it will also improve your ranking on search engines. Just make sure to link from reliable and authoritative sites.
5. Optimize your site’s weight and speed
Site speed is already one of the factors that Google considers in ranking a website. Thus, make sure that your website is light and fast loading. Here are 29 ways to speed up your website according to search engine land.
6. Complete your “about page” or company profile page
Trust and confidence are important for your customers and site users, as well as for search engines. Hence, make sure that your website has complete and accurate information about your company, which include your registered trade name, key people, business address, contact number, and social media connections. You may also include your company’s mission, vision, core values, and history.
7. Build authority
In SEO, authority means reputation. If you want to build an authority site, you have to create content that are aligned to what you or your business is doing best. These contents must be high quality, valuable, and extensive. When you create highly reputable content, related websites will naturally link to your site and give you backlinks.
8. Increase your customers’ engagement
Boost your audience or customers’ engagement by setting up a blog with a comment system on your business website. You may use your blog to publish regular, fresh, engaging and useful contents for your audience or potential customers. You may also encourage your audience to share comments on your every blog post and start related discussions.
9. Guest post
Guest posting on authority websites or blogs that are related to your niche has many benefits. It will give you authority backlinks, improve your brand awareness, and drive more traffic to your site.
10. Connect to social media
Social media marketing is a SEO booster. In fact Google’s personalized search system is already integrated with Google+ – Google’s social networking service. Thus, extend your SEO campaign not only on Facebook and Twitter, but also on Google+ and other top social networking sites.
11. Leverage the power of images
Images communicate with their audience. It adds value to your text content, such as news and articles. With proper image optimization, use photos to communicate with your visitors or readers. Moreover, use proper alt attribute (alt text, title and description) to optimize your images for the search engines. Check out a video by Matt Cutts discussing the importance of alt attributes for images.
12. Use videos and other types of media
Reinforce your SEO by also using other media types, such as videos, infographics, and slideshow presentations. Check out this post on how you can build links using video content.
13. Use the right meta tags
Use the right HTML or XTHML meta tags (title tag, description and keywords) on your website. Meta data are the information that search engines use to display. To learn more about meta tags, please read this article about using HTML meta tags on your website.
14. Target your audience
Targeting specific audience will give you higher chance to win your competition. This include geo-targeting or targeting your local market. For example, you can concentrate on targeting your keywords to rank in local searches (ex. Google.com.ph) rather than in global searches (Google.com) which are more difficult to rank than the first. In this technique, you can also drive more relevant traffic that convert to customers.
15. Leverage your traffic
If you are driving traffic, whether small or large, make use of them to drive more future traffic. Invite your visitors to subscribe their email to your RSS feeds and share your content to different social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, Reddit, Digg, and StumbleUpon.
16. Get a mentor or hire a SEO specialist
Two heads are better than one. Hence, consider hiring a SEO or at least find a SEO mentor who will guide you on your SEO experiments.
17. Join SEO groups
If two heads are better than one, then several heads are better than two. Associate with SEO groups or formal SEO organizations. You can find SEO groups or communities on Facebook. If you’re in the Philippines, you may join the SEO Organization Philippines. Joining groups has a lot of benefits since you will be acquainted with the best SEO people in your group.
18. Analyze your own web site and your competitors
Know your website’s strengths and weaknesses. You can use Google’s Webmaster Tools and Analytics to diagnose your site errors, improve your site’s visibility on the search engine, submit a sitemap, and analyze your traffic statistics.
For your competitors, you can analyze their websites by looking into their traffic statistics, SERP ranks, page rank, backlinks, keywords, and on how they regularly run their websites.
19. Go for natural link-building
Be worry-free from being penalized by Panda or Penguin. Use White Hat SEO strategies and tactics. Check out our post about the 12 ways to get natural backlinks.
20. Be updated
Finally, be always updated on what’s happening in the SEO world. Don’t stop learning on how you can fully utilize the power of Search Engine Optimization to achieve success on your small business. To make sure that your knowledge and skills on SEO will grow, always see to it that you will put your current SEO knowledge into action.
Remember that the most important lesson in SEO is execution. Knowing SEO is nothing without doing it.
SEO Photo courtesy of Flickr by Max y Miliano