Search Engine Optimization is crucial for everything on the Internet. Even the smallest home-based businesses benefit from it, so it does not matter whether you are selling cakes from home or starting up your own independent accounting firm. Because every good business needs an online reputation, every good business also needs valuable SEO strategies.
Below are some of the most significant benefits that SEO can give you and your business, as compiled by Social Media Today.
- You increase your local and worldwide reach. Every business has its target audience. Using SEO by making sure that any content associated with your business is rich in keywords, does not read like spam, and includes relevant, interesting, and informative information will pull in your target.
- You become a reputable authority. The idea behind it is to make you look good. On a local scale, you could become the resident expert on cleaning services, jewelry making, trade show truss or website design.
- People prefer sources they can trust. Even if you make money by blogging, more visitors will come to your site if you know what you’re talking about. Your rankings will increase and visitors will actually seek out your site or services because they view you as the biggest authority.
- You pull in reputable visitors. There’s another benefit to becoming an authority in your given subject or service: you attract authority figures as well. Big names in your industry will comment on your posts and statuses, lending their credibility to yours.
- Higher rankings equal more money. The stronger your SEO and the more relevant the content, the higher your authority. The higher your authority, the higher your rankings. Your goal is to come up on the first page of any given search.
The Beginner’s Checklist for Small Business SEO
If you are just starting out in your small business, and is not quite sure where and how to start, take your cue from this checklist by Moz.com.
Before you do any SEO you need to research the part of the web you will be trying to change. Many people believe this is the most important step in the SEO process. No skipping!
- Write down your goal
- Brainstorm and write down search queries
- Research your chosen keywords
- Using what you learned from keyword research, record what you believe to be the best keywords
- Analyze the current Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for your keywords
- Create a list of your competition
- Use Yahoo Site Explorer to find the sources of your competitor’s links
- Search for your client’s site
- Sign up and verify with Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and Bing Webmaster Center
- Let Google Analytics run for two weeks before doing any SEO
- Evaluate the visual design of your client’s site
- Check compatibility between browsers
- Create a new e-mail address specific to the site you are working on
- Look at your HTML code and optimize all of the SEO related
- Decide if you need a meta description
- Add company address and phone number
- Add a robots.txt
- Add your client’s business and website to the major search engine’s local listings
- Add your client’s website to industry specific directories
- Try to get the links your competition already has gotten
- Decide if utilizing social media sites is advantageous
- Optimize your client’s site from Google’s side
Track and Improve
- Track progress
- Create and maintain a spreadsheet of your rankings
Continue to make changes, build links, and record your results – This step will never be completed. You should strive to become number one on all your SERPs and get so far ahead that none of your competitors will be able to compete.
Top 10 Free Small Business SEO Tools
And now, to further help you out in achieving good results from your SEO campaigns, here’s the 10 best SEO tools for small business, picked by Small Business Computing.
1. Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Google’s free tool is designed for marketers who want to find the best keywords for their Google AdWords campaigns. But it’s extremely useful for organic (unpaid) SEO efforts, too.
2. WordPress. Search engines love blogs, so if you aren’t currently blogging, give it a try. WordPress is widely seen as the best blogging platform.
3. Google Analytics. If you haven’t set up a Google account and added Google Analytics tracking code to your site or blog, you should.
4. Google Insights for Search. While Google AdWords Keyword Tool shows you the volume of searches conducted using specific keywords, Google Insights for Search gives you a sense of the trends in keyword usage.
5 and 6. Google Trends and Trendistic. Creating blog or other content that’s tied to a breaking news story or to a hot topic can help you get a boost in search engine results.
7. Facebook. Haven’t set up a Facebook fan page for your business yet? A number of recent developments might be just the prod you need.
8. Wordtracker Labs Keyword Questions. Increasingly, people are typing natural-language questions into search engines. But what questions are people typing? Wordtracker’s free tool will tell you, based on the search query data it compiles.
9. Google Local Business Center. Have you noticed that when you search for a particular type of local business, Google displays a Google Map at or near the top of search results? Adjacent to the map are links to local businesses matching the description you searched for.
10. Google Webmaster Tools. Despite the techie-sounding name, Google’s set of Webmaster tools are relatively easy to use. The Webmaster tools also show top search queries used to find your site, the links to your site, and more.
Search engine optimization is an excellent way to promote your small business, but it’s important to have solid foundations on the Internet. The above tips and techniques should help you out.