Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of almost all online business plans. With the majority of Internet users going to search engines to find what they are looking for and more and more users searching for local business providers, if you aren’t ranking well organically, you are missing out on a lot of potential traffic.
While SEO can be complex, understanding the basics is both important and manageable. Let’s go over what you need to know when trying to rank high for your small business. The following are terms that are valuable to your small business.
There are three major considerations: – On-Page Factors – Off-Page Factors – Technical Factors
How your website is built and the content on your website are major factors in how you rank. Here are the most important factors that you need to know:
URL Structure – This is how the actual URL of your web pages appear. For example, www.yourwebsite.com/page-name.html is a more effective structure than www.yourwebsite.com/123.html. If you have a number of different content pages on your website, make sure the URL is related to the content on the page, not just a generic URL.
Title tags – The title tag is what appears in the URL bar of the website and is also frequently used in sharing pages via Facebook and other social media websites. More importantly, it is the main text that usually shows up on the search engine ranking pages. It is also a major signal to rankings in Google. Keep it less than 70 characters in length but write a unique title for each one of your pages and make sure it includes keywords.
H1/H2/H3 tags – Marketing up the text on your website shows how important it is. Bold, italicized, or underlined text may send some signals, but headers are more important – especially H1 tags. Make sure each page on your website has an H1 tag that contains the keywords you want to rank.
ALT tags and Image names – Robots can’t crawl images (yet). So you’ve got to include ALT tags with your images and make sure they are named appropriately. Don’t name it image1.jpg. Name it your-keyword.jpg and always include an alt tag describing what the image is (preferably with a few of your keywords in there).
Meta descriptions – Meta descriptions show up in search engine ranking pages (SERPs) under the title. They’re also used in social sharing, so make sure you write a unique description for each page that makes someone want to visit your site.
Website content recommendations – The information on your website is important. The more useful the content, the better. You don’t need to write entire essays, but a few hundred good words on keywords you want to rank go a long way. Provide great content and the search engine rankings will follow.
Once you’ve perfected your website, it’s time to start building your website authority. The more high-quality links and citations you build throughout the web, the higher you are going to rank.
Page Rank – A scale from 1 to 10 made by Google to give a rough estimate of general page authority. The higher the page rank, the more trustworthy the page (not used as much as it used to be, though).
Backlink – Any link from one website to another. You’ll want to accumulate the links going to your site.
Follow vs. No-Follow – Social media and bookmarking websites are often “no-follow,” meaning an indicator is being sent to Google to not count them toward website authority. In general, you’ll want “follow” links.
There are a few things that don’t happen immediately. Technical aspects
Domain Age – How long your domain has been registered
Extensions – Popular extensions include .com, .net, and .org. You’ve probably got a .com, but there are a number to choose from.
Host – This is where your website is hosted. Most small businesses don’t need to worry too much about this, but you can tell what country and location are hosting your website.
Site Speed – How fast your site loads. The faster, the better.
Indexing – A search engine’s ability to find your pages and include them in their ranking database
SEO takes work. Making sure your technical factors are properly set up as well as making sure your website is keyword-rich and useful will help you to drive targeted traffic. Once that’s all set, it will all be about building backlinks and increasing your website authority.We are pleased to provide you with the insightful comments contained herein. For a complimentary assessment of your online presence, let's have coffee .
Mike LaLonde is a Web Analytics and Marketing specialist at Londes Digital Marketing, a digital marketing firm out of Rochester, NY.
With a Masters in Business Administration specializing in Marketing and Finance, and a BS in Economics from Rochester Institute of Technology, he takes a quantitative, targeted approach to building online marketing campaigns.
Mike specializes in Search Engine Marketing (SEM), including Pay-Per-Click (PPC) services and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as well as web analytics to help optimize and scale successful campaigns.