Visibility is the key to growing your small business, and there’s no better way to expand your reach than with a solid SEO strategy. Potential customers click through to the pages of companies that rank high in search engine results, and knowing how to use proper SEO tactics to your advantage can put you at or near the top of the list.
Do Your (Keyword) Research
Keywords are the cornerstones around which every page of your site needs to be built. In order to attract the right audience, your site must rank high for the terms people are using to search for businesses like yours. A tool such as the Google Keyword Planner can help you find these keywords and suggest related words and phrases that can bring in more traffic through organic search. Be specific when you input search terms into the Keyword Planner, and analyze both suggested keywords and “ad groups” to get ideas for additional keywords that are relevant to your industry.
Practice Targeted Optimization
Make a list of the keywords with the highest volume of monthly searches along with several related terms that aren’t as competitive. Creating a balance between the two gives you a chance to rise above the competition for niche keywords and long-tail phrases that pertain specifically to your business or location. Use only one or two key phrases per page, placing them in the title tags, meta descriptions and paragraph headers. URLs and image ALT tags should also include keywords to get the attention of search engines. Check out Moz’ Best Practice Guides for more information.
Polish and Publish Relevant Content
Whether you call it blogging, article writing or sharing resources, you must always be posting fresh content on your site. However, content volume isn’t enough to make Google happy. What you post has to be relevant and original. It also needs to be useful to the people who click through after finding you in a search. That means producing high-quality pieces that not only incorporate keywords but also provide something of value to your readers. Establish a regular posting schedule and aim to deliver unique ideas with each new piece of content. Wordstream’s guide to content strategy is also a great read.
Build a Strong Promotional Strategy
Active promotion is the only way to make sure that both search engines and your target audience know that you’re publishing content. A solid online promotional strategy includes:
- Linking new posts on social media
- Reworking content to post on other platforms
- Generating links through social shares
- Getting backlinks from trusted influencers in your industry
- Building relationships with followers
These tactics help you create a strong rapport with a core group of loyal customers who will be more than happy to share your content within their social media circles, thus further expanding your reach.
Make Sure Google Can “See” You
After putting your keyword, content and promotional strategies in place, don’t assume that you’ve done everything right to get the attention of Google and other search giants. Use the tools available in the Google Search Console to check that your site has all the elements necessary to support high page rankings. With the console, you can:
- See how your site appears in search results
- Identify problems with data, markup and HTML
- View and modify the pages that Google has indexed
- Check analytics for search traffic
- Analyze link structure for internal and external links
You can also view crawl status and crawl errors to see where Google is having trouble getting around your site. The permalinks used by platforms such as WordPress and Joomla tend to minimize these problems by building a strong internal link structure that’s easy for search robots to follow. If you have an extremely large site, creating a sitemap can help engines find all of your pages.
Have a need for speed
Google have stated explicitly that site speed does have an impact on rankings, and this makes sense for a couple of reasons. The first order impact is the obvious user benefit…Google want users to have a good experience on pages they link to, so promoting fast loading pages is in everyones interest. The second order impact is that fast sites get more user engagement. If you site is slow to load then you will have a higher bounce rate and less engagement…and we know for a fact that dweel time and engagement are also signals Google considers.
What can you do to ensure you have a fast loading site?
- Go with a good quality host. Those super cheap $1/mth hosts might end up costing you more than you think. Always go with a reputable host like these recommendations at WP Dev Shed
- Install a caching plugin like WP Rocket or WP Super Cache
You need to be thorough, diligent and dedicated with these SEO practices to preserve page ranks for your site. Plan to always be analyzing keywords, improving content and updating promotional strategies. Keep an eye on search behavior and click-through rates, and remain active on social media to preserve the relationships that drive content sharing. An active SEO strategy helps to secure the high placement in search results that speeds growth and helps you achieve your business goals.