Small business owners and entrepreneurs aren’t normally gurus in the world of SEO, and as a result, their online ventures typically suffer. However, not being an expert in search engine optimization does not have to be the be-all or end-all of your web presence.
While the world of SEO is constantly adapting alongside new demands and trends, there are certain aspects of the practice which will never change. These are five of the most important things every small business owner should keep in mind.
First things first – nothing will make a user mash the back button faster on your website than a page that won’t fully load. Google reports that more than 50% of users will leave a website that takes at least 3 seconds to fully render. After all, how useful is a web page with missing elements?
Simply put, if your website is painfully slow to load, you’re losing out on returning traffic and conversions. You can have the most intuitive and user-friendly website in the world, but if your page-loading times stink, so will your analytics.
You can quickly get started with targeting the culprits for slow loading speeds by optimizing all images for small file size, getting rid of useless back-end plugins and tools, and cutting down on the junk in your sidebar. There are also many free tools online that will analyze your website and show you exactly what is causing it to load at a snail’s pace.
As you build/edit your website, relevance to your keywords must always be at the forefront of your mind. The word “relevance,” in relation to SEO, most commonly refers to how well your content fits the user’s search term. Relevance is a significant factor in determining search engine result order. With that being said, if your content is not perceived by the search engine to be useful for the search term in question, you will not rank very high due to not being relevant enough.
The idea is to make a crystal clear relationship between your targeted keywords and your content. Likewise, it is essential to accurately refer to your services, and only your services, on both your website and your social media accounts.
As a rule of thumb, you can also double-check that your content makes sense for the keywords in question, and make sure any other websites to which you link are highly reputable and relevant to your content as well.
One of the most common and avoidable mistakes made when fine tuning SEO for small business is overlooking META description tags. When you enter a term into a search engine and are presented with the results, you will notice that each result has a title and a description. The META tag determines what appears in the description area, and this information is often the reason why users decide to click in the first place.
Make sure the information you include in the META tag describes the page’s content thoroughly. It also doesn’t hurt to optimize this attribute for keywords. Likewise, don’t re-use the same META tag information for multiple pages because it can easily be perceived as duplicate content by search engines.
It would be a gross understatement to say that images are more important than ever before for SEO. At this point, Google has a whole portion of its site dedicated merely to image search, and it is often the first place users visit to find visual content. This trend reveals a massive traffic opportunity for websites that utilize SEO for its images.
Interestingly enough, Google’s image search is used almost identically to its standard search. Users enter keywords into the search engine. Based on the terms used, the results will feature images that are most relevant. So it’s extremely important to use keywords in the back and front end descriptors for your images.
Lastly, producing consistent and frequent original content is arguably one of the best ways you can boost your site’s SEO. Content that is recycled and unoriginal tends to perform quite poorly in search engines compared to unique content that can’t be found anywhere else. That is not to say that you can’t have duplicate content on your site. There are legitimate reasons for having duplicate content such as product descriptions, marketing taglines and testimonials that you won’t get penalized for. Overall it is best to use as much original content as possible wherever possible but duplicate content is only penalized if it is deceptive and tries to manipulate search engine results.
Modern search engines place a strong emphasis on content that is useful, unique, and trustworthy for its users. If a search engine consistently points its users to useless or irrelevant information, it will hurt the user’s trust with the search engine in question. Algorithms are frequently changing and improving to prevent SEO abuse and create the most helpful experience for the individual performing the search.
Overall, it’s a good idea to frequently update your website, and be sure to supply useful information that users will want to read and to which other sites will want to link.