Your Small Business SEO Crash Course

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SEO is as an acronym meaning Search Engine Optimization. Which is optimizing your website in order to make it more discoverable for potential consumers. This can be beneficial for a lot of companies, but it can also be a burden to those who are not fully prepared. In a single day you can imagine how many searches are performed, hundreds, millions, billions. It’s easy to turn to google when you have a problem, because it's known you will get solutions from a variety of sources. But therein lies the issue many companies face, in a world where there are so many sources of information and products how do you make yourself noticed?  
 
First consider the search engines people are using. Google makes up the majority of search engine traffic for the world, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore Bing and Yahoo. Taking advantage of SEO on all of them gives you the chance to influence different consumers you might not have influenced by just sticking to one. So how do you make yourself appealing to Google and the other search engines? 

When it comes to Google having good content is key, because they are looking for high quality relevant information to what the user is searching for. By combing through your website, the algorithm determines whether it is relevant to what users are searching for.  They also look at your engagement and bounce back rates, which is the rate at which people go back to the search page after clicking your page. Your loading page speed, mobile friendliness, and whether your website is full of unique content all goes in to your Google rank. And with the algorithm constantly changing and improving it means your website also needs continuous work. 
 

The next step in being successful with SEO is knowing your audience inside and out. Knowing what they are interested in, what their problems are, how they phrase their searches, all of this can help you successfully target your consumers. “Buy boat parts in Fort Lauderdale,” is an example of a phrase someone might search when looking for something in their area. Now if you were a boating company targeting these key words would help Google target you as a potential result and offer you as a suggestion to the searcher. There are a few things to consider when you start figuring out what keywords you want to target 

First, you should check the volume of people who search the keywords you’re considering targeting to determine whether it’s worth targeting. The more people search that keywords, the more people you have a chance to reach. Determine whether certain keywords are relevant to your business and could result in a conversion.  If you are a company that sells boats but not boat parts you should limit your key word targeting to “boats”. After you’ve created a list of potential key words you can begin using the SEO tools provided by Google AdWords to successfully target your selected words.  
 

Then you need to optimize your webpages. Having the targeted keywords located on your site is a key element. Each page should have one of your key words, as well as a blanket of other related terms to make it more effective.  

Title tags are the words which appear on an open tab. They describe what the webpage is. This is a great place to use the appropriate key words. This acts as the listing headline of your page in a search result, so it’s important it lets the consumer know what they’re getting into. 

Meta Descriptions are like an ad preview. They appear beneath the title tag in a search result page and provide a small snapshot of information. Making this a compelling description with relevant key words will help encourage people to click the link to take them to your webpage. 

Body content is the rest of the information on your webpage. Google is looking for “Thick and unique content,” but what does that mean? Don’t have too much duplicate content, make sure that you have a healthy word count that varies, and make sure it’s valuable information not just filler. Next keep an eye on what gets the most engagement and take advantage of it. If your customers want to know about a specific topic maybe people searching will also be interested in it. And lastly, how shareable is your content? Not everything will be linked and shared but finding ways to create useful content makes it more likely for people to pass the information around to friends. 

Alt Attributes are ways to mark up your images so that the algorithm can read it and provides alternate information for users who can’t view them. Having useful descriptions of images rather than a word or two can improve usability and help the algorithm get a better read on your pages. 
It’s important to write content naturally, don’t try to stuff it full of keywords to grow your google rank. Google values quality. So even if you look good to the algorithm, you may not retain consumer attention. They will just leave your site for something else and your rank will suffer.  

Schema and Markup is the last step in proper SEO execution which helps search engines to understand the pages on your website. It may not increase your ranking, but it does make you appear larger and have more information compared to other results. It shows up as the extra data under the title tag and url on a search page and can make you seem more appealing to consumers. 
 

There are a lot of great benefits to maximizing SEO, you can increase your conversion rates and influence a greater pool of consumers. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process that requires a lot of time and effort. It’s also not free. You’ll either be spending a lot of your time, or you can hire someone to do it and pay them to do it for you. In the end, the benefits will greatly outweigh the drawbacks if executed correctly. You’ll be able to increase conversions, make yourself visible to a greater audience, and potentially make a lot more money than you were initially. 

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