Small Business SEO

As more and more people start using the internet to discover and research companies they want to do business with, where and how you rank on a search engine is becoming more than something to brag about – it’s becoming an essential ingredient for success in the modern business world. Thus enters the world of search engine optimization (or SEO), a variety of strategies used to ensure that the people who may be searching for something related to your business see your website first.

 

SEO for small business requires some level of knowledge about how search engines, especially the gold standard and most popular search engine, Google, operate. When you type a search string into Google, it uses a complex ‘search algorithm’ with over 100 factors to assess what to show you first. Some of these are personal factors that you, as a business owner, have little control over: the searcher’s location, demographics, search history, and so on. However, there are factors that you can work on.

 

The most basic strategy when implementing SEO for small business is keyword optimization – ensuring that your page features the keywords and search strings that someone looking for your services is likely to enter into Google. These mean specific strings – not just ensuring that your online shoestore has the word ‘shoes’ on it, but that it has ‘women’s shoes,’ ‘shoes for men,’ or even more specific terms like ‘discount high heels.’ The more specific the term, the more targeted your page will be, ensuring the right kind of people get directed there. Aside from seeding your page with keyword, the flipside of this process is keyword research, to determine what keywords people are actually looking for and so what would be beneficial to include.

 

Google’s search also assesses the websites in its database for their perceived authority, or how trustworthy they seem. One of the main ways they determine that is by looking at backlinks – who is linking to your website? This is a sign of legitimacy. So, one popular strategy for SEO for small business is to add backlinks – to ensure that your website links to, and is linked to from, other related websites. The more complex the network of backlinks, the more likely Google is to rank it higher.

 

The problem with all of this is that excessive reliance on SEO techniques is that it says nothing about the quality of the actual content on the page – but that’s starting to change. Google has recently introduced a radical alteration to their search algorithm, titled the Hummingbird update. With Hummingbird, Google is moving away from keyword-based searches towards semantic search – that is to say, paying less attention to the words being inputted, and more to the intention. This means that providing quality content actually becomes a form of SEO for small business. Google is more likely to index your page higher, and potential customers are more likely to stay on your page, if you provide informative, engaging content that answers people’s questions and keeps them entertained.