Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an important factor that every business-owner should consider. Essentially, SEO contains all of the strategies to increase your website’s ranking on search engines. Not only is SEO important for organic search rankings, but it plays an even larger role when it comes to your company’s local presence. (You can learn more about that on our Local SEO article!)
While there are many aspects of SEO and optimizing your company’s online presence is no easy feat, there are a few things that every business owner can do TODAY to start boosting his/her company’s local search presence. Today, we’re sharing 8 easy, quick, and cheap ways to get started!
1. Set Up an Account with Google Search Console
Girls Google runs the world. Typically, when most people think of SEO or ranking online, they think of Google – and for good reason. At the end of 2015, Google saw 75% of all search traffic in the United States. And since mobile is what really matters in today’s world (mobile finally surpassed desktop traffic in 2015), what’s even more impressive is that Google makes up 89% of all the US mobile organic search market.
This is why it’s so important to make Google happy with our websites. One easy way we can get started with this is by signing up for a Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) account. Google Search Console is a free tool from Google that helps you optimize your website and manage it’s presence in Google search results.
You can also submit your website’s sitemap here which helps Google crawl and index your website faster & more efficiently!
2. Use Unique Page Titles and Descriptions
Your website’s page titles and descriptions help search engines understand what your website (or page or post) is about. It also helps users understand more about your website and business when they are searching online.
As you can see in our search result example below, Shoobie Media is the title of our home page and “Web design + online media for small businesses in the greater Philadelphia area” is the meta description:
*Bonus tip: If you use WordPress for your website, you can download Yoast’s SEO Plugin to help set the title and meta description for each page or post!
3. Update Your Content
Google wants your content to be fresh and relevant. Having a website that hasn’t been updated since 2009 isn’t helping your customer or your business. A great place to start working on your SEO is to update your content. A few ways to update your website content include:
A) Checking for Relevant Keywords
While it’s no longer good practice to overflow your website with keywords, it is still important to have relevant keywords on your website. This doesn’t mean that you have to use the same word over and over again, but related terms that are core to your business and services is important – especially for local businesses.
*Bonus tip: Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find related terms & view the volume of searches performed for each!
B) Remove Duplicate Content
Google is not a fan of duplicate content; in fact, this is a reason that would hurt your search ranking.
C) Update/Add Images
4. Optimize Your Permalinks
Permalinks is just a fancy word for permanent links (or your URLs). Instead of your About Page having the URL of www.shoobiemedia.com/2 it should reflect what the page is actually about.
Something like www.shoobiemedia.com/about-us/jordan-dansky would be much better!
Cleaning up your permalinks is an easy way to get started on building a cleaner, more relevant, and more user friendly website structure.
5. Fix Your Website’s Speed
This is a critical – and often ignored – factor in helping boost your search ranking. Google does not like slow sites. It’s bad for user experience and is one of the factors it includes in its SEO algorithm.
In fact, in 2013 a research study on ecommerce websites showed that a “2-second delay in load time during a transaction resulted in abandonment rates of up to 87%.”
87%!! Boy, are we impatient. But this stands pretty true for most websites, not just e-commerce sites.
A KISSMetrics report suggests that
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less
- 40% abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load
- Even a one-second delay (or three seconds of waiting) decreases customer satisfaction by about 16%
Let’s put this one high up on your to-do list!
6. Leverage Social Media
Social Media grows more and more each year. With companies now embracing platforms like Snapchat and Periscope the opportunities are continuously expanding.
This may seem a little overwhelming for many small business owners, so our suggestion is to focus your efforts. At a minimum, create a Facebook page. Make sure your information is correct and relevant and verify the location if you are a local business!
Use these platforms to promote any content, sales, or business information – but don’t just use it to push out information. Make sure you are engaging with your audience online. Social media is a great way to build your business’ personality and credibility online.
Plus, aside from the benefit of sharing your content and increasing your exposure, social media encourages sharing by other users, even sending users to your website itself.
7. Ask for Reviews
This probably warrants its own blog post, but suffice it to say that reviews are VERY important for local search results. This will impact how you appear on Google Maps’ results as well as the likelihood that a customer will choose your business over another.
You have happy customers, so now you need to ask them to review your business. This can be on TripAdvisor, Facebook, Google, or even AVVO. Find the review websites that are relevant to your business/industry and utilize those.
As a default though, Google reviews are important when considering how you’ll rank in Google’s algorithm.
8. Utilize the Expertise of Others
Here at Shoobie Media, we’re dedicated to helping small businesses harness the power of their online presence. We understand that as small business owners, you wear a lot of hats. Sometimes too many hats.
This is where we come in. If you’re looking to dive even deeper into your SEO and optimizing your web presence, we’re here to help. We’re currently offering a summer promotion for our Google My Business service. This is a great place to start boosting your SEO!
If you’d like to learn more about our promotion or our digital marketing services, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!