Search. Engine. Optimization. (SEO)
The three words that make business owners and companies cringe and give the confused puppy face. However, SEO doesn’t have to be scary or confusing.
There are companies who promise you instant results, but if you are a small business and don’t have a huge budget yet for marketing, here are some tips you don’t need to be a web coder to do and they are free!
Google uses complicated algorithms to generate search results which constantly change, but there are a few keys things that will help you be found.
1) Content – Try to think what people are going to search for you when they search on the Internet and weave those words into the copy of your website. Nowadays, people trust their friends so when they go online to search they probably know your name, but not your URL. It might sound like common sense, but make sure your company name is repeated through your website as well as the city you are located in. Google for instance, can now tell where someone is when they are online and will tailor the results to be fairly local. DO NOT try to game the system. Google has pretty smart people working for them and can tell if you are trying to work the system. For example, is you are a pizza shop in Atlanta and your website has a white background, don’t secretly write “pizza Atlanta” over and over again in white so no one can see it, but it’ll get picked up by Google. They key is to naturally weave the keywords or phrases into your site.
2) Relevancy - The reason marketers recommend blogs is that is an easy way to keep your site up to date with fresh content. Google can tell if your site is being updated, which means Google can tell if your site is not being updated. And in Google’s eyes, if your site isn’t being updated, then it isn’t very relevant. Now, you do not need to constantly update your site daily, but a blog allows you to easily update your site with fresh material every other week or once a month. It also allows you to work in those keywords and phrases into your site again.
3) Links – One thing that Google takes into consideration is outbound and inbound links. Meaning, do you have links to other real sites and do any other sites link to your page. Reason being, in Google’s eyes, if other people link to your site than more people must care about your site than a site with no links. A good way to get someone to link to your site is to maybe get involved in the community and partner up and host events. They’ll advertise your business on their site and you’ll give them a shout out on yours. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. J
4) Social media – Social media is great because of two main reasons – its popularity and the fact its free. One great way to be found online is to show up in as many places as you can! Every business should be communicating with their fans through Facebook and Twitter – no matter what. There is a catch though! You need to consistently update them. Both sites will help out your grass root SEO efforts, but they will also make you silly if someone finds them and you have one post from 3 months ago. No bueno my friend. I would also strongly recommend Foursquare and Yelp! because people always appreciate check in surprises and if you are a restaurant, Yelp! can be your best friend because it will have people advocating for you…Assuming you rock, which I’m sure you do.
Above are some great quick tips to help your business be found on the Internet. If you are a small business just starting out, start with these tips and give it some time. The more content you consistently create, the more you will see yourself be found. Please don’t get the idea that if you do the above, you’re going to see instant results the next day. I can’t promise you that and if someone does, be skeptical. SEO isn’t the easiest thing to conquer, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as everyone makes it seem.