If you are a small business owner with a website, you know there are many challenges to converting visitors to your site into customers. However, if you know a few tricks and implement them as part of your SEO strategy, your visibility and brand awareness increase. In this article, we will review what SEO is and how it can help your business. We will also provide a short checklist of SEO tactics you can apply to your website today.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a series of marketing tactics you can use on your website to increase how it ranks from searches. These tactics are aimed at assisting you in gaining a competitive edge when users search for products or services online that your small business offers.
SEO uses methods that are only understood by search engines. The more relevant and specific the data you provide as part of an SEO strategy, the more often search engines will visit your website. In the process, the search engines will learn what your website is about and what content is contained there. Search engines index pages from your website and offer them as search results when an internet user inputs a query. This is how your website receives exposure and your business earns more revenue as it becomes seen by more potential customers looking for your products.
The SEO Checklist
As reported by Digital Authority Partners, here are the top tactics you should apply to your website as soon as possible.
1 – Set Up Google Analytics/Google Search Console
Before you do anything SEO-related to your website, be sure to set up Google Analytics. This is a free web analytics program that will provide you with data not available anywhere else. SEO professionals use it, so you know it sets the standard. Google Search Console is another free tool that will give you keyword tracking, website monitoring, and troubleshooting capabilities.
2 – Send Google a Site Map
A sitemap is an organized list of all your website URLs. By submitting one to Google, you ensure that the search engine will visit your website and crawl all of the page URLs included in your sitemap. By using a simple URL structure, you make it easier for search engines to connect pages and content when compiling search result pages.
3 – Build a Robots.txt File
A Robots.txt file is a data file that contains instructions that either allow or restrict Google from indexing specific pages found on your website. If you have a page or two on your website that has little value to internet users, you probably don’t want them to appear in search results. The Robots.txt file will spell out which pages are not to be visited or indexed.
4 – Research the Right Keywords
This is considered the cornerstone of any SEO strategy. Keywords are what internet users will type in search windows to find things. With keyword research tools, you will be able to determine the best ones for your particular niche. You will also want to know what keywords are being used by your competition so that you can compete for their traffic.
5 – Use HTTPS
The combination of HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) is HTTPS. When you configure your website to utilize HTTPS, it tells Google that you are using encryption on your website. Any site without HTTPS may not be accessible because they are not considered secure and Google tells you this when you visit one.
6 – Post Quality Content
Search engines rank pages on many different factors. One is content. The more relevant your content is to your website niche, the better. However, there are more ways to make content assist with rankings. Content should either educate a visitor or demonstrate how your product can solve an everyday problem. You should also publish new content regularly.
7 – Include Links
Another great way to boost the rank of your website is through a solid linking strategy. It is important to not just link content to other pages within your website (internal linking) but also link to other websites (external linking). The key here is to ensure all links lead to material that is relevant to the material the link has left your website from.
8 – Include Local SEO
Local SEO helps drive traffic and sales to a business location through geographic targeting. For example, Google Maps is a form of local SEO . Your business should have a page there that outlines all the information a potential customer may want as they look for services like yours in their local community. Local SEO also helps visibility in search result pages.
9 – Address Off-Page SEO
Social media channels and other marketing or promotional tools you use that are not directly on your website but direct traffic to your website is off-page SEO. The best thing about this tactic is that it puts your brand and message in front of audiences that may not see it from just your website. This is an effective way to send visitors to your website to learn more.
10 – Watch Page Load Speeds
Another important SEO tactic is to ensure that the time it takes a page on your website to load is as fast as possible. Google recommends under two seconds. The longer it takes a page to load, the more likely that the search engine will penalize the page. Try to keep elements on your web pages simple rather than complicated and eliminate flash and resize large format images to help pages load faster.
Small business owners with websites need assistance. The website will help with exposure and reach, but to make these happen, you must use various SEO tactics. The list above is a short checklist that will help you get your website in shape for search engines to visit and index. Without search engines finding and learning about your website, your traffic numbers will suffer. Using SEO tactics helps increase your traffic, which results in more revenue for your small business.