Internet has offered a level playing ground to the business of all sizes to market their offerings to a diverse global audience. In order to be visible on the World Wide Web, however, a business website needs to index itself effectively on the search engines, which can be a bit appalling especially without the knowledge of SEO tactics to follow. So, we present you with a cheat-sheet for small businesses to create an effective online presence for themselves and become competitive in the online market over the time.
1)Find what matters to the search engines
The search engines function to direct its users to relevant results for their search queries. The relevance of a website as a result to the search queries is determined in terms of its content, performance, authority and user experience.
So, what matters to the search engine is:
- whether the content is relevant to the user search
- whether the content is useful for authoritative websites to cite the information available or use it as reference
- whether the site is performing well in terms of its functioning and speed, and
- whether the navigation of the website is user-friendly and its look and feel, appealing to the users.
2)Find an SEO-friendly domain name
The most important part of the digital infrastructure of your business website is its domain name. It goes without saying that it makes perfect sense to invest your time and effort for selecting the perfect domain name for your business website.
The most important factors for deciding the domain name of your business website are the ease and predictability of its spelling, use of keyword and the ability to be branded:
- Ease of spelling the domain name: The domain name of a business website should be short, easy to spell and easy to remember. Since the SEO of your website is still not in place, your users are more likely to search it based on your word of mouth. The spelling of your domain name should be thus, conducive to a hassle-free search.
- Use of keyword: Having a keyword you’re trying to rank your website for, used to be important earlier, but according to the Exact Match Domain (EMD) Update released by Google, it has not remained as important anymore. So, it is not something that should be stressed upon, while choosing a domain name.
- The ability to be branded
3)Research the relevant keywords
Before you start working on the content of your website, it is important to research the relevant keywords your audience is using to search your offerings. Proper keyword research is needed to find good keywords. The good keywords are, ideally,
- Related to a high search volume, that are most commonly used by your target audience to look for your offerings
- Related to a low competition. For example a long tail keyword such as “blue shoes for girls” in place of “shoes” shall fetch smaller amount of rather specific results. These help your business rank higher in SERPs.
- Related to your website content and your offerings.
4)Generate high quality content
High quality content is the main ingredient of the online marketing strategy of any business. The quality of web content also plays a key role in taking your website higher in the search engine rankings. So, good quality blog articles, pictures, videos, ebooks, white papers, newsletters, reports, brochures, videos, FAQs, pictures and infographics all add to the position of a website in search engine ranking. Ideally starting with an attractive title, the good quality content is well-optimized with keywords and is unique fresh and sufficiently long to cover the details of the subject matter.
5)Code optimization for an SEO friendly URL structure
Follow these steps for an SEO friendly URL structure:
- Consolidate the www and non-www versions of your website into one such that the non-www version should redirect the user to your www website so that the internet doesn’t perceive both as two different websites. If this is not so, your website content will be perceived as supplicate content.
- Including a stating URL to a website is any day better than a dynamic URL because the former is not only for your users to understand what the page is about but it also gives you an opportunity to use your keyword. Dynamic URL on the other hand, looks weird and has hardly any information to offer about your website.
- Using canonical tags helps the search engine bots identify which parts of the content are original and which are the duplicates. The search engine bots only index and give the link credits to the original pieces.
- Creating an XML sitemap is important as a road map for the search engine bots that navigate the theme on your website. This helps ensure that the search engine bots don’t miss to index any page on your website.
- Adding a title tag, Meta description tag, heading tags, alt tags are the basic requirements of the URL structure to be SEO friendly.
6) Equip yourself technically to analyze your SEO
As soon as you decide to conduct SEO for your small business, you should equip yourself with a set-up of Google Analytics, Google and Bing Webmaster Tools and install an SEO plugin in order to qualitatively and quantitatively measure the effects of your SEO efforts.
7) Conduct proper link building
The link building for the website used to be the most important part of the SEO practices. Links are still important factors in ranking the website as these determine the importance and relevance of the website content. For powerful link building, the important steps are the creation of useful content that other websites would like to link to, promoting it to reach the right audience for linking, and interacting with and convincing the influencer’s for link building.
8) Post launch analysis
After the launch of your website, in order to ensure that it is SEO friendly, it should be checked for its usability, speed and responsiveness. Your website analytics help you analyze all these factors and you can further fine-tune them to improve its search engine ranking.