New company managers may find SEO strategies challenging to understand. However, there is plenty of information about search engine optimization, strategies for improving search-ability, and much more, from Internet business sources. Sometimes understanding the basic terminology can be the most challenging part.
SEO companies typically use search engine optimization to promote businesses in the service industries. The strategies needed to get the most out of search engine technologies include customization of the process, so local consumers can find the business and learn more. When the SEO basics are covered, a business can then think about how it can use social media promotions display ads, and other media, to drive the right traffic to the website. It’s important to get local traffic to the site, as they are the consumers who can benefit from local services a company has to offer.
What is SEO?
SEO is search engine optimization. This means getting high rankings in searches and beating competitors to the top of the results list. The higher a business is in a search result; the more likely a customer will be interested. Most local customers will search for a new service or business online. People rarely use the phone book for listings these days. Therefore, an online presence is essential for business, even if it doesn’t sell anything online.
Is an SEO strategy necessary today?
When customers look for a business online, the first contact they have will likely be with the company website. A website should be maintained and kept up to date, to be relevant to potential customers. An attractive, properly functioning website leaves a good impression on visitors.
Search engines continue to change and improve quickly. The methods they use are being regularly updated, to give users the best information possible. So, what is most important, is that your business must be relevant to the potential customer’s search words and will show up on the search engine’s page, at or near the top of the list.
Who should use SEO strategies?
Any business that has a website or an online listing, virtually any company with an online presence of some type, should use SEO strategies. All online listings should easily be found by search engines.
What is involved in SEO strategies?
With a business website being the first place a customer will come in contact, the following tips should be considered:
- A functioning website that can be viewed through many devices is mandatory. It makes the site look professional to anyone, whether using a home computer, a mobile phone, or a tablet.
- When the website is being designed, it helps to think about the website’s you have visited that are easy to navigate and how the design enables you to find the information you want. Consider customer comments, as customers can provide plenty of information on how the site can be improved.
- Another consideration is the purpose of the website. Do you want people to contact you, read about the business, make comments, schedule an appointment, or provide a quote? Any of these purposes require your company’s website to be searchable. The site design and intent should leave no question about what you want potential customers to do.
- Customers should be able to reach your business efficiently, with any questions they may have. Any contact information provided on the site should be current.
If you aren’t able to design a website yourself, A CMS can help you manage online business activities. You can find plenty of guidance online and hire people when needed if you get stuck or can’t figure out what to do next.
Think about being a customer searching for a service online, when you design the website. The experience you would expect is what you want for your potential customers. When you’ve considered the initial features, you can then think about the SEO aspects of the site.
Search engines rely on SEO indicators to determine which sites are most relevant and where they should be listed in the order of a results page. These features will help with ranking in the search engine.
A meta description is a glimpse of what your website is about or what it’s related to. It allows the user to determine if he or she should browse through the site.
The title tag is a headline that a user will click on when the business is displayed on a search results page.
Every image on the site should have an accurate description in the alt text format so that the search engine can use it for indexing purposes.
When you have the web page SEO, you then need to think about local SEO. A sound local SEO plan will help the customers you want to reach out to. There are a few online listing services you should list your company on:
- Make sure you create a Google listing if you haven’t done so yet. You should make review the contact information for accuracy as well. Other sites you can list on include the Yellow Pages, Yelp, Kudzu, and Citysearch. The directory listings usually get quite a bit of search traffic from local customers. If the listing is optimized based on the service or services your business offers, you can get plenty of leads from these listings.
Dos and Don’ts for small business SEO activity
- Create an ongoing budget for SEO activities and online marketing. Depending on the nature of your business, you should have at least $25,000.
- Partner with a marketing company that understands what your business does. If you can’t find a reputable firm, work with an individual who can focus on your business.
- Conduct an SEO audit, which brings any weak areas to attention right away, so they can be addressed to improve search engine results.
- Try to cut costs by using cheap marketing or SEO services. Though it may be tempting, you may be paying for downtime and technical problems that keep your business away from people who may benefit from it.
- Be wary of agencies who promise all kinds of results. SEO takes time, so if a promise seems too good to be true, it probably is. Go with someone who is happy to explain what kind of help will be offered.
Some additional tips include allowing reviews of your business, to help promote it to other customers and developing a long-term SEO strategy as part of an ongoing marketing plan. From there, you can consider email marketing and social media promotions, as part of an overall plan for business growth.