When small businesses, particularly those without a great deal of internet knowledge, hear the phrase Search Engine Optimization (or SEO), their natural reaction is more often than not to tense up, become clammy and start to panic at even the thought of learning about SEO – never mind implementing it.
However, whilst SEO is without doubt something that requires for a lot of in-depth knowledge and experience to be held to be able to implement it effectively, there are some basic things that everyone with a business website can carry out to ensure that their website starts to perform well in search engines.
- Content is king – although this phrase is becoming somewhat of a cliche amongst SEO experts and webmasters, primarily for the fact it’s a term that’s been used over and over again, it is still completely true. Search engine rankings are based on, for the most part, the content that you have on your website and therefore to ensure that your website has the best chance of receiving a high ranking, its content needs to be of a high quality.Make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors, don’t overdo it with images and ensure that it’s in full and proper English (or whichever language you’re targeting).
- Update it regularly – in the most basic of terms, the more you update your website, the better a search engine will think it is, as if you’re updating regularly, it’s likely that there’s a need to be doing it (i.e., regular visitors) and search engines will therefore generally look upon the fact that more updates means more traffic which means a high quality and popular website.If you find it hard to update your website because it’s not setup to be updated regularly, consider adding a blog – you can update it as regularly as you want and assuming it’s tied into your main website (for example, www.yourwebsite/blog), then your business website will benefit.
- Stick to a small set of keywords – as a business, you’ll no doubt have in your mind a few dozen keywords that you’d like to rank highly for in the search engines. Whilst it can be tempting to try and rank highly for all of them, pick out some of the most appropriate ones for your business and work on these to start with.Include them in your website’s copy, your blog posts, page titles – anywhere you can, as long as it sounds natural.
- Visit your website as a customer – whilst search engines were once not overly intelligent and you could, with some basic procedures, trick them into thinking your website is better than it is. These times are long behind us and most of today’s search engines are extremely sophisticated and intelligent, more so than most of us could ever begin to realise.When they send their spiders – pieces of software that trawl your website and send information back to the search engine to decide upon your ranking – they are in effect customers and therefore it’s important that to gain a good understanding of what information is being sent back to the search engine, you visit your website as a customer.Look at the content and see if it’s attractive and appealing. Work through the website’s navigation system to see if it’s easy to get around. Move to pages that aren’t used much to see if they’re still functioning and aren’t out-of-date or inaccessible.
If anything’s not working properly or you’re not happy with something, change it – if it’s not working for you, it won’t be working for the search engine’s spiders.
Search Engine Optimization is something that can take a substantial amount of time to even grasp the basics of. Whilst it’s always recommended that to ensure your business website performs well in search engines you hire a dedicated SEO consultant or company, these 4 points can all help to make sure that you’re business at least survives online and is ranking in some form in the search engines.
This post was originally featured on August 24, 2010.