Many consumers use search engines to find a local business, and the majority of customers will choose a business that’s ranked in the top ten search results. This is why your small business’ website ranking is important.
Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO, is the reason why some webpages appear first in Google search results. You can improve the ranking of your business on the Internet, drive more traffic to your site, and increase your online sales by following these SEO best practices.
1. Develop a keyword list
Keyword research is critical for businesses who want to optimize their websites from an SEO perspective. Keyword research helps you determine which terms people enter when using Google or other search engines for your business on the Internet and optimize your website content accordingly.
Check out this post with our recommended keyword research process that will allow you to determine which keywords your target customers are searching for. This will help you develop a list of keywords that you should integrate into your SEO strategy.
2. Optimize your website content
Your website’s content is critical to your overall SEO ranking. You should take time to develop quality content that is properly structured and organically integrates keywords. Here are a few of the most important SEO factors from a content perspective:
- Meta-title: This is the clickable text that shows up on a search results page. It appears in a browser’s title bar when viewing your page. A well-chosen meta-title is critical to catching the user’s attention and telling them what your webpage is about. It should be between 55–60 characters in length and use core keywords in a natural way.
- Meta-description: This is the description text displayed directly beneath the title. It should provide a more detailed explanation of what the content is about in under 300 characters.
- Body content: Your website’s body content is equally important. Your content should focus on what matters to your audience. You can integrate your target keywords throughout your content, but in a reader-friendly way where the keywords make sense contextually.
3. Fix technical SEO issues
Technical issues can have a huge negative impact on your SEO rankings. With that said, it’s important to identify any technical issues to ensure your website is built on a solid foundation.
Some of the most common SEO technical problems include:
- Slow load time: Your website’s speed is important to your overall SEO ranking. To determine whether your site’s speed is up to Google standards, you should run your site through the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. This will give you a report of what items you may need to fix to speed up your site.
- Not optimized for mobile: Since many users today search on mobile devices first, search engines prioritize sites that are mobile-friendly. Google also provides a mobile-friendly test to show you where your site stands.
- No XML sitemap: An XML sitemap is basically a page on your site that provides a roadmap of your website and its page structure, allowing search engines to find your important pages. If your site doesn’t have a sitemap, you can easily create one using an XML sitemap generation tool. One of the most popular tools is part of the Yoast SEO Plugin, which is available on all WordPress sites.
- Broken links: Google penalizes sites and pages with broken links. To determine if your site has broken links, you can run a site crawl, which will provide you with a report of all broken links. Screaming Frog SEO Spider is one great crawl tool that will get the job done.
4. Google My Business
The Google My Business tool should be a focus point for all small businesses. If you devote just 15 minutes of your time to this free tool, it will make a huge impact on your small business. To learn how to use the tool, check out our post, How to Utilize Google Business for Your Small Business.
5. Get links from websites in your local area
Your website’s popularity is important to how you rank on search engine results. If more people are clicking your site, your ranking will be higher. One tactic is to get inbound links on other sites that lead to your website.
One way to do this is by creating newsworthy posts and website content that other sites are encouraged to share. To get some more ideas on how your website can get local links, check out the article What Is a Local Backlink & How to Find Them.
With a better understanding of how SEO works and how you can use it to improve the visibility of your business on the Internet, you’ll be on track toward improving your small business Internet website’s visibility and driving more online sales.