SEO: What Small Businesses Need to Know

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Publishing a small business Website without SEO is like hosting a party and not sending out invitations. In most cases, no one’s going show up. So it’s a very good idea to be starting to look into SEO as a critical component of your overall marketing plan.

Google sees social media as one indicator of the importance of your page.

Google sees social media as one indicator of the importance of your page.

Once you start to learning about the subject, you may find it a bit confusing … maybe even daunting. There’s so much to learn, and it’s changing all the time. More than likely, you’ll hire someone to help design and implement your SEO program. Whether you decide to do your own SEO or hire someone, there’s certain information that every small business person needs to know before embarking on the journey. This article will help get you started on the right path by providing the six “must know” points about SEO.

1. Stay On Google’s Good Side.

Google sees the world as black and white. There are good SEO tactics and bad ones. Don’t try to “game” Google. The penalties are too high. Google will remove you from their listings completely if it finds you did something disreputable, and it’s very difficult to get back in the search engine’s good graces. What are disreputable tactics? Link farms, keyword stuffing, buying backlinks, hidden text are all examples of what has come to be known as “blackhat” SEO tactics.

2. Backlinks Are Worth Their Weight in Gold.

Backlinks are the links to your Webpages. Google uses the number and quality of these to determine the importance of your page. The more backlinks your Webpage has from high traffic, high “authority” sites, the higher it will land in the search listings.

3. Don’t Duplicate Meta Data.

One of the ways that Google learns what your page is about is through meta data. This is programming that includes items like the page title and description. It’s tempting to use the same title and description for every page. It’s a lot of work to make it specific to every page. But it’s worth it. Google will rank you higher in their listings if you make the investment.

4. Your Pages Should be Keyword Dense, But Not Too Dense.

When you’re trying to get in the top 10 listings for a specific keyword, you want to include that keyword about three to five times in the page text. No more, no less.

5. The More Social the Better.

Google believes that if more people are liking, following, tweeting and sharing your Webpages, they must be important. Do everything you can to make this happen.

6. Are You Local or Universal or Both?

if you serve customers just in the local area, you want to tell your SEO consultant to optimize your site just for local search. If you serve customers across the country and not in your local area, you want to optimize for universal search. Some businesses need both. There are a lot of different factors to keep in mind when optimizing your Website. It can be complex and even experts frequently disagree about the very best strategies. To make matters worse, Google frequently changes its algorithm and the way it ranks pages. It’s important to stay up to date with the latest tactics and strategies. Although this may seem like a daunting task, proper optimization can have a tremendous payoff. There’s no question that search has become the primary way that people find new products and services. You really have no choice but to make this a critical part of your marketing strategy. This will be even truer in the future.

About the Author:

Jennifer Kamerman is the Interactive Marketing Manager at MESH. In her role at MESH, Jennifer has driven marketing strategies and projects for small privately-owned businesses, as well as $80 billion international conglomerates. She is known for her strong work ethic, project management skills and a passion for social media engagement strategies. Any day of the week, you can hear her enthusiastically discussing lead generation campaigns, thin mint Girl Scout cookies, SEO, stiletto heels, pink (the color, not the singer) or one of our next BIG IDEAs for a client. Her trusty pink notebook plays an important role in tracking all marketing campaign details including scheduling, scoping, budgeting and resourcing.