Looking at SEO

“What is SEO or Search engine optimization? It’s simply those elements on your website that help you get found by the search engines.” Says Howie Nestel, President of Sharkmatic Advertising.

Use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works when someone does any kind of internet search whether they use Google, Bing, Yahoo, Opera, or Firefox.

Remember when you needed to find a certain service or product for your home? You typed what you were looking for in a search bar and hit enter. Like magic, the product or service you wanted appeared on your computer. You’ve probably done this at least once in the past week.

So when a person interested in your business does a search for your type of product or service, they will type in the search engine words that they believe will help them find you. These are called keywords. These keywords are crucial to getting your website to show up at the top of the search results. They should be an integral part of your website’s content so the search engine being used will recognize them and place your business near the top of the search results.

“You might be on the internet, you might have a good looking website but if nobody sees it you can’t sell or market to your prospects. Well search engine optimization can take your store virtually from an alley up to the forefront of where the consumers are with the right keywords and the right content,” said Nestel.

Why is SEO important for small businesses?

  • Increases the visibility of your product or service. When your website ranks at the top of search results, it means more people will see you and can connect with you much faster. Remember, strong SEO can lead to more website visits and more business for you.
  • By optimizing your website and using specific keywords, you can attract customers who are not just browsing but already have a specific interest in the product or service you offer.
  • Often, when people see your website appearing high in search results, they will be more likely to have greater confidence in the services you provide or products you sell. Good SEO helps you build credibility and can support the idea that people can have confidence in the products or services you are offering to them.
  • SEO is a process, not a one-time chore.  You have to put time into it so that keywords are updated as your business changes over time. Be sure to adjust your SEO strategy so that people can always find you easily in search results. 

How should small businesses get started with SEO?

  • The first step is to find out what keywords people might use to find you. Next, discover what keywords your competitors use. You can find out what keywords and phrases might work best by using a keyword research tool, such as Google Keyword Planner.
  • Once you know what keywords you want to use, you’ll need to incorporate those keywords into your website’s content. This includes things like including your keywords in your website’s title tag, headlines, blogs, and descriptions of products and services. Now don’t worry, you may not always be perfect and some keywords may not work into all your content as you wish, but the more you can work them into your website’s landscape the better.
  • Backlinks are links from other websites that can add interest or additional information while someone is on your website. They are also a signal to search engines that your website has great content. For example, a great idea for a backlink on your website might include links from respected people in your industry, or an artist who may have created a great line of products that you are currently selling.
  • Original content is a priority when it comes to SEO success.

“Make sure to create high-quality content that relates to your keywords, and most significantly, content that will be helpful to your customers or people interested in doing business with you,”
said kreativhouse marketing Founder Charles Schwabe.

Be sure to include original photographs and videos of your business or service. You always want to look for ways to differentiate your business from the competition.

It is important to keep an eye on all your Search Engine Optimization efforts so that you can see what’s working and what’s not. There are a variety of free tools available to track your SEO results, such as Google Analytics and Search Console.

How to stay consistent with SEO

  • Set goals and track your progress. It is important to set realistic goals for your SEO efforts. Don’t expect instant results. If you keep a continuous eye on the keywords you use and make adjustments as needed you will see results over time. 
  • Creating a content calendar is a great way to remind yourself to update your website with key information for your audience.  A content calendar can also serve as a reminder to review your SEO keywords in your content and if you need to make any changes.
  • Keep a list handy of your optimal keywords or a list of the keywords or phrases that have worked well. Consider research on your competitors and see what keywords might be working for them. Most importantly, be nimble. You’ll want to constantly evaluate your SEO and adjust. Don’t be afraid to change keywords or phrases that will improve search results for your customers!
  • If you do not have the time or resources to carry out an SEO campaign, consider hiring an SEO specialist who can jumpstart your website’s performance.  Remember, when you search for an SEO expert, they are likely using Search Engine Optimization themselves, so you can find them easier on the web!

Steps to track SEO

There are a number of trustworthy web programs that you can use to track your SEO:

  • Google Analytics is a free tool that can help you track your website traffic, including the traffic that comes from search engines.
  • Search Console is a free tool that helps businesses track their website’s performance when customers use Google to search for them.
  • SEMrush is a tool that helps people with a variety of SEO tasks. This includes keyword research, backlink building, and competitor analysis. There may be a cost to using SEMrush but it may be a worthwhile option for you.

When you carefully track your SEO, it will be clear what works and what is falling flat. This information can help you make necessary changes to your digital strategy and improve your website’s visibility when people search for your product or service. Remember, the stronger your SEO efforts, the more people are likely to connect with you and with your business!