Small Businesses Checklist: The Big Four for SEO Success

More and more people search for what they want – products or services – on the web. It is therefore essential that your company’s website show up on the first page of Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs, and ideally in one of the first ten spots on that first page, because that’s as far down as most people look.

What can you do to get your website into one of those rarified positions? Ensure that your site is search engine optimized.

  1. Create a website that Search Engines will reward

Designing a website these days is so easy that many small businesses elect to do it themselves. They purchase a domain name and a hosting package from a provider, and use that provider’s one-page template to create their site. All the information is on one page – “About Us,” “Who We Are,” “What We Do” and a contact form.

This design is optimized for smart phone users, but it is not optimized for SEO.  For SEO purposes, your website should have at least five pages, and each page should be “optimized’ for certain keywords related to your business. The more pages your site has, the more opportunities for search engine web crawlers to find your site, index it, and reward it with a high position in SERPs for those particular keywords.

Smart phone users can easily access all those pages, by the way. Menu bars are responsive and show up at the top of the screen as a small button. The user merely taps the button to see a drop down of all pages he or she would like to visit.  PC users will reward you for providing all the information they could possibly want, and more, about your company.

  1. Design for both smart phone and desktop computers

Because a lot of information –condensed versions – is on your home page for the benefit of your smart phone viewers, the ideal solution is to give headers to each piece of information that will differ from the page names you will have in your menu bar.

For example, if you have a header called “About Us” in the body of the home page, create a page entitled “Meet Our Team” in order to expand on what each team member does. Similarly, if you have a header called “What We Do” on the home page, create a page called “Services” to expand on the services they can obtain from you. In fact, depending on how many services you offer, create a drop-down menu with a different page for each service.

One important page that always seems to be missing from these do-it-yourself websites is the Privacy Policy page. If you collect emails from your visitors – and you really should for your online marketing – you must have a Privacy Policy page. It’s also a page that search engines expect to see.

  1. Use an integrated blog and social media

Search engines reward new content – but it’s rather hard to add new content to static web pages on a regular basis. The solution is to create an integrated blog to which you post at least once a week. Each post should be at least 500 words and be optimized to a specific keyword (4 uses of the keyword – also called a key phrase – per 500 words).

Facebook and Twitter are the two big social media applications that people love. At the very least, they will expect your business to have a Facebook account, from which you can offer discounts, specials or coupons to reward loyal customers. Properly written Facebook and Twitter posts, with appropriate hashtags, can do wonders for your SEO – and your business ROI in general.

  1. Become a thought leader

Search engines reward your website if there are a lot of external links that point to it. Typically, a small business owner does not have the time to create the number of external links needed, but one way that you can build those links is by becoming a thought leader – establishing yourself or members of your company as experts in what they do and writing articles, blog posts and comments to blog posts, with links back to your website.

Not only are you rewarded when search engines find those links, but individuals reading these articles will begin to view you as a thought leader and influencer and this will build respect for your company, which will translate into more sales or clients.

These days, your company simply must have an online presence. SEO, properly instituted, can help bring your online presence to the forefront of your industry, and to the top of Page 1.