SEO Basics for New Small Businesses

July 1, 2017

If you’re a new small business owner trekking through the landscape that is digital marketing, you’ve likely heard the term “SEO,” but aren’t sure what it means or why it’s important. SEO stands for search engine optimization. Put simply, it is the process of aligning your website to the standards and recommendations of search engines, with the end goal being to increase traffic and visibility via search engine results.

Search engine rankings can be a game changer for new small businesses, which is why a solid SEO strategy isn’t just a nice-to-have, but a must-have. Fortunately, crafting an SEO strategy isn’t as intimidating as it sounds.

Whether you’re new to SEO completely, or are looking to up your SEO know-how, here are four basic search engine optimization tips every new small business owner should know.

Keyword Research

When it comes to SEO, keywords are your best friend. Before you start any search engine optimization work, you need to know which keywords to optimize your website for. Keywords are specific words and phrases within your website’s content that make it possible for user’s to find your website through search engines. While you can determine the obvious keywords to target, thorough keyword research can help pinpoint less obvious keywords to target that will be less competitive to rank for.

If you’ve never done keyword research, there are great resources and tools available online — even better, many are free! Google Keyword Planner, for example, is a great, free tool that can help you find new keywords, look for specific keywords and help generate new keyword ideas. Getting started is simple and it takes just a few minutes to create an account.

These other useful keyword research tools can help you get started:

Moz Keyword Explorer  

Wordtracker

WordStream

SERPs

Learn the Onsite Basics of SEO

When Google ranks a website, it 1) assesses how relevant a web page is for the query and 2) determines how important the web page and the website are to the user. To improve your website’s rank (this includes individual web pages, landing pages and the like), it’s important to learn the onsite basics of SEO.

Onsite basics include things like page titles, headers, URLs and meta descriptions. Learn a few best practices about those below:

Page Titles

When it comes to page titles, keep them between 50 and 60 characters and make sure to include keywords that describe the content on that page and are keywords your audience is liking searching for.

Headers

No one wants to read a big block of text when they visit your website, which is why headers are so important. But beyond improving user experience, headers are also an important factor when it comes to search engine rank. Headers help Google pick out important content and keywords that may be relevant to users. Make them concise, but still detailed.

Meta Descriptions

A meta description is the short text that displays under your web page title in a search result. While meta descriptions don’t necessarily affect rank order, they are an important factor when it comes to click-through rates (or the percentage of people who see your site in search results and “click through” to your website). For best results, keep your meta descriptions between 135 and 160 characters and make sure they’re enticing messages that include relevant keywords.

URLs

URL structure is often overlooked, but is important when it comes to SEO. Be sure your URLs aren’t a bunch of jumbled up letters, numbers and symbols. Your user should be able to identify the topic of your web page just by looking at the URL.

Create High-Quality Content Consistently

Producing high-quality content is one of the most important factors of SEO. It doesn’t matter how many keywords you put in your content, page titles, heads and meta descriptions if the content itself isn’t strong.

But what exactly makes for strong content? Great website content is creative, engaging, and most importantly, valuable to your readers. If your content addresses users’ problems, you’ll build trust with them. As a result, they’ll be more likely to visit your website again, which will help boost both business and search engine rankings over time.

Creating highly-quality content is important, but consistency is important, too. While there is no magic number to how many pieces of new content you should create each month, companies that regularly publish high-quality content reap the biggest rewards in term of website traffic and leads.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Search standards are constantly changing, as are SEO best practices — which is why staying up to date with the latest on search engine optimization is a must for small businesses. Researching and following SEO best practices will boost your website’s traffic and visibility, but results don’t happen overnight. Even the best and most thorough SEO strategies take time to garner results, so be patient, trust the process and don’t get discouraged.

Grow Your New Small Business with SEO Services from Hummingbird Collective!

Hummingbird Collective offers blogging, SEO, social media and other digital marketing services to small businesses and nonprofits in the Denver area and beyond. We love working with passionate organizations who are ready to take the next step in their digital marketing efforts. Reach out to us online for more information about our digital marketing packages, or call us at (720) 442-0772 to tell us more about your story!

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