The Small Business Owner’s Introduction to SEO

It’s common knowledge that Google is the most used search engine on the Internet, and a large amount of traffic that comes into any website. But few people realize how valuable being placed on the front page of Google can be for a small business.

Statistics show that 75 percent of people don’t bother going past the first page of results in Google. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting your website to the front page of Google for the search terms your customers are most likely to use.

 

Optimized For Long Tail Searches

Let’s say a car dealership wants to rank for “cars for sale” and “used cars for sale.” The problem with trying to rank on page one for these terms is that they are too broad — the dealership is competing with businesses around the world for these terms! It’s like trying to get your site found for “business loans.”

Instead, think about how people actually search. If I’m looking for a used car, I would most likely search for “used cars near Bay Ridge, Brooklyn,” because it’s close to where I live. This type of search is called a “long tail keyword search,” and you should make sure your website is optimized for it. In fact, according to Google, “near me” search terms have doubled in the last year, so make a concerted effort to include these in your SEO strategy.

How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?

In order to rank your website, Google uses a program called a spider. It crawls the strands of information that make up your website and indexes what your site is about, as well as other factors like how old the site is and how often it’s updated. Using this information, Google ranks how relevant your website is to its users search terms.

What Can You Do to Rank Higher?

To ensure Google is able to see all of the information on your site, it is important to make sure you are following current best practices. Some of these guidelines include:

  • Have at least 350 words of original content about your business, services or products on each page.
  • Make sure your page title tag, the line of text that appears in the browser tab as users navigate each page of your site, are between 60 to 70 characters.
  • Fill out the meta description, a short description of your business or service that appears in the Google search results. This should be enticing to the reader but no longer than 150 characters.
  • Incorporate some of the keywords you want to rank for into your content.

How Do You Make These Changes?

The exact way that you will make changes to your site will vary based on the way your site is built and the editor you use. Many of the most popular content management systems, including WordPress, have clearly marked the relevant fields under an SEO tab so all you have to do is fill them in. It can take two to three months to see any improvement in ranking, but even small changes like these can make a big difference.