In the recent years, I’ve read tons of articles, done large amounts of testing, and gathered large amounts of data. What I’ve learned is that all of the reading, all of the techniques, and all of my “experience” is time sensitive, it fades as newer, better, faster techniques are discovered.
Before I go into specifics the best advice, I can give you when it comes to properly optimizing a website, is to create your website, and it’s content to benefit your users. There are thousands of articles covering every minute and detail of SEO best strategies; those articles aren’t necessarily wrong (although a lot of SEO literature is misleading). They simply are too in depth for an average small to medium business website. Also, even the most complex strategy always boils down to creating the best overall user experience.
When it comes to SEO basics the old KISS (kept it simple stupid) is the #1 rule. To get your website’s foundation properly optimized you need to have the following:
- Keyword Research
- Content Implementation
- Meta Implementation
- User-Friendly Design: Ask yourself “would I want to use this website?”
- Quality Link Building: Quality over quantity
1. Keyword Research: Learn how your visitors would find you.
Using analytics data, AdWords data, or any other data sources you may have, identify which keywords to target based on the volume of potential searches vs. perceived likelihood of goal completion. What I mean (especially for keyword phrases) is that you look at the keyword’s intent.
Is it informational, transactional, or navigational? Are there dual meanings for the search EX: “Painters in Miami” can be a search for someone seeking a painter to paint their house or someone looking to find local art. I find that building a lexicon helps tremendously; for more information, check out my post on building lexicons for discovering new SEO and PPC keywords.
2. Content Implementation: Use the keywords and phrases you found in your copywriting.
Now that you have your keywords picked out its time to tailor your content to include those keywords sprinkled in. Like I mentioned earlier write your content for users, ask yourself “would I read this?” If the answer is no try again. Every page should have a single objective so tailor your content accordingly.
3. Meta Implementation: Use your keywords and phrases in your metadata. (Titles & Descriptions)
Meta information is an important part of any SEO strategy, use the same keywords you’re targeting on a page for your metadata, and make sure you follow all best practices. In our meta titles and descriptions blog post we cover everything you need to know about metadata.
4. User-Friendly Design: Ask yourself “would I want to use this website?”
Website design is the most subjective section of SEO, the most important elements of web design are: Is the website easy to use? Is the path to conversion clearly visible? Nail those two elements and your website will already be well optimized. There are however some design conventions that most of the web implements. The four conventions being:
1. Logo of the website is a home button and is located top left.
2. Phone Number and address on the top right of the website.
3. Horizontal navigation
4. Responsive web design.
Having all the above elements on your website will ensure good user engagement and a higher chance of converting a visitor into a customer.
5. Quality Link Building: Quality over Quantity
Link building is still arguably the most effective tactic to increasing organic search results; it’s also the most dangerous since black hat link building tactics can irreversibly cripple your websites rankings. Building natural links is a very difficult and often unsuccessful task. The best advice I have for local businesses looking to link build is to reach out to your community.
Do you sponsor an event? Little League team? If you’re an office supply company, for example, do you provide your supplies to a school or charity? If so, those are the types of links you want to acquire. If you have the budget, sponsoring an event like a 5k or blood drive can have big social sharing and link building opportunities. Use the local outreach you planned on doing anyways to your advantage. As a small business, you should stay away from reciprocal link building, paying for links, links from completely irrelevant businesses, and using “spammy” link directories.
SEO is a complex ever-changing field that intimidates most small business owners. However, just by using the 5 building blocks above will get your small business moving in the right direction. There are countless techniques and best practices that can be implemented to help your SEO efforts, but with these 5 you can be rest assured that you have at least covered your foundation.
If you would like an audit to see where your website stands from an SEO perspective schedule a demo with us. And as always if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Good Luck!