Understanding search engine optimization (SEO) can be challenging for entrepreneurs.
A simple approach starts with understanding Google’s core search engine, Google Search. If you manage your company’s online presence, you are for all intents and purposes Google’s customer.
You probably know that Google’s algorithms change regularly – think Penguin and Panda updates – in order to improve user experience and control search engine indexes. But did you know there are more than 200 criteria influencing your online visibility?
Useful tips to improve your website’s SEO
Ideally you should take care of each one of them, but that is practically impossible. So a good start is to make sure you keep your company website updated, trustworthy and relevant. Also, don’t forget about user experience (UX).
Google, itself, shares some useful suggestions to keep your website’s search engine rankings moving toward the top.
Publish relevant content. Quality content is the number one driver of your search engine rankings. There is absolutely no substitute for great content.
Pay attention to metadata. This is the data that labels other data. It “is invisible to your visitors and customers… The metadata we use most for SEO speaks to search engines directly from each page crawled, to communicate important information or request a specific action from the search engine (Practical Ecommerce).”
Build a link-worthy site. Create content that other sites will want to link to.
Use all tags. As Yoast founder and CEO Joost de Valk explains, “a good taxonomy system can boost your site’s SEO.”
General speaking, SEO is a process that includes a number of technical and creative strategies aimed at improving your website’s and social profile visibility among organic search results (i.e., not the paid Google results such as pay-per-click advertisements, but instead organic visibility based on keywords, relevance, reliability, popularity, etc.)
Ultimately, SEO helps you influence these results. At this point, it is easy to see why SEO is important for your business. Whatever type of company you run, you want people to know about it. In an era where most product and service research is done via Google, you need your website to rank high. This will not only improve your online visibility but ultimately your revenue.
Steadily improve your company’s online visibility
For many, understanding and implementing the specifics of SEO strategy requires expertise – most companies hire consultants for this purpose. If you’re unfamiliar (and unwilling to learn the technicalities of SEO) you should also embrace outsourcing SEO too.
Many of your marketing efforts, maybe unknowingly, are already based on a search engine optimization. So let’s focus on the creative side of SEO; in other words, on what you can do as a small business owner to steadily improve your online visibility.
1. Get active on social media
According to a report by Shareaholic, in 2015 social media drove 32.4% of the overall referral traffic (i.e., the number of visits your website gets from sources outside of Google Search) to websites.
This means that you should definitely take advantage of the biggest social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram boast an estimated three billion users combined. But keep in mind, staying social promotes transparency and attracts potential clients, but your social media popularity doesn’t necessarily translate into new business.
2. Create SEO optimized content
Produce interesting, shareable and SEO optimized content. Choose your keywords carefully and make sure they appear in your title, the page URL, the body of your article and in the page’s meta-description. If you run a WordPress-based site, there are free tools, like Yoast SEO plugin, that will tell you if your content is successfully SEO optimized.
While trustworthy and engaging content is just one of the factors that influence your search engine rankings, it is also the most important. Without it, your website will not be indexed by Google and ultimately no one will be able to easily find you online.
3. Don’t forget multimedia
Multimedia will attract attention, help you establish your brand personality and ultimately prove beneficial to your search engine result page (SERPs) rankings. By creating a dynamic website, studded with quality content (e.g., videos, infographics and images) you allow users to engage in a number of original ways. Other than being user-friendly, multimedia is also shareable – which obviously promotes better search engine rankings.
4. Keep smart web design in mind
Your company website should be eye-catching, functional and mobile-friendly. With the number of e-commerce software tools and website builders on the market, mediocre and outdated web design is not excusable.
Don’t take my word for it. Users also become frustrated with poorly designed sites. And your site design impacts SEO along with its responsiveness across multiple screens to address Mobilegeddon – which impacts searchability on mobile platforms.
5. Deploy web analytics
Combine your creative marketing strategies with traffic monitoring and web analytics to learn how you’re doing and find out which strategies work best.
Google Analytics , for example, allows you to learn detailed insights about your audience. The features are endless, but most importantly it makes data collection and management simple by providing a single, accurate view of the customer that can be customized to your needs.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Marco Sacca, is an Italian journalist based in London, where he works as a digital marketing executive and freelance writer with Activia Training. He loves writing about business, entrepreneurship and startups. Connect with @AccuraCastIT on Twitter.