How to Set Up Your Business Website for Maximum SEO Benefit

What small business doesn't want its website to be found, browsed, and used?

Most of us depend on it. Yet, search engine optimization—the process of affecting the rank of a website in search engines—can be quite a rabbit hole. There's so much advice out there, and most small business owners don't have time or energy to research what works and what doesn't.

The good news is that you don't need to learn all the tricks of the trade to be able to derive maximum benefit from SEO. All you need is a little know-how and the will to see your optimization efforts through, and Google will reward you down the road.

With that in mind, here are some SEO basics that you can implement on your website to give your rankings the best chance possible.

Choose The Right Keywords

It's hard for a small business website to secure a place in the top spots of search engines for single phrase keywords. For instance, cracking the top three for “plumber" or “accountant" would be incredibly challenging, if not impossible, for a small business. “Los Angeles affordable plumber," while still tricky, is much more achievable.

Choosing long-tail keywords to incorporate into your website is key to better rankings. Also, it's a good idea to explore search volume for different keywords before you embark on your SEO optimization journey.

For example, if you're a donut shop based in New York it might seem like best practice to target the keyword “donut shop New York" but, as you see below, the search volume is actually bigger for “best donuts in nyc."

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Several tools reveal search volume, but, since Google is the search engine most small businesses want to optimize their websites for, it makes sense to use the search company's Keyword Planner tool (pictured above) to explore different opportunities. Here's a good primer for using that tool.

Place Keywords in the Right Places

Once you've found the right keywords to target, you want to put them in the right places so Google associates your page with those topics. To get maximum SEO benefit, place your keywords in the following areas:

  • Page Title: Your page title should include the target keyword to both tell search engine crawlers what your page is about and also entice visitors to click on your site. You'll get bonus SEO points if you've placed the keyword at the start of the page title. For example, if “small business basics" is the keyword, “Small Business Basics Every Entrepreneur Should Know" is a more SEO-oriented title than “7 Essential Small Business Basics." The page title should be in a <title> tag in the HTML to help search engines find it—some sites, like Wordpress, do this automatically.
  • Subheaders: Search engines also place importance on the words you've used in your subheadings, so it's imperative to place keywords inside the subheaders on your site. For instance, in the example above, your subheaders might look like this in the HTML: </h2>Small Business Basic #1: Finding Your Customers</h2>.
  • Page URL: The keyword you want to rank for should be placed in the URL slug/permalink of your webpage. It'll appear like this: www.mywebsite.pro/place-keyword-here. WordPress and other content management systems place the webpage's title in the URL by default, so you'll have to customize the URL manually to highlight your target keyword.

When search engines understand your site, they can better recommend you to visitors, further increasing your web traffic and click-through rate.

Build High-Quality Backlinks

Acquiring high-quality backlinks is essentially the core of any SEO campaign. This implies getting other websites to link to your web pages. Not only is this directly valuable to your site's SEO footprint, but it also serves as a direct referral to your website from other domains—driving targeted traffic to you.

For instance, if you're an accountant and a small business site links back to a piece of content you shared, you earn a backlink from a reputable company as well as targeted traffic in the form of visitors who might need your services.

Here are a few ways to build high-quality backlinks:

  • Write high-quality articles for reputable websites in your niche and place a link to your own website in the author bio
  • Get business/product reviews from relevant influencers
  • Try getting your business featured on news websites
  • Interview subject matter experts within your industry and share their thoughts on your site, asking them to share the piece on their social channels

All of these link building tactics require effort and time, but if you're determined to improve the search engine rank of your website, you will still see significant impact from building high-quality backlinks.

With so many SEO tips out there, it can be hard for small business owners to know where to start. We hope these tips make things a little more clear. Register your domain today, and then get started building a website optimized for maximum SEO benefit.

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Monday, June 4, 2018