5 Undeniable SEO Tips To Boost Business
SEO Tips To Help Jumpstart Your Business
If you own or operate a local business, it’s very likely you are at least aware that you need SEO. You may or may not be aware of all the benefits effective SEO can provide, but most will agree it’s important if you want new customers. Word-of-mouth is great, but it simply doesn’t scale. So, why is SEO so important? Hopefully, these tips will bring some answers.
Start Here — Google My Business
There is no better place to start than making sure your Google My Business listing is complete, accurate, and up-to-date. Your business listing on Google (commonly referred to as GMB) is a pivotal element in your local SEO strategy. It let’s Google know you exist and will allow your business to be seen in “near me” searches, i.e. “bakeries near me.” Your GMB listing is also a place to post updates, products, services, and all of your basic business information like hours of operation, whether or not you deliver, images of your baked goods, etc.
If you do not have a local SEO strategy in place, start with your GMB. Without a verified listing, Google will treat you as a second-class citizen when it comes to local search. This is a good article on setting up Google My Business and will walk you through the steps.
Since we are talking about fundamentals, nothing is more fundamental to your SEO performance than the host your website is sitting on. When Google decides how to rank your website in search results, it takes all things into consideration, including how fast the site loads. Google cares about the content on your site, but it cares equally, if not more, about the entire user experience of its consumers. In other words, if Google shows your site in a search result, the user clicks on it, and the page takes 4 seconds to load, that’s a bad user experience. In trun, Google will punish you for that flaw but lowering your rank.
Performance of your website is not completely dependent on the host. Web design, image size, scripts, and numerous other considerations may impact your site’s performance, but without a well-performing host, the other design aspects may not be enough.
Through much trial, error, experience, and testing, I believe there is no better hosting company for performance and support than SiteGround. As a cost effective solution SiteGround hosts all of its customer sites on Google servers. It’s fast, reliable, and the backend tools are very efficient for WordPress hosting. In fact, SiteGround is a managed WordPress hosting provider.
Bottom line: if your website is hosted on a budget provider like GoDaddy, consider taking the step of moving it to a dedicated WordPress provider like SiteGround.
Design For SEO
Without getting into depths of technical SEO, let’s talk about site design. There are several basic elements of a web page that make it fundamentally SEO-ready. Having a relevant title tag, an H1 that Google can understand as being topical to the content on the page, images with relevant meta tags, sub-tags (H2, H3, etc) that make the content easy to understand, and well-written content that answers the question(s) of the user in a natural way.
The days of stuffing relevant keywords into web pages to rank on Google are long over. Try it at your own peril. Remember, Google doesn’t care about your website. Google cares about its consumers, and Google has one job — to answer questions. If you follow the general rule of thumb that your content should provide valuable answers that are on-topic, your SEO will be better off.
Another guideline is to refrain from talking about your business. Again, Google (and most humans) don’t really care about your business. What they care about is what you can do for them or if you can answer their question(s).
So, when I say design for SEO, I mean to construct your web pages so they provide value to visitors and that visitors can easily find the answer(s) they seek.
Keyword research is another deep topic that I am just going to touch on. The core of organic SEO is about words on the page, how the words are constructed into phrases, and whether or not the words serve an intentional purpose of answering, educating, or otherwise helping the user with what they came for in the first place.
There are a number of tools to help you understand how people search Google. I prefer SEMRush but it is a professional tool that comes with a price tag. There are several great Google Chrome plugins that can help you understand how people search the web for words and phrases relevant to your business. I prefer Keywords Everywhere and Keyword Surfer. Both of these plugins will help you find keyword alternatives, like phrases, and help you understand how people are finding businesses like your online.
Before you set out to add keywords into the content on your website, make sure you take some time to identify keywords and phrases that generate traffic, and are not highly competitive. For instance, if you try to rank for the word bakery, you will find that the competition for that keyword is very high. It may take you months or years to gain search traffic if you are just starting out. Think about phrases that are more specific to what users may be searching, like bakeries that have cinnamon rolls, or bakeries that deliver, or bakeries with wedding cakes. While these may be competitive too, they will offer a much better chance of competing for top search result rankings.
The last tip I will mention here is Off-Page SEO. This is simply the effort you put in to make your business visible in ways other than on your website. This might include social media pages, links from other sites to your site (backlinks), certainly Google My Business and other local citation listings i.e. local business organizations, and really anything not on your website that drives traffic to your website.
Backlinks are incredibly important because if another website that has authority (through the eyes of Google) links to your website, this automatically tells Google that your website must be important and in turn will pass some of that authority to you. We call this link juice.
The bottom line of off-page SEO is to make sure you have created other listings or citations for your business in places where your target customers gather. Social media is usually a no-brainer, but do your customers frequent Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or some other social platform? This is important, and should tell you where to put emphasis.
Obviously, I’ve only touched on the very basics of SEO here. These 5 SEO tips are meant as a starting place. You’ll want to dive a little deeper on each one. I am always happy to answer questions you may have about SEO and you can reach me here. SEO is what makes your website valuable. Having a website is simply not enough in 99.8% of all business cases. If SEO is implemented correctly it can be the literal difference maker in your business and help you grow beyond expectations.