Don’t write off the importance of SEO to get your small business website atop search engine rankings.
Bloggers renew this chorus every time Google releases an update: SEO is dead. But don’t believe it. Search engine optimization (SEO) is alive and well.
“SEO, the art of making content more accessible and understandable to search engines, will exist and thrive for as long as search engines exist,” said Sam McRoberts, SEO expert and CEO of VUDU Marketing, in a November 2013 Forbes interview (titled, of course, “Is SEO Dead?”).
With that in mind, here are three ways to help land your small business’ website higher in search results and bring more attention to your company.
1. Develop a keyword strategy based on content people want.
Before you can optimize your business’ placement in search results, you have to know what keywords and topics you want to improve visibility on, says Vinay Tannan, owner of small business consulting firm Taan Consulting in Charlottesville, Va. Then deliver relevant, useful and engaging content based on these keywords.
For example, if you sell sporting goods and want to improve your site’s ranking on tennis racket searches, write a blog post on “How to pick the perfect tennis racket.” Then place keywords in the URL, post title, header tags and body content. Consider Google Keyword Planner for insight on pertinent or commonly searched terms in your industry, says Stephen Murphy, owner of Bamboo Interactive, a digital marketing consulting firm in Red Bank, N.J. Also include keyword-associated photographs, videos and podcasts, says Bill Slawski, director of search marketing for NFIB member organization Go Fish Digital in Ashburn, Va. A relevant blog post with multimedia ranks higher in search engines and helps reach target audiences.
Measure your progress by creating your top 100 keyword list and tracking your site’s daily movement on each, says Evan Kramer, CMO for Philadelphia-based Neat, which provides digital filing software solutions. This will help you determine what’s working and where to make adjustments.
2. Share your content.
Once you’ve written a keyword-rich blog post people will love, make it shareable. Social media activity is an increasingly important part of Google’s algorithm, so getting a lot of likes and shares on your content will show that it’s relevant, high-quality and reader-friendly, says Murphy.
To make it easy, add social media buttons to the top and bottom of your posts, says Takeshi Young, author of online marketing blog KeshKesh in San Francisco. Many blogs include share features only at the top, but users are most likely to share content once they finish the post, and many are unwilling to scroll back up to the top.
3. Link internally.
While incorporating external links from high-quality, well-ranked sites has long been a SEO best practice, don’t overlook internal linking.
Links to other locations on your website tells Google the page is relevant, says Geoffrey Setiawan, digital marketing strategist for San Antonio-based marketing agency esd & associates. Internal links can also lower your bounce rates (the percentage of single page visits) and increase the perceived engagement on your site, ultimately benefiting your site authority, a key factor for ranking higher, Setiawan says.
To provide internal links, you can list recommended articles/pages or embed a link using keyword-rich anchor text within the post. Since search engines use anchor text to understand, among other factors, the meaning of pages and match results to search queries, anchor the link to text related to the link’s content and avoid things such as “click here” or “read more,” says Romain Damery, digital marketing strategist for New York-based online marketing agency Path Interactive.
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