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Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.

Effective SEO for Small Businesses

Effective SEO for Small Businesses

Effective search engine optimization (SEO) is an important tool in helping small businesses increase their website traffic, brand recognition, customer interaction and, ultimately, their revenue.

SEO can become a complicated process that can benefit from professional expertise, but, at a basic level, effective SEO blends quality content, keywords, local optimization, links and site performance to help a business attract new customers and build an effective online presence.

Understand Intent

A key consideration underlying any effective SEO strategy is thinking about user intent – what users are looking for (or the problem they’re trying to solve) as they use a search engine, and understanding how your company can help them meet those needs.

Understanding intent will, in turn, influence the search terms people use with search engines — and the corresponding keywords you should use to describe your company’s products and services.

For starters, think about what your customers are typically looking for and the words they’re likely to use as they search online. When you’ve developed a list of the most common terms, you can use a keyword analysis tool, such as Google’s Keyword Planner, to determine the most popular keywords related to your topic as well as related synonyms.

It’s helpful to work those keywords into your site’s text as you describe your company and its offerings, as well as to create content than educates and engages prospects and customers.

It’s also helpful to be specific as you plan your keywords. If you’re running roofing company, for instance, it’ll be easier to rank favorably for “leaking roof” or “roof repair” than the more general term “roofing company.”

Logical Site Structure

Another important aspect in optimizing your site for search engines is creating a local site structure that’s easy for humans and search engines to follow. For instance, you’ll want to have a home page as well as separate pages such as:

  • Your about page, which describes your company. This may include its history, services and other information that will interest prospects
  • Your services or product pages, which offer more details about how you help customers.

It’s important to link these pages to each other, as well as to your home page, to make the site easy to navigate.

Mobile First

Now that the majority of online searches take place on mobile devices, Google announced in 2018 that it was indexing the mobile versions of websites before the desktop version. This means that having a mobile-friendly site design or template, once considered a nice option, is now mandatory.

Quality Content

When choosing topics to write about on your site, think about the questions prospects and customers ask. Those inquiries can provide the basis for blog posts or videos that attract site visits and reinforce your expertise. Similarly, how-to guides that help customers use or maintain your products more effectively will provide a rich source of content ideas.

Measuring Success

As you optimize your site for search engine success, remember that it’s an ongoing effort that can require adjustment and experimentation. You’ll need to decide on the metrics that matter most to your company.

Sales is the most important metric, but revenue growth requires other steps for companies not involved in ecommerce. For instance, a company may want to measure its site traffic and leads to understand how increasing those metrics leads, in turn, to higher sales.

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