9 Ways to Optimize Your Website to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
Boosting your search engine ranking does not have to be an impossible task for small businesses. While you don’t have the budget of larger companies, you can still use many of the same strategies. The great thing about search engine optimization (SEO) done right is that it could deliver long-term results that don’t require you to pay for every single click like PPC ads do.
The following are some of the best methods to optimize your small business’ website to boost your search engine ranking:
1. Research Your Keywords
A crucial part of SEO is using the right keywords. One of the best ways to find the right keywords is to figure out what your potential customers search for.
Start by typing a few words into Google’s search bar and then look at the suggestions from autocomplete. You should also use keyword research tools to help you. There are both free and paid options available, so you can easily find one that meets your budget.
2. Consider Long-tail Keywords
As you look for keywords, don’t forget to consider long-tail keywords. These will have a higher chance of conversion as they are more specific. After all, this helps increase the chances of selling the product that the searcher wants to buy. As a bonus, it is easier to rank for long-tail keywords as there is less competition for them due to their specificity.
3. Optimize SEO on the Page
Your on-page SEO efforts focus on ensuring that all of the headings and titles on your website have been optimized. You essentially want to structure your content to have a better chance of appearing in search results.
Consider the following tips as starting points:
- Create keyword meta titles of about 60 characters for each page of your website (i.e. Keyword 1 | Keyword 2 | Company Name)
- Use header tags (i.e. H1 is your most important, then H2, etc)
- Use your keyword in your meta description for each page
- Use keywords in the file names and alt-text of pictures you use
- Make sure your keywords are present in the body of your page at least once (without keyword stuffing)
4. Look at Technical SEO
While you should definitely create great content for your website, you don’t want to do so while neglecting technical SEO. This refers to optimizing your website’s structure to ensure that Google’s crawlers index your site properly.
Essentially, you want the website to load quickly, be well-organized and secure, and have working links.
Some of the ways you can incorporate technical SEO include the following:
- Update encryption and security protocols.
- Optimize the page speed.
- Structure your website data.
- Incorporate local schema markup.
- Create your sitemap and then submit it to Google.
- Optimize images to include “alt text.”
- Prune down old websites without much traffic.
- Check for broken or old links and fix them.
- Ensure the website is optimized for mobile.
You can likely handle some of these yourself, but you may need to hire someone to take care of some of them.
5. Prioritize Local SEO
As a small business, you likely don’t have the resources to compete on a national or global level. This is fine as almost a third of mobile searches include the phrase “near me” or something else to make it local.
By focusing on local searches, you will have less competition and better target the people who are likely to become your clients.
Use Google My Business
Your first step for local SEO should be to set up your Google My Business profile if you haven’t already done so. You want to fill out as much information as possible and ensure it is accurate. When you get alerts for reviews, respond to start a conversation. You can also fill out the question and answer section ahead of time and then add to it when customers have more questions.
Look at Other Listings
While Google My Business should be the first local business listing you make sure you have, it should not be the last. You want to get your business information on as many relevant directories as possible. This lets Google know that your information is accurate as it matches on multiple websites.
Reviews make a big difference when it comes to local SEO, in addition to helping with your overall brand image. Be proactive about asking for reviews, and make it simple for your customers to write a review on the review site of their choice. While Google reviews are still the most important, many customers either a) don’t have a Google account or b) may not feel comfortable writing a review on Google. Limiting reviews to only Google can actually be limiting your reviews. While you should definitely ask for reviews, we do not recommend incentivizing reviews with discounts or freebies, since that is against the terms of service for most review sites.
6. Create More Content (Content is King)
Content marketing is the process of creating content for a blog or something similar to attract people to your page. It is your opportunity to easily incorporate keywords on your website while also helping customers by providing useful content and showing your credibility and authority.
If the idea of creating enough content is overwhelming, consider creating a template that you could follow. For example, you could do an in-depth look at various products and follow the same format for each. Or you could do a buying guide for products and follow the format.
Consider Creating Videos
Although not always the case, many small business owners find it quicker and easier to create videos instead of posts. Try to create a combination of the two as this will attract customers with a range of preferences. Even if you don’t think videos are easier than text, you should create at least a few, as consumers love videos.
7. Create Service Specific or Service Area Pages
Create specific pages for each primary product or service that you provide, and use the on-page optimization strategies above to optimize that page. In addition, create specific pages for each service area that you want to get found for, and optimize for the location or town as well as your primary service. If done right, this can help you get found in areas outside of your immediate city or neighborhood.
8. Share Your Content
After you create content, make sure to promote it without being too pushy. Some great options that don’t require any upfront cost include sharing on social media or question and answer forums.
9. Gain Backlinks
Your SEO strategy should also include getting links back to your website. Google views sites with more backlinks as higher quality.
Combine this with local SEO and talk to other local companies, bloggers, newspapers, and event pages to see if they will help you with a backlink. One excellent option is to write a guest post on another website.
With consistent effort, search engine optimization (SEO) can be a great way to build authority, traffic, and trust in the marketplace.
However, just keep in mind that SEO is a long-game and can definitely be a moving target since Google and other search engines are always making changes in their algorithm. SEO is not an overnight thing either. Even with consistent SEO efforts it can take 6-9 months before you see any results in terms of better rankings. SEO takes work and effort, and one does not simply “rank” on Google.
In the meantime, consider doing a paid advertising campaign as well to bring in more near-term traffic to your website and landing pages.