SEO: What Is It and Why Should Small Businesses Be Using it?

What is Search Engine Optimization?

 

Whether you’re a rising entrepreneur or a veteran business owner, you’ve probably  heard about search engine optimization, often referred to as SEO, or internet marketing. SEO is one of the best digital marketing strategies to generate traffic and convert readers into clients to grow your business. Over 80% of all smart phone owners are making search enquiries every day, so you want to make sure that potential clients can find you as easily as possible. Nowadays, having a website and Facebook page simply isn’t enough. Google’s algorithm is always evolving has several ranking factors that determine which websites will appear in the top three results of the search engine results page.
Google Ranking Factors - NYC Serp

How can I rank my business in Google search?

While nobody truly knows how Google’s algorithm operates, there are several factors that will determine how your business ranks compared to the competition. Some of these ranking factors include the age of your domain, content, on-page SEO, and the number of links pointing to your website. Ignoring one or more of these factors will result in your website going unnoticed by potential prospects.

The search engine optimization industry is constantly evolving. Five years ago, you could pretty much rank any website by spamming it with a high velocity link blast. Google has since de-valued these types of links, meaning that they’re more likely to cause harm than good to your brand. Hiring an SEO amateur can result in a costly mistake that can end up killing your rankings overnight.

Google’s job is to provide its users with the best results possible, so it needs to trust your website before you can start ranking. Here are some common practices to help build trust and authority for your website:

Good SEO Practices

  • Stay up to date with algorithm updates – it’s important to try and keep on top of search engines and understand how they operate. A good way to know the basic ideas and keep updated on how algorithms change would be to follow some popular marketing blogs or by joining communities/message boards of other business owners. Learn from each other and see what works and what doesn’t.
  • Create great content – You’ll always see SEO gurus claim “content is king ” and with good reason. Long form content always performs better, and has a greater chance of ranking higher. Quality content that is unique can show Google that your website addresses the searchers needs.
  • Understand the importance of keywords – knowing which keywords your customers use to find your service is essential when creating content for your website. You want your website to be able to provide answers to common questions pertaining to your business or service. Not only does this provide value to your readers, but it can also help improve your bounce rate, which is another on-page ranking factor.
  • Understand your audience – learn which posts your readers and customers enjoy and than build supporting content around it to create an awesome SEO resource with. Engage with your readers and always make their visit to your site or business enjoyable.
  • Focus on quality links – You absolutely need backlinks to rank your website in 2018. A clean and diverse profile will help push your website to the top of the SERP. A good link profile for a local business would consist of brand profiles, local citations, reviews, and social signals.

SEO Techniques to Avoid at All Costs

    • Keyword stuffing – this is probably the biggest mistake that most businesses make. Over-stuffing your keywords will result in a manual penalty (otherwise known as over-optimization) that will tank your rankings.
    • Irrelevant content – people don’t want to see content that isn’t related to their search intent. This can ruin your bounce rate, which tells Google that your website didn’t answer their question.
  • Only concentrating on SEO – SEO isn’t a magic one trick pony. While buying a “60,000 ultra link blast” from Fiverr might sound like a good idea, those links won’t do anything for your website. SEO is a long-term investment. There’s no shortcut to rank your business in a month. You need to invest in quality content and backlinks to win the long-term results.
  • If your business is struggling, SEO isn’t a magic solution that will change your business in the blink of an eye. SEO is just a small piece of your larger content marketing strategy.

While this may seem like a lot to digest, it’s important to understand that you need to play by Google’s rules to have your website rank. If your business doesn’t have a fully optimized website, you could be losing hundreds of potential sales. Check out NYC Serp’s infographics for more SEO tips.

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