When most small business owners think of search engine optimization - IF they think of it - most likely, they cringe in some form of horror. I get it; I used to be the same way. These days though, it's practically impossible to generate constant leads and make sales without knowing at least the basics of SEO.
Consider this: when you want to purchase a new product or service - and you don't have a preferred company in mind, what do you do? You hit the web and start researching, right? Well, so do your existing and prospective customers. Hence, small business SEO has to be part of your overall business strategy.
Luckily Google, which is the largest search engine, has listed 7 things -- in plain English no less -- that you can do to rank well.
Section I: Small Business SEO Tips to Implement for Your Website and Its Pages
i) Page Titles: Google wants you to tell web surfers what type of business you have. They specifically state, "describe your business in a concise, informative phrase." This is what the meta "Title" tag is for.
FYI, this should be kept to 67 characters and every page should have its own unique title because this tag tells web surfers what is on "that particular page" of your site.
Many make the mistake of using the same title tag for every page on their site. This is incorrect. For SEO purposes, every page on a site is its own unique entity and should be treated that way.
For example, if you're a freelance writer who offers SEO writing services, your home page Title tag might read like:
SEO writing services: SEO blog posts, SEO press releases, SEO articles, etc.
ii) Domain Name and Subpages: Give your site a "descriptive and easy-to-read domain name." No need to get fancy. Again, think in terms of telling the search engines what your business is all about, eg, Jane's Ice Cream Shop.
Just run this all together and a dot info, dot com, dot biz, etc. ending to it and boom - a perfectly descriptive domain name, ie, JanesIceCreamShop.com.
iii) Use the Description Meta Tag: In case you don't know, this tag summarizes what's on a given page on your website.
Search engines use the info in this tag to categorize sites in search results. This should be no more than 160 characters. For example, if you owned a doggy day care service, your description tag might read:
Day care service for dogs located in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan (New York City). Services include pick up and drop off; grooming, lengthy stays and more.
See how this description details exactly what type of business this is, as well as some of the services it offers and where it's located. FYI, this last part is particularly important local SEO juice?
Section II: Small Business SEO Tips to Implement for the Images on Your Website
iv) Properly Name the Photos and Images on Your Site: Again, this goes to the heart of giving search engines information that they can use to properly return your site in search results. So, don't name your images like this: photo1.jpg, photo2.jpg, etc.
Use more descriptive text, eg, silver-diamond-hoop-earrings.jpg (if you owned a woman's jewelry store, for example).
v) Use the "Alt" Tag: This tag describes an image.
Using the example above, your entire image code might look like this: img silver-diamond-hoop-earrings.jpg alt=photo of 12 inch sterling silver diamond-encrusted hoop earrings
vi) Caption Each Image: Notice how Google wants info, info, info at every turn? FYI, this can be /similar to the wording in your "Alt" tag, eg, Woman's silver, 12 inch hoop earrings encrusted with diamonds.
Section III: Content, Content and More Content
vii) Update Your Site Consistently: Here's what the search giant said about the importance of this:
Your website is like a virtual storefront. You wouldn't leave a store unattended for 6 months, right? Keep your site fresh by starting a blog, announcing new products, sales, and special offers. Remember to put yourself in your customer's shoes and make sure you provide them with the information they need.
If your site doesn't have fresh content added to it on a regular basis, Google (and other search engines), just might consider you out of business, and sending traffic your way.
In my opinion, your site should be updated at least once a week with fresh content to keep a constant flow of organic traffic headed its way.
If you keep these small business SEO tips in mind, you'll be doing a lot right in the eyes of Google - and they'll reward you for it.
Now that's not so bad, is it?
About the Author: Yuwanda Black heads New Media Words (NewMediaWords.biz), an SEO writing company she founded in 2008. She's been writing search-engined optimized content for all types of businesses since 2007, and has penned several ebooks on the subject, eg, "How to Write SEO Copy That Sells," an SEO copywriting training guide.
Learn more about Yuwanda via her Google+ Profile.
Keywords relevant to this article: small business seo, small business seo services, seo for small business, website optimization tips, seo and content writing