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SEO, or search engine optimization, is often overlooked by small businesses. Once you have a website, it’s easy to assume that new customers will easily find you. With so much competition online, it's tough to stand out online. However, small business owners have a lot to gain from SEO – and you can only improve your business by getting familiar with SEO and its best practices.
SEO makes it possible for small businesses to carve out a niche online. With the right knowledge and implementation of SEO, you can help more users find your business and boost your small business’s profile. Whether you provide a service online or sell products at a small retail storefront, SEO can be beneficial to your company. Here’s what you need to know about SEO.
What Is SEO?
SEO is search engine optimization, or the practice of making it easier for search engines to find and then promote your website and your content. Every day, hundreds of millions of searches are conducted on search engine websites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Without SEO, your content may not appear in search results (also known as SERP). SEO is specific data that you include in your website content so search engines can identify, classify, and categorize your content – which allows you to appear in the results.
Imagine that you run a pizza restaurant in New Jersey. With SEO, search engines will learn that your business is located in New Brunswick and that you serve pizza. Search engines would then bring up your website when people search for things like:
- What is the best pizza in New Jersey?
- Pizza in New Jersey
- Pizza near me
- Why Is SEO Important?
If you’re wondering whether SEO is truly important and necessary for your small business, you aren’t alone. Many business owners worry about doing more work for limited results. However, SEO can bring countless advantages to your company. Most critically, it can increase traffic to your website and social media pages. Increasing your potential audience is something every business wants.
If you want more clients or customers, they first have to learn about your business. Instead of spending money on direct advertisements, SEO lets you work organically. Rather than pushing people to learn more about your company, let people find you when they are ready. When your business appears in search results, potential customers can quickly transition from lead to client.
How Do Search Engines Find Your Website?
Search engines find your website by using crawlers, also known as spiders. These spiders crawl through your content and identify key pieces of information to classify your website based on what you’ve written. Search engines can then present users the right websites for any given search.
SEO helps spiders crawl through each page of your website. SEO highlights the key details about your business, including those that users are most likely to be searching for online.
Crawlers pay special attention to the titles of each website page. They also look at the headers, bolded words, and keywords. This information can and should be used in your SEO strategy.
What Does It Take to Rank on Google?
Appearing among the first few entries on a search engine results page is known as ranking on Google. It’s easier to rank on Google in a niche category than for a larger category with much competition. Either way, however, there are several steps you can take to boost your SEO and rank higher.
First, you need to create relevant, well-written content. If people routinely find your blog post or website page but leave right away, search engines penalize your website. When readers stay on the page, navigate elsewhere on your website, or share it with friends, search engines recognize the value of your website.
It also helps to have keywords in title tags and meta descriptions. While readers never see this information, it’s what crawlers look at first.
Finally, your website will also be ranked based on authority. If you're a brand new website, you won't have much authority yet in your industry. Over time, however, that authority ranking will grow. When others link to your website or mention you by name, that also helps you rank higher on Google.
Learning more about SEO isn’t a passing trend. It’s a key part of doing business online, and small business owners should learn more about SEO in order to increase web traffic and attract new potential clients organically. You don’t need any technical know-how to get started – you can learn everything you need to start utilizing SEO with an online search. Your small business website can be improved immediately with SEO.
Like anything, it's always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.