Running a small business is hard enough. Maintaining a website for your business, and getting traffic to that website, doesn’t have to be overly difficult. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a process used to improve the traffic to a website from natural search results.
Knowing a few simple, key SEO strategies will help get customers to you. Here are a few basics you should never stray far from.
- The Importance of Keywords and Keyphrases – Adding appropriate keywords and keyphrases to your content is one of the most basic SEO practices. These are the words and phrases that people search for when looking for information online, and can be added just about anywhere on your website. The importance of good keywords can not be overlooked.
- Link Back to Your Own Site – Linking to your own pages will boost the internal traffic on your site. Search engine spiders also look for links on a page. Try to link back to pages with quality content, such as archives or related products. Make it a habit to create new links to your other pages every time you create new content for your site.
- Link to Other Sites – It is always a good idea to contact the webmaster of a site that you want to link to and ask them to post a link to your site in return. You will most likely get another site linking to you, and the worst thing they can do is say is no. When you link to another website, make sure that it is a well respected website, and try to keep your list of links short and useful.
- Create an Easy to Use Sitemap – A sitemap lists all the major pages on your site and links to those pages. Not only does this make it easier for your customers to navigate your site, but it also makes it easier for the search engine spiders. They will have an easier time finding and accessing your pages. For some sites, it is crucial to create a sitemap. Sites with dynamic content or a lot of Flash will benefit from a sitemap. New sites with a relatively low number of links, and sites with archived pages that are not linked well can also benefit.
- Clear, Concise URLs – When creating URLs for your web pages, strings of numbers and characters are not only confusing, but they make it harder for the search engine spiders to rank it. Instead, label your URLs with exactly what’s on that page. Clearly label it using search engine – and customer – friendly keywords and phrases.
- Avoid “Flashy” Pages – Although it may look pretty, pages and sites with a lot of Flash media in them generally do not do well in the search engines since they can’t link to a single page. If you do add Flash to your pages, be sure to add text and links either underneath or above it.
- Use Your Images – Since spiders can only search actual text, not the text in images, it is a good idea to add as many keywords and phrases as you can to an image description. Adding descriptive captions to your images can help you add important keywords to your page. Add a caption to every picture on your site.
- Update Content and Keep Your Site Fresh – Regularly updated content can increase traffic to your site. Try to add new content every couple of days, or once a week at the very least. A good way to keep new content flowing is by adding a blog to your site. This will keep fresh contact on your site all the time, and it can connect with customers on a personal level. A blog not only adds new content, but it also adds character.
- Track Your Progress – There’s no point in trying to improve your search engine ranking if you don’t know where you rank, or if you don’t know if your efforts are paying off. Tools like Alexa and Google Analytics make it simple for you to track your web traffic. Know where you started from, and regularly keep track of your traffic.
Some companies will help you optimize your site, but they do charge fee. Sometimes this fee isn’t very small. Paying someone else is probably easier, but if you can’t or won’t shell out the bucks, try doing it yourself first. It’s easier than you may think.
James writes about technology for a leading UK based online ink cartridges retailer. You can stay up to date with his latest writing on their blog CreativeCloud, which has some really fascinating articles about a variety of subjects that don’t seem to have a thing to do with ink cartridges. Thanks, James, for this guest article.