Google is king, there is no doubt about this. Today when people say search over 83% of them mean Google. With that bit of information it is easy to see how captivating attention from that mass is valuable to any business. While the next several words will not guarantee you a number one search result it will help you understand what it takes, and what your opponents are doing, to win in the search wars.
Follow these steps, monitor your progress, and learn even more about search engine optimization and you will stand a fighting chance. If you are too busy or prefer to hire a professional to handle this for you I am happy to speak with you. Simply use the Contact link and let’s talk.
1. Check your site for misspellings especially of keywords. Google is smart enough to know how to spell. While there is a “trick” to misspell certain keywords, which has proven to work (mortgage being spelled morgage is one), but use caution. It also gives the opportunity for a search engine to see you have a misspelling within your site. Find a good tool or hire a pro to crawl your site for errors including spelling.
2. Speed up your page load time. You may use a tool like YSlow to help you discover why your page is loading slow, or even if it is loading slowly. Elements of sites load separately so if you have large graphics or pre-loaded video or that God forsaken Flash embedded in your site you are almost certainly losing visitors – especially on mobile devices. Continue reading
Small business SEO is the realm of snake oil and magic bullets. It’s the place in cyberspace where digital hustlers spread their lore and captivate audiences with stats and stories from around the globe. You will find both the trustworthy provider as well as the ant-lion hustler spewing great gushers of acronyms in volume enough to spin the heads off ten penny nails.
Let’s see – what all did I confuse the search bots with in that paragraph? I got “small business SEO” there at the lead then I hit it with “snake oil” and “magic bullets” in one sentence. I think by the time I got to “ant-lion”, “hustler” and “ten penny nails” the Googlebot probably thought I was using an article spinner. That’s another topic in and of its own but for now let’s get to the pertinent information for the small business online marketer who, let’s face it, needs to be found in search engine searches.
How we got here today, I mean the history of search engines, is important but that’s a little beyond the scope of time I expect you to invest in learning the what and why about small business SEO. Today nothing matters more than Google. That said there are other important tools and systems relative to online search marketing but none of them tops Google. In fact Google dominates the search engine space with 83% of the search engine activity as of May 2012 (resource). The closest “competitor” is Yahoo with 6.5% and Bing is all the way down at 4.15% of total global search share.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, SEO, is the practice of creating or modifying a website, a webpage and/or the content thereof to be more “search engine friendly” and thus result in more searches displaying your page higher (ie closer to the first result) in the search engine results pages (SERP). As an example if Janet makes wood beads for jewelry she would certainly like for her website link to appear at the top of the search engine results when anyone searches for “wood beads for jewelry” or “wood beads”. It could mean the difference between a few sales and thousands of sales – this, of course, depends on the demand for the product.
Let’s face it. A real estate agent in Omaha does not, generally, benefit their business by getting hits from around the world – or nation for that matter. Likewise Montgomery County Plumbing and Electrical probably doesn’t care too much about hits from Fairbanks or Denmark. The question arises, however, “what does it hurt to have hits from around the world to my local site?”
Take off your hat that says it’s cool to have a lot of visitors and think like a robot. Well, actually, think like an indexing engine like the one at Google. Remember, no matter what you learn about SEO or who is talking to you about SEO all of the indexing is performed by a program. That program evaluates every link based on a few key components which include content, relevance to the search term, number of inbound links, number of outbound links, what sites the inbound links come from, and how relevant the inbound link is (which reminds me to write a post about themed links and bounce rates).
One factor even some SEM and SEO “professionals” fail to consider is geographic relevance of the address on the website to the searchers geolocation and the geographic relevance of the sites linking to the target site … your site. In other words is your site close to the searcher, at least as close as the search engine can determine, and are the sites you link to and which link to you also in the general vicinity of the searcher?
Google isn’t too groovy on handing out a guidebook detailing the inner workings of their indexing engine but through a process of elimination the SEO world (the real one, not the one portrayed on the internet by out of work landscapers and small time public speakers) we have a pretty good estimation of what works and what does not. We know, for example, having links to your page in FFA pages is bad for page rank and a bad page rank does affect SERP. We also know, because we play with proxy servers at different locations throughout the world, Google prefers local on words like plumbing, home for sale and barbecue. We know this because Google gives us local results and a map.