Small Business SEO in 5 minutes: Get Found Online

SEO Basics:

Trying to understand SEO can be an intimidating task. You’re trying to start a business and you have a zillion other things to concentrate on. If you have tried to research or hire SEO help, you probably can’t even get past the jargon to figure out what you need. Meanwhile the big guys are hiring SEO professionals just to research, hire AND manage an SEO firm for them.

If you’re a small business here are your major problems with conquering SEO:

·         Knowledge
·         Time
·         Budget
·         Manpower

Now, in order to understand what the big guys get from knowledge, time, budget, and manpower, we need to break down SEO, simple and sweet. If you can bear to follow along it should be relatively painless and over quickly!

Google, Google, Google! Over 80% of all searches done in the US are done on Google, with Yahoo, Bing, and a bunch of other search engines duking it out for the other 20%. So, if you want to be found, you need to be on Google.

How does Google work? This is where things get sticky. This is where a corporate SEO firm will start throwing around guarantees and promises that they simply cannot back up. You’re likely to hear things like “We know the Google algorithm”… Truth is, there are so many factors involved in that, and it’s changing so frequently that Google doesn’t even know their own algorithm.

Let’s take a look specifically at the items that are common sense and factual. Here is the breakdown:

Page Rank: Google ranks each webpage on the importance and relevance for a given search. If your webpage has a high Page Rank, then it is more likely to be shown closer to the top.

Inbound Links: For every one-way inbound link or a hyperlink from an outside website back to your website, you receive “points” to boost your own Page Rank. Also of importance is the Page Rank of the webpage that is linking back to your site. Meaning, if a webpage with a Page Rank of “10” is linking to your site, you get more points than a link from a webpage with a Page Rank of “2”. This works exponentially, so it is better to have one link to your site from a “10” then twenty links from webpages with pageranks of “2”.

Coding: Google wants the web to be as clean and professional as possible when it comes to how websites are coded. It allows their “spiders & crawlers” to work faster and more accurately, which ultimately results in better and more accurate searching for the average web surfer. Making sure you don’t have cluttered, incorrect, or bloated coding is very important. You also need to make sure that the proper keywords are given the correct “weight” within your code. That breaks down to the html which includes different types of “tags”. Google gives more points to keywords for an H1 tag then an H3 tag, etc…

Speed: Working closely with coding, Google also likes websites that load quickly. Along with having good clean code that loads fast, you also need to make sure any images; videos, etc… are optimized, so your pages load fast. In the world of Google…milliseconds matter!

Media: Google is starting to give extra points to sites that include, for example, videos or podcasts.

Site map: Google wants things to be easy not just for the web surfer, but for Google as well. A proper site map and overall site organization is a must.

Size & Updates: Google also looks at the overall size, amount of pages, and the frequency that they’re added and/or updated.

Content: Going hand in hand with size and updates, is content. Obviously, the amount of content will increase along with the amount of pages, but it must be quality content to count. In fact, poor quality content can hurt your score.

Keywords: Finally, you need to have the right keywords. Not only are the correct keywords important, but you need to use them at the right frequency and include “associated” keywords at the right proximity in order to be successful.

The Catch

Your keywords only carry the weight that Google gives them with all of the above variables combined.
So, if you are selling mountain bikes and you have all the right keywords, but your site is not optimized to meet Google’s requirements, then your keywords and your website will not be found.

The Bad News

You’re competing with companies that have knowledge, time, budget, and manpower.

They’re spending thousands of dollars a month to outsource a company to “build links” for them. They’re actually writing to webmasters and buying links back to their site. They have employees that are blogging everyday and creating new web pages. They have a public relations department pushing their website into online articles and press releases that are going out weekly. All of this equals a massive web presence that can be impossible to match.

The Good News

Many of the tactics that SEO firms are using are not allowed within Google (black hat). Any time you try to artificially tamper with Google’s search, you are at risk of being flagged by Google. This means you basically get banned from showing up on Google. If an SEO firm buys you a link on a site that gets busted for selling links, you’re Google smacked.

Most of the links that are bought are worthless. It sounds good to hear a report that you have 400 new links in a month, but in reality your rank has barely improved because of the quality of the links.

In reality, at any level, a good product and top quality website built naturally will, in time, collect it’s own high ranking back-links, without any extra time or money.

It’s also much easier then it seems to create new content by using a blog and finding areas to add high quality content naturally throughout your site.

You also don’t have to compete nationally or globally to be successful. By becoming more concentrated you can narrow your market down to a level playing field. Now, you can be on the top of the search.

Conclusion

All of the complicated expensive mess of SEO is really only as complicated and expensive as you make it. If you handle the basics and do things right, in time, you will have a successful web presence on Google and all other search engines.

In today’s world of SEO, there really isn’t a solution out there to handle the basics of SEO.  For a small business if you can learn the basics and have the time to implement you can improve your search engine rankings fairly quickly.

You can also try to find a company that can offer some basic SEO training for a small price and allow you to feel comfortable to quickly take it from there!

Recommendations:

Here are some easy to understand tips on how to gain a big web presence for ANY size company.

Even trying one or two can significantly improve your web visibility:

·         Blog set-up and training
·         Adding content (seo enriched web copy) to photo galleries
·         Analyzing & optimizing SEO keyword placement in code / cleaning bloated code
·         Local search optimization
·         Google place page set-up
·         Corporate Facebook Page, Twitter, YouTube, & other social bookmarking sites
·         Google analytics
·         Pay-per-click adwords management
·         Increase interactive media content like demo’s, video’s, podcasts / create & produce
·         Those are just a few, there are also a lot of easy “white hat” tactics to build natural backlinks

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you have a better understanding of SEO.

Good luck!