Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is part art, part science. And while much of the process can be left to the experts, it’s important for small business owners to know the SEO basics. Such knowledge informs decision making at many levels of your business. If nothing else, it helps you distinguish between the SEO “experts” that really understand the process and those that just want to take your money.

Put simply, the more activity you have online, the more likely you are to appear in search engine results. That is what you call SEO. If your website url is in your social media profiles, or if you blog or post articles, you increase your chances of being “found.” And while anything you do on-line using your business identity can drive traffic to your website, the following considerations can help maximize your efforts.

  • Keywords are important. Chances are, you already know that much. But wait – there’s more! The better you know and understand your target market, the easier it is for you to identify keywords and phrases that those consumers are using to search for providers like you. If you can match your website’s keywords and phrases to the search phrases your target market is entering, you’ve significantly increased your chances of being found by the very consumers you want to reach.


  • Well-written content keeps readers coming back. Once you’ve identified keywords and phrases most relevant to your target market, work them into your copy. Again, no surprise there. But again, there is more to the story! Every accountant is using broad search terms like payroll, taxes, accounting, and tax services in their own web copy. How can you further differentiate and refine your own keywords and phrases to make it even more likely that the right prospects will find you? You might try adding a geographic reference, such as Texas payroll services. Or perhaps you enjoy working with a particular industry. Why not use a phrase like accounting for widget makers?


  • Add a blog to your website. Blogging several times each week automatically improves your search engine optimization. For instance, if you own a catering service, you might blog about recipes, menus, and events. While blogging actually helps you add a large variety of keywords and phrases to your website, it is still important to consider your target market, what those consumers consider important, and how they might search for those solutions.


  • Include links to other sites. These hyperlinks generate interest in what you do by associating your site with the internet traffic of others. In fact, it’s not unusual to request a reciprocating link. Blog posts on your site might link to the site of a business or professional whose products and/or services complement your own. Be careful though, that you make wise choices about with whom you choose to associate your business. These types of associations are difficult to undo.

When a consumer goes online to find a business, search engine optimization makes the search easier and faster. Small business owners need to know how this works and what you can do to improve your rankings on major search engines. These are things you can do yourself – for little or no cost. It isn’t hard to learn but the payoffs in increased traffic can be significant!


by Steven Schlagel