SEO for small businesses to increase profits & organic search results
SEO Strategies to increase profits and organic search results.
- By: Peter Spoleti, July 23, 2020
SEO is be a big piece of the puzzle on how well your business performs during and after COVID-19.
People visiting your website will largely determine how successful it will be. You might have an amazing business and a beautiful website, but it doesn’t matter if potential customers can’t find you. If people can’t find your site within the digital crowd your growth will be an uphill battle. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. SEO summed up is the practice and science of increasing your profile through organic search results.
While certain SEO (search engine optimization) strategies, such as a fast-loading web page, will always be of benefit, other tactics continue to change from year to year. Google updates its search algorithms as many as 600 times a year. This means your goals of attaining great SEO isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon, a never-ending process which always has to be addressed.
To stay ahead of your competitors its essential businesses stay updated with SEO trends on the horizon. In the following paragraphs we will review SEO strategies you should consider implementing as you’re working through this pandemic and thereafter transforming your website into an efficient and effective SEO friendly machine.
Provide a positive user experience.
The fundamental objective of SEO is to drive more traffic to your website. But if you want that desired traffic, you need a reason for visitors to come to your site and, just as important provide them a reason to stay. Site rankings aren’t a result of raw clicks a large proportion of search engine ranking is determined by visitor activity and time spent on your website.
Homepage link authority.
Your website’s home page will likely attract more links than any other page on your website, so make sure its appealing and inviting to your visitors. Make sure your homepage is linking out to your most important and frequently visited sub-pages. These pages may be relevant product information pages, shopping pages, landing pages to build your email list, or basic visitor information pages.
If you don’t have product pages, you may want to link to articles in the body of the landing page. Create prominent HTML links on your homepage in the body and at the top navigation will help with the link authority upfront.
Improve your voice search.
Typing your search queries today are only one of the ways people are searching the internet. In 2019 it was reported that half of American homes owned a digital assistant, of those 70% used them daily.
Make sure your website is optimized for all of those, Alexa, Echo, Siri, Bixby, and all the other voice searches being performed millions of times daily. Search engines must work harder when voice searches are used to gather the relevant information users are searching for at that time. This is making short, choppy words less important, and specific long-tail keyword phrased, the way people actually talk, all that much more relevant.
Since voice search is currently used so often, much of the SEO strategy you’re already using will still work with voice searches. But there are things worth paying attention to. For example, people have a tendency to use voice search for local internet queries, such as local small business owners or local restaurants. By providing all the necessary information on your Google business page can help make certain you’re not discounted by search engines in voice searches.
Create and post valuable content regularly and often.
The best content will rise to the top on Google. Search engines are a lot like people, since they have a tendency to pay attention to websites that have frequent updates, meaning those regularly adding content which will keep people engaged.
Either a blog post, video, educational information, or pieces of downloadable content. i.e. whitepapers. It’s important you try to make the content as beneficial to your target audience as possible. It will keep them engaged and increase the chance they will read your next piece of content. Don’t post purely for the sake of getting something out there. The more valuable your audience finds your content the more likely they are to share it and the greater the number of people seeing it, the better your site authority.
The regularity with which you add new content is an individual decision, though your not going to help your sites SEO if you let months laps without adding new content. A weekly or even a daily schedule to add content or updating old content with new links will add SEO value to your site. This posting methodology is beneficial to both your audience as well as the search engines.
Long-Form content will go a long way to help your SEO.
Last year, long form content consistently outranked short-form post. Many SEO experts define long-form as 2,000 words but testing on much longer content have also seen excellent results. Don’t just shoot for a high word count. Fill your content with rich dense information from reputable sources. Make it a good read, and however long it takes to cover a subject properly, even if that means it grows to twice the 2,000-word count.
In the current environment of short attention spans and the growing competition for eyeballs, this strategy might seem counter-intuitive. But the reality is as the content on the internet ripens, visitors are becoming far more experienced, and less tolerant to dedicating their time and not receiving the information they are seeking. Provide them relevant educational information and they won’t click over to your competitor, even if it takes them a few extra minutes to read your content, ROI extents to our investments of our time also.
Don’t psych out your reader.
An endless wall of text can intimidate the faint at heart. You’ve upgraded your content, now your visual readability and esthetics are more important than ever before. One widespread rule suggested by many is to keep everything as short as possible. Meaning short to the point sentences, and paragraphs of no more than five or so lines. This keeps the content visually intimidating, inviting and consumable.
We’ve all had the hairs on our neck go up when you acknowledge you’re about to start reading a paragraph which goes on for what looks like forever. Your reader should never encounter that experience when reading our content.
Keep in mind there are options to conveying information other than just text. You can achieve positive results by incorporating info-graphics, videos, images and other visual mediums into your content. If you do opt for the text-only approach, use section headers to break up your long pieces. Giving the reader a what to expect in the up coming paragraph, also introducing visually pleasing white space into the page.
White space is more valuable then you would think. It isn’t void or unused, it provides a useful sense of divergence which serves to accentuate the text or objects it surrounds. Experts have found an appropriate amount of white space increases user comprehension by 20%.
Create irresistible meta descriptions.
Everyone who writes content wants it read. That being said, you may be the Ernest Hemingway of content, creating the most beautiful and informative content ever written but your website content can’t be read if potential visitors never click onto your website. An effective and easy way to increase traffic to your content works of art and to your website is upgrade your meta descriptions. If you aren’t aware, the meta description is the text that appears below the title/link in individual search results. Google doesn’t use meta descriptions for ranking purposes, but they play an important role in driving the click through rates, (CTR).
Writing effective meta descriptions isn’t difficult, but it might involve eliminating some bad habits. Most importantly, stop keyword stuffing. It’s obvious you need to feature relevant keywords in the meta, it shouldn’t just be a meaningless collage of keywords. Even if that may have worked in the past those days are over.
An effective meta description reads like ad copy. Make it compelling, enticing, coherent, and concise. To be concise, cap your meta description at 160 characters; longer descriptions are edited by Google anyway.
One more piece of advice, make it stand out from the crowd, make it unique. Sure, it’s easier to cut and paste, but Google, like your stricter educators in high school, will penalize you for duplicates, and taking the easy path. You’ve spent all that time creating your masterpiece take the extra steps to make sure it is seen. This small investment of time will deliver you a great ROI.
Your E-A-T reputation pay attention to it.
E-A-T is an acronym used by Google and the SEO community as a framework to ascertain which websites or web pages demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness on a given topic. High E-A-T ratings are awarded to those websites that communicate expertise on topics that require accuracy, authority through quality content and credible awards, and trust through positive reputation and security.
Establishing and growing your E-A-T, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in Google quality guidelines will continue to be an important trend for the foreseeable future. A business with poor reviews, customer service, or similar trust issues can encounter SEO issues in the future.
For businesses to create that trust they will have to ensure their websites posses a strong E-A-T reputation. Achieved through exhibited expertise and credentials or respected sources and execution.
Small details matter.
There are many pieces to the SEO puzzle, keywords are definitely one of the bread and butter pieces, but don’t ignore the other puzzle pieces, you’ll never get the whole picture. Image optimization is one of those corner pieces. To often you may have a great photo of the most advanced fighter jet in your article about cutting edge military technology, but if it’s saved as “jet22798a” you’re not helping your SEO credentials with Google at all. Images on tags and ALT text are evaluated on search engines, so do everything to help yourself out.
H1, H2 and H3 heading tags are another overlooked puzzle piece. Google is mindful of these pieces of HTML code as gauges of importance and they have a significant impact on how your website is read by a search engine.
Value added is always good.
As we mentioned earlier, SEO is an ongoing process with many levels. The goal is keeping users on your site after they’ve clicked is arguably more important than initially getting them to your website, it’s no longer good enough to just give them what they want. You have to do a little mind reading to figure out their subconscious search intent.
To secure that top spot in the search results, you’ll have to anticipate what your visitor wants after you address the initial reason, they visited your website.
At the urge to fulfill a self-serving SEO goal. For example, a visitor who clicked on an article on “ways to modify their digital marketing during a pandemic” will likely have subsequent questions on how to improve their websites SEO, or how to improve their website security. Linking to articles on those subjects helps retain users even longer and tells Google your website is substantial and authoritative. That can only help your ranking.
Internal links are a key to better SEO.
If you believe your content is worth reading, then make sure your visitors get a chance to see it. Who doesn’t love links, including search engines? Including a good amount of links that send visitors to other pages or articles within your website will help with your SEO.
Now that we know Links will help your SEO stay on top of them, the last thing you want are your visitors to clicking a link and landing on the dreaded 404 page. Your links should be regularly checked to confirm their viability. It’s pretty easy to execute a crawl to check for broken links and will return a great ROI in your website’s performance.
CTR and dwell time should be watched.
No one likes waiting for a page to load, internet speed is getting quicker all the time. So, your CTR and dwell time spent on websites carry more weight in determining successful SEO efforts as well as effecting a positive user experience.
A visitor’s experience is negatively affected by a slow loading web-page, it also hurts your search ranking. Both CTR and dwell time, each a separate item, but both having a great impact on the satisfaction level of your websites performance and what it has to offer.
CTR tracks the number of visitors following a link based on what was found on the search engine results page (SERP) however, dwell time is how long visitors hang around after clicking through.
Slow-loading pages always produce higher bounce rates, by monitoring your website’s loading speed should be the first line of defense in preventing short dwell times.
As implied earlier, there are many pieces to the puzzle required in maximizing your website’s SEO, but starting to connect those pieces is a great place to start. With a well-executed plan and some effort all business can improve the websites search ranking and help grow their business during these difficult times.
Take the long view.
We’ve previously stated that SEO is a long process, but it’s also a gradual one. Previously stated by a high-ranking Google employee, it can take up to a year for the full benefits of an SEO strategy to show up in your rankings. So, we hope we were able to motivate you to overhaul and implement an updated SEO strategy, but remember you’re running a marathon. Stick with it slow and steady wins the race, as time goes on and you’re over taking other runners eventually your work pays off and you’re the leader of the pack. The secret then is to keep up the work and hold on to the top position.