Best SEO Practices for Small Businesses in 2015
Search engine optimization is a field that is constantly evolving. A technique that has huge results today can be completely obsolete in a few months. This makes understanding an application of SEO for small business owners very difficult. If doing it yourself, you have to sacrifice a few hours of your time each week to ensure you remain ahead of your competitors.
While SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, it doesn’t have to take up most of your time, especially if you contract the services of an SEO expert. Below is a list of important strategies that you should employ, as the year goes on, if you want to see any noteworthy gains from your SEO campaign.
1. Content is King
The phrase “Content is King” was coined by Bill Gates in an article he wrote more than ten years ago. This is perhaps one of the few SEO techniques that has remained as relevant today as it was a decade ago. Content has taken greater precedence over the last ten years, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
Consumers turn to smaller businesses over the big brands because of their quality of service – they get a personal touch, a solution created specifically to cater to their needs and content that is not only relevant, but also valuable and meaningful. Creating high-quality, relevant content will offer you the greatest advantage over the bigger brands within your niche.
2. The age of mobile
Last year, the number of searches run on mobile devices finally overtook desktop searches ushering in the age of the mobile device. In response, Google has included yet another update to its algorithm, designed to measure the mobile-friendliness of a website. If your site is still not mobile-optimized, forget about any visibility on mobile search SERPs, which is now greater than desktop searches.
In addition, ensure that your mobile landing pages are optimized to provide value to a mobile viewer whose needs are different from a desktop viewer’s. Your site should be responsively designed, or you should have a specific mobile website.
3. Change your link-building
Google has changed the way it views backlinks to websites in several ways. You probably know that you need only to have high quality links from authority sites in your related field of business. In addition, Google now examines content surrounding the back link. This content should mention and/or show a relationship with the link. Sometimes, you may not even need to add a link – if another site talks about your business and mentions its name; Google interprets this as a back link.
4. Shift focus from keywords
This is especially hard to hear if you have been an SEO expert for some time. Keywords are no longer considered primary factors for ranking. This means that keyword-stuffing and building content specifically for certain keywords are techniques that should be thrown out. While you needn’t completely discard the technique, remember that Google is not more focused on the degree to which your website delivers on promises made to consumers.
This is done by measuring the site’s ROI – lower returns indicate lower efficacy, which in turn reduces your credibility ranking. Higher ROIs conversely indicate higher value. Websites are actively working to deliver to clients and gain higher conversions as a result.
5. Social markers
Content is King, but social signals are also paramount in today’s ranking algorithms. No matter how small the business is, ensure you maintain an active social profile on the most important sites. It can be discouraging to fight for visibility against huge worldwide brands that gain millions of fans and followers without any effort.
However, you probably don’t need a worldwide following yet, so start small. Engage with customers and consumers in your locality by running promotions, events and publicizing them on social media. Generate a buzz around your brand also by offering high quality relevant content that will win a lot of shares as well as generate conversations. Engage with your audience by replying to comments as soon as you can.
6. Site security
With the rise of cybercrime today, it’s most important to ensure that your site is fully secure so that your customers’ details are always kept safe. Identity theft is on the rise, and while most consumers have become more accepting of online shopping, this trust bears a great burden on site owners.
Google and other search engines favor sites, e-commerce and otherwise, that have set up robust security systems for sensitive client information transmission. Search engines care about users, hence would not direct them towards sites where their sensitive information may be at risk. Ensure that you have made all effort to secure your clients’ personal details – credit card information, names, telephone numbers, physical addresses etc. – whenever you ask for them.
Daniel Mattei (@mattedt) is a web Marketing Specialist at Dynamic Search with a love for film-making, content marketing, and photography. He lives with his wife, Grace and Pomeranian, Couscous in Phoenix, Arizona.