What is SEO and how can it give your small business a boost? The business world has more than a few acronyms – and SEO is one you need to know if you’re moving your marketing plan online. Whether you’re new to internet marketing or your website’s page views have fallen flat, take a look at what you need to know about SEO for small businesses.
What Does SEO Stand For?
The first step to understanding effective SEO practices is to learn more about the name. SEO stands for search engine optimization. In other words, it helps to improve your website’s visibility online, which attracts customers to your service.
What Does SEO Do?
Does search engine optimization sound vague or jargon-filled? If you’re not familiar with online marketing and web-based tools that can boost traffic to your site, you will need to start at the beginning.
You already know what a search engine is – or at least, you’re pretty sure you do. A search engine (such as Google) scours the web and collects information on the pages it views. This information is categorized and indexed to create order online.
Each search engine uses an algorithm (or mathematical computer-based formula) to analyze the information it collects on websites. The algorithm helps the search engine to rank the end search results. Each algorithm takes into account many different factors. These algorithms can also change over time, meaning the search engine may use different factors or prioritize new/other factors.
The better optimized your website is for the search engine algorithms, the more visible it becomes as a search engine crawls the web. Think of SEO as a highlighter or spotlight. This type of optimization practice helps your site stand out and makes it more likely search engines will notice it. The more search engines that notice your site, and the more your site appeals to the various engines’ algorithms, the higher search rank your business may have online.
Why Does SEO Matter?
More specifically, why do you need search engines to notice your site? If the engine can’t see your site or it doesn’t fit into the algorithm, you won’t have much of an online business presence. Without a high search engine rank, potential customers or clients who search the web for the products or services you offer may see your competitors’ sites, but not yours.
If you’re still not sure why SEO really matters, think of the last time you created a flyer, postcard, or other business marketing mailer. What would happen if you just left your mailers in the office and never mailed them? Your future customers would get marketing materials in the mail from other businesses, but they wouldn’t see your artfully designed mailers.
Without SEO, your website may exist (like the mailer sitting in your office), but no one will know about it.
How Can You Use SEO?
Is SEO as easy to use as mailing out a postcard that advertises your business? Simply stated, no. SEO involves using keywords (targeted industry-specific words that people search for and will stand out to search engines) in a specific density, building links, meta description tags, sitemaps, and more.
If website building isn’t your top business skill or you just don’t have the time to dive deep into your site’s SEO, you may need to hire a professional to help you get started. A pro can analyze your site and make the necessary upgrades to improve SEO. If you are searching for more ways to grow your small business presence online, attract customers to your site, or market your company locally, contact Manta.