Small business owners must pay attention to SEO growth techniques if they want to rank higher in search, drive more web traffic, and boost your lead quality.
Proven SEO growth techniques are just what small business owners want in their quest for more business.
SEO is the best way to increase the visibility and searchability of your website.
SEO targets different kinds of searches on a website like an image search, video search, news, and vertical-specific search. 61% of the marketers make it their priority to improve the SEO of the website as a part of their inbound marketing plan.
A Quick Review on the Advantages of SEO Techniques
SEO strategies for both On-page and Off-page are ever evolving and the criteria under which Google assesses your website is also constantly changing. Marketers came up with a list of factors that can affect your SEO by following the pattern of these criteria.
Factors Affecting On-Page Optimization
Content marketers develop a piece of content with the user experience in mind and search rank. They want the reader to find the web page through a search query and see the page title that matches what they were looking for.
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Your website becomes uniquely valuable if most of the visitors find your page high-quality, unique and valuable. The content of a website should be impeccable to rank well on SEO.
Go beyond promoting your brand and add value to your target audience. This effort is greatly appreciated by Google.
Excellent UX (User Experience)
The information you want to convey should be easily consumable. 52% of users say that the main reason they won’t return to a website is its aesthetics.
Here are a few ways in which you can align your UX with the SEO strategy.
Usually, small businesses often don’t do their keyword research. If they do they focus on primary keywords or direct keywords. But 50% of the searches are four words or more which is why long-tail keywords are more important.
Additionally, it can be difficult to outrank existing competition when you use a primary or direct keyword. For example, if you have a floral business, your primary keyword might be ‘florists near me’ but a long-tail keyword will be ‘where to get white lilies for wedding decoration’.
- Content is not the only place where you can include these keywords. The importance of choosing the correct search terms and keywords for your SEO campaign will become even more vital with voice search.
- Including image alt tags for each image on your website, with the correct keywords will also help elevate your position on the results pages. Similarly, the title and meta tag of your website should also be keyword focused.
- The primary keyword should come in the URL of your website and also be a part of the title element. In the body of the page, primary keywords should appear 2X+ times and secondary keywords should appear on the headlines and body if appropriate.
Crawlers and Bots Accessibility
There are many technical aspects of the website that should be taken care of along with the design and content part.
To rank well in SEO you must:
- Maintain a static URL with no dynamic element
- The content should be unique in all the pages of your website
- The page should load directly as HTML and not post-load via AJAX, JS, etc.
- The website categories should be organized in such a way that it should not take more than 4 clicks to reach any given page
- If any page is temporarily unavailable or is under construction, status code 503 should be returned by the server
- Meta robot tag should be allowed for crawling and indexing
- Key page elements like meta tag and description should follow the defined character count
- The website URLs should be included in the XML sitemap files
Social Media Shareability
Websites URLs see maximum shareability only through social media. Social media also increases brand awareness and content consumption.
- Make your URL as descriptive as possible to help the user understand the page they are taken to.
- Add sharing options for the social pages that best fit your business on the website itself. For example, if you are a retail store owner, you can have sharing options for Instagram and Facebook while if you run an auto repair shop and have a blog page, it can have Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook sharing options.
- Make sure the page has inherent sharing value. More people should feel your content is valuable enough to re-share.
It is essential to create a website that has an adaptive design. Read more about responsive vs adaptive website designs. Your website should render properly on all browsers and be legible and blur-free on all screens. Make sure it also employs the exact same URL when accessed from any device.
If your website has a blog page, give credits to the author whether it be in house or guest. This will increase the credibility of the blog as compared to a blog with no author or the brand name as the author.
The meta tag and description is vital for any website. Add primary or secondary keywords to the meta description and this description should inspire people to click on the website URL. The title tag or the meta tag cab be written in the following format,
Primary keyword, Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
The optimal length of a title tag is 60 characters even though there is no exact character limit for it. Google typically displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag.
Linking back to pages within your blog improves the value of the page in the eyes of Google. If you have a product page and a blog page, try linking back the blog article to the product page using an anchor text.
Factors Affecting Off-Page Optimization
The off-site ranking factors affect SEO equally to on-page counterparts. Your business’s trust, value and subject authority is determined by the off-page optimization.
There are quite a few factors that will help you gain reputation and relevance like,
Building backlinks is a major off-page activity that is directly associated with the quality of your website. There are three types of backlinks that you should focus on,
- Natural Links: They are organic links that are given by various online sources like blogs, social media and add merit to your quality content.
- Built Links: These are links that a business acquires through dedicated backlinking activity
- Self-created Links: These links are created by enrolling the business in directories and contributing to forums, press releases, etc.
When it comes to building links on your own, there are many ways you can go about it. But firstly, it is important to know the difference between a ‘do follow’ and a ‘no follow’ link.
A do follow link lets both the search engine and the audience to follow the link. This link has the maximum influence on the ranking.
A no follow link allows only the audience to follow the link and tells the search engine not to follow your URL. This link has a considerable impact when it is at the top of a page and least effect when it is at the bottom. Google has recently said that they will consider no follow links as an outgoing link but only if used contextually.
It is better to have a 70/30 ratio of do follow to no follow when building links to your website. This will help you maintain a balance that Google expects for every website.
Here are a few ways in which you can build quality links for your website,
These proven SEO growth techniques require an understand on how they will help you and your time to implement the marketing strategy.
Social media marketing plays a huge part in any digital activity including SEO.
Create content that has the capability to go viral on social media and promote your website links along with it. This will increase the footfall to your website.
Social media is now fueled by influencer marketing and there is no reason to stop oneself from doing this even for SEO. The trustworthiness of your website can shoot up when an influencer mentions you; especially if it is organic.
Prompt replies to queries, reviews, and complaints prove that you care for customers. This will increase the trustworthiness of your business.
How does Google Assess you
We know that Google’s algorithm is complicated and is constantly changing. It uses a couple of algorithms called Panda and Penguin that will evaluate your website based on the above factors.
Proven SEO growth techniques require that you understand how the Google search algorithm works. If you don’t want to learn it you should hire an expert.
The Hummingbird is an algorithm that focuses greatly on natural language queries. It focuses on the meaning of the content instead of looking at individual keyword meaning.This algorithm will help take users to the most appropriate page as per their search.
Panda algorithm was first launched in 2011 to provide more relevant and quality content to the users. This algorithm is all about on-site content quality. Panda evaluates your site comprehensively and not page-wise.
If one of your pages have mediocre-quality, your whole website gets affected. Panda algorithm has a checklist it has to tick off to assess your website. This list proves that Google does not algorithmically define the quality of your content but evaluates it on the basis of user likeability.
Thin content/low-value content and duplicate content are two factors that Panda will surely take into consideration while ranking your website.
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The Penguin algorithm was developed to find websites that have unnaturally created backlinks. The credibility of these websites is down in the eyes of Google.
Though Penguin was developed primarily to fight unnatural links, there are a few other factors it takes into consideration before ranking your website.
Keyword stuffing in your website, too many internal links and deceiving users with wrong or hyped information are some factors that affect the algorithm.
Even if your website lags behind because of these algorithms you still have a chance to recover. Both these algorithms are reiterated by Google very often.
It re-evaluates your website every time the algorithms are updated. So, you can correct your mistakes and make your website ready for the next evaluation.
Wrap up About Proven SEO Growth Techniques
Search engine optimization might look like the most basic digital marketing activity for your business but it actually is the most difficult.
The rules, algorithms, and strategies are constantly changing and it is essential for you to be extremely dynamic.
Google releases new updates of these algorithms as frequently as one month once. Make sure you are on top of these updates and change your SEO strategies accordingly.
As with life, there is no guarantee that these proven SEO growth techniques will work for you. But if you follow them you will see a boost in web traffic.
Joseph Brady is Vice President of Digital Marketing for Reliant Funding, a provider of short-term working capital to small and mid-sized businesses nationwide. He has more than 14 years of experience in B2B digital marketing, optimization, and operations, with a focus in the financial services market.