How is your small business site or product going to be found when the indexed web contains almost 15 billion pages, according to www.worldwidewebsize.com? Here are a few insider tidbits on SEO (search engine optimisation) for your small business website.
A domain by any other name
The most important single element in ranking well in search engines is your domain name (DN). Secure a domain name that is different, original and not commonly used by other businesses. It is also helpful if your domain name includes keywords that explain what you do. If necessary, rename your product or business to make sure you can purchase the domain name.
Another trick is to buy secondary domain names, says Catherine Rogers, author of Taking Off Online – a step-by-step guide to growing your business online. Select keywords that your customers might use when trying to find your product and redirect them back to your website. If your business name is “Mike’s Shooz” then you might purchase the domain with the more common spelling mikeshoes.com and point it to your mikeshooz.com website.
Keep in mind that people are more likely to type in a short URL, without any hyphens, than they are to type a very long domain name chock-full of hyphens.
Keywords are the keynotes of success
Keyword relevance is vital. Research your keyword terms before you do anything else in your online marketing programme advises Catherine - and that includes building your site, writing your content or purchasing a domain name. You can use free Google tools such as:
Google Search Based Keyword Tool http://www.google.com/sktool and the Google Keyword Tool Box http://www.googlekeywordtool.com. Run your keywords through Google’s keyword tools and see how saturated they are (heavily used). You can also check the popularity of keyword derivatives this way (at the same time, since Google returns related keywords with your query results).
Whatever you want to be known for, make sure you talk about it a lot on your website. Writing regularly about your primary keyword topic will cause search engines to give a higher keyword relevancy to your site, and get them to see you as an expert resource.
Back to base
Backlinks work wonders for your ranking. When other sites mention you and link to your site, it impacts on how important the search engines perceive your site to be.
Most websites just link to you with your web address. Ideally, some sites should link to you with your top keywords. This would mean that some backlinks that refer to pages on your site come from “anchor keyword text”. An example would be having a link back to your site from an article with the keywords “retirement coach” if that was your business service.
Backlinks from other sites are more effective when they come from organisations that are relevant in your industry. So contact a professional society, or trade association, of which you are a member. If a website profile comes with the membership, ask if you can choose which words link back. Your website address alone will be valuable to you. But if you are allowed to insert your anchor text selection, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Make sure that you use your keywords in any of your own web distributed press releases.
Sorry, Flash is dead
They might look exciting but unfortunately, in most circumstances, it’s simply not worth it. Search engines don’t even index sites which use lavish Flash graphics, so your site won’t rate. Stick to HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and skip the Flash special effects.