An increasing number of small business owners today see the web as an essential part of their sales funnel. Over the past 3-5 years the use of the internet in people's decision making process has shifted from being a nicety to more of a necessity. This makes it critical to have your online strategy absolutely nailed to stay competitive.
Google is the main driving source of most websites' traffic; but ironically it is usually the area business owners/managers have the least understanding of. This creates an environment where a business' biggest online asset can be a complete mystery to everyone involved.
This article will look in simple terms at how you can optimise your website to receive the maximum amount of traffic from search engines.
Most people don't give a second thought as to how Google puts together its search results for any given query. But knowing the process they go through to deliver results allows you to give yourself the best chance of being seen.
Very broadly speaking Google determines its search results based on the following two factors:
By combining various data sources in relation to the query the user enters, Google determines the results they think are most relevant. When doing SEO (search engine optimisation) it is your job to have the right data aligned with your website to increase your chances of getting impressions/clicks.
There are several different strategies you can employ to help make your website visible in Google. But keep in mind that to achieve success in the search engines you need to keep work going over a sustained period of time. SEO is a long term investment; but one that delivers fantastic results when it comes to fruition.
This is a subject that can get very technical; but do not fear! As a normal business owner, simply editing some basic visible elements on your website can have huge changes on rankings and traffic. You can find an expanded beginners guide I wrote here on on-page optimisation, but in this post I'll try cover the basics and keep it simple.
Off-site optimisation is mostly to do with links pointing to your site from various places around the web. The way links affect your visibility in search engines has changed hugely over the years. Don't worry if you don't know much about SEO; as Google is making it much easier for "normal" business owners to rank well. Manipulative tactics once used by SEOs are dying out, and natural links rule the rankings in 2013.
Again link building is a topic that is expansive and can be talked about all day ( here's a good guide of different ways to build healthy links). But the basics to remember are as follows:
Hopefully this article has helped to clear things up in terms of how Google delivers search results, and what you can do to be seen there. Search engine optimisation is a highly technical subject; but the simple changes are often the ones that have the most impact.
Go now and have a quick audit of your website, check if the page titles are optimised to attract as much traffic as possible. Make sure your content is laid out well and you don't have text hidden in images. And finally start thinking about how you can leverage your existing connections and contacts to get some healthy natural links pointing to your site.