Intro to SEO for Business Owners

Search engine optimization now represents one of the crucial aspects of building any online business.  Achieving high ranking on Google’s organic search results can mean the difference between attracting customers and drowning in oblivion.  Adopting several key strategies will greatly enhance your chances of doing well against the competition.

For the last several years, SEO has come to be synonymous with business survival on the web.  Unfortunately, whenever there is a starving crowd, unscrupulous operators are bound to enter the fray. Given this state of affairs, business owners should gain a solid, basic understanding of the principles of SEO in order to protect themselves from getting ripped off.

The first step in understanding optimization for the web is to gain a sense of how your site is performing relative to the competition. Running a check of your site on search engine results pages will give you a quick snapshot of your site’s ranking and will help to shed some light on who may be visiting your site and if they are a targeted user that will convert or stay long on your site.

Second, many business owners fail to understand that SEO, at its core, seeks to align the content of your site with the mind of your target market.  The greatest mistake a business owner can make is to simply produce content without regard to how it will appear on search engines.  For example, many people believe that thinking up a snappy name for a website will automatically bring in traffic.  However, this is often a tragic mistake.  The reason is that unless sufficient numbers of people are typing in your site’s name, or the words that make up your site name, it will never come up on the search engine results.

To expand on this concept, think of the average user sitting at the keyboard typing in a search into Google.  Let’s say you own a website on car repair.  You have to think in terms of what the average person looking for information on car repair will type into Google – and then develop relevant, reliable and authoritative content for your site to match the user’s search.

This, in essence is search engine optimization.  There are tools that help you search and identify certain keywords or keyword phrases, together with the relative supply and demand.  To optimize your site you need to create pages with content revolving around these keywords.

A word of caution, over populating your page with too many keywords in will earn you a penalty from the search engines. This is also known as keyword spamming and is frowned upon in the search engine industry. Generally, key words should make up no more than two percent or three percent of the total copy on a page.

Third, update your content frequently. The search engines crave new, relevant material.  Trying to produce too much at one time will likely lead to burn out. Rather, adopting a steady schedule of content production over time will eventually help your site gain more visitors.  In addition to updating, produce articles of information and post them on other sites such as personal or professional blogs, article directories, news sites, and other outlets that allow you to create a link back to your site.  Here, too, there are certain rules to obey. The sites should be related to your website. Don’t fall for so-called black hat operators who promise you the moon (at a premium price). Instead, take the high road and become a purveyor of good information.  Ultimately, good business principles are the same whether you are online or offline.