After building a website, you need to light the way for customers to find it, which can feel like an overwhelming task when you look at the billions of results per Google search. To signpost users to your website, you will need to execute a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, which will transform your website into an audience-pleasing, Google algorithm-pleasing success. Although this sounds complex, you can break it down into different areas, which makes the task more manageable. To help you get off to a great start, we’ve put together a short small business SEO guide below.

Keywords Are Key

Google indexes websites and uses keywords to show results, which is why keyword research is central to SEO success. When finding the right keywords, you need to get inside your audience’s head and figure out what their search intent is. For example, if your business sells anime t-shirts in Manhattan, the keyword “anime t-shirts” is extremely broad and will generate millions of results. Therefore, you need to narrow this down to intent, which may include phrases like “Spirited Away t-shirts in Manhattan”. You can find out more about keyword research for small businesses here.

What Can You Offer

As you’re optimizing your website, you need to remember that there’s fierce competition. Therefore, you need to focus on what you can offer that your competitors don’t. The unique services to your business will help you focus keywords to cut through the noise. For example, you can add a location to your keywords to try and build traffic organically.

You can also use paid search engine ads to increase traffic to your website, which appears alongside free results. However, there is significant competition in the ad space as well, which is why focusing keywords around market differentiation is a great strategy.

Be User-Friendly

SEO is about more than having the right keywords; you need to have a user-friendly website. When a customer lands on your page, they need to know exactly what they’re looking at straight away, which means using clear headlines. Dedicated headlines help Google index your website. Further, your website needs to load fast to please search engines and customers. According to Medium, the average person will leave a site after waiting only three seconds.

Generating links to your website will significantly boost your SERP location. However, you need to consider where your links are coming from, as too many “spam” links will lower your ranking. Therefore, you should aim to build links organically from high-authority websites. To do this, you can use Help A Reporter Out (HARO), which brings journalists and experts together. You will sign up for a newsletter, which is emailed 3x daily, and it will be full of journalist queries. You will need to pitch an answer to relevant questions, and hope that you get features in the publication.

Be Social

Social media is your friend when it comes to SEO because more people are turning to social media platforms to carry out searches. Therefore, you will need to optimize content across all platforms, which puts you in a better position to come at the top of Facebook’s search results. Further, your social media page will show up on Google, so make sure it’s linked well to your website.

Insert Keywords Sparingly

We’ve discussed the importance of keywords in SEO, but there’s a fine line between just enough and too many. When you cram in too many keywords, content becomes confusing, which will baffle your readers. Therefore, your primary focus should be on creating clear and informative content, and then on putting in well-placed keywords.

Focus On Quality Content

Search engines are all about answering questions, which is why quality content is essential. The more videos, articles, and photos you can put on your page, the better, but they need to serve a purpose. Essentially, there’s no point uploading anything to your website unless it benefits your audience. Further, you should update old content to keep it relevant, which will show the SERPs that you’re an active business; any static pages will fall to the bottom of the results page.

Track Metrics

Not every piece of content your post will do well, which is why you need to measure performance by using an SEO tool. There are many paid services out there, but Google Analytics will suffice for small businesses looking to save money. You can use data from these tools to update content and inform your future SEO strategy.

The Google algorithm has come a long way since the days of keyword cramming, which means you need to successfully appease the different components. Your priority for SEO should be quality content, useability, link generating, and then targeted keywords. The areas outlined above will help push your strategy in the right direction.