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SEO: Search Engine Optimization Basics for Business Owners

cw4Being up to date on marketing your business online is essential to your success. There are different methods to use such as social media, pay per click, LinkedIn and many others. This post is about the basics of SEO and how it can help business owners.
Whenever I do seminars about marketing, one of the top questions I get asked is “how do I get to the top page of Google?”  This can be a very complicated task since it takes time and effort to accomplish. If you have a marketing budget you can hire a SEO specialist to do this for you. The good thing about online marketing is  that there are many strategies that can be done for free if you have the time. Here are three key tips that will help you understand SEO better.

How People Search

Most People search online before making any type of purchase at a retail location. Even if the purchase is online they would still prefer to research other competitors and look at product reviews. For this reason you will need make sure to strive to be on the first pages of search engines. There are many search engines out there for people to use online. The key is to focus on the ones that matter. Currently Google is the top used Search engine. Below is the exact amount

Core Search Entity Explicit Core Search Share (%)
Aug-14
Total Explicit Core Search 100.0%
Google Sites 67.3%
Microsoft Sites 19.4%
Yahoo Sites 10.0%
Ask Network 2.0%
AOL, Inc. 1.3%

 

1. Keywords

You need to make sure you know the main keywords associated with searching for your type of business.  I would suggests choosing 3-5 keywords that can relate well with your business. Here are examples of keywords that a restaurant owner in Austin could use.

Some of your keywords can include

  • “Austin steakhouse”
  • “Austin dinner restaurant”
  • “Dining in Austin”

 

Once these keywords are chosen you can then start using them more often when you are writing about your business in a blog or product descriptions.  This technique will help Google determine the purpose of your site.

2. Keyword Research

When choosing keywords you need to make sure you know which ones are actually being searched for by your target customers. We may think we know what people are searching for, but in reality everyone uses the internet differently. To make sure you have the right keywords it is important tour use the Google Keyword Planner Tool. This is a free tool that gives you info on how many times a certain keyword is searched

3. Title Tags and Description Tags

Now that you have chosen your keywords it is critical to figure out where to put them. Title Tags are one of the top things Google looks at when they rank your site.  As you can see in the image below, the highlighted words are called the “Title Tag.” It is very important that you put keywords here so you can rank.

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One key is to put the most important keywords first. In this case, “Houston Wine Bar” is the first keyword followed by “Gastropub” and the others. These can also be called Page Titles. Contact your web master to implement this if you do not know how to do it yourself.

Description tags are very important as well. This is the section that is underneath the Title tag and url of a site on the search engines. This is where you can put extra info about your site as well as more keywords that you find useful.

4. Links

Linking your website is also important. This means that you should post your website url link on other notable websites. This lets Google know that your site is being shared with others. It also helps more visitors come to your website.

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5. Directories

Directories are used as an aggregator of information about businesses. Using these will help your site get more exposure to an audience that may be outside of your current city. For example putting your link on sites like Yellowpages or Superpages will help your site tremendously. Most of the time it is free to post your link on these directory sites which yield good traffic. 

6. Tools

Make sure to measure your progress after you implement these strategies.  Some people try to find their rankings by manually searching the search engines. This practice is really time consuming and sometimes not accurate because you may be logged into your email provider which gives you different results. Below are some tools to help!

  • Firefox Rank Checker – Gives you the ability to run reports on multiple keyword rankings
  • Google Analytics – Gives you the opportunity to see what keywords people use to find your website.
  • Google Keyword Planner – Find out what are the top keywords are being searched.

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