2010 was certainly a year of major changes in the Search Engine Optimization landscape, and 2011 promises to be just as action packed. We saw the onslaught of “optimizing for local search” promotions, the re-introduction of Bing, Google Instant Search, Google Places, and most recently, the confirmation that YES, Google is in fact paying attention to our online activity through social signals.
To remain competitive in today’s marketplace, now more than ever, it’s critical to ensure your business is found online by your prospects. Rest assured that your competitors are making moves to increase their search engine rankings and online presence this year, and here’s 7 small business SEO tips that you can deploy to get ahead in 2011.
7 Essential Small Business SEO Tips
- Keyword Phrases: If you’re targeting the wrong keywords, your SEO campaign will obviously be a flop. If your leads and sales through search engine optimization were dismal throughout 2010, it’s time to reevaluate your keyword targeting. Be sure to include location modifiers in your optimization strategy if you’re targeting local prospects, and consider linguistic SEO if you’re targeting a specific demographic. Use keyword tools (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) to check keyword search volumes and get new ideas for profitable keywords and phrases to target.
- Content: The content you create should not only be built around keywords you’re targeting, but also around what consumers are going to find useful and has a high likelihood of being shared and linked to. Think of the various ways people like to consume information; articles, videos, podcasts, etc.
- Mobile Optimization: If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’re losing visitors, and quite possibly leads and sales. We’ve become a mobile dependent society and adapting your website to mobile devices increases the likelihood of acquiring new leads and sales.
- Local Search: Google Places has become the default for many industry specific searches. 2010 marked the year of major changes in the local search realm, and consumers have ultimately accepted these results as trustworthy. Appearing in the “Google Pack” starts this trust with your prospects.
- Link Building: Search engines play close attention to your internal, outgoing and incoming links, and 2011 will be no exception. If you want to increase your search engine rankings, you have to increase your incoming links – this is no secret. If you only embark on one strategy this coming year, focus on building a strong link building strategy that encompasses internal and external linking through relevant websites, content, directories, blogs and social media.
- Canonical Pathway: Creating a clear and precise canonical pathway domain will avoid multiple page variations. The search engine spiders are unable to determine which is the preferred pathway for your website, (http://www.yourwebsite.com and http://yourwebsite.com) therefore, you need to manually establish one pathway. This will avoid what search engines classify as duplicate content within your website.
- Image ALT Tags: Often times ALT tagging images and photos is forgotten. Search engines cannot read your photos and images, but they can see and index the text that is associated with it. Creating ALT tags that contain your targeted keywords not only prevent the stop gap for search engine spiders, but also allows an extra source for keyword density. Image TIP: Before uploading any images or photos to your website, rename the photo to a keyword relevant name, then utilize alternative keywords as ALT tags.
Mobile internet usage, desktop and laptop usage while at work and at home will continue to increase year by year. People are searching online and they trust the search engines to give them results.
Are you optimized and ready for 2011?