2012 has been, without question, the most dramatic year in SEO history. Google’s 2012 algorithm updates have changed the rules once again, making SEO much more complicated than ever before (and that’s not a bad thing). If you’re like me and your occupation is search engine optimizing, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
However, if you’re a small business owner who handles your own SEO and thinks the whole concept is confusing to begin with, then chances are you’re not aware of the changes that have taken place. You’ve probably been more worried about reaching your business’ monthly quota (which is totally understandable).
As a business owner, you shouldn’t just push SEO aside. With November and December e-commerce holiday sales totaling near 40 billion–up 13% from last year- you should definitely still be concerned where your website ranks in Google.
Below are four SEO tips for small business owners. These SEO tips will help you acquire more business via natural, organic search engine rankings:
1. On-page SEO: still very effective
SEO can be divided into two categories: on-page optimization and off-page optimization. On-page optimization deals with all of the elements within a website including, but not limited to, title tags, meta tags, heading tags (h1, h2, h3 etc.), URL structure, and image optimization. The goal is to use your targeted keywords within each of these on-page elements.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to on-page SEO is that title tags are MOST important. Title tags are the first the that Google considers when crawling your website. They’re also the first thing that consumers see in search results. Use your target keywords at the beginning of your title tags. For example, if I own a St. Louis SEO company called ClixFuel that offers SEO services in and around the St. Louis area, then I might make my website’s homepage title something like this:
2. Understand your inbound link profile
There has been a lot of talk about the uncertain role of anchor text in Google’s algorithm. Even if some say it’s importance is growing dimmer, it will remain a key ranking factor until we’re told otherwise by Google.
However, there is one thing that’s clear in terms of anchor text. Google’s Penguin and Panda updates focus on web spam and over-optimization, and thus it’s important to balance out your anchor text. If over half of your anchor text in your inbound link profile uses the keyword phrase “St. Louis SEO” Google might see that as over-optimized and could penalize your site. Try to keep your anchor text profile balanced and start to use branded, naked URL anchor text (“company name” or “http://www.example.com”).
3. Content remains king
Effective SEO has always revolved around quality, unique content that people want to read, and that’s still the case today. Google loves fresh, unique content and will praise you for it 99% of the time (unless you’re keyword stuffing). Using your target keywords throughout your site’s content is certainly important, but you don’t want to overuse. Make sure you keep your keyword density under 4% (keyword count/total word count).
4. Be social
If you haven’t already done so, you need to build a presence on all major social networks. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Social media has become a huge player in the SEO world, and while Google hasn’t officially announced that they’re using social signals as a ranking factor, it sure seems to be part of their overall plan.