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Eight Essential SEO Strategies

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be applied to any type of business in any industry. This is important for both online and brick-and-mortar businesses alike. Unfortunately, too many businesses end up wasting their money on what they think will be a successful marketing plan because they do not have a proper website set up initially. When your business has an online presence, your website needs to be at the center of your marketing plan. Spending the time and money on setting up a proper website is crucial in order to see successful SEO results which will ultimately grow your business organically.

For those who are interested in creating an online marketing plan or who may be using one already to generate more business, consider the following eight strategies that you may wish to employ for SEO success.

1. Easy Access to Business Contact Information

It seems logical and intuitive that businesses should have their contact information displayed front and center on their website. For stores that have physical locations, displaying your contact information is essential so search engines can pick up your website in search results.

Make sure to display your contact information on every single page of your website, this helps search engines crawl your site better and keeps their results up to date. You can also have your web developer add in local schema coding into the back end of your website, which tells search engines what your business is and where it is located. This makes it easy for people to search for a particular product or service within an area and find your business.

2. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly

Almost everyone today has a smart phone or a handheld device capable of searching on the internet. It is important to make sure your website is mobile friendly, or responsive, so that if a potential customer comes across your website, they can browse it without difficulty. If the website is difficult to navigate or see clearly, your visitors will most likely leave the site and look elsewhere for their needs. Having a site that does not display optimally on mobile devices will also dock your site ranking on search engines.

A quick tool to use to see if your site is mobile friendly is www.responsinator.com/. Here, you can enter in your web address and see how your site displays on various tables and smart phones.

3. Add a Google Map to Your Website

If your business has a physical location, it is highly recommended to add a Google Map of your business location on your website. This helps boost search results and also lets visitors to your site know exactly where you are located and how they can locate you. A good place to put this would be in the footer or on the Contact page.

You can do this by simply going to www.google.com/maps and entering your business address. Then, you can copy the ended code and past it into your website. If this is something you do not think you can do yourself, your web developer will be able to do this for you very quickly.
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4. Make Sure Your Website is Up to Speed

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing only want to display the most relevant search results possible when users type in keywords. The speed at which your website loads and functions is a huge factor in search ranking. If your website is slow to load, Google will pick up on this and even worse, your users will not like browsing your site. Statistics show that it takes a user only ten seconds on average to decide whether they want to keep looking at your website or not, so if your website does not load fast enough you will be missing out on potential customers.

A couple useful tools to determine your website speed are Google PageSpeed or Pingdom. If you use Google PageSpeed, your mobile and desktop speeds should be at least 85, but preferably higher. If you use Pingdom, the loading speed of your site should be under one second. If your website speed is too slow you will need to consult with your web developer on how to fix this.

5. Proper Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions

There is no room for error when writing meta titles or meta descriptions, as they have to be 100% relevant to your content. These descriptions are important because they tell search engines, as well as users, what your website is about. Meta titles and meta descriptions are completely different from keyword or meta keyword tags which are carefully chosen keywords used in different areas of text on your website. Keywords no longer carry any weight with search engines so they are no longer relevant to enhancing your SEO.

The meta title is the main title of a page that will show up in the results on search engines. The meta description is text that describes what that page is about. Make sure that every page on your website has a unique meta title and meta descriptions.

6. Create Targeted Local Content

If you are selling products or services to a local community, then it is advisable to include locally targeted content within your site. This is essential in order to drive more traffic to your site. Try to have at least one page dedicated to each service or product you offer and include the different locations (towns, counties, etc.) that you service.

It is also a great idea to write blog posts relevant to your business to post on your site to help boost SEO. As a general guide, start out with 5,000-10,000 words of text specific to your business, services, products and geographic areas. Also, try to add at least 2 new pages or blog posts on a monthly basis.

7. Use the Right Permalinks

A permalink is the website URL for each individual page that makes up your site. It is really important to carefully choose your permalinks because these are what tell search engines what your page is about and helps them index your site. If your business has a page for its products then an example of a good permalink would be: http://www.business.com/products-we-sell. This simply tells the search engine that your website has a page that displays your products. If you decide you need to update or change your permalinks, it is important to note that you will have to set up 301 redirects from any old permalinks to the new permalinks. If you do not do this, you may see your rankings go down and visitors to your site will see 404 errors on pages that no longer work.

8. Submit Your Sitemaps

Sitemaps help search engines crawl and index your website. In order to keep search results updated and relevant, search engines are constantly crawling and indexing the pages of your site. Submitting your sitemap to different search engine sites is a great way to boost SEO and ensure that search engines are able to find your site. If you are not sure if you have a sitemap, try typing in your URL and add /sitemap.xml at the end of the web address. If you have one then you will see it come up on the screen, if you do not, you will see a “Page Not Found” error message.

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