Small Business websites can gain additional exposure, traffic, and sales by using Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In a nutshell, SEO involves making improvements to your website in order to get good rankings in search engines like Google™, Bing™, and Yahoo!®. For people who are still in the design phase on their sites, and people who are working on do-it-yourself (DIY) website design projects, building SEO into your site can be a lot easier than coming back later to overhaul coding or content that isn’t search-engine friendly.
Here are a few tips:
- The title of your homepage should be about the most general topic you cover and include your location. In many ways this is like being in the phone book. “Falcon Colorado Chinese Restaurant” may be a very brief title for a homepage, but it is a good start, and descriptive. As a general rule, the first 65 characters of your title are the ones that a search engine is going to show, so put the most important information in this area.
- List all of your services, and go into depth on the important ones. For instance, you may list your services on the homepage and have links to ones that are the biggest moneymakers, which would have their own page.
- Add good content to important topic pages. If you can write 3 paragraphs about a particular product or service, it may be worth having its own page, especially when people are looking for it locally. One way to build content is to proactively address customer concerns, or describe product capabilities in more detail without being overly competitive.
- Make sure each of your pages has a different title, which is about the page topic. For a local business, don’t be afraid to add the towns you serve, even if it’s at the back end of the title. For example: “Surfboard Repair & Waxing | Haleiwa & Waialua Hawaii” would be a good title for an interior page on a surf shop site.
- Find good keywords. Using the Google Keyword Tool is a great way to get started. Local businesses should put city or town names in front of keywords to get a better impression of how many Google users are seeking local vendors.
- Put your address at the bottom of your homepage. Bing and Google have local directories which can associate your address with your business phone listing or other data.
The improved exposure and traffic that comes from a search-engine-friendly design can increase your overall profitability, so a little time building SEO into your design is definitely worth the extra work.