As a small business owner, you’ve probably been told at least a thousand times how important SEO is for your company.
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Being a novice to the whole digital aspect of running a business can at be excruciatingly complicated at times, and tackling even the basic SEO actions can often go terribly wrong.
We love small business owners and have made it our duty to help fuel the entrepreneurial fire people have any way we possibly can. To help you carry out the seemingly daunting task of optimizing your business for search engines, we’ve created this short, yet pretty comprehensive beginner’s guide to the basic principles of SEO.
Before we jump into the actual dos and don’ts of this relatively simple process, we can’t stress how important having the right website for your company is. All of your SEO efforts could easily go down the drain if the platform you focused them on doesn’t work properly.
By creating a website for your company on platforms such as SITE123, you ensure non of the optimization you do is done in vain. SITE123 is an incredible free website builder we just can’t get enough of. Its easy to use features and intuitive interface make the setup process last less than a minute, and the dozens of pre made layouts it features make it a favorite among small business owners.
Apart from the obvious hosting and design perks, SITE123 also does most of the heavy work for you when it comes to SEO. The platform makes it easy to add and update your settings, always making sure you’re at the top of your SEO game.
So, here some of the more subtle dos and don’ts of optimization:
1.Don’t stuff keywords
Keywords are your main ally when it comes to getting your website to rank high. These two to five word phrases are what describes the content of your pages to site crawlers, who use that info to decide where you website will be ranked.
The phrase the more the merrier might go hand in hand with ice cream and Christmas presents, certainly does not apply to keywords. Overusing keywords, or ‘stuffing’ as the pros call it, can actually do more harm than good to your website’s ranking.
Google’s algorithms recognize when there’s an unnatural concentration of keywords within a page, and almost without exception go on to penalize the website that uses these black hat techniques.
While deciding on what exact quantity of keywords is perfect, if you keep them at and below of 5% of the entire text, you’ll be good to go.
2.Don’t forget to add meta descriptions
Meta descriptions act as short summaries for the content of your website’s pages. Without them, people can only guess what lies within your pages, which is something that will surely prompt them to click elsewhere.
Even though your pages will always have automatically generated meta descriptions on SERPs, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add them manually. Not only will it help your visitors find exactly what they’re looking for, but it will also help your website rank better.
Site crawlers prefer complete pages with all the details filled in, and meta descriptions are a quick and easy way to boost your ranking.
3.Index your website
What’s the point of having a amazing, professional website if nobody’s going to see it? Even if you fill in and publish your website, it takes time before it becomes visible to search engines. This is due to the fact that site crawlers need time before they register a new website, and then even more time before they start mapping it.
While there’s no easy solution to this problem, there is a way to make it go a little bit faster. Manually indexing your website with search engines will significantly shorten this process, where that bit of extra effort won’t go unnoticed and will help you increase your website’s chance to rank higher.
4.Create a clean URL
Your website’s URL represents its address on the internet, and in order to increase the amount of traffic directed to it, the address itself must be legible, easy to remember and catchy.
A clean URL is an address without any awkward symbols such as dashes and underscores, or unnecessary complications such as capital letters and random numbers. A fantastic example of a clean URL are addresses such as www.google.com and www.apple.com.
Make sure your website’s address is easy to remember, that it has your company’s or your brand’s name in it, and that it can clearly convey what your company’s about. URLs aren’t immune to the rigorous scanning done by site crawlers, so the time and effort that go into creating it are definitely worth it.
5.Optimize it for mobile
The year 2017 has seen an unprecedented rise in the amount of mobile phone usage, with close to 60% of all internet traffic coming from mobile phones.
Failing to optimize your website for mobile phones means losing every other client that might come knocking on your door. Google is well aware of the power of mobile traffic, and has recently started penalizing websites that aren’t optimized for mobile phones.
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Websites that load faster and have content optimized for viewing on small screen and navigating by using fingers are ranked better by default.
While you build your website, SITE123 simultaneously creates a mobile version of it, doing most of the heavy lifting for you. After you’ve finished designing your main site, the only thing left for you to do is to use your phone to check if everything’s responsive and aligned properly.
6.Don’t forget to add alt descriptions
Colorful, enticing images are the cornerstone of great web design. However, image-rich pages, while pleasant to the eye, do very little in terms of improving your SEO.
You see, site crawlers can only read text, and are completely blind when it comes to images. Wasting all that valuable SEO real estate will seriously impact how your website’s ranked.
Alt text, or alt descriptions are short, keyword-rich descriptions you add to your images that help with your SEO. Site crawlers are able to read this alternative text and rank your website accordingly.
7.Don’t copy your website’s content
Coming up with a few paragraphs of text for just a couple of industry specific pages is something even the least creative person can manage.
However, coming up with original content for dozens of different pages packed with info can be hard, especially if you run an online store or a blog. Just taking a large chunk of your text and pasting it onto the rest of your pages might seem like a quick fix to your creativity problem, but it will certainly do more harm than good. Site crawlers hate duplicated text, not to mention a plagiarized one, and will go out of their way to demote your website’s ranking.
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These algorithms are great at spotting stuffed, unoriginal and duplicated text, which is something nobody likes to get in their search results. Original text almost always equals added value and high quality, which is why you should always make sure what you write on your website is fresh, new and useful.
You see, knowing your way around your website’s SEO isn’t all that hard when you’ve got a few inside tips and tricks up your sleeve. Having a reliable, responsive and intuitive platform to built it on doesn’t hurt either.
These 7 dos and don’ts of SEO are easy to remember and even easier to implement, even for a complete novice. With just a little bit of effort, you can have your website rank high and start reaping the seeds of success in no time.