When it comes to getting a business up and running now days, it is critical that your company has a user friendly website. While building the website is a project in and of itself, once you finally have something to show the world, it does not do much good if nobody knows about it. In this article, we are going to discuss search engine optimization (SEO), and cover three facts you should know about when it comes to ranking a local business within the search engines.
The first area we need to look at should definitely come into play when a website is being built. The idea of on page search engine optimization is critical for proper indexing of your website by the search engines. Ensuring that your site is laid out properly will help the search engine spiders find each and every page that you want indexed. One file that you should definitely create is your sitemap.xml file and provide it to the search engines via sites like Google Webmaster Tools. This will basically map out your entire website so that the indexing spiders know what to crawl when they visit your site. Another aspect of on page search engine optimization deals with inner linking your pages together. If you take a look at sites like Wikipedia or YouTube, I am sure you will notice just how much those sites link to other pages within their domain, finding relevant and related videos or articles to what you are currently interested in. By interlinking your pages, you help the search engines further learn what exactly your website content is about. The better a search engine can determine what you are covering, the more likely you are to rank better. Other things to keep in mind when it comes to on page optimization is to use unique content across the board. You should never just copy an article or page from somewhere else online as it could lead to copyright problems as well as search engine penalties. If you searched for something online, found an article via the search engine, then copied it and published it on your website, you are only going to hurt your website. If something has already been indexed in the search engines, and then they see it pop up again on another site, that equals duplicate content and can penalize your site. Other not so obvious forms of duplicate content can revolve around something as simple as your website title tags being similar on each page.
The next area you should focus on is how easy your site is to navigate. While nothing is confirmed, many people who study search engine optimization believe that one major metric when it comes to a websites ability to rank revolves around something know as its site metric score. A site metric score is comprised of how long a person stays on your website, how many pages they viewed while on your website, and your website’s bounce rate. The first two items are relatively clear, but some people may not know what a bounce rate is. Your bounce rate is the number of people who come to your website, then click back to return to whatever website brought them to you. If people do not click on another page on your website and either close out of their browser or click the back button, that counts as a bounce. While some tools such as Google Analytics can help you learn about your site metric score, showing all of the factors measured, those tools are not always 100% accurate. And for people who do not allow the search engines access to that information by running the tracking script, the search engines must have another means to collect your site metric scores. It is best to try in keep users engaged on your website with video content or by interlinking your pages so that they can navigate through more pages, thus dropping a potentially high bounce rate.
The last area you need to know about is a bit outside of our control. The final area of search engine optimization revolves around off site optimization. We spoke to Martin Rodriquez who performs SEO in Sacramento, CA about off page optimization. Mr. Rodriquez stated “When it comes to off page search engine optimization, it is important that you get quality links from niche relevant websites. It is also key to ensure that you build citations for your business in local area directories.” When it comes to creating business listings, Mr. Rodriquez mentioned something very important. You want to ensure that all of your listings have the exact same format when it comes to business name, address, and phone number. If you do not create them all the same way, it is possible the search engines may see the business as two different companies, and create duplicate content issues. Other areas of off page search engine optimization revolve around social media. Getting people to like, share, tweet, or +1 your website can help by building social signals. The more people liking, sharing, and discussing your website, the more authority it gets in the eyes of the search engines.
If you take the time to review and optimize your website based on the facts listed above you can expect to get some search engine love in the rankings. Please share with us your tips on how to better optimize your websites for ranking well in the search engines in the comment area!