Foundational SEO Basics for Entrepreneurs

$65.26 billion dollars were spent in the US on search engine optimization (SEO) in 2016. By 2020, it’s estimated spending will rise to $79.27 billion.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), there were 30.2 million small businesses in 2018. Small businesses make up 99.9% of all US businesses.

But in 2017, only 71% of small businesses had a website. However, 92% claimed they would have a website by the end of 2018.

Even those who do have a website are often woefully ignorant of best practices such as SEO basics. That’s like buying a sign for your business and hanging itĀ upside down so no one can read it.

If you’re wondering how to implement easy SEO strategies to make your website work for your business, keep reading. We’re sharing basic SEO components with you.

SEO Basics Begins with High-Quality Content

Simply put, how your website looks matters a great deal. Of all the SEO basics for entrepreneurs concepts to grasp, this is the most important. No customer walks into a brick-and-mortar store if it looks rundown, overly cluttered or there’s the possibility where their wallet might be stolen.

The same is true for websites on the internet. Your website is your store so make it look like the best representation of your business you possibly can.

Adding high-quality content is part of your look. Poor spelling and grammatical mistakes make you look like an unprofessional amateur.

Inform, Educate, and Entertain

Customers are visiting your site to be informed, educated, and even entertained. If you’re selling a product or service, your customer needs to quickly grasp what it is you’re selling and why they should buy it.

Anything less and they will quickly go somewhere else. Online it’s much easier to find whatever you want because there’s no traveling involved so customers are much more fickle.

Keep Holding Their Attention

Your goal is to create such high-quality content that you not only capture the attention of newcomers, but you get people to keep coming back to your site time and again.

Make your product or service descriptions short, easy-to-read, and descriptive. Avoid pushy sales tactics that turn people away. Instead, start a blog to further educate your customers on how you can help them.

Blogs are Great for SEO and Building Credibility

Blogs also help set up businesses owners as leaders within their industry. It helps build trust and credibility.

Blogs are also great for SEO purposes. You can add links, keywords, video, photography, and end with a great CTA (call-to-action).

Do Some Keyword Research

When customers go online to find information, products or services, they use keywords. Understanding and using which keywords your target market is most likely to use will not only help you rank higher on search engines, but it also helps convince customers to click on your site.

Create a List

Begin by creating a list of every important element of your business. That includes listing all your products and services.

The city, state or zip code of your business can also be used as a keyword or part of a keyword. For example, a good keyword for an HVAC business in Toano, VA can be, “HVAC business Toano VA”.

While voice search optimization is growing in popularity, most people still type in their keywords. For that reason, keyword phrases do not have to be grammatically correct.

Use Keyword Research Tools

Fortunately, the internet has a plethora of keyword research tools available. Some are paid and some are free.

Both options will help you understand the search volume as well as the potential value of the keywords you’re looking to use. Here are a few free tools to begin your search:

  • Google
  • Google Ads keyword tool
  • Keywords everywhere

If you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to use the free keyword tools first. Once you can afford it, here are a few paid keyword search sites:

  • Ahrefs
  • Moz
  • SEMrush

Consider your business needs before making your decision.

Internal and External Linking

Links are another great way to build up credibility while also increasing your SEO. There are two types of links: internal and external.

External Links

External links are to sites other than your own website. External links can be used to either provide your reader with more information or to back up a fact. If you cite a statistic, linking it back to the site where you got the statistic from helps provide your readers with the knowledge you’re providing accurate information.

However, be careful which sites you link to. Avoid linking to your competition. You should also avoid linking to sites that are spammy or not legitimate.

Only Link to Reputable Sites

You should find sites that will help build up your reputation. Also, look for sites that have a lot of traffic themselves.

Another way to get more traffic is to have other sites provide a link to your website on theirs. One way you can do this is by writing a guest post. Do some research to find the best sites to write for and then reach out to submit a proposal.

Another way is to reach out to the site’s owner to see if they would be willing to share a link to your site while you do the same.

Internal Links

Internal links are links back to other pages in your site. At the end of a blog article, you should always use a CTA. The CTA (call to action) should include an internal link to another page in your site such as your contact page.

Internal links also help you avoid writing duplicate content. Instead, the link takes the reader to the page on your site that already contains that information.

Internal links are also a great way to highlight pages that aren’t often visited.

Video and Photography

It’s projected that by 2021 videos will represent 82% of all internet traffic. Thanks to Smartphones, videos are also easy SEO strategies.

There are also a lot of different types of videos you can create such as:

  • Live
  • Entertaining
  • Informative
  • How-to

Don’t forget to use SEO keywords within your videos. You should also add captions. Not everyone watches a video using sound and it helps optimize SEO.

Upload your video on several different platforms to diversify and gain more traffic.

Photography

No one wants to look at a boring website with no photos. Websites are not books.

Instead, using photography helps you capture people’s attention while helping your content along. And you can optimize your photograph’s SEO by using the following tactics:

  • Aptly name your file image
  • Match the image dimension with the image size as displayed
  • Reduce file size to speed up loading time
  • Use an image alt text

Make sure the photography adds to your content. A random photograph won’t do you or your site any good.

Title Page

Search engines look at the page title (title page) so it understands the page’s content. The title page is also shown in search results.

Make your page title unique. Include the most vital keyword for that page but make it 60 characters or less long. The beginning words carry more weight than the end so try to begin your title using that vital keyword.

Page Description

Search engines also display the description under each page title on results pages. This helps people searching for information determine which link is best to click on.

Make the description unique, compelling, and under 160 characters long.

Avoid Google Penalties

Google penalizes websites for making certain mistakes. This is something you want to avoid because it could result in your website disappearing from search engines ranks altogether.

You should also be aware that these rules are constantly changing. It’s not always easy to keep up with Google’s best practices.

What to Avoid to Increase Your SEO Network

Here are a few things to avoid:

  • Buying links
  • Duplicate content
  • Overstuffing keywords
  • Missing sitemap data
  • Hiding content

Slow loading speeds is also frowned upon by Google. But slow speeds also turn customers away. In fact, the average consumer will only wait 2.7 seconds for a site to load before they move on.

Have Your Website Audited

Most often website owners have no idea there’s something wrong with their site until something major happens. Either their site is taken off search engines, their site crashes or worse, their site gets hacked.

Performing a website audit at least once per year helps you find out exactly what’s wrong with your website. Then you can easily fix the issues which keep Google and your customers happy and safe.

Local SEO

There are a few easy SEO strategies to get local customers to find your website. Start by making it very easy for users to find your contact information on your site.

No one should have to hunt to find out where your store is located. Nor should they have to hire a private investigator in order to call or email your business.

Google Business Listing

Claim your Google Business Listing. It’s free to do. You just have to fill out some basic information such as your business hours and contact information.

Make it more attractive by adding photos and posting your blog articles. You can also list yourself on other search engines or local search directories.

Get Listed Higher on Google

Most people use Google as their primary search engine. And most people do not search past the first page of results.

One of the biggest SEO basics to learn is how to get ranked higher on Google. Click here to find out how.