Search Engine Optimization is a highly competitive industry in a cutthroat online world of money and marketing. The key to moving cleanly through this industry is knowing what goes into it, but when you’re a small business or even more fragile startup looking to make a mark the jargon of a whole set of skills can be intimidating. So, let’s talk plainly about some of the best ways to make sure your local business is at the top of search engines that you need to bring in customers.
Going into the world of Google page rankings is a terrible idea without a good basis for the knowledge you will be using. Search engines in the United States, Europe, and other similarly industrialized economies mean, in practice, a single thing: Google. This website is the king right now, and optimizing for searching generally means optimizing for Google. If you are wondering why this, in particular, is important, click here for a guide to Google’s searching algorithms and you’ll see why studying SEO is an actual career pursuit and not just a hobby.
In other words, this is an entire industry built off of very simple searching parameters that have remained somewhat predictable over the course of many years. How you build off these parameters is up to you, but as a rule, they match your website’s content and relevance using keywords that are found throughout a page. If you take the average piece of internet content on a non-social media website you will likely see these in headings, links, bold and italic tags, and other forms of text.
In order to find out which services are getting the clicks over others, it’s important to realize that not all search terms are given the same treatment. A very niche search will rarely get more than 1 or 2 relevant results, while others may have 10,000 websites each looking for someone to click on the second page and find their contribution. In general, you are looking for somewhere in between those 2 extremes.
As an example, if you are a company that sells chainsaws in town A, you want people to see your name pop up when someone searches for “chainsaw seller town A.” But, other nearby towns may not have a similar vendor, so chances are you’ll want to link to other agencies in other towns. Small town America can sometimes only have a certain hobbyist store every hundred miles, so properly weighing your place in a region is a job for a professional.
In general, you need raw data for this type of optimization, and pros know where to find that. Companies like Searching Fever SEO often end up using data to modify, optimize, and improve your place in the charts, which is itself more data to be gathered. Though this has modern sketchiness pasted onto it by the privacy obsessed, pure numbers are anonymous to the extreme so there is no worry to be had there. Don’t underestimate the ability of a professional to do a job and do it right, after all, with all the safety that entails.
Down to the Specifics
If you aren’t comfortable hiring someone to do the job right, there are still some easy tips and tricks you can harness to make your website pop. For a particular website, Google looks for the title, headings, links, meta tags, and alt-text, among other things. For a title, make sure it matches the actually commonly-used words of your region. This should be fairly simple if what you’re doing is in somewhere you know well.
The other parts of SEO are also important though, and starting with headings you should avoid numbering your headings. Ranking things as “part 1, part 2, etc.” can end up with no extra value placed into those sections, which is a nightmare for search engine algorithms to parse through. If you want some specific rules, I recommend clicking this link: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/important-tags-seo/156440/ for advice on all sorts of different specific tags and headings.
In general, images have a function whereby you can add a description to them. This is commonly known as alt-text, and guess what, they hold a special place as one of the easiest means of adding search engine priority to a page. Diversifying your keywords is a must, but without a huge pool of these words, you may fall behind, which is why alt-text is great. This can also be true for text but is hidden by the veneer of bold and italics. Use <em> and <strong> as alternatives to bold and italics in order to maximize page rank.
Part of the art of crafting a great page for SEO and general use is realizing that Google is very good at detecting the use of links that shouldn’t be there. Links should be useful, but organic, and point towards pages that are relevant to whatever it is you’re trying to say. You should pay attention to where you’re linking, as well as why you’re linking there. If you wouldn’t gloss right over it as a human, chances are google won’t either and will flag it as deceptive.
For many people, the process of optimization is a painful one involving time, money, and major web-design-based changes. Never be afraid to outsource this pain to a professional, but also be aware that many of the tools they use are also open to your perusal. Don’t be afraid to do your own research, both into these pros’ results and reviews and also into the ins and outs of this field of study.
A lot of the time, if you can have an informed conversation with someone about your particular local area, it can clear a lot up. Pick a consultant with skill, local knowledge, passion, and expertise. Be smart, don’t forget to do your own research, and good luck navigating the stormy seas of the modern net!
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