SEO 101 for Small Businesses: Part 1

Increasing your business presence on the Internet is different than simply opening up shop on the corner. You can't merely put up a sign that states your business name and expect people to come through the door. Internet marketing is all about making sure the right people find your business even when you're competing with other companies for the same customers. To make your business highly visible on the Web, you need to use search engine optimization to reach your customers. SEO encompasses not just your website, but everything on the Web that traces back to your business - your content, search results and more. 

Here is part one outlining the important basics of SEO for small businesses:

Landing Pages

All of the pages that make up your business website are how potential customers will learn about your company and its products or services. Think of your website like a brick-and-mortar storefront. Instead of a neon sign to attract visitors to your door, you will use specific keywords to draw users to your site. To set up your website for SEO, you will have to decide on how you will present your business through easy-to-navigate pages and unique content, and take advantage of local searches for your company.

Choosing keywords

The keywords you use to describe your business on your website should match what users are searching for on search engines. For example, if you run a tax preparation business, you will want to use keywords like "tax preparer" or "tax preparation service." Use tools like Google's Keyword Planner or Google Trends to see the number of searches for a particular key word and whether some keywords are trending online. This should give you insight into which terms fit your brand description and as well as are popular among Internet users.

Webpage results and rankings

Keywords don't only have to describe products and services either. They can also note the location of a business, which is crucial for local search optimization. Continuing the example above, you can add to the terms by using your store or company location to form a string of keywords, such as "tax preparer Austin" or "tax preparation service Miami."

When customers search for a keyword, your website could be one of the results on the search engine result page. Businesses often make it a goal to land on the first page of Google or other search engines because the first 10 results are the ones users will likely click on first. Through using SEO for your website, you can help your business land as close to the top of the first search engine result page as possible.

As users look for results to click on, they will notice several key elements of your website that show up on the results page. These are parts of your landing pages that you should optimize through choosing the right keywords and other techniques.

Learn about SEO for different components of landing pages and more with part two of this series.