Congratulations – you have just become a business owner. What exactly your business offers to customers isn’t important right now, suffice to say that you also have a brand-new website to go with your new growing business. You remember someone once telling you that it’s important to think about a SEO (search engine optimization) strategy for a website, but what exactly does that mean? Should you have a blog? How many pages is a good amount for your company? Does any of this really matter to the success of your business?
If you’ve thought up these questions about SEO and a new business, and the other thoughts that go with embarking on a business venture online, I’d like to help you. I work for a digital marketing company that offers SEO services for many different industries. Our agency, Snaptech, has been around since 2002 when the science of SEO was still relatively new. We’ve seen SEO strategies change a lot – and I mean a lot – since the early part of the century. What worked for SEO back then doesn’t work anymore today.
But this article isn’t supposed to be a history lesson in search engine optimization; it’s supposed to help address some of your first questions about SEO for your new business. So, let’s dive into it:
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (shortened to SEO) is the work done on a website (or its individual pages) to increase the ranking in search engines like Google, Bing or DuckDuckGo. The better your ranking is (which is called an organic ranking), the higher your webpage will display in search engine results. The higher the rankings, the more visibility your website will have on Google and these other search engines and thus the more traffic your website will get.
So, now that it’s established that having a good SEO rank is beneficial for a website, how do we get a high ranking in search engines?
A Starting Point for Your SEO Journey
If you are a roofer and just opened your business’ doors, you need to get word out about your business. There are established roofing businesses already known in your city, and they have websites of their own. When someone goes to Google and types in “local roofing company”, or “roofing company Vancouver” (or whatever city you’re in), you want them to see your website displayed at the top of the local search engine results.
The more roofing companies there are with an online presence, the more competition you face.
Search engines need to figure out which websites should appear at the top of their search engine result pages (called SERPs.) There are a number of determining factors that go into figuring out which website page should rank better than its competitors, such as:
How long the website has been online
Your website’s loading speed
Is it optimized for mobile devices
The type quality of the website content
The number of inbound links, and also from what sort of websites
The website optimized for keywords
Think of it like athletes competing for a spot at the Olympic Games. Each athlete has been training, dieting, sacrificing their free time, all to be seen as the world’s best in their sport.
The search engines are like judges for websites/webpages. They constantly rank and index pages by criteria so that the people that are looking for information are given the best possible results. The best picks for webpages get the top recommendations from the search engine, and the most traffic from searches.
You need to start thinking of your website this way, finding ways to make its digital presence stronger, more compelling, more visible. Like it or not, when you decided to go into business and have a website you announced your intention to go for the glory.
The first step to becoming a gold medal athlete is to take the first step. You’ve done that. Now comes the training regimen.
Building Your SEO Strength Through Content
Having any sort of website advocating your business is better than not having a website. You can start improving the SEO strength of your business a number of ways.
Adding quality content is always a good thing to do. First, make certain that you have pages about your products, or your services, about your company, and give visitors a reason to start building interest and trust in your business. Try to make sure that the content on these pages gives someone visiting your site enough information about your product or service to make them want to choose you. You will also want to ensure you are targeting the right keywords for those pages. Giving these top level pages in your site navigation relevant names is important; in the SEO/web development industry, this process is called site architecture. Good site architecture is a positive signal to send to a search engine.
After your key pages are filled out, consider blogging as your next step. Blogs are a great tool for companies to give more information about their business, and to also signal search engines that the website owner is providing new fresh content.
Blogs also allow you to dive deeper into more complex subjects that you’re knowledgeable about. Getting back to our new roofing company owner, they can blog about specific types of roofing jobs, show before and after photos, talk about jobs in different seasons, or jobs for commercial and residential customers, talk about new products or processes that let them do their job better.
You should also look at how quickly your website loads. Load speed is a factor that can help your search engine ranking.
If you don’t know much about the world of web dev or SEO, a site’s load speed may not really strike you as good or bad. Thankfully there are sites that can help you determine if your company’s website loads well or not. Here are some that are good tools as of December 2023:
If your website loads slowly, it’s best to consider improving it. It may be as simple as moving your site to a new host. It also may load slowly due to the way your website was built; images might not be properly optimized and are eating too much bandwidth, or your page builds have extraneous code and could be slimmed down.
Getting a web developer, or an SEO specialist, to perform an audit of your website might be the next best move to make.
Brand New vs Established Websites
One last point that I want to mention is how old your website is, or isn’t.
Getting back to that new roofing business, the owner might have a fast loading website and is adding new content regularly to it. Unfortunately, there may be other roofing websites that have been around for a lot longer.
The search engine judges will also look at how old a website is when determining ranking factors. Now, this isn’t necessarily the end of the world for a new business entering the market; search engine engineers know that new websites need to be able to rank against older competitors, so they use the age of a website as just one of many metrics to grade a website’s ranking in SERPs.
If you have a new website you can make it rank and get organic visitors. I’ve done it before, but it requires looking at your online competition, what they have (or have not) done to their websites and figure out a strategy to be better than the competition online.
Every week I look at data from industries that are online and see ways where someone who’s new can break into the market. Older websites may be coasting on momentum from work done years in the past. They might have overlooked new technology that would keep their SEO signal strong. There are many ways to outrank your SEO competition, otherwise there wouldn’t be thousands of search engine optimization specialists plying their skills.
Getting back to my athlete analogy: suppose you’re got some natural skill. Suppose that you’ve competed in a few competitions and won some awards. If you think that you have the raw potential to be better and go for bigger results, you will consider investing in yourself in greater ways: finding a coach with a track record of producing great athletes, or getting additional support from family and other mentors.
That new roofing company could find someone skilled with SEO, get them to analyse the local competition, and come up with a strategy to get to the top of the search engines. Different subject matters but the same strategic principles apply to the amateur athlete and the new roofing business.
Starting SEO is a Journey
Don’t let any of what I’ve said make you feel overwhelmed. Finding talented SEO professionals that help rank companies is becoming a normal part of running a business.
If it helps, think of our roofing company owner that will need to service his fleet of vehicles to make sure they get out to homeowners that need roofing help. That biz owner needs the help of a mechanic or servicing centre, right? The owner won’t think twice about not knowing how to pull apart a truck engine or replace an old muffler. The mechanic will help them with that end of their roofing business. So too will a reliable SEO professional that has good reviews and an established track record of customer satisfaction.
Next stop on your SEO knowledge tour: the world of keywords!
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