SEO Tips – Small Business Owners Should Know
As a small business owner getting ready to build your first website or redesign your existing one, you might wonder what you should be considering in terms of making your web design search engine friendly.
There are lots of things to take into account, but here are the five key things that you should know about SEO friendly web design and how it can benefit your visitors, too!
It Needs to be Responsive
For small businesses, especially local ones, having great rankings in mobile search is incredibly important. Why? For starters, 50% of consumers who perform a local search on mobile devices visit a store within a day of their search. What’s even more exciting is that 78% of mobile searches for local business lead to offline purchases.
If you want to do well in mobile search results, you will want to have a mobile-friendly design. Responsive design is the easiest to aim for because it offers a similar user experience to desktop visitors, tablet visitors, and smart phone visitors.
With responsive design, you don’t have to create multiple pages for different screen sizes. Instead, you create your website pages as you would normally, and the responsive theme or template will make sure it reshapes itself to fit on any screen size.
As far as platform goes, you can choose to run your website with static HTML template files with responsive design or content management systems with responsive themes. WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems that allows you to create a static website, blog, e-commerce store, forum, or anything else you want to run.
The Important Parts Need to be in the Text
While search engines are able to crawl more types of media, text has always been the best option for search optimization. This is why everyone is talking about content marketing – you need written content for every page of your website.
Your goal should be to include text on every page of your website. Even a small amount of text, such as a 150-word product description, is better than none. If you post videos or audio, include a text-based transcription on the same page.
Also, don’t forget the text needed for each page’s SEO title (50 – 60 characters) and meta description (150 – 160 characters). Both of these elements should be unique and should include main keyword phrases the page is to be optimized for.
You Must Optimize Your Images
When you do use images, you can optimize them with text for better search visibility. This not only allows you to further optimize your product page for a specific keyword phrase, but it gives your photo the chance to appear in Google image search results.
There are a few ways to optimize your images with text. First, you can rename your image’s filename to include specific keywords. For example, instead of uploading a picture on an air conditioning repair service page as IMAGE0001.jpg, change it to phoenix-air-conditioning-repair-services.jpg. This puts your page’s main keywords in the filename of the image.
You Need a Clear, Text-Based Navigation Structure
Another rule straight from Google Webmaster Guidelines is to ”Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.”
Think of your website’s organization and plan your link structure accordingly. Depending on the number of pages your website has, this could be as simple as creating a main navigation bar linking to the main five pages on your website. Or it could be as complicated as coming up with categories, subcategories, and the pages within each.
Don’t Forget to Redirect
If you are redesigning a new version of your website, make sure you don’t lose any of your old pages. For example, you might have a page on your old website with the URL yourdomain.com/your-page, and the new page ended up with the URL of yourdomain.com/your-new-page.
Once you delete the old page, people who visit that page will receive a 404 error, telling them the page no longer exists. If the old page ranked well in search for a keyword, and search crawlers find the page no longer exists, the old page will ultimately be removed from search results. Hence, any referral or organic search traffic you were receiving to that page will be lost, unless you redirect the old page to the new one.
Use 301 redirects to tell search engines that the old page URL (yourdomain.com/your-page) is now the new page URL (yourdomain.com/your-new-page). This will ensure you keep the traffic and SEO value for your page. Any links to your old pages will count towards your new pages when you use 301 redirects, which will help you maintain the domain authority you have built through your SEO efforts.