You have a website, wooo! *high five*
Having a web presence is becoming more and more essential for doing business in the 21st century. With smartphones in nearly everyone's hand and search engines replacing phone books, potential customers are almost certainly going to search online before they contact you.
So how can you make it as easy as possible for those potential customers to find you and your website when they search? Unfortunately it's not as simple as just setting up a website.
This is where Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, comes in. There are lots of free resources available for deep dives into SEO, but for those of us who embrace simplicity...
Here are five simple ways to boost SEO and help search engines find your site:
1 - Join your locals Chamber(s) of Commerce.
Join the Chambers of Commerce in the cities where you do business. For serious. When you join a Chamber of Commerce, your business (and your website) is listed in the Chamber's online directory. The very nature of Chambers of Commerce means they are high-quality sites, and establishing that backlink boosts your site's trust value and authority with search engines.
The annual dues are likely worth the SEO boost alone, not to mention loads of other benefits.
2 - Add relevant content to your website regularly.
Search engines are constantly cataloguing and re-cataloguing the Internet. Sites that aren't updated will likely be seen as dead, or old, and irrelevant. Good search engines serve up the most relevant pages. Not only will regularly adding content signal that your site is alive and well, it will also increase the content available for search engines to search!
3 - Use a tool like Yoast SEO.
We love Yoast, but there are several user-friendly SEO tools that can give you page-specific guidance about how to increase relevance and readability.
4 - Use key phrases instead of keywords.
Think about how YOU search for information on the Internet. More often than not, you probably use a phrase instead of a single word. Add content that answers a potential customer's question, and use the question in the content!
5 - Use Alt tags on your images!
This is probably the easiest-to-implement item on this list! Alt tags aren't seen, but instead describe the image to a search engine. If your image is a photo of the embroidery machines at work in your shop, make sure it has an alt tag that says so, so a search engine can find it and serve up your site for someone searching for embroidery.
BONUS! 6 - Don't ever try to game the system.
Building solid SEO takes time. There are guerilla tech marketers out there who try to sell you higher search engine rankings in a week, guaranteed. It may work short term (and it may not), but don't do it. What they don't tell you (or care about) is that guerilla tactics will absolutely kill your SEO in the long run. The big search engines are in the business of knowing what's going on. They have long memories and aren't very forgiving. Regardless, their algorithms change at least weekly, so your best bet is to use the tried-and-true methods that won't get your site blacklisted.