SEO Basics for Entrepreneurs

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SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, got a lot of buzz a few years ago. Webmasters lived and died by it. But is it still important or relevant?

You bet your business.

While the tactics may have changed a little (Google loves changing how its systems process data, so it keeps us on our toes), SEO is one of the biggest tools you have to get traffic to your website.

SEO 101

For the non-technical, SEO reflects how well your website ranks in search engine results. Let’s say you sell cupcakes in Oregon. Ideally, you’d like to be the top site listed when someone searches for “cupcakes Oregon.” That might not be the case if you don’t pay attention to the copy on your website. More on that later.

You can improve your search engine rankings by using keywords throughout your website. Keywords are the words you want people to search for to find your site. If you sell cupcakes only, you probably don’t want to mention “cookies” or “pies” on your site, as those aren’t keywords you want to be known for.

How to Improve Your Web Copy

Make a list of 10+ keywords that describe your business. Sticking with our “sweet” example, we might have:

  • Cupcakes in Oregon
  • Oregon bakery
  • Homemade cupcakes Portland
  • Portland cupcakes

For a business that only operates locally (as opposed to one with clients everywhere), that location will need to be part of the keyword. Your competition for appearing in a search for “cupcakes” alone is much fiercer, so stick with your local market.

After you have your list of keywords, make sure you’re using them in your copy. For instance, your About page would say, “A leading supplier of Portland cupcakes, Sweets n Stuff delivers homemade cupcakes Portland-wide.” See what I mean? Use the keywords as part of your copy.

If you get into the back-end of your website at all, you probably have something in your content management system (or WordPress) where you can set a title and description for each page. This is your opportunity to use those keywords again. The description is what will appear in a Google search, under the title. So make it good to entice people to click on your link:

Buy Fresh Organic Cupcakes in Portland

Choose from among many flavors, including vanilla, strawberry and chocolate cupcakes in Oregon at our organic cupcake bakery.

Other SEO Tricks

Okay, they’re not really tricks, but they will help you!

  • Change your content slightly every few months. No one likes a stagnant site, least of all search engines.
  • Add articles or blog posts using your keywords. Search engines love this.
  • When you add a hyperlink, set it over a keyword. “Cupcakes in Oregon” is better than “try our products.”
  • Read up on the latest SEO news and tips. They’re always changing.
  • Check your competitors’ sites to see what keywords they’re using.
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About Susan Payton

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing copy, blog and article writing. She is the blogger behind The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and also writes on Small Business Trends, Growth University and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing. Susan Payton on Google+!